I too suffered from agoraphobia, it is one of those things where you become a total prisoner to your mind. I didn't have the masturbation with it, but did have the social phobia as well. I was afraid of people, and afraid to go out. Mine progessively got worse. I got to the point where I stopped taking meds for depression simply because I was too afraid to call to get them, and way too afraid to actually leave the house to get them (and that was WITH my husband). I made him do all of the running around, I wouldn't leave the house.
I started working my way up to things, like I would go to the store with him, forget me going by myself, no way, I couldn't drive at that time, if I was going to drive I simply would not go, I would find a way out of it. I couldn't visit my family (who only lived 5 minutes away) unless my husband drove us there and stayed with me the whole time. I was extremely clingy and dependant on my husband. It was the only was I could survive at the time.
When I realized how big of a problem it had become, I began working on small things. Like, walking to the mail box outside all by myself. I had panic attacks doing it. But, I had a sense of pride afterwards (as soon as I had come inside quickly and locked the door then peaked outside to make sure no one had followed me, lol). Actually leaving the house to go on trips in my car was a bit more difficult for me. I always came up with excuses as to why it was simply impossible...my windshield wipers don't wok and it *could* rain, one of my tires looks a tad flat, I don't really think I have enough gas,...whatever, I always came up with some sort of excuse as to why I couldn't go, and convinced myself that my excuse was a legitimate one (even if my car was totally fine, I would convince myself that something was wrong with it).
I finally started going to counselling which brought on MAJOR anxiety and panic, my husband of course ad to drive me there for a while. The counselot I had was not into meds, instead we talked about the fears. The first session was the hardest because I was shaking so badly, teeth chattering and everything, it was physically uncomfortable for me to be there. The first few sessions were like that. But eventually, I was able to drive myself there.
It really was a slow process for me, I had to work up to things. It was a huge ordeal just to go to the gas station. I had to play out every possible scenario in my head, map it out figure out exactly which way I would go, and would also have alternative routes mapped out in my mind in case the first ones didn't work out. I would run through all the reasons I should go vs. not go in my head. I made sure I had methods of dealing with my worse fears, like, "okay, if I get lost, I will pull over lock my doors, and call my husband on my cell phone, he can come get me, or just tell me where to go".
With practice, it became easier and easier. I am now back in school full time (I drive all by myself
) And things are going well. I still don't like going out to the store and still find myself conning my husband into going, but now I know that I CAN go if I really want something and he won't go. But it is still there a little bit for me, I just try to keep in under control so it doesn't take off on me like it once did in my life. When I feel like I am starting to make more and more excuses about not going places, and not doing things, I jump out of my comfort zone just to keep the agoraphobia thing from rearing its ugly head.