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Old 03-09-2006, 06:01 PM   #1
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Question Agoraphobia - fear of going out! What is this, the culmination of my past?

It started with me just not wanting to go to social events. Now I have to push myself just to walk to the shopping center across the street.

Every time I pass a person, I cannot help thinking, "What is this person going to do to me?"

I have long-term depr and social anx. Years ago a doc said I had "some" agoraphobia. I didn't realize she was right.

Am finding it increasingly hard to push myself out of the apartment. I am already on disability welfare with depr and social anx. My nerves were so bad, I had to quit driving. Four-way stop sign intersections freaked me out.

Had beaten my panic attks, came up in three ways but I behaved counter to them and beat them. Now my panic is like a lava flow -- slow and creeping until I notice it. Can't beat it until I get home into my "Big Red Chair."

Am in danger of losing my psych because I cannot make myself take the buses to get to my appointments anymore. The closer it gets to my appt time the heavier that dark emotional blanket lays over me holding me back.

Have never experienced the fear of going outside this much. All my shy life, grown up isolated and mentally crushed by older sister, I still functioned under fear of the "thousand eyes" around me judging me in my mind. Me, the pimply skinny pencil-necked geek I thought I was.

Now am 46 and my life is sinking in the mud. Can't apply for jobs. Get so down on myself that I don't even think myself worth an interview, the closer I get to an interview. Can't look at newspaper job listing because it just tells me all the things I cannot do.

This all may sound confusing, but I wrote what I could muster.

Any reply, feeling, general impression, idea, thought, appreciated. I do not hope for a doctrinal analysis from posters. Just pieces of feedback. There is no such thing as a bad reply. What meds are used for agoraphobia? Anything please? Don't worry about sounding dumb -- I am dumber than you are.

Last edited by xpax; 03-09-2006 at 06:28 PM. Reason: activated email

 
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Old 03-10-2006, 02:46 AM   #2
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

You are not dumb at all. This is a common feeling for people with anxiety and panic disorder of any kind. We try and disengage and resist situations that might create anxiety or panic, it's only natural with the fight or flight response. I've always been shy too and I realized now that I was always that way as a kid and in social situations I would panic. Today, I usually prefer to stay at home and when I do go out I take pepper spray fully armed in my hand. In a way I think it's sad but in the other way, I think it's extremely smart and we are fully tapped into the dark side of the world as we know what can happen. Many go out without a care or resources for defense and get raped/killed etc. If you have the info and protection you should be fine. Take some self defense classes, get some pepper spray, and go out to social events when you want to. Also, with applying for jobs and going on interviews.. just set your mind to the fact you'll be making some money and being productive. I always fear the interviews and starting a new job but once I do I'm so much happier, the job hunting process is almost robotic and once you get used to the new job it feels good and normal which all of us panic and anxiety sufferers love to feel. Hope I helped somehow, good luck.

 
Old 03-10-2006, 12:52 PM   #3
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

xpax-
I too suffered from agoraphobia, it is one of those things where you become a total prisoner to your mind. Mine progessively got worse. I too 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.

btw- My agoraphobic issues stem from past/childhood trauma as well.

 
Old 03-10-2006, 01:27 PM   #4
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

Oh boy..Its nice to see im not the only one who has to go through this crap.I am 24 yrs old & have had social anxiety & depression for years.I was always the outcast,the one who kept to herself and I am still like that.If it were up to me I would never talk to ppl and probably stay in my house for most of the time.My social anxiety is so bad that I havent worked,I am just too scared to actually get out there in the real world
& the thought of being interviewed makes me physically sick.
I go out here & there but hate it.I sometimes even have trouble making phone calls..half the time I ask my mother to make them for me.The anxiety is so bad..Sad,isnt it??
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Old 03-11-2006, 07:58 AM   #5
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquatilly
...with applying for jobs and going on interviews.. just set your mind to the fact you'll be making some money and being productive. I always fear the interviews and starting a new job but once I do I'm so much happier, the job hunting process is almost robotic and once you get used to the new job it feels good and normal which all of us panic and anxiety sufferers love to feel. Hope I helped somehow, good luck.
Applying for jobs. I used to be unable to say "job" without stuttering on the "j", no matter how my workers would trick me into saying it. After some councilling, suddenly I simply said it. She pointed it out right away, and I said it several more times.

Applying for jobs. Geez, I'm pitiful at it. It doesn't help that I haven't washed my hair in a year, or had a bath or shower. God knows why I don't smell, but He has little mercies.
I can't job hunt. The cloud gets heavier and heavier on my brain until I just quit even the trying to go out and do it. What I mean is I get down on myself. I'm used to it. Thanks to Catherine, my older sis, I have always been down on myself. I am not trying to exaggerate or glean some pity. Just stating a fact hoping for a counter-point.
The only way I stay up enough on myself not to do the final thing, is my Faith. It is very deep, thanks to my Mother's upbringing. But I haven't faith enough even in my Faith to overcome this.
If I try to go and apply somewhere, it feels like I'm the mouse going for the cheese -- once I get inside, judgement. And more than that, overwhelming inferiority.
I remember sitting in a waiting area, and seeing a worker busy doing something quickly. 'Hell, I could never do that, especially well enough not to get fired.' Almost left when I got called. My long underwear fell inside my pants. There I was, walking the gauntlet between wide-eyed workers, trying to step as well as I could with my underwear between my knees. Kindly, she interviewed me anyway. I was a bug looking for a carpet to die under. She pointed out a foot-and-a-half high pile of applications. 'Why should I hire you before any of these people?' That's all I remember except fixing my pants at the door out.

How wonderful it would be to earn minimum wage. Disability welfare here is starvation rate. I dream of $300 every two weeks. I even dream of paying my taxes! I can't make myself apply even when I'm standing at the 'help wanted' sign. Disappointment and failure. Inadequacy. 46 years old.
I am on the lottery retirement plan.

'fear the interviews and starting a new job' You are doing great! What ever I do is wrong or not good enough, too slow!

I need more than a psych, I need more than medication. I need professional talk. Yes, you have convinced me. I will seek out a talking psych.

Mace, yes. Every postman has it, for the dogs. I know, because the sprayer I have came from the bus seat where postmen were sitting. It is illegal to have it here, but so is making a buck.

Am rambling on.

I know I have the key to the lock. I just don't know where it is.
Self-esteem is vanity. Call it self-worth, or self-justification and it is palatable.

Job-hunting robotic? Wow. I was actually better with the interviews once I got in there. It was the hunting I couldn't do. I speak of years ago with a job-hunting club of which I was the last member. Since then it's been psych and meds. I fear for my liver.

I can't write any more. The ghosts are out. I will nap rotting here in my Big Red Chair.

Last edited by xpax; 03-11-2006 at 08:11 AM. Reason: addition

 
Old 03-11-2006, 08:21 AM   #6
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anti Social
Oh boy..Its nice to see im not the only one who has to go through this crap.I am 24 yrs old & have had social anxiety & depression for years.I was always the outcast,the one who kept to herself and I am still like that.If it were up to me I would never talk to ppl and probably stay in my house for most of the time.My social anxiety is so bad that I havent worked,I am just too scared to actually get out there in the real world
& the thought of being interviewed makes me physically sick.
I go out here & there but hate it.I sometimes even have trouble making phone calls..half the time I ask my mother to make them for me.The anxiety is so bad..Sad,isnt it??
You have inspired me to write some more.

Yes, it is bad. Have admitted to myself that I am mentally ill. I too have always been outcast, but my fault not theirs. Elementary school at recess would always be sitting against the school. Played baseball once, forced to. I got a base hit first swing. All I've ever done. Played soccer goalie once, by force. Stopped one of Horvath's spikes. Wow that hurt. Never again anyway.

Didn't the smart student make you jealous? Sure did me. Grade 12 they split us into the "smart half" and the "dumb half", and told us so. Lucky to have graduated.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could put all our emotional baggage out the window and start again? How do they do it?

I forgot. Depr is a biochemical imbalance in the brain. I wonder what social anx is?

Last edited by xpax; 03-11-2006 at 08:35 AM. Reason: addition

 
Old 03-11-2006, 01:30 PM   #7
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

All I know is that social anxiety is a HORRIBLE condition to live with.I have always been the 'quiet,shy' girl but its more complicated than that.Its even causing problems for me right now..my ex complained that im too quiet,anti social and basically a 'mute'..that im just "blahh"..He says I need to change myself & be more outgoing and talkative & that really bothers me b/c its not something I can just change.Anyone who doesnt have this problem cannot understand & that is sad.

I hate being like this.I wish I was that outgoing,cheery,talkative girl but im not.I wish I could start over!!
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Old 03-11-2006, 03:11 PM   #8
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Thumbs up Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anti Social
All I know is that social anxiety is a HORRIBLE condition to live with.I have always been the 'quiet,shy' girl but its more complicated than that.Its even causing problems for me right now..my ex complained that im too quiet,anti social and basically a 'mute'..that im just "blahh"..He says I need to change myself & be more outgoing and talkative & that really bothers me b/c its not something I can just change.Anyone who doesnt have this problem cannot understand & that is sad.

I hate being like this.I wish I was that outgoing,cheery,talkative girl but im not.I wish I could start over!!
Anti Social: thank you sincerely for the posts. Aquatilly and KStorts too.

You were married? That is something to be proud of. I have never been married. In fact, I'm a 46-year-old virgin. Sorry about the divorce and how he blamed it on you. It reads to me like it was his hang-ups that made him leave. He married YOU. He left because of his hang-ups.

I too am "blahh". So square I could cut myself on my edges. I don't care really. Of course, I don't date. One poster said that after a person has taken anti-depr and anti-anx meds a long time, their emotions "flatten out", and they don't live in an excited state. I believe that.

I accept that I can only be what I am. Then I can work on that. I am quiet, I am shy and always have been. I don't know if I can evolve into anything else.

Being outgoing, cheery, and talkative is a behaviour. I have put on that mask when things demanded it, but it grated at my mind. It is not me. I mean it kind of hurt. I knew I was being foolish but that was the best I could scare up at the time. I knew I may be judged unfairly socially, but I couldn't care about that because I didn't want to feel that hurt. One always thinks afterward, "Gee, I should have said this, or done that, or not said something else." 'They' are certainly not perfect. I just need practice, and it is unnatural to me. Courage to practice certainly doesn't come easily, and is rare. It depends on the situation.

"God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and the Wisdom to know the difference."

Last edited by xpax; 03-11-2006 at 03:36 PM. Reason: addition

 
Old 03-11-2006, 04:35 PM   #9
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquatilly
You are not dumb at all. This is a common feeling for people with anxiety and panic disorder of any kind. We try and disengage and resist situations that might create anxiety or panic, it's only natural with the fight or flight response. I've always been shy too and I realized now that I was always that way as a kid and in social situations I would panic. Today, I usually prefer to stay at home and when I do go out I take pepper spray fully armed in my hand. In a way I think it's sad but in the other way, I think it's extremely smart and we are fully tapped into the dark side of the world as we know what can happen. Many go out without a care or resources for defense and get raped/killed etc. If you have the info and protection you should be fine. Take some self defense classes, get some pepper spray, and go out to social events when you want to. Also, with applying for jobs and going on interviews.. just set your mind to the fact you'll be making some money and being productive. I always fear the interviews and starting a new job but once I do I'm so much happier, the job hunting process is almost robotic and once you get used to the new job it feels good and normal which all of us panic and anxiety sufferers love to feel. Hope I helped somehow, good luck.
Disengage and resist situations, yes. Oh boy. For appointments, I call myself the "cancel-out kid".

You are wise to carry pepper spray. You are one mother's daughter that won't be a statistic. I took judo as a kid, good at it until we discovered my slipping second vertebrae in my neck.
"go out to social events when you want to", God, if I could get this moribund body to a happening, this confused mind to an occupation and not fail, that would be a miracle.

It would be fantastic to be in a job one can actually do. Although I've managed heavy labour, I don't have the frame or the muscles for it. Most other occupations are women's. Oh, to have money again!

Robotic job hunting. I will look forward to that. It will have to be worked up to. Being productive again. I have a terrific work ethic. Who will believe that now? But yes, it would be a good thing. It will have to be worked on.

When your mind is constantly wondering, even with a familiar person, "what is he/she going to do to me?" can you imagine the confusion when it is more that one on one? It's like watching six frightening television shows at once. Yes, the shy shell comes out in self-defence.

Thank you for the post. I will think about it.

 
Old 03-11-2006, 04:41 PM   #10
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KStorts
xpax-
I too suffered from agoraphobia, it is one of those things where you become a total prisoner to your mind. Mine progessively got worse. I too 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.

btw- My agoraphobic issues stem from past/childhood trauma as well.
It has to be worked on slowly. Yes, that makes sense. I am not in favor of popping a happy pill or drinking some happy juice to make me sociable. That would just embarass me, and rightfully bring me down in the eyes of others.

I need a talking psych, not just a meds psych.

Thank you.

 
Old 03-12-2006, 08:04 AM   #11
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

Social phobia is a curse for me, I often think what I did to deserve it. I do work, but I am petrified of people even my Mum,Dad,Sister,GrandMother! I have always felt that in their minds I am an useless waste of space. Consequently I am scared of socialising because I feel safer on my own. Talking to girls my age makes me anxious to the point that I am almost frozen to the point I can barely move. I am bitter of other guys who seem so 'cool' and a hit with the ladies. I don't want to be a womaniser(I hate them), I want to meet a girl who cares. Not like the ones who have treated me badly over the years.

 
Old 03-12-2006, 05:35 PM   #12
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

Curses me too, Therag.

Ah the girls. If only I wouldn't have ignored the girl who waved at me, I might have had a positive personal interaction, I'm talking friends here, that might have saved me with things like, prepare for your future, talk to people they probably won't bite. Things like that. Instead I spent 7 high school years alone with my hellian sis Catherine.

Good for you that you work. Hang on to that positive.

I often feel like a useless waste of space, like you do. But my Faith is all that has kept me alive these 46 years. It validates me in the face of negative feedbacks.

Don't be bitter or hold grudges. You only affect yourself negatively. Throw them out the window.

A girl who cares. They are out there, but they don't want a screwed-up 46 year old disability welfare case, with no money and no car. You have the advantage. You are still young and can fix yourself before you get old like me, and it is too late. Please for God's sake fix yourself up so you don't grow old like me and still be in the mud.

That's the meaning of Life. For the Glory of God. It all comes down to that.

 
Old 03-12-2006, 08:05 PM   #13
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

You arent a waste XPAX..nor is it "too late" for you..You arent old,you still have a chance to be happy..Im the last person to give advice about this & I should practice what I preach but try not to be so negative.Im sure you will happiness
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:45 AM   #14
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

You're right, Anti Social. Sure we're the last ones to preach to each other, but that doesn't mean we don't know better even if we can't do better.

I hate subjecting posters to my negativity, but my depr is so deep, when I'm spilling my guts, it just comes out too.

Now that I look at it, where was I negative in that post please?

May we all find happiness, when the time comes.

"It's not too late for you, nor are you too old." I do still have some time. 90-46=44 years. Something can't come out of nothing. Something has to come out of something, and it is very hard for me to think of me as substantial. It is the way I grew up. I never expected a tomorrow. Career planning was for me for the "smart kids", not for xpax. How was I to perform in school to the best of my abilities the way I was? Impossible. That shy kid never had a chance. Unless I hadn't ignored that girl who waved at me. A positive influence might have turned me around. I preferred to wallow in my despair. How was I to know any better? Mom had taken me to visit a psych as a kid. I wrapped him around my little finger. In fact, he concluded that stressed-out "Mum" needed some therapy! Of course, she didn't. Kids think they know everything, because they know so little. Once they've grown up, it's "gee, Mom and Dad weren't so dumb after all."
Youth is truly wasted on the young. I live across from a school of drugged-out vandals. Can't name a thing in our apartment foyer that hasn't been damaged by those kids getting past the security door. Ruining something (that's not theirs) is truly a pitiful power-trip for them. What lousy parenting they must have!
I'll shut up now.

Last edited by xpax; 03-13-2006 at 07:46 AM. Reason: addition

 
Old 03-13-2006, 07:19 AM   #15
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Re: Agoraphobia - fear of going out!

[QUOTE=xpax]Curses me too, Therag.



I often feel like a useless waste of space, like you do. But my Faith is all that has kept me alive these 46 years. It validates me in the face of negative feedbacks.

Don't be bitter or hold grudges. You only affect yourself negatively. Throw them out the window.

A girl who cares. They are out there, but they don't want a screwed-up 46 year old disability welfare case, with no money and no car. You have the advantage. You are still young and can fix yourself before you get old like me, and it is too late. Please for God's sake fix yourself up so you don't grow old like me and still be in the mud.

[QUOTE]

Thats where you come off as negative..Like I said you arent a waste & you will find happiness
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