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Hi all, new here - agoraphobia sufferer

W

Worryhead

New member
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
4
Hi all,

I'm 35 and was diagnosed by my GP as having agoraphobia when I was 27 years old, although I've been suffering from various forms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder/Social Phobia/Panic Attacks since I was 24.

I've been to about 6 different counsellors (2 of them CBT counsellors), tried a Paul McKenna self-help CD and book, acupuncture, Chinese herbal remedy and been on 3 different medications over a 9-year period (Paroxetine, Escitalopram and Citalopram) - I came off the Citalopram in September 2008 after gradual decrease with the advice of my doctor.

I feel through different stages of my life that things are very much up and down. i.e. at first, I was getting constant headaches. Then I was getting panic attacks a lot of the time.

Then they stopped, and it was just general anxiety. Now for the past couple of weeks, I'm very conscious of my breathing and often feel like I can't breathe properly, like I'm really bunged up or like I'm swallowing something small and hard. :(

Does anyone else suffer like this, and if so, how do you cope from day to day?

Thanks for any advice.
 
S

*Sapphire*

Guest
Hi Worryhead

And :welcome: to the forum!

I don't suffer with agoraphobia but have suffered with panic attacks. Mine were more the world spinning type ones, thinking I couldn't walk without assistance because I was going to fall over. I would also freeze. Yes literally freeze. If I was holding a cup I couldn't bring it to my mouth. It was crippling me in a way and if I didn't learn to manage it I guess I would have started fearing going out at all. I guess what helped me was a combination of things.

I started learning some gradual relaxation techniques when I wasn't anxious, maybe before bed or at a point in the day. Then associating the word relax with these techniques. So that by just repeating the word to myself when i was anxious I could relax very quickly to the state I would have done gradually. It takes a while to get a hang of but it is possible.

I also take Escitalopram that really changed things from me.

I also learned the skill of mindfulness. There is alot of information on the web about mindfulness and it has really helped with a variety of problems I have.

I also forced myself not to avoid anxious situations, because the more i avoided them the worse the anxiety seemed to get, it would build up in a way. Sometimes I would have to almost be dragged out crying my eyes out. But inevitably when I got to where I needed to, the anxiety would peak, but then it would lessen, and i would end up having a good time.

I am like you, my anxiety seems to peak and trough, i suffered with acute anxiety when i was a young adult, hyperventilating etc, then it seemed to subside until a few years ago when it came back starting with chest pains. This was along with the world spinning symptoms. I think anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways, headaches I believe can be one of them.

I don't know if that helps, you can also look at previous threads on this forum that may be able to offer some suggestions, and may be akin to your situation. :)
 
W

Worryhead

New member
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
4
Thanks for the kind welcome and advice. :)

I was taught about mindfulness at my last lot of CBT sessions - I will look it up and remind myself all about it. I do try and push myself into facing difficult situations, as, as you say, I think this is the way forward. The more I face public transport, crowds, etc, the less painful they'll be the next time.

Sometimes it can take a really long time though before the physical (and mental) anguish passes and it's tough coping when that happens...
 
S

*Sapphire*

Guest
Yes that's so true, every time I experience it, it feels like I am experiencing it for the first time, and my immediate thought is always to get out of the situation! I get really annoyed when someone says "just take deep breaths"! If only it were that simple....
 
G

GrizzlyBear

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2008
Messages
971
Welcome from me too Worryhead :flowers:
 
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