Welcome to the Anxiety Forum - A Home for Those with Anxiety, Fear, or Panic Attacks.
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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    2

    Tips for dealing with Agoraphobia

    Just been reading some of the postings and think that whilst I only have mild symptoms compared to some people, it is still affecting my life greatly and I was hoping for some tips on how to deal with this curse! I started having panic attacks after an attempt at scuba diving. I was at 15 metres and had this overwhelming urge to get out. Heart was thumping, couldnt breathe (even though I had plenty of air) and I bolted for the surface. Anyone who dives will know this is not a good idea. After this incident I had several more attacks on dry land but this time they were brought on in rooms full of people. I was at my sons school at his options evening held in the school hall. I started sweating, feeling sick and like I am about to faint if I dont get out. The lights seem extra bright and I cant stare at the speaker as his face has gone all blurry. I have to leave for fear of passing out. Same thing in a meeting room at work the other day. We were having a money laundering presentation which I had to watch but all the time I had to keep pinching myself and fidgeting to keep myself from fainting. I kept looking at the door and thinking about what excuse I could make to go outside. I am off on holiday soon and just the thought of being on the plane makes me sick. I dont know what to do. These events are getting more and more frequent and getting worse. I have not had any specialist help yet but hoping that some of you out there who have experienced the same feelings have found a way to lessen the symptoms. Any help very much appreciated. Thanks ops:

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    brighton.uk
    Posts
    3

    hi

    ok, first of all its important not to shy away from doing things if possible, the basics are that a part of you brain is over reacting to fear when it shouldnt, this can be for various reasons, without going into your personal history it might be that your brain is remembering an incident where you felt scared in an inclosed public place or something along those lines, there are many things you can try, cbt therapy, hypnotherepy, counciling, drugs, emotional freedom teknique and more, you can check them out on the net, i find exersize always helps with generally feeling happier, but everyone is differant you just have to open yourself to the possibilities and know there are many others with the same problems. hope that is some help
    the dream of paris

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    2
    Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply. I am going to try and do more exercise and see if this helps - anything is worth a try. I will look into some of the other ideas also on the net.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    2
    I have just signed up for this forum tonight. My friend thought it might be good for me to try the internet since it is difficult for me to get therapy right now.
    I have agoraphobia that my dr and I are trying different ways to treat. The thing is that I don't think anything is working. My husband says that it is, but to me, I feel the same. There is plenty going on in my life right now and my doctor says that anyone would feel anxiety and depression with all that is going on, but I really did not think that it would make the agoraphobia worse!
    Anyone out there with insight, chime in at any time!
    Right now, I only leave the house to go to work and to the market...and going to the market is not easy. I try to put it off as long as I can so that my husband can go with me. If he is with me, I can go most places.
    I guess I am here to talk with other people who have this same problem. To let me know that I am not the only one who feels this way.
    So, this is me...39 years old...married with 2 children...one daughter, one step daughter both the same age. One lives with us, one lives with her dad. Recently relocated to a small town to make life easier--I love it here. I am now taking Paxil (Just started tonight, switched from Celexa. I take xanax one time only at night because I am afraid of becoming hooked on it. It's only .25mg...label says to take every 6 hours but I just think that will be too much. Thats me. Nice to meet you...

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    163
    I was in a cbt group and it has helped me immensely. If you can join one I would highly recommend it. If not there are lots of good books on cbt you could get. One of the ones we used in my group has a really good introduction to the whole process called Been there, done that? do this! by sam obitz. The tea form exercise in that book has helped me a ton and I still do them all the time when I get upset or anxious. Best of luck to you and try cbt one way or the other smile

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    17
    i agree with mathewjames, that you shouldnt shy away from things. I find that if i dont do something by giving in to the fear, then it will be twice as bad next time because you build up an association based on your fear of it. the fear is not real, but the association you create of not doing something because you are 'scared' means your brain remembers and tries to adjust by making you scared to do it thinking that it is helping you remember not to do it for some reason. wierd hey.

    BUt please dont take drugs. i think it is a real last resort. i have had major anxiety for 15 years and i have controlled it well on and off ov erthat time and mainly i have controlled it.

    i went to a cognitive behaviour specialist. dont see your doctor over a therapist. doctors dont really know how to treat it and prescribe drugs almost every time and its all money for them. go see a anxiety therapist (same cost) and get some cognitive therapy and talk to them about all your symptoms. the other way ideal with the fear is to ride it out and to say "bring it on!" and become friends with the fear. basically you are afraid of dying. all fear is based on that (i believe). cos whats the worst that can happen ? you can die..right? so if you try and focus on becoming ok with dying as you will have to throughout your life anyway, you may be ok with fear.

    fear is not the opposite to calmness as some religious people believe there is god on one side and the devil on the other ( i know a lot of people like this, the religion will go nameless for respect for them) but it is not black and white and nor should you decide this. fear is your friend. it is your brain trying to help you. you just have to decide to accept the fear, accept the symptoms and every time you do your activity, have the symptos, hold on tight and walk with them til they subside, it gets easier everytime and dramatically too, luckily. sometimes you only haev to do the activity once and you are cured. but you'll never get to that if you do it

    1. on drugs
    2. by backing out

    i understand backing out cos i was the king of that, so, no offence, but in time, train yourself to go and befriend your fear. it is not a dark creature, it is your stupid little friend.

    and another thing, when you beat one type of fear it kind of kills all the rest cos they are all one fear that shapechange into others. so a fear of heights is the same as a fear of crowds. same origin, different face.

    i advised not to use drugs because they dont help your thoughts and triggers, they only mask the symptoms. it seems that everyone on these forums from america immediately tell each other what drugs are best ..but you know, everyone writes back depressed cos they drugs give them side effects or make the anxiety worse.

    bottom line is that the fear stems from your thoughts and them becomes physical. the best way to combat it is to :

    1. accept it
    2 befriend it
    3. use cognitive skills (natural)
    4. do the things you fear and feel the symptoms
    5. practice emptying your mind by putting your thoughts on an elevator and pushing them through the top of your head every breath out.

    good luck, sorry this post is harsh but it is real and true.

    - sameBoat

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    163
    Good advice sameboat. Tia I hope you are giving cbt a try!

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kirkland, Washington
    Posts
    11
    Yes yes yes! CBT is the main main main thing that will help you! If you don't have to be on drugs, don't do it. If you do need drugs, don't do it unless you're doing the therapy. There is no real reasoning behind just taking drugs and hoping they will make you better. I currently am taking a mild antidepresent, but going to very intense therapy treatments. I don't think drugs are ever the answer, ESPECIALLY the ones that are basically tranquilzers for anxiety. Whomever said that drugs mask the pain ( I believe it was sameboat) was completely right on. I take the anti depressant for depression, not for anxiety. The anxiety is a completely separate topic, and yes it causes me to be depressed... but the anti-depressants aren't the cure. they only make me alittle more hopeful, and therefore more apt to go outside and conqure the anxiety with coping mechanisms that I've learned through CBT (such as accepting the fear, another sameboat quote) and learning to befriend it instead of pushing it away.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    17

    True that

    The last two posts had some useful and insightful comments. Looking back on my post I realised I was being a bit too judgemental about drugs as a therapy, and I guess if I could re-phrase what I said, I would say, that drugs are fine to start out with as an interim therapy measure but it would be more beneficial to switch to natural therapies asap. Natural therapies last longer, are more strong in results and have no side effects. They get right to the heart of the problem and replace it with real life skills that are easily applied to combat any level of anxiety.

    In case anyone is reading this without knowing what CBT stands for, it is "Cognitive Behaviour Therapy"

    If anyone is looking for an amazing cognitive therapist in Perth, Western Australia, then I can give you her name and contact details.

    Conceptcanibal, although I feel for you having to deal with anxiety and depression, it sounds like you have all that it takes to beat them both as you sound very open minded and positive towards natural healing therapy. Two of the best attitudes to combatting the symptoms. I dont know much about depression so I cant comment on drugs realted to depression. My friend suffers from it and is on medication and is a lot better off too. I think the way you are going about your therapy and medication combination is a great idea and I admire you for dealing with it all so well.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    163

    Re: True that

    Quote Originally Posted by sameBoat
    Looking back on my post I realised I was being a bit too judgemental about drugs as a therapy, and I guess if I could re-phrase what I said, I would say, that drugs are fine to start out with as an interim therapy measure
    I completely agree with this. Drug therapy can be very useful, but needs to be managed properly and not used solely as a crutch. People have a tendency to feel a little better on drugs and then disregard learning new ways of dealing with anxiety that you learn in cbt and tend to relapse. Without coping skills you are destined to repeat past anxiety problems, but once you learn new coping skills like the thought countering exercise the tea form you will be able to prevent future bouts of anxiety and panic etc. Think of cbt as a mental vaccine for anxiety

 

 

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