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[27 Feb 2012|12:58am]

I went out with a girl with agoraphobia for almost a year and sadly we broke up recently because we argued so much all the time and I had to leave. Now I feel like shit because I can't stop thinking about her and I miss her so much and I feel like she's all alone but at the same time all the arguments and the fighting was just too much to handle. I don't know what to do
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Living with agoraphobia/panic disorder [20 Feb 2012|11:19pm]

Hi everyone - I have been struggling with agoraphobia/panic disorder since 2009.  Prior to that, I have had clinical depression, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, PTSD and self harmed.

I am taking Venlfaxine which is the only medication that has helped me but the side effects are horrendous.

I am not totally housebound fortunately, although a year or so ago I could barely get out the front door.

However, my agoraphobia/panic disorder is still pretty serious as I am unable to work and can only travel very  short distances from home.

I am hoping to find support and offer support to my fellow agoraphobics. 

Hopefully, we can help each other on the path to recovery!
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Having issues lately [18 Feb 2012|03:36pm]

Hello everyone. I haven't written on here in a long while. For the most part I've been coping with my agoraphobia to the point where I could actually have a life. But lately things have been a little strained and I find myself having issues again.

I had gotten to the point where I could be out of the house and around a small amount of people for up to 5 hours. That's where my limit has been at. I still have trouble with malls and crowded restaurants or stores. If I have to go to the store I do it really early when hardly anyone is there. And I refuse to go out on certain holidays (ie. Valentines day we didn't go anywhere but did have a romantic evening at home).

All in all I felt I was doing really well. Especially since my agoraphobia had been to the point where I couldn't even go to the mailbox without having a panic attack.

Lately I'm having issues after being somewhere for an hour or so. My anxiety goes through the roof and I have trouble breathing, even if there are less than 10 people around.

Today though was a bit embarrassing. We went to a ren event (like a ren faire but with fewer people...our group gets together once a month). There were probably about 50 people there and we were at a park. I'm usually OK at the events because I focus on one or two people and keep an eye out for my kids. So I handle it well. Not today though. After an hour of being there I wanted to go home.

We arrived at the park about 9:30 and the event started at 10:30. My daughter had a birthday party to go to today so she and I left early. The birthday party was at 1 pm and we had planned to leave the event at about 12:30. We left at 11 because I just couldn't handle it anymore. I was about to cry I was so anxious and panicky.

We get home and change (we were going to go to the party in our ren clothes if we didn't have the time). At 1 we left for the party (it was across the street from my house). Again, about 5 minutes into it I wanted to leave. It was worse once everyone had arrived. The kids running around and making noise, the parents standing around and chatting...it was really noisy.

I held it together but I feel as though I'm slipping. We left the party half an hour early because I couldn't handle it.

I really don't want to slip backwards. I don't want to go back to the way I was. But lately I just can't handle being around people or outside. I'm constantly anxious and even the thought of leaving the house makes me want cry.

Any advice?
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An intro.... [18 Jan 2012|10:38pm]

[ mood | awake ]

Hi, I'm Em. I'm glad to have found this community. I have had panic disorder w/ agoraphobia (I believe) for about 15 years, but was only recently "officially" diagnosed with it. It comes and goes. It's worse at some times than at others. Sometimes I'm totally housebound, and get out maybe once a week to get groceries, and other times I'm able to do more.

I got married a month ago yesterday, to a wonderful man (he has bipolar I with psychotic features, which I also have), who is very patient with me when I am symptomatic, though I know he struggles to understand it. He also has two wonderful children, whom I am now Stepmom to. :)

I am currently on medications and in therapy, and both seem to be helping, but I still have my moments, for that's what they've tended to become. My therapist likens it to a door that opens and closes, and it can do so several times within a day. So, I told my husband, I have to take advantage of the times that the door IS open!

I don't have an outside job, I am a homemaker and stay at home stepmom. Though we don't have custody of the kids, my husband, his ex, and her husband (my hubby and I call him the Manny heh) all work (well the Manny works SOMETIMES) so, I have to be available to take care of the kids when no one else can. I was thinking about this today, and really, that's perfect for me. Other than needing to adapt to potential short notice, which I am getting much better at, I love being around the kids. They level me out, make me feel "normal". And it's the only time I don't think about my illnesses or anything. It's like they don't exist. And that's a nice feeling. (The kids know I take medications for different things and know I have illnesses and we've had talks about it and I told them if they ever have questions to ask me, but they don't treat me any differently. Plus, their dad takes medications for a mental illness, too.)

So, that's me. Sorry, if I rambled. I tend to do that. heh


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[29 Aug 2011|11:30pm]

I seem to have agoraphobia permanently, & at this point I don't care anymore.  I thought maybe it was just that I picked it up from my mom or something & I could just magically be cured, but also that I HAD to be cured.  Well, I was hit by a car & had two surgeries on my knee to make it better & take meds to make it better, but it still hurts--& I know there is no magic cure for that.  I take meds that make my agoraphobia better, but I can't keep working myself into a wreck trying to just make it go away completely.  I know some people do get over it & go back to 'normal' lives, but I dont think I'm one.  It will get better, easier to deal with, but then something stressful happens & I get stuck again & the longer I wait to get working on going back out the more difficult it gets, & having to go through that over & over is very hard to deal with sometimes--& honestly I just don't want to, but I'm a single mom with no support person anymore, so I do the best I can.  Another thing that made me quit with the "I have to get better" obsessive thinking is I found a cousin on facebook from family that I really didn't know at all, raised in a completely different environment, across the country, who also had agoraphobia, so I stopped thinking it as something I could just "get over" like so many people think about mental conditions...

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, I think just trying to explain agoraphobia to people is so hard & just assuming most people in this community get it, I really wanted to let it all out.  Anyone who needs someone to go on about things who actually knows what agoraphobia is, welcome to add me & any comments on similar circumstances, or even how your agoraphobia is different, please comment, I'm really interested in what it is like for other people, after so many years of trying to explain this condition to people & often times feeling like they think I'm making the whole condition up or something.
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A therapeutic idea [21 Mar 2011|01:02pm]

Hey everyone. I haven't posted here in a really long time.

I'm an artist and usually I draw from photos I either take or ones I find on the net. I've been wanting to do life drawing but that requires going out and drawing people as they go about their lives. Naturally, as an agoraphobic this scares me half to death!

Well, I've decided to bite the bullet and do it. I'm not very good at drawing from my head and I'm tired of drawing off of photographs. I don't have time to do it today but tomorrow I'm going to go to the mall and draw people.

I'm picking a weekday morning to do it because I figure there will be far less people there. The last time I was at the mall there were tons of people and I had a panic attack after 5 min. But then again it was a Saturday and a payday weekend for many people.

I'm hoping to get two things out of this. 1. I'll improve my drawing skills and can use the sketches to draw things from my head rather than copying photographs. 2. It'll help with my agoraphobia.

The theory I have is that I'll get so into drawing that I won't notice that the place is crowded. And therefore maybe it'll help me deal with crowds.

My agoraphobia isn't as bad as it once was. It hardly bothers me anymore. I only panic when I'm somewhere really crowded. I can usually tell by the parking lot of a store has too many people in it for me to handle. It's a lot better than when I couldn't leave the house. So I'm hoping I can handle sitting in the mall and drawing. I would do it at a park but it's too cold and the weather has been crummy.

Wish me luck!
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agoraphobe's guide [01 Jun 2010|10:24pm]

I've been struggling (suffering) from severe anxiety / panic disorder off & on (mostly constant though) for several years now. I've had therapy & medications. Times of doing alright and then long bouts of limited functionality and withdrawal from the world. It doesn't matter if I'm happy or depressed, if things are going right in my world or not, it hasn't gone away. At this point, I'm working on accepting that this is just part of how my world is and to learn how to make the most of the times when I'm "doing well" and to not hate myself when I'm not able to do what others find so easy.

I had a post in mind for a few days that I finally wrote today. I thought if anyone might relate to it, give input or just see that there is someone else out there who's trying to deal with this too, that it would be a good thing. I wrote this for myself but I had other people who identify with this in mind. (& the people who love them).

The Outgoing Agoraphobic's Guide To Going Outside

Thank you for reading.
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Too afraid tonight [19 Mar 2010|10:08pm]

I have been doing really well with my agoraphobia lately. I've been able to go out, even to places I've never been before, with my husband.

Recently we learned that a friend is DJing at a club that's about 15 minutes from us. There's supposed to be a big St. Pattys day party tonight at the club. A few of our friends are going. I've never been to that club before.

Because we couldn't get a sitter I told my husband that he should go. Tonight he came home and said that I need to get out of the house so I should go. I immediately began to feel such strong anxiety. The thought of going had me nearly in tears with a full blown panic attack.

He tried for 3 hours to talk me into going. I found an outfit to wear and took a shower. I was about to do my make up when I just couldn't do it. I was nearly in tears at the thought of going. He kept on pushing, insisting that I would have a good time.

I just can't go. If he was able to go with me that would be a different story. But without him, even though there will be people I know there, I just couldn't do it. I can tell he's disappointed. I insisted that he should go though. I don't want both of us to miss out on some fun.

I feel so pissed at myself. I know he's right. I know that if I go I'll probably have a great time once I'm used to where I am. I can always just focus on my friends or go outside for a smoke if it gets to be a bit much. And I can always leave it it gets to be too much. But I just can't bring myself to go.

I hate this fear. I hate feeling so helpless to my own emotions. I want to cry. I really don't want him to go. But I told him to. I want him to have fun. I want to have fun too but I'm just to afraid tonight.

Fear sucks!
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Did better than I expected... [04 Dec 2009|07:51pm]

Tonight there was a banquet with my husband's work (he's in the military) and we went. It's in NJ and we live in NY so the Navy paid for out hotel room. The same hotel the banquet is in.

I did pretty well I think. Though the 4 rum and cokes I had probably helped. I managed to stay until after dinner (2 1/2 hours). I wanted to stay at least until after desert. After we all ate and everyone was talking my husband whispered to me, "If you need to go up to the room go ahead." I asked him if it was obvious that I was having trouble and he said it was.

This was a large event. There were hundreds of people. If it was smaller I would've been fine but there was way too many people there for my comfort level. I was so tense that as soon as I got to the room I started to cry.

I had been doing so well. I had reached the point where most of the time my agoraphobia doesn't bother me at all. I've learned how to live my life in such a way that it's not an interference. But some days, like this eventing, there's nothing I can do to avoid it.

All in all I think I did well. I just feel that it would've been great to stay for the whole event.
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Life skills [10 Oct 2009|06:08pm]

[ mood | tired ]

I just don't have the skills necessary to deal with life. Read more...Collapse )

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[08 Sep 2009|06:11pm]

Heylo agora. It's been awhile. I guess you could say I'm in recovery right now. Here's a little info on where I'm coming from, how I got to this point, and where I'm going:

  • Have had severe agoraphobia for about 9 years now, which for me has meant not leaving my house alone at all.
  • Between my 7th-8th year I made some progress with going out alone with the help of ACT and talking on a cellphone, and then furthered that by just carrying it and going on scheduled outings that were once or twice a week at most, including a volunteer position.
  • My volunteer position ended unexpectedly and I became 'stuck'. Unplanned outings felt too overwhelming to me so I slowly stopped going out alone, and the loss of my volunteer job really affected me negatively. I stopped going out altogether for 3-4 months (rotted 3 of my teeth and lost 20 pounds in the process as well).
  • A friend helped me to start going out again, step by step, first with people, then on my own again. I also started using ACT again as I joined their online study group. This period also included starting a part-time class that took me out of the house twice a week (3 hours each + an hour of bussing). I also recieved a diagnosis of BPD during this time (which I discovered on my own, as at the same time, I found out that I'd been 'discharged' by my psychiatrist for 'refusing treatment').*
  • Back on topic - I completed the part-time course over the summer and have just started a full time program. This is the biggest thing I've done so far and I've actually lived to tell about my first week.

*The truth actually being that they had no more psychologists available to me and my psychiatrist wasn't helping a damn bit so I hadn't seen her in a year+ anyway, which, funny enough was when I started to get better. Getting the BPD diagnosis explained a lot of why I struggle so much emotionally, even with going out, but it did not make things easier, and in some cases, has made them harder because there's a hopelessness that comes with trying to find a specialist that is covered by my crap insurance and finding that only one such person exists in my city and she's not taking patients. Yaaaaay for 'severe mental illness' and no gawd damn doctors.

Sooo that's where I am. I have made it to all of my classes so far. All 25 hours of them. All half hour bus trips to/from them. Might I add, pretty packed bus trips to/from them. I've made extra effort to get on the less full busses when possible though; whatever makes it a bit easier on me. I've found lunch hour the hardest but I figure that will improve as I get to know more classmates. This week is actually really short for me but I can already tell it's going to be a hard one. This morning my depression and anxiety were rising and rising and fighting to stop me from going, but I pushed through and went. I even wanted to leave early but I didn't. Besides the day to day anxiety and stuff... Something's on its way which is making my anxiety even worse... and I figure girls will probably only understand this oneCollapse )...

But ya..... Wow. I am shocked by myself, ya know? I'm still so scared of this process, and every day (hour even!) I face some emotional extreme of mine that pushes and pulls me in all sorts of directions with how this all... Feels: Exciting, frightening, miserable, enjoyable, shocking, boring, nice, bad. I am not fighting the anxiety half as much anymore thanks to ACT, but I am still struggling to fight the fact that sometimes.. I feel so incapable, or weird, or dumb, or freakish, or what-have-you. I am proud that I am doing this regardless of those feelings though, and I am starting to see that I can do all this ~*~CRAZY~*~ stuff despite all of them. I still hope that I feel more... Predictable? About it in the future... And in a good way.
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opinions? [03 Aug 2009|09:25am]

i hate having appointments. i'm very ritualistic about them, in a sense. i can't tell anyone when they are or i'll get sick&can't go, i can't tell anyone what doctor i'm seeing or i'll get sick&can't go, et cetera. i live with my mom&watch my sisters; they're not too young but not too old either. i don't even like telling them when my appointments are. hell, i don't even like telling my boyfriend, who has to take me to all of these appointments in the first place! hahaha.
i used to be this way with jobs, until i found a job where i came in at the same time every day. anyway. haha.
i missed an appointment a few weeks ago; the first appointment i've ever missed in my life where i didn't call or my mom didn't call ahead to say i wasn't coming. i just messed up the times on two different appointment cards; it was quite humorous&totally gave me a new perspective, although i cried&fell silent after i found out about my blunder.

so, i have a question. when you have anxiety about a particular thing&you consciously choose to be calmed, does your body still react? how do you deal with it?
like, so after this missed appointment i've been consciously zen about my other appointments, telling myself that it's no big deal&that the world keeps turning, but my shoulders still zoom up around my ears&my stomach still does some somersaults&whatnot. you get me?

do you think your perception rules your anxiety or strictly your thoughts about your perceptions?
is that why therapy&possibly medications are needed when perception/thought gets out of control, beyond one's control?

ALSO: is anyone/has anyone been on TOPAMAX? if so, what has your experience been?

cross-posted x-].
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[02 Aug 2009|03:19am]

[ mood | drunk ]

how do you deal with the mind numbing boredom? just hours and hours of nothing, sameness and aloneness. shit sometimes i find myself aching for the old days of superficial online "friendships" but only sometimes.

and sometimes i ache for death. that has to be better than these four walls.

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Driving [12 Jul 2009|01:43pm]

[ mood | scared ]

I'm 22-years-old (going on 23 in a couple of months), and I've yet to get my driver's license.

I'm afraid to leave my apartment, but I'm especially afraid of going into a two-ton machine, going to places in which I haven't explored, and, because I'm a horrible driver (I got a C on the driving test when I took one during high school), I'm afraid of running over a person or crashing the car and dying.

I've been delaying in getting a learner's permit because I'm scared. I've been giving excuses like, I don't have time, I don't have anyone to help me practice driving, the driver's manual is too freaking boring to read, etc.

Does anyone have any tips as to how to start driving? I'm afraid I'll flunk the driving test all three times, IF I take it. But I have to learn how to drive for my future career. I'm a journalist major, so I will have to go to places in order to report. I've actually had problems at my campus newspaper and in my internship because I can't drive. And if I move somewhere and start my career (which I'm afraid of moving to a new place, too), I will have to learn how to drive. So, some advice and encouragement would be much appreciated.

12 comments|post comment

You would be so proud of me... [02 Jul 2009|04:16pm]

Lately I've been able to go out more. On Tuesday I went to the beach with my mom, my kids, my brothers, some friends, etc. The BEACH!!! I hadn't been there in forever because I just couldn't. My mom would bring my kids there for me. But on Tuesday I decided to go too.

I was totally fine. We got there at 11 am and I left at 3 pm (when it started to get to me). 4 hours!!!

Then today my kids and I went with my husband to a Command Picnic (he's a Navy recruiter and the picnic was all the recruiters from NY, northern NJ, and and I think part of Conneticut. Basically, between the recruiters, support staff, and their families...there was an estimated 300 + people. LOTS of people. And it was in a park that was 1 1/2 hours from my house AND a place I had never been. We got there early because my husband didn't know if he needed to be there at 10:30 or 11:00 (it was manditory for the military members to go, optional for their families). We left at about 1 when it started to rain.

I can't believe I was around so many people and was OK! Granted, in both instances I focused a lot on the kids (which is my main thing to do when I'm out. If I'm with them and focusing on them I don't start to panic...mostly because it's easier to ignore the people and whatnot).

On the way home today I was thinking about my agoraphobia and how lately I'm not panicing much and can be out more. I still can't do an overly crowded store or bus. But other than that I seem to be OK for th emost part.

I've been trying to heal from what caused my agoraphobia for the past 4 years. Simutaniously I've been trying to heal from the agoraphobia itself. 4 years ago I wouldn't have been able to go to the picnic today without seriously freaking out. I wouldn't have even made it there.

Oh, and another cool thing. When we were getting ready to go my husband said that it would be OK if I didn't want to go. He said, "I understand your phobia and it's OK." I have such a great hubby!

Why have I been pushing myself so much? Because I refuse to let my life be dictated by a phobia caused by an asshole. :D
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crying [24 Jun 2009|10:10pm]
Does anyone else cry at the drop of a hat? 
Lately I have been feeling so guilty about being in the house all the time and I just cry.
I don't know how to stop crying. 
I love my husband but he is working so hard just to make ends meet while I can't even step out my door without freaking out. 
How do I get over this guilty feeling i have all the time? 
How can I make it out of the house without freaking?

The weird thing is everyone tells me to trust in God but over the ten years I have trusted and relied on him while everything was happening to me I felt like he left me.  Like God was not there in my darkest time (just like now).  How can I trust and rely on him when I never have been able to?  How can I not be angry at him for what is going on with me?
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internet [22 Jun 2009|11:26pm]

you know what, i am so thankful for the Internet and laptop computers.  if it werent for this way of communicating, i would have no where to talk about these things except to my doctors.  on the internet i get no panic attacks... because it really is pretty anonymous.  i have control over what is going on. 

i rarely leave my house for social interactions... i work but they arent really my friends... i do have lots of acquaintances and friends but i never clall them to go out and do anyhting... but here on the internet it doesnt matter where you are or what time it is or anthing... you can always find somehwere to talk and have friends who accept ou are you are :)

if it werent for computers and my super-social husband, i WOULD stay at home 90% of the time
2 comments|post comment

some success today [22 Jun 2009|11:16pm]

well, i decided to be proactive today... when it was about an hour until our drs appt to talk about our daughter (she is 4 and i strongly believe she has asperger's) (and drs appts are triggers for me) i took 0.25mg Xanax. then 30m before the appt i took another 0.25mg.

amazingly enough, i didnt have one bit of my usual anxiety effects!

usually: shaking, sweating, nauseous, tingling in my face and hands and feet, incessant fidgeting, hyperventilating, obsessively thinking abt how to get out of there.
today: nothing.

of course, drs appts are only one of my triggers, and arelatively mild one at that.  i dont know if i can use Xanax if i am going to be driving off island (yes i live on an island....i cant drive off on the mainland without constant panic) and i thinki would ned LOTS more Xanax for airports. 

but hey it worked for one of my minor triggers!   but on the downside, i felt slow and stupid for the rest of the day.

i an not be trusted to have higher doses of Xanax around, i used to abuse prescrition meds (and not my scripts either) - Xanax, Valium, Quaaludes, Percoset, Oxicontin, klonopins..... so... no more than 0.25mg pills and i only get 4 in a script at atime and i have to call ,my psychopharmacologist for him to reup the script.

but HEY it WORKED! *doing a little happy dance over here* one more thing i can do!!! yay!
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diagnosis [21 Jun 2009|11:28pm]

Hi all.....

i am struggling with a triple threat - agoraphobia, bipolar, and ADHD.

i am medicated for the agoraphobia (Xanax and Ativan as needed, also daily herbal tea *chamomile, spearmint, lemon balm, lavender*)
I am medicated for the bipolar - combo of Lamictal and Neurontin, which actually relieves some of my anxiety
i am NOT medicated for my ADHD because the current meds i am taking cancel out most of the ADHD drugs.

my specific triggers for my agoraphobia:
airports (they have been known to reduce me to huddling on the floor in a corner totally immobile)
driving anywhere i am not 100% familiar
parties/concerts/any social situation, especially if i have to go alone

i live by an exact routine of where and when i go places so that i do not venture into situations that are unfamiliar and therefore may trigger a panic attack.

this is extremely difficult.  I am trying the "exposure therapy" by forcing myself to confront some of these triggers but ain't NOTHING going to help with airports or driving. Nope.
3 comments|post comment

new [15 Jun 2009|09:24pm]
I haven't had agoraphobia for very long.  I have had panic attacks for about 10 years and the agoraphobia comes and goes but lately it has stayed.  I feel like a burdon on everyone around me because I have to depend on them to do anything.  In March I stopped taking my xanax and klonipin because I got addicted to it and I haven't been back to it.  It's a blessing to be off that medicine but I don't have anything to help me do things.  Ever since I stopped taking the medicine I can not go out at all because of the fear of being away from home. 
I guess I just wanted to introduce myself to everyone and let you know I am sort of in crisis and would like to just talk.
7 comments|post comment

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