View Full Version : New here and need a little help please
07-24-2005, 05:05 PM
I have entered this site as the result of a search on how to help my love of three years. He never had agoraphobia before his child died five years ago. She had cerebral palsy and he was the primary caregiver. Now, it is a stretch for him to spend the night away from home. We just came back from a trip to the beach that was supposed to be two nights/three days and he made it for one night. He is embarressed to the point that he won't always tell me the truth. I try to understand and be understanding but I really don't know the details as all of this happened in his life before I knew him. He is finally coming clean about why we don't go out of town and now, I need to know how to be supportive. Please....any help. He is a great guy and I really would love to be able to help if I can. Any ideas, suggestions, insight?
Thank you so much. - jt
hi helpneeded, I'm glad to see that you are trying to be supportive of your boyfriend. That can really make a difference in a person's recovery. I don't have experience with agoraphobia, but I'm sure you realize it's best for him to get professional help of some sort, probably a psychologist. There are many books written on anxiety disorders and also a few on Agoraphobia, you might check into the bookstore, or go to Amazon.com where u can read reviews.
As far as emotional support, you can just try to be there for him and to acknowledge he has a real problem, try not to belittle him or make him feel bad about what he can/cannot accomplish. It takes small steps to get better, and encouragement at every step is a good idea. It will no doubt be frustrating for you, but it will be much more frustrating for him as he may feel he is letting himself and others around him down.
Also, don't try to 'enable' his fears all the time, instead try to encourage he take small steps on his own away from you now and then. Of course - all this should be done under the guidance of a therapist, or perhaps using guidelines in a good agoraphobia or anxiety book.
p.s. the author of this website also has an Agoraphobia website at http://www.anxietyinsight.com
07-26-2005, 02:10 PM
i am a long-term sufferer of generalised anxiety disorder and panic attacks. i very much dislike leaving the house or having guests in my 'safe place' (home.) i have vomitted countless times in public and also blacked out once due to panic.
i commend you for seeking help for a loved one and would like to suggest a few things which could be of great assistance:
both you and your partner should read up on all the information you can find about anxiety disorder. it is very comforting being knowledgeable about the illness and realising one is far from alone in their suffering.
encourage your partner to join a community on the web whereby he can converse and share experiences with other sufferers.
purchase a recent book on such disorders which discusses modern treatment methods (medication and therapy) as well as relaxation techniques and other helpful exercises such as breathing, desensitisation and diet.
for a non-sufferer it's important not to understand how this illness feels but to accept that they are doing all they can to control it. therefore, don't get angry or disappointed with them.
anxiety disorder is not a weakness of the person, it's an illness - and a very distressing one.
seek professional help.
07-26-2005, 06:21 PM
Thank you so much for your replies. In recent conversation (this weekend), he finally admitted that he feels a need to be close to the cemetery where his daughter is buried. He feels tremendous guilt about her death. She had cerebral palsy and suffered from multiple seizures every day. He tried to do CPR (as he had always done before and been successful) but it didn't work. I have made an appointment for me to see a professional to try to help but he refuses to go. He says he tried that before. He won't try medication and now, I am at a loss. I do love him so and he is good to me and my kids, the most wonderful relationship I could ask for. I just feel he is missing out on so much. He didn't even feel that he could go to DisneyWorld with his grandchildren last month. It seems that this is starting to bother him and he is beginning to have trouble covering it up with the people he loves now. I just don't want to do anything that will make him feel as though I don't support him, whether he changes or not, because I will always support him.
07-27-2005, 03:50 PM
hi again helpneeded
i forgot to mention his daughter's death in my post. this is something that's beyond me and i could never imagine such loss. i have three young children myself and they mean the world to me. your partner obviously isn't to blame but also can't be blamed for feeling as he currently does.
it seems he's living in denial, has difficulty accepting this illness and about 'opening up' his feelings. he may also be suffering from Post Truamatic Stress Disorder.
it's a shame he refuses to seek professional help with you because if it didn't work before then it doesn't mean it will not work now - it may be that he didn't 'open up' last time.
it's far from healthy that he alienates himself and this could be dangerous. i think it would be a very good idea not to directly pressure him but to gain as much trust as you can.
there are downsides to medication and some people really hate them (not me though..!) but avoiding any other treatments isn't helpful either.
i still suggest you learn all you can about his illness and the stress he must feel whilst working on gaining further trust and offering support (listening, cuddling etc.) you may also gently talk about his other children, grandchildren and others who love him too and seek his love.
it might also be worth asking him how you can best help in situations in which he finds difficult. for example, how you should react if he needs to leave a particular place instantly (does he want you to talk to him, comfort him or just be next to him etc) and if there's anything else you could do to make him more comfortable during these instances.
on another note, does he drink much alcohol, smoke, eat a lot of sugar or drink much coffee? these are best avoided too (says me - the raging alcoholic!) iit might also be worthwhile researching diets as, for example, turkey is an excellent source of blah blah blah which in turn aids seretonin production (something his brain probably needs in quantity at this moment.)
lastly, do you know how he feels about chatting with someone online with a similar problem? he remains anon. and has nothing to lose..
I feel he still needs more time to grieve the loss of his precious daughter...My advice would be, just Please be patient and very understanding of his needs, (even if you dont understand them)...He should really seek counseling for his loss....I pray he will feel better soon..and its wonderful that you are there for him...
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