Agoraphobia: Wondering if anyone ever got back to normal way of life?

Posted by blue81 @blue81, Jan 27, 2019

Hi all I’ve suffered severe anxiety for 10 long years, sadly 3 years ago.. I became agoraphobic.. & I won’t lie it gets me down, I’ve tried all sorts of antidepressants and If I were to be honest they just make me happy with staying at home, I really want to get my life back.. I miss the great outdoors, Sometimes if I’m lucky I can maybe leave my home for 5 minutes, it’s such a struggle, Has anyone that’s ever suffered this found a way of coping, or even better has anyone ever got back to a normal way of life, I miss shopping, friends, family, holidays & just the fresh air.. Lonely life tbh!!! I just need to know how people cope, or if anyone has any advice on how I can tackle this without feeling total fear.. Any help is appreciated.

Thankyou Tamara

Hi, @blue81– welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Facing agoraphobia must certainly be a challenge, especially when you are missing fresh air, shopping, friends, family and holidays, yet it's a struggle.

I'd like to introduce you to some others who have mentioned agoraphobia and may have some input on dealing with this condition, like @bvgrammy @sore_debbie64 @cdcc @csimpson55 @hopeful123 @lorraine59 @lizaa @jeanmnyc @mamacita @tennessegirl @faraway53

You mentioned that you've tried many antidepressants. Have you gone through talk therapy as well for your agoraphobia?

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Hello @blue81, I would like to join Lisa (@lisalucier) in welcoming you to Connect. We are glad that you have joined our online support community.

While I've not had agoraphobia, I have had depression and I know how it can limit your life. It just sort of sucks the joy out of everything. Do you have people that you can talk with on the phone? You might try to get in touch with a local NAMI group. Here is their website, https://www.nami.org/Find-Support. They have a helpline. Perhaps you can call them and have them put you in touch with someone else who has had agoraphobia and talk with someone else who had experienced this. There is nothing like one-on-one support.

I'd like to hear from you again. Will you keep in touch?

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Hello,@blue81. Thank you for sharing your story! The folks here at Mayo Clinic Connect are great to "talk" to. Anxiety and I are quite close friends. Depression is my middle name, and although I was never officially diagnosed with Agoraphobia, I'm sure it was because I was too afraid to tell my doctors. I already was collecting labels, and felt I didn't need any more!

Oh, but the signs were there. "Fear of the Marketplace. My mother would drive to the store and insist that I get out. I would absolutely refuse. Then I would sit in fear of someone walking up to the parked car. I was terrified of people. I could not look them in the eyes. At the time, I did not realize that I was on the Autism Spectrum. Everything was too loud, too fast, and too painful. I couldn't wait to get back home. I did not know at the time, that I had extraordinarily developed sense of hearing.

Shopping Malls, large auditoriums, big churches, swimming pools filled with loud, happy people playing and having fun….not for me. I grew up different and when I got to the University I took every course they had . I wanted to understand myself and why I was so different from other people. I devoured every book I could get my hands on, trying to understand all my little quirks.

Sometimes early childhood trauma causes a natural fear reaction when we step out of our comfort zones. Year after year I sought counselors who could help me make sense of things.i had learned a few coping skills but just wasn't quite there yet. Then, maybe five years ago, I found a wonderful counseling group that used Cognitive BehavioralTherapy. This helped tremendously. I began to realize I was afraid of criticism. I cared way too much what other people thought of me. Once I realized I alone was responsible for how I felt about myself, I learned new ways of thinking and acting.

I tell people to find safe people and safe places. And build upon that. If we reach out for the light, it's warmth will fill us with a glow that warms our soul. We begin to see that we are worthy. That we are important. And we don't have to look people in the eye all the time! We can have joy. We can change our brain circuitry. We can walk out that front door and not be afraid. I hope some of this clicks with you. The New Mood Teherapy has been around for a long time but it is good stuff. Take good care of you! You are so welcome gere. No judging.

Mamacita

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Hi @blue81

First of all, it is a good step to write down your problems here in this group. That's a start, isn't it?
You talk about your agoraphobia and anxiety, and the use of medicine. Now I know that a lot of medicines can help you, but – imho – only are really effective if combined with talking to somebody with knowledge of your challenge.

I had benefits of this combination,pills and some sort of therapy. What therapy is up to you ofcourse, please be active in searching for the right one for you. Just don't do nothing or only take pills..

To answer your question; yes I did cope with this similar situation. It was hard work and with the help of some pills (just to get the nerves calmed, nothing too invasive) and after some time I could do these things again. Visiting people, going out for fun. Don't forget that by the way… you missing a lot of fun in life. It is your right to take that back!

I am not informed how this condition has come up, but perhaps you could take a look at that. And try to deal with that. There is allways a reason. Apart from being sensitive in general.

Hope that I say something meaningfull – it is well ment.
Keep up the struggle! and everything that yoy do more often is getting easier. So this 5 minutes .. keep them going, and then 10. Accept your anxiety but still do it. Every time a little more. Easy said? Nope. I learned that the hard way, and it pays off.

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