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Overcoming Agoraphobia

B

bonobo

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Jan 9, 2015
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131
Overall, I've spent maybe six years with going out only a handful of times. So, yeah, I'm pretty much a veteran. My question is how does one begin to move on after being stuck inside in fear for so long? I want to live but I'm so damn afraid - I want to go outside to museums, aquariums, art galleries, libraries and interesting cities.

How does one begin to combat the fear & self-loathing?
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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Aug 17, 2012
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13,531
Location
The West Country
I've never been diagnosed with agoraphobia, but have had (and still have to some extent) social phobia which prevented me from going out big time.

I'd say to you to start small. Little steps, literally!
Do you have a garden where you live? Maybe spending time in the garden would help?

Am wondering also if you live alone and if you or whoever you live with has a car? Do you still have issues with being out even if you're in a vehicle?
 
B

bonobo

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Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
131
I've never been diagnosed with agoraphobia, but have had (and still have to some extent) social phobia which prevented me from going out big time.

I'd say to you to start small. Little steps, literally!
Do you have a garden where you live? Maybe spending time in the garden would help?

Am wondering also if you live alone and if you or whoever you live with has a car? Do you still have issues with being out even if you're in a vehicle?
Thank you for replying, SS x

Yes, I have a garden & do go out in it. I live with some family but it's an incredible tense situation and they can't help me. I feel absolutely desperate to get out of here but the fear of the outside is so strong that it's like being stuck in mud.

My Grandmother has offered for me to stay with her for a tiny while & so I am going to try my absolute best to go to her. I am so afraid of public transport & humans but I simply can't be here anymore - It's driving me quite literally crazy.
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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Messages
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Location
The West Country
I think perhaps aiming to go to your Grandmother's is a good idea.
How will you get to her house?

I can see how you're in between a rock and a hard place. To stay in will drive you potty but going out is obviously a huge challenge for you.

I would encourage you to try to go to quiet places first as a means of getting more confident with going out, perhaps going for a walk in nature.

I don't know if you like animals or if there's a dog rescue centre near you, but places like that are always looking for volunteer dog walkers. What's nice about that is you have some form of company in the way of a dog, but it's nothing too overwhelming. Perhaps that's there to think about in the future.

Does your GP know you have these issues, by the way?
 
B

bonobo

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Jan 9, 2015
Messages
131
I think perhaps aiming to go to your Grandmother's is a good idea.
How will you get to her house?

I can see how you're in between a rock and a hard place. To stay in will drive you potty but going out is obviously a huge challenge for you.

I would encourage you to try to go to quiet places first as a means of getting more confident with going out, perhaps going for a walk in nature.

I don't know if you like animals or if there's a dog rescue centre near you, but places like that are always looking for volunteer dog walkers. What's nice about that is you have some form of company in the way of a dog, but it's nothing too overwhelming. Perhaps that's there to think about in the future.

Does your GP know you have these issues, by the way?
Thank you - I will have to take the train, and then ask her to pick me up at the station. I am so terrified but how on earth could my life get better without drastic action? There isn't any nature around here unless I were to use public transport which feels impossible to do. I have two bunnies.
 
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bonobo

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Jan 9, 2015
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131
Edit: Sorry, didn't see the last bit. I have literally no faith in any sort of mental health systems any more - If I get better it will be because of me. I've found psychiatric 'help' to be much more harmful than good.
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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Messages
13,531
Location
The West Country
Edit: Sorry, didn't see the last bit. I have literally no faith in any sort of mental health systems any more - If I get better it will be because of me. I've found psychiatric 'help' to be much more harmful than good.
That's fair enough.
Conventional psychiatric 'help' doesn't always help people live more fulfilling lives. :unsure:

I can see how you want to chuck yourself in at the deep end because you're feeling desperate.
As I said, this trip to see your Grandmother sounds like a good place to start.
Is the train journey long? Do you have anything you can take with you like a book or crossword to (hopefully) keep you occupied?
 
B

bonobo

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Messages
131
That's fair enough.
Conventional psychiatric 'help' doesn't always help people live more fulfilling lives. :unsure:

I can see how you want to chuck yourself in at the deep end because you're feeling desperate.
As I said, this trip to see your Grandmother sounds like a good place to start.
Is the train journey long? Do you have anything you can take with you like a book or crossword to (hopefully) keep you occupied?
The train will be about 3-4 hours, I think. I will try and book it for a time when there will be slightly less people onboard. I will take my old iPod or something, or a book. Thank you for being so friendly and kind :)
 
B

bonobo

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Jan 9, 2015
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Anymore agoraphobics 'round here?
 
SarahD

SarahD

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Oct 21, 2014
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UK
Hi bonobo. I have spent most of the last year inside. Only been out to medical appointments, and only when someone could take me. Scared of public transport too. The last few weeks I have started to go out a bit, but it is very difficult. I read about exposure therapy, where you go out and you have to stay out until the panic and fear subside. Not easy, and basically they don't go away that much. But it is supposed to get easier.

In the past I have had shorter periods when I couldn't leave the house.

Not easy to deal with, is it?
 
B

bonobo

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Jan 9, 2015
Messages
131
Hi bonobo. I have spent most of the last year inside. Only been out to medical appointments, and only when someone could take me. Scared of public transport too. The last few weeks I have started to go out a bit, but it is very difficult. I read about exposure therapy, where you go out and you have to stay out until the panic and fear subside. Not easy, and basically they don't go away that much. But it is supposed to get easier.

In the past I have had shorter periods when I couldn't leave the house.

Not easy to deal with, is it?
Glad there's someone else - There really don't seem to be many severely agoraphobic people around. Yeah, only going out for medical appointments when being taken by someone pretty much describes me, too. I managed to take a public coach to London recently which is a big step for me but I was dropped right to the coaches door and picked up right as it stopped so I feel like that diminishes the achievement.
 
Per Ardua Ad Astra

Per Ardua Ad Astra

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Apr 15, 2014
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9,363
Location
North of England, UK
Throughout the 1990's and the early 2000's, I very rarely went out under my own steam. I too had to be taken to appointments, and was virtually housebound. I was never left on my own, and if my folks wanted to go out, they had to drop me off at a my Nan's, or get someone to come and sit with me.

This wasn't due to agoraphobia as such. It was to do with my beliefs, experiences and feelings at the time, and, I also believe, partly due to the meds I was on. I was on the older meds, and then changed to the newer ones cos my old meds were considered unsafe, and the licence to produce it was withdrawn.

I used to take short walks out by myself, just baby steps really. I got my own place finally in 2006, and managed okay with help from the CMHT and my folks.

The main reason I'm replying is cos of one of my Mum's neighbour's experiences. Cos I never went out, the neighbour asked my Mum if I had agoraphobia. She then went on to explain how she had had it when she was younger.

She was so bad, she could not even stand to look outside, so the curtains were always closed, and having door open would send her into a panic. She realized one day that if someone she loved was outside and in distress, she would not be able to go out and help them.

She had help with her fear from either her sister, or a friend, I can't remember from memory. Her helper would open the door for a few seconds, then close it, exposing her gradually to the panic, then letting it die down, before opening the door again.

In time, she got to the point where she could go out, and go down the street, but she had to hold onto walls and lamp posts to do it.

The wonderful thing is, that the agoraphobia was very much in her past when me and my Mum knew her. She was married, ran a business, took dogs for a walk, drove her car, and was very chatty and lively.

She told my Mum, she never believed she would ever get to the point she was, but she did.

She overcame gradually with the help of a trusted person.

I wish you well with your difficulty, and I hope you overcome it too :)
 
B

bonobo

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
131
Throughout the 1990's and the early 2000's, I very rarely went out under my own steam. I too had to be taken to appointments, and was virtually housebound. I was never left on my own, and if my folks wanted to go out, they had to drop me off at a my Nan's, or get someone to come and sit with me.

This wasn't due to agoraphobia as such. It was to do with my beliefs, experiences and feelings at the time, and, I also believe, partly due to the meds I was on. I was on the older meds, and then changed to the newer ones cos my old meds were considered unsafe, and the licence to produce it was withdrawn.

I used to take short walks out by myself, just baby steps really. I got my own place finally in 2006, and managed okay with help from the CMHT and my folks.

The main reason I'm replying is cos of one of my Mum's neighbour's experiences. Cos I never went out, the neighbour asked my Mum if I had agoraphobia. She then went on to explain how she had had it when she was younger.

She was so bad, she could not even stand to look outside, so the curtains were always closed, and having door open would send her into a panic. She realized one day that if someone she loved was outside and in distress, she would not be able to go out and help them.

She had help with her fear from either her sister, or a friend, I can't remember from memory. Her helper would open the door for a few seconds, then close it, exposing her gradually to the panic, then letting it die down, before opening the door again.

In time, she got to the point where she could go out, and go down the street, but she had to hold onto walls and lamp posts to do it.

The wonderful thing is, that the agoraphobia was very much in her past when me and my Mum knew her. She was married, ran a business, took dogs for a walk, drove her car, and was very chatty and lively.

She told my Mum, she never believed she would ever get to the point she was, but she did.

She overcame gradually with the help of a trusted person.

I wish you well with your difficulty, and I hope you overcome it too :)
Wow - That's incredible. Thank you so much for sharing her story with us. I'm so happy that she managed to overcome it xx
 
H

hannahbee

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2011
Messages
10
Location
south west uk
Hey, just found this site again after not using it for quite some time. I've had agoraphobia for a year. For a while I couldn't step out of the front door, then after a while forced myself to go on a very short walk rarely or go to the therapists. Now I'm making huge steps and these last 2 weeks I've been out almost every day doing things I didn't think I could ever do. I'm still not totally better. I cant go to the supermarket to buy anything other than one or 2 quick things and I've not been to a coffee shop or pub or anything like that (although this is my plan for next week)

Whats helped me is exposure therapy techniques mixed with hypnotherapy and CBT techniques. I started with exposure therapy, I only saw my therapist a few times and I didn't feel like we clicked but it made me realise I really had to make a sort of written ladder of what causes least anxiety to the worst then work up that list. Doing the exercises over and over until I feel I can move up.

Hypnotherapy has helped me with the motivation and confidence I needed to do these things and I realised how important positivity is in fighting this. I'm unsure if its the hypnotherapy itself or the type of work she does with my before hand in talking about the positives of the week and setting S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound).

Message me if you want to know more stuff, I think many things have helped me feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel finally.
 
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