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
    May 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    4

    My Safe Person is Going Out of Town

    Hey everyone,
    I've had anxiety since the time when I first started college. I think it really developed when I moved into a dorm on campus and then I was diagnosed with mono. Of course at that time, I didn't know what panic or anxiety disorders were and went to the doctor, naturopath, and acupuncturist for all sorts of tests and attempts to get cured. My doctor at one point gave me lexapro, which I tried for a couple of days, until I realized it just made my anxiety worse. I ended up in urgent care, because it felt like my head (like my actual brain) was tingling and my skin was burning. That is when I decided that I would never take medicine for my anxiety again.

    As time went on, my boyfriend, who is now my husband became my "safe" person. I used to drive all of the time and I really enjoyed it. I used to be out at any time of the day or night.

    Now, I have agoraphobia, which I have probably had for about 3 years or so now. It's really frustrating. I want to feel "normal" again and be able to do all of the things that I used to do. Now, just going outside alone gives me anxiety.

    I'm a "night" person and I usually stay up until 3am, so that I will sleep later in the day, because then I will not be alone so much when my husband is at work. This gives me less time to develop any anxiety.

    I avoid many situations that give me anxiety, which is how I have avoided a full blown panic attack for over a year or two now. I can barely drive when my husband is with me. If I do, I usually end up taking the long way to avoid sitting at long traffic lights. I realized that I don't like major traffic lights for the most part, because then there is a greater chance for me to panic. I would really like to attempt to drive on the highway again, but I am trying to manage the streets and this smaller highway for now.

    Lately, I have been attempting to retrieve the mail from the mailbox, which is about 100 feet one way from my front door. This has been producing a little anxiety, but I figure that I need to start somewhere.

    If my husband isn't with me, I really do not go anywhere at all. He even goes to school with me once a week, and waits for me while I take my 3hr long class.

    Anyway, he told me over the weekend that he will have to go on a business trip to Chicago in July from Sunday morning- Thursday morning. Chicago is about a 4 hour plane ride from here. I will be away from my husband, who is my "safe" person for 4 nights and 5 days. I really have no idea of what to do. Sometimes just the thought of it scares me, and other times I feel confident and that I can do it. I told him that I will most likely in that house during the whole time. I'm not sure if I can do this. It's hard enough for me to be home alone while he is at work for 8-10 hours a day. How am I going to manage 96 hours?

    This is really stressing me out, as well as my finals and projects that must be done within the next two weeks for my 3 classes. Also, two weeks from now, we will be going to Sweden to visit his family. I've been on this journey twice before, but flights scare me, because there's about 10 hours that I will be in a plane. I always try to distract myself, which sometimes works, but I also get very ancy. The point when I get frustrated is knowing that when I was 17, I went to Sweden by myself as an exchange student to a very small town (<30 ppl) for 6 weeks, and this wasn't even an issue. I didn't know anyone there beforehand. Also, it took me 3 flights and about a day to get there and this was the first time that I traveled outside of the country. I just wish I could get to that point again.

    It has helped a bit to know that I am not the only one with agoraphobia and anxiety/panic. Sometimes it feels like I am the only one like this when I look at people that are around me. I think "why can't I just be like that?" And I finally know that such a condition does exist and that I am not crazy as I once believed when I was having really bad panic episodes.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kirkland, Washington
    Posts
    11
    Sverige,
    Wow! Be proud of yourself for any accomplishment, even if it seems small. I completely relate with looking around and just wishing things were different. The "why me's" definately escalated my depression, but I will tell you this, you'll get better! You have a support team! This forum was made for us, so we can help aid one another. If you need to, just come online and read some stories to get your mind off your husband's buisness trip. You have support and help whereever you need it. Try to tap into that tiny tiny voice inside that's saying "you can do it", you know the one I'm talking about. We all have it, it just gets lost when our logical mind starts trying to run away from places that cause pain. Agoraphobia makes sense, I think any human being can fall into it's trap, but it's just a matter of really tapping into that tiny voice.
    My boyfriend, my safety, went out of town a few weeks ago. I cried and moaned for the first 24 hours. I really thought that it was the end right there, even my "comfort zone" wasn't safe. I fell asleep and the next morning i woke up with that small voice saying "you can do this, you can go on, remember the good days" and I just rolled with it. Sure I had more panic attacks for the rest of the long weekend he was away, but it was like I had another friend with me that was giving me hope to get through it. Since then I've really been trying to listen to that part of me, trying to let it guide me through the painful times. It's what tells me to relax, to take a few deep breaths. It reminds me when I'm out that there are bathrooms around if I need to go, or that I can go sit in the car if the grocery store is too scary. It's what applaudes me when I make it to an appointment... it's my new safety person really.
    Anyway Sverige, I hope that this helps, there are some really dark times involved with agoraphobia, but whatever doesn't kill you only will make you stronger. Much much love going to you, if you feel like you need someone to talk to while he's gone, you can send me a private message. I'm sure there are other people on this site that would want to share and gain support from you as well!
    You're confident, competent, relaxed and healthy!
    -Aisling

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    4
    Thank you so much for your reply and support. It sounds like you've gone through an identical situation.

    That is exactly what I fear...that my "safe" place (my apartment) will no longer be safe/comfortable when he goes. I'm afraid of what if I can't handle the first day or second day, because I will still have half way to go and he'll be halfway across the country.

    I really love to go outside. It's basically my break from being in here for the other 20 or so hours. And when he goes on the trip, it seems like I will be at home constantly while he is gone. That is why I'm trying to "practice" by checking the mail. I will also have to move the car everyday, so it won't get towed. I'll probably end up doing that in the night. Maybe I'll even build up enough confidence to drive down the road for a couple minutes. I think I am more comfortable about doing this in the night, because there is less traffic on this highway (99). I told my husband that I am going to start practicing, but he doesn't want me to do this, because he's scared there will be drunk drivers, but I need to start at some point. I really don't want to spend the rest of my life living in fear of practically every situation. I need to be able to function again.

    I really hope I have the same courage as you to get through this. It seems like right now all I can do is think about that he will be going away in July and what in the world will I do. He said that he will call me a few times a day and we can arrange to have a webcam chat during the nights. He is really trying to emphasize the positives, but sometimes that is hard for me to get, because of my anxiety (especially since the original dates were Mon.-Thurs, now it's one more day).

    It really is encouraging knowing that you went through this and made it through to the other side, even if it was extremely difficult. I want to be able to do this as well. I just need to be more confident that I can do this. Maybe it is time for me to attempt to check the mail again.

    Thank you again,
    -Shannon

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kirkland, Washington
    Posts
    11
    Shannon,
    Wow I didn't even realize your location! That is insanely comforting in a weird way to know that not only do we share a similar problem, but in a simlar space!
    Yes, keep doing it slowly and steadily, just go and sit on the front porch first. Seattle is a beautiful place, I miss it so much. It's been 8 months since I've been able to cross the bridge. So keep in mind some of the things you loved to do when you went out. That's what I try to do, distract myself slightly with happy thoughts. Also a good trick is trying a relaxing exercise called the 5 countdown. If in an uncomfortable situation, focus on 5 things you can see, I mean really focus. Then 5 things you can hear, then 5 things you can touch. After that, find 4 things that you can see, hear and touch, then three, then 2, then... well you get it. I generally find myself calmer by the threes. It really helps me relate to the fact that I'm still on earth, I'm not floating away.
    I know you can do it!

 

 

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