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After decades with anxiety/agoraphobia...

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Old 08-08-2006, 11:21 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Jacksonville, Fl. U.S.A.
Posts: 29
donegal27 HB User
After decades with anxiety/agoraphobia...

and only speaking for myself here, that despite my very best efforts with meds, therapy and determination, the vicious cycle of symptoms have accompanied me throughout 30 plus years anyway. In 1974 at the age of 31, I experience my first panic attack while driving. I had no idea what had happened at the time. But getting back in the car after that episode filled me with dread and with 3 young children, driving was a must. By 1976 I was truly housebound with agoraphobia and stayed indoors for 4 years...truly. Just reaching out the door to get my mail from the box was hard. No one ever knew much about agoraphobia then and everyone just said I had had a nervous breakdown. Even though I was indoors, I still had panic attacks and frightening symptoms we all know from the anxiety list.

Then 'it' started to lift by 1980, very slowly but it did through no effort of my own just somehow step by step I was able to get out. Even got a p/t job and eventually fulltime although driving bothered me still. I continued to have panic disorder symptoms though everywhere, just lived with it. The rest of the 80's were a life of 'what if's', running out of stores because of panic, out of restaurants and even at my family's home. So many places I couldn't go.By 1989 I stopped driving entirely. However by the early 1990's(now about 51 years old) I just accepted this 'univited guest' into my life and since that point remain pretty much quiet, mostly housebound and not particularly hopeful about ever being 'normal' again. During all those years of meds, ssri's, benzo's, behavioral and exposure therapy, here I am at 61 no different then before.

Who knows why some of us recover and manage to live well and others never do? I read so many of your posts and many who are young wondering what's going on and trying to come to terms with it all. I would say to not give up, try whatever is available and safe to use, new things come along all the time.
You all are worth it, each life is special....Donegal27

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Old 08-08-2006, 11:35 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Evansville, IN
Posts: 195
Donna-Sue HB User
Re: After decades with anxiety/agoraphobia...

What a very special person you are. You story in truly an inspiration to us all. Back then your right, people did not even know of panic attacks, my mother had then, and so do I.

I am on Lexapro, and it has given me some hope, I will never ever give up, life is too short, I learned this after my daddy passed away...............I wil do whatever it takes to keep on track, nobody should ever give up, you are truely and wonderful person, for sharing that story.

Life is mean at times, but it is nice to have someone who understand what you are going through.........Hugs to you my dear friend.............Donna!

Old 08-08-2006, 12:17 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Jacksonville, Fl. U.S.A.
Posts: 29
donegal27 HB User
Re: After decades with anxiety/agoraphobia...

Thank you so much Donna Sue, it's important for me to know that my story might have the result that it had for you. I should have added that while so often we think we are going to die from frightening symptoms, i.e., palps, pvc's, chest pressure/pain, hyperventilation, etc...all but only a few of many that I have had. But here I am, still here and quite frankly my overall health is quite good.

I feel such compassion for the many members who post here especially those new to this. My prayer and wish is that each one find the strength to keep on trying, no matter how difficult it may seem. Because if you don't,you will never know, if by trying, it might have made all the difference in the world.
Best wishes, Donegal27

Old 08-08-2006, 12:44 PM   #4
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Location: Evansville, IN
Posts: 195
Donna-Sue HB User
Re: After decades with anxiety/agoraphobia...

Very, very well put. It is not just somehting that is in your head, it is real, and sometimes very scary.

I am happy to have met a new friend today. Hugs to you and all, we can all make a difference, in one way or another................................. ...

Old 08-08-2006, 06:11 PM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 385
CircusSquirrel HB User
Re: After decades with anxiety/agoraphobia...

It's kind of like Jack Nicholson said in that movie "maybe this is as good as it gets". You've truly had to deal with this for a long time, and I guess as we become older and wiser we find out how to best deal with ourselves. I've been anxious for most of my life, had panic attacks well over a decade, and I ever so often wonder "will it ever go away?" Then I think, well, if it doesn't, I can still just do the best I can with what I've got and help someone in the world. Thanks so much for your post!

Old 08-09-2006, 06:47 AM   #6
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Jacksonville, Fl. U.S.A.
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donegal27 HB User
Re: After decades with anxiety/agoraphobia...

Hi CircusSquirrel,
Well that was a good quote and to that end I have come now to think rather, 'it could always be worse'. Given the terrible diseases and other crisis events that are occuring to people more and more, having a life with this doesn't seem all that bad. It is of course a dreadful, debilitating illness but if you compare it to cancer, loss of vision, alzheimers, then if you had to have one, the choice is obvious.

It has certainly helped me to be more compassionate and understanding to those who have emotional and mental issues. It has taught me about patience. And for whatever it's worth, it took me years to get to that point, I was so wrapped up in my own 'stuff'. But in the last 10 years especially when I recognized it wasn't 'going away', that I could step back, look around and see many others whose eyes told me they were hurting. Reaching out is at least one thing I can do and let others feel someone truly understands.

Old 08-09-2006, 03:01 PM   #7
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 241
808Lion HB User
Re: After decades with anxiety/agoraphobia...

Sometimes sharing and hearing others stories defintely DOES help not feel so "alone"...

I lived in L.A. for 8 years and while working, and living there, developed a pretty tough depression, and also had my first panic attack when I was around 27...
At the time... it didn't really "shock" me, I guess, although it took me a few trips to the E.R. to even realize that it WAS a panic attack since I never had one before...
But at the time, it almost made sense...
I was a little overweight, was working crazy hours (sometimes 80 hours a week), had a pretty horrible diet, drank WAY too much caffeine (soda), smoked cigarrettes, and didn't exercise enough...

Meds and therapy for several years and I seemed to be doing better with the anxiety / panic disorders...

Fast forward to 3 1/2 years ago when I decided to move back to Hawaii...
I wanted to make some lifestyle changes and wanted to live a healthier and less stressful life...
(btw I'm originally FROM Hawaii so I was moving back home to be closer to family, etc... and hey... It's Hawaii!... LoL)

I made a LOT of changes in my lifestyle including...
~ Losing 50 - 60 pounds
~ Exercising a LOT more then I used to
~ Quitting smoking
~ Quitting caffeine
~ Cutting out trans fats from diet
~ Eating WAY healthier
~ Massively reducing stress (only have to work a couple hours a day now)

Now here's the REAL kick in the pants...
Over the last couple of years my anxiety / panic disorder has returned WAY worse then it ever was...
It got so bad at one point (several months ago) that I was having panic attacks pretty much all day long, everyday, for the better part of 2 weeks...
I was bed-ridden, and finally gave in and started taking meds again... :-(

Now I suffer from and have been given the following labels... lol
~ panic disorder
~ generalized anxiety disorder
~ agoraphobia (can't be alone)
~ hypochondriasis
~ slightly OCD
~ slight depression

I'm still fighting the good fight and trying to work my way through it, but it's been VERY frustrating to say the least...
I mean... I made all these "positive" changes in my life and ended up being more incapacitated and have suffered more debilitating panic attacks then ever in my life...

Just thought I'd share... :-)

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