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Old 08-14-2004, 08:43 AM   #1
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Rsspro18 HB User
How do you deal with forced situations with Panic and Agoraphobia?

I suffer from pretty bad Agoraphobia with my Panic Attacks. I have situations come up, like I'm sure everyone does, that I have no choice or say in the matter. When these situations come up I usually get really anxious days leading up the events, and than I don't know how to handle the events.

I do take Xanax and am working with a therapist. I do not have a job right now and am not working due to my condition, and my safe people include my parents, and my brother. That's about it. I don't go anywhere alone, or even stay home alone... and even with people I have a hard time going into restaurants or stores even with my "safe people".

Well, for example, this weekend we have 2 family weddings, and we are all invited to go. One is fairly local (15 minutes or so) and one is farther away (45mins-1 hour or so). Well, I for one have a very hard time with these situations. I work through them and get ready, and then go, but I never know what to do. If I go in I usually feel awful, get dizzy, or have trouble breathing, maybe start gagging, you know tons of panic symptoms. Right now I am worried looking at the event coming up... (LATER TODAY AND TOMMOROW ACTUALLY!). If I wait in the car, I feel down and still have panic attacks and call and check in with my family on their cell phones as often as possible. If the phone doesn't go through one time I start panicing!! If I go in and try to have a good time and work through it, well, what happens if I start feeling awful, or feel I need to leave. Also, because they are social events it will be hard to keep one of my family members by my side the whole time. I really never know how to handle these situations.

Situations like this come up every so often and I just do not know what to do. Normally if it's a wedding my parents have to go to, I'll stay home and have my brother come over and stay with me... but when I run into a situation like this, it's tough to figure out what to do. I've thought of about all my options, and they all seem to lead to me being in an uncomfortable situation and panicing. I'm trying to figure out the best way to handle these things and the best situation I can handle.

Right now I am doing exposures with my therapists, basic stuff like going with a safe person to a store, going into a store with them, than advancing to having them wait outside while I go in a buy something, or taking small walks around my area, etc. Trying to go into restaurants and stay for a small amount of time and then leave, etc. I guess eventually I have to build up to bigger things, but it's tough because sometimes the bigger things come up without your choice!

I don't know, does anyone else have advice or does anyone deal with things like this, or even have you dealt with things like this in the past? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

Last edited by Rsspro18; 08-14-2004 at 09:41 AM.

 
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Old 08-14-2004, 10:38 AM   #2
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Re: How do you deal with forced situations with Panic and Agoraphobia?

the exposure therapy sounds good, remember to breathe deep and slow and to accept some anxiety and to not tense up or fight back against it

you obviously arent taking enough xanax, or possibly your tablets have been spoiled by hot storage, especially keep them out of the car glovebox in summer, also out of sunlight

a serious problem like a wedding may require about 8 mg xanax , say 4 before and another 4 during, if it sedates you, then a dose that would normally make you unable to stand will be OK as the adrenalin from the anxiety and any panic attacks cancells out the sedation

many books are available on recovering from agoraphobia and panic attacks, some written by ex sufferers, they have useful advice

finally you must not expect to have no stress or anxiety as some of these is a normal part of life

 
Old 08-14-2004, 03:14 PM   #3
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Re: How do you deal with forced situations with Panic and Agoraphobia?

Hi, something you may want to try is some diversionary tactics to get/keep your mind off of how you are feeling at any given situation coming up. If you have a camera, take lots of photos, it distracts yourself from how you may be feeling panic wise to look through the lens of a camera and see things from that camera perspective.

If you don't have a camera, those disposable 35MM cameras are real good and often you see things you want to remember later, so having a camera is always fun to play around with.

I also when I felt like you do (and I know all about the "safe people as I was agoraphobic for a while), what I also used to do was when it was appropriate, I'd wear a tiny radio headset and listen to music and tune through the channels and it's amazing at how a good song can really charge you up in a positive way. Music is a wonderful distraction, even in big stores or at the mall.

About the hard to swallow, choking thing, eat the soft kind of food in social situations, the foods that go down real easy so if you don't chew something real good and it kind of feels like it's stuck in your throat you don't panic. If there aren't a lot of soft foods to choose from, eat tiny little bites and maybe avoid foods like crunchy lettuce, steak and hard french bread.

I did so much "exposure" as you call it, they used to call it over saturation years ago, and that's what I credit mainly to my recovery from panic attacks. I used to do things over and over and over and over and over soooooooo much that it *does* become routine, familiar, same old to the point where you don't even think about being in a store or mall, etc. That even includes dressing rooms when you are shopping for clothing.

You'll be fine.

 
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