11-20-2006, 01:42 PM
Many people are not sure what agoraphobia is, since it's a word that'd not commonly used. But if you're experiencing anxiety, there's a good change you're experiencing agoraphobia. The follwing is taken from mc2method.com/anxiety - I think some will find it useful: "Forget the dictionary definition of agoraphobia (fear of open spaces). Agoraphobia, in a more practical sense, is really fear of your anxiety sensations themselves. When living with anxiety for an extended period, as you start to associate more activities with uncomfortable anxiety sensations, the number of places or people in your life that feel comfortable will logically become more limited. This results in avoidance of many activities because of the uncomfortable feelings associated with them. Do you avoid interacting with people or attending events because of your nervousness? Dread work or school because of the symptoms you experience there? These are, in a broad sense, types of agoraphobia. Now you don't have to label yourself an agoraphobic. This is one of the most common phobias there is, and anyone who tries to avoid discomfort, which is probably everyone, could be said to have a bit of agoraphobia. But if you're looking for help, you've probably reached a point where your body sensations are so uncomfortable or frightening, that your whole day is filled with activities that you either avoid, or would like to avoid and feel uneasy performing. Since there are so many tasks and interactions that cause discomfort, anxious people have a tendency to eventually start avoiding more and more everyday activities, and some sufferers may have a hard time even leaving their homes. If these symptoms sound familiar, realize that agoraphobia is simply a fear of the body sensations that you experience while away from your "safety zone". Learning to transform those body sensations is the key to moving beyond agoraphobia. If you instead continue to be driven by anxiety, the natural tendency will be to try to avoid or eliminate as many of the situations that inspire anxiety for you as possible. But sooner or later more will come along to take their place, and you'll eventually find your life confined to a very limited number of safe places and safe people." In other words, if you think you're suffering with agoraphobia, they key to overcoming it is to deal with the cause (e.g. anxiety) rather than trying to continue avoiding it. Anyway, hope that insight helps someone out there.