View Full Version : Agoraphobia trying to get the best of me!
I am recovering from panic disorder accompanied by Agoraphobia. I would like to know if anyone else has the phobia that I am feeling and what they are doing to cope and overcome. I am experiencing the "Fear of open spaces" and the sky, and anything else wide open makes me quite uncomfortable. So please if anyone can help or suggest a treatment please help me.
02-17-2007, 03:30 AM
Welcome to the board.
Dont give in to the fear, feel it but carry on anyway.
And if all else fails pull fears arm off and beat it with the soggy end. :)
02-18-2007, 01:01 AM
Hi Chip. Congrats at recovering from agoraphobia. It's a tough battle and you should give yourself huge credit for improving. Every step is difficult, but it's well worth the effort. You're not alone. I can totally relate to what you're feeling.
I was severely agoraphobic for 3 years -- too scared to leave my flat. I'm back in the world again now but I still deal with anxiety and panic attacks.
I still have trouble with wide open spaces. I get unsteady and wobbly and nauseous and have trouble swallowing when I'm anxious, so I tend to want a wall or a tree to lean against. I feel incredibly unsteady when there's nothing for me to lean against or touch. When I was still quite agoraphobic, I would go on short walks around my neighbourhood and could only swallow if I was close enough to a tree or a fence to be able to steady myself. I'm sure I looked crazy or drunk to passersby (touching every tree), but I didn't care. Exposing myself to the things I was afraid of -- little by little -- helped me get better.
Even before I became agoraphobic, the size of the sky was something that scared me. I remember being 14 years old, on a school trip and we were in Edmonton, Alberta. I felt incredibly uncomfortable there because the sky was too big. My friends all laughed at me when I said I didn't like it there because of how big the sky was. No one else understood. The same thing happened to me when I spent a short while in Toronto. I wanted to get out of that city and back to Nova Scotia because the sky was too big -- not enough hills to shorten the horizon.
Is it because it makes us feel small and powerless in comparison? I really don't know.
What I have learned is that there are ways of coping in situations that make me panic. The worst thing you can do is avoid -- I'm sure you know that. Avoidance is what leads to agoraphobia in the first place.
Distraction works best for me. If a room is too large or the sky is too big, I will find something else to focus on -- music on my iPod helps, focusing on the eyes of another person while talking to them if I'm in a large room at a cocktail party, or simply focusing on the grass or the ground if I'm in a large open outdoor area. I was at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina this summer. There's a huge, open area (huge sky, bright sun, very hot) leading up to the mansion. I felt so unsteady and woozy walking through that area. It seemed like it would never end and I was having a panic attack. I just forced myself to look at the flowers in the gardens, and concentrate on breathing deeply -- when all I wanted to do was run back to the car or lie down on the grass and cry because it felt terrifying. I made it, though. It may not seem a big deal to someone who has never experienced our kind of phobia, but those moments are small victories and each one builds our confidence more and more. It's not easy to do. It takes practice and hard work and you have to force yourself to focus, but it can be done. Best of luck to you and remember, we're not mad. Everyone has fears -- and everyone has physical reactions to fear. We just experience fear in situations that most people don't. That's the only difference. Cheers.
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