Hello everyone. I have been posting on HealthBoards for several years and life has been quite a roller coaster ride for me with an ongoing illness I have called Valley Fever, also know as coccidioidomycosis, which is a chronic fungal infection having disseminated to my lungs, joints and brain. After years of dealing with this illness I have now become agoraphobic; not wanting to leave my house and not wanting anyone to enter my home. Oh, I manage to drive to certain places as long I take the same route each time. I do not ever ride in other peoples cars, and I really don't like anyone driving with me. I never thought this would happen to me. I am now 50 pounds overweight because I have quit going outdoors, and have lost all motivation to exercise. And the weirdest thing of all is that even talking on the phone makes me panic.
Because I have glaucoma I cannot take 90% of the medications prescribed that would help with this malady. I have recently been approved for disability which means I will finally have healthcare and I plan to find a therapist to help me within the next few months.
I would like to hear from other agoraphobics. I never thought this would happen to me. The "fear of the phone" is a new issue with me. Thank heavens for "caller ID".
Thank you in advance for anyone who might want to provide any hints, or maybe a success story or two. I can't believe this has happened to me. I was once a successful travel writer and walked desolate areas of the Southern Hemisphere alone; worked on films in the UK; jumped out of airplanes; and felt more at home in the wilderness than any city in the world.
Now it takes me several hours just to prepare to leave my home.
The following user gives a hug of support to jlsp:
jlsp: I truly sympathize with your health conditions and the agoraphobia. I have struggled with bouts of agoraphobia myself. The "phone issue"~ I empathize! Just hearing the phone ringing sets off mild panic and I let everything go to message. There are just a few people I enjoy talking on the phone with. Other than that, I'd rather text/email for the rest of my life.
We all have personal reasons why these things happen to us. For me, I am so sensitive that nothing ever really gets resolved for me, and when stresses build up, I can't cope & the first thing I want to erase is the outside world. It all becomes too overwhelming and I withdraw. I'm not on any medication for this. What I eventually do is just push through it. It is incredibly difficult. I have pulled my car to the side of the road & cried sometime. My children live in another state & in order to see them I absolutely have to push through this. That is just my situation and yours may be much more complicated and I feel much compassion in this area.
It sounds like you've had a wonderfully full life in the past! Illness can cause great anxiety & make us feel isolated, and then the isolation can become a reality. I am so sorry if I can't say anything to really help, except that I understand the condition and I think if it weren't for my children, I'd NEVER want to leave the house. I hope someone else will come along and offer more substantial insight. Just please know you are not alone and I wish you all the best.
Dear Oats56; your message has helped more than you can imagine. Just knowing that there is someone out there who understands has made me feel less alone and "abnormal." It's good to know that someone else also has an issue with the "phone". Sometimes I'll be talking to someone and then, for whatever reason which is beyond me, the panic starts and I have to stop not only talking on the phone, but talking at all.
Thank you again for taking the time to send me a message. I will keep sending positive thoughts your way.
Hey gals, I was starting to get agoraphobia pretty bad and then I got the book 'From Panic to Power' by Lucinda Bassett. CHANGED MY LIFE!! The book made me see what I was doing to myself and how I was making my anxiety worse MYSELF. Get the book, read it...you will be changed!!
I'm so sorry your going through this,
I initially started with the panic attacks and then agoraphobia developed, when the evening comes I start to get anxious and frightened and emotional, knowing that anything might set me off. The phone is a good example like you said, I'll be trying to fall asleep and the phone will ring and I'll get very uptight and have to start all over again with trying to unwind and fall asleep. I used to be a usher with my local church and we have thousands of people attend and now just the thought of trying to go help out there and driving far distances freaks me out! I have a new psychiatrist and he put me on Xanax which at least takes the edge off but I'd rather just sit outside during the day and try to keep my mind clear!
Xanax is really addictive, both physically and emotionally. My doctor years ago gave it to me when my thyroid first crashed and I was having anxiety attacks that would last all day long. I wasn't even able to drive my car. I was a mess. I didn't like the idea of taking a drug that affected my body that way, but the first few days were good just to get me back some resemblance of control. After that I cut the pill in quarters and only took a quarter at a time. I never did finish the bottle. I knew that taking Xanax would just be a crutch and not a solution. I pray you find some peace outside of any kind of drug. Pray hard!
Hi David. Thanks so much for your post. It does sound like you know exactly what I am going though and I really appreciate you sharing your story with me. No one can really understand unless they experience how debilitating agoraphobia can be. Xanax is good for taking the edge off. I have glaucoma so I can't take any type of benzos, but I used to take Valium a while ago before the glaucoma and it did help. Now I do what you do and try to sit somewhere peaceful and try to relax; but often wish I did have the Vallium...
I'm sorry you have to go through this too but glad you are getting treatment. Take care.
Thank you ssMarilyn for your post. <edit> I am well aware of the addictions caused by Xanax and other benzos. A lot of mature adults take medications because it works better for their treatment and, especially if under the care of a physician, do not turn the medication into a crutch. What's true for some does not always ring true for others. I appreciate the advice. Take care.
Last edited by ms_mod; 03-31-2012 at 03:29 PM.
Reason: Removed posting rules violation. Ms_Mod
Hi everyone! I'm new here and yes, I have anxiety and agoraphobia. Even when I go to church, my heart races, I sweat in the car and shake. I just am horrified of people looking at me, seeing me, I don't understand it. I used to be so outgoing and all this started when I took a very high position in another job and became anti-social. I used to be on boards of American Heart Assoc., Arthritis Foundation, etc., and loved charity work. I used to take my dogs twice a week to nursing homes for visits and I quit that, etc. I need to change, I have a 7 year old son and single mother and I need to get him socialized properly. He looks up to me and I see the desperation in him to do organized sports, etc. I am a devoted Christian and I pray day and night for all this to stop. I was on FB for a while and got off the site because of feeling judged constantly. Now, this has been going on for about two months, I go to bed at night and wake up in panic! I've called the EMT twice in the middle of the night thinking I was having a heart attack and it was plain 'ol panic. Please you guys, pray for me!!! Please please please. Prayer works. It's all in God's timing though. The only thing I can think is that he is doing this to better me or I am going through perimenopause. I'm glad I joined the board forum to obtain advice, friends, and help. Thanks you all and may God Bless everyone on this site and provide healing for all who are suffering.
Welcome!! If you can get this book from your library or Amazon, it will really help you - From Panic to Power by Lucinda Bassett. It changed my life and I was in big trouble with my anxiety. Now I'm pretty much anxiety-free. It comes back on occasion, especially if I'm over-tired, but most of the time I feel pretty good now.
I have selective mutism and social anxiety disorder and i know EXACTLY how it feels to hate people looking at me and sweating and shaking in situations involving having to interact with people. It's good you're chatting on a website like this because it allows you to express the feelings that you've maybe not had a chance to express in the day. If you ever need somone to talk to about this then im here God bless.
The following user gives a hug of support to Blackandred:
Thank you ssMarilyn, this site is so wonderful, I logged on only to find there is support from folks like you and others who have responded so quickly to my post. I will get the book, it sounds great! Blessings always, and I love your ending about sleeping well when others are willing to die tonight so we can be safe. Wonderful.
I have a success story, believe it or not, I got agoraphobia when I was 18, was perfectly normal, then, one night, I remember it well, I just freaked out, vomiting, shaking, cold sweats, I thought I was going to die, it was a panic attack. I didn't know what was happening and feared going out because I thought I was going to vomit in public and it terrified me. None of my friends understood and thought I was a weirdo so they all went. I stayed home mostly, ventured out only if I wasn't pressured, I stayed in my house for years I picked a few friends who didn't judge me and was totally honest with them, slowly I went out more and the anxiety faded and now I am fine, 50 years old and I never think about it. I would get nervy when I went out, but if I started to panic, I would listen to what people would say and spell it in my head till it passed, concentrated on that so I wasn't talking myself into a full on panic. Medications were great, I had ducene, but the doctors here wont give them to you in case you are an addict, so I had to do it by myself, it wasn't easy at all, very hard to explain to people that you are terrified of nothing, but it is possible to get better over time, don't push yourself, dont let anyone push you, once that pressure is off, believe me, its easier, good luck everyone, if I can help anyone here plz let me know