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Old 07-07-2010, 01:53 AM   #1
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Red face Agoraphobia for 10 years and HAVE to travel. HELP

Hello. I've been suffering with severe agoraphobia for the last 10 years and it has RUINED my life. I've had panic attacks on and off since I was a teenager but dealt with them fairly well on my own. I was very outgoing and adventurous despite the occasional attack. That all changed in 1999 when I was hit HARD with panic and anxiety after going through a series of traumatic events.... to the point where one day in 2000 I was taking my kids to school and had this OVERWHELMING life or death NEED to go home. It was terrifying. Needless to say, I stayed home (literally) for 2 years. I was honestly horrified at the thought of leaving my own yard. I hated myself deeply for my fear. I ached for the person I used to be, and knew that I wasn't even close to who I wanted to be. I felt guilty that my kids had me for a mom... a mom too scared to take them to the park, or go to school plays, a mom who feared daily the "what ifs" and kicked herself for the things she could no longer do.

After 2 years my husband had had enough and left me for another woman... vowing he would ONLY try to save our marriage if I could make it to a marriage counselor.... he may as well have asked me to walk to the moon. But I LOVED my family. I hated my life... this life that now consisted of an invisible barrier around my house. I forced myself to walk down to the corner. I didn't die.

Forced myself to walk down the block.... didn't die.

Forced myself all the way to the marriage councilor...

and still didn't die.

This took me a month of daily trying. But I did it. My husband and I worked things out, he came back home, and over the years I've been steadily trying to beat this thing for good. I can now travel freely around my town, went through CBT and even made it to another state (200 miles away) twice 2 years ago. It sounds like a great story so far... I wish it was. In these last two years the agoraphobia has been trying to take me back. I've been prescribed Klonapin and have a free standing script for xanax (which I will ONLY take if I'm traveling) but am VERY medication phobic and am terrified of trying the Klonapin. I have to travel to a city 3 and a half hours away in the next two days for a legal matter. It's a city I'm not familiar with, and am feeling that same agoraphobic feeling of avoiding. I want to make excuses for why I cannot go. The fear of dying has passed into a full blown fear of just losing my mind entirely. I'm afraid if I go I will go crazy and lose control... like become schizophrenic and jump out of the car and run around like a mad-woman or kick people or something. (I know THAT sounds nuts in itself, but in the moment of panic, I'm very much afraid of these things) I'm most terrified of the open stretches of road on this trip where there will be no cities or towns... no accessible EMT's if I do lose control. I need help. Has anyone ever suffered this severe a case of agoraphobia? Will Klonapin help me? Can I do this in TWO days?! Thank you. (sorry this was so long)

Last edited by hopen4hope; 07-07-2010 at 02:33 AM.

 
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:42 PM   #2
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Re: Agoraphobia for 10 years and HAVE to travel. HELP

Nothing? I was hoping to get some kind of a reply.

 
Old 07-07-2010, 03:20 PM   #3
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Re: Agoraphobia for 10 years and HAVE to travel. HELP

I've never posted on this board before but I saw your post and felt I had to respond. I'm sorry none of the regular folks here have been able to help. Perhaps no one with agoraphobia.

I don't have agoraphobia either but I know a lot about panic attacks. I have severe PTSD from childhood abuse. PTSD is all about panic attacks. We have things that trigger us and we can literally go "out of body" from the intense panic. So I do understand.

But whether it's PTSD or agoraphobia, it's all the same physically and you can do something about it. Something in your mind is making your body release adrenaline...the "fight or flight" hormone. Your Xanax and Klonapin are both benzodiazepines...in the same family...and both anti-anxiety agents. That is one way to counter act the adrenaline. Another is to use it up with exercise(it does make you want to fight or flee). How about setting up a driving schedule where every 1-2 hours you stop and get out and walk around or do jumping jacks or some kind of exercise for a few minutes to burn up some of the adrenaline. Take some of your favorite music with you and try to meditate with it by closing your eyes(hubby is driving or you?) and concentrating on your breathing while listening to the music carefully. The exercise will burn the adrenaline while the meditation will suppress it.

You've already started to understand the psychological situation...that it sets up for no particular reason but once you realize you won't die if you leave home, it gets better. I really applaud you for taking those steps. Great job! Now start to address the physiological side...the release of adrenaline from a set response that you no longer need or want.

I bet if you figure out a way to burn up and control the bursts of adrenaline that you'll be fine. Your body has developed a set response and even it doesn't know why. So until the brain "gets it" you have to deal with the effects. Do your own version of "fight or flight" by fighting it by exercising it off and flight by flying off into a deep relaxation state that stops the release.

Do I do this? You bet I do! When it starts for me, I do housework or walk or do some hard gardening. Once I burn off a little bit, then I totally relax by sitting back and meditating to a good piece of music. If you are religious, prayer is a form of meditating.....you just say it over and over to yourself while breathing deeply and letting your body relax.

But have this planned. Where you'll stop and what you'll do...a brisk walk? Use a gas station rest room to do some fast jumping jacks or wall push ups? Out in "nowhere land" where you can get out and give off a good scream and run around in a circle for a minute or 2? Sound crazy? Who cares! It's all about YOU taking control and not the adrenaline.

What do you think? Am I crazy enough to understand? I've beat this thing and so can you!

I'll be around today and some of tomorrow if you have any concerns or questions.

gentle hugs.........Jenny

 
Old 07-11-2010, 01:35 PM   #4
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Re: Agoraphobia for 10 years and HAVE to travel. HELP

Well did you get there?

Last edited by ms_mod; 07-11-2010 at 02:19 PM.

 
Old 07-13-2010, 12:04 PM   #5
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Smile Re: Agoraphobia for 10 years and HAVE to travel. HELP

HELLO! Sorry it took me so long to post an update. WOW what a weekend! YES!!! YES I made it... and not only did I make it there... I had NO desire to turn around and come back home (like I usually do). In fact I even urged my husband to venture off the interstate at points NOT because I was anxious but so we could stop at some of the small little towns on the way and do some exploring. Do you know how long it's been since I've even had the DESIRE to explore?! What an amazing blessing! I was so scared to try the klonapin, but the day of the trip I thought "Well... if I DO die or go crazy from taking this pill, at least it would be for a good cause... better than living like this forever"

I took it and NOTHING bad happened... just the opposite in fact! I felt like OLD me again... the me I was BEFORE this monster invaded my life. Oh I can't tell you how happy I am! If it wasn't for going through CBT and braving myself up enough to try that pill I'd still be stuck in my box, scared of the world. I have suffered SO much and fought this thing SO hard, that finally seeing the end of the tunnel is just exhilarating!

I'm planning on enrolling in school this fall.>edit> I know I don't quite have it beat yet... but I've got it by the horns now.... and I'll be damned if I ever let it go again!

Thanks!!!!!!

Last edited by ms_mod; 07-13-2010 at 12:53 PM. Reason: Removed posting rules violation. Ms_Mod

 
Old 07-13-2010, 02:21 PM   #6
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Re: Agoraphobia for 10 years and HAVE to travel. HELP

Hello Hopen, I am also a panic person that has suffered from agoraphobia/multi phobias since 1996. There are times I cannot even open my door to let the dogs in or out without hiding behind the door so I do not have to see the outside. The only thing that has helped me is my husband of 25 years, he is my savior on this earth. I no longer drive so he drives me where I need to go. He knows exactly what to do when I panic out...no matter the severity of the attack <and they differ dramatically> He never makes me feel like a burden, says all the right things and holds on to me until the attack passes. He also is aware of what terrifies me while he is driving somewhere with me as a passenger, he tries to avoid bridges, barren back roads and will pull over and wait if there is a torrential downpour of rain. I trust him with my life, and that is a MUST for me. However, I am totally dependant on him, there isn't anyone else that could help me, which makes me worry about "What if something should happen to him" Am hoping I can change that someday. Is your husband driving you? Try going on the long back roads that have no buildings while it is dark, so you really cannot see that nothing is around, that works for me while going across bridges. If you are not driving, try to leave around the time you would normally go to bed, in hopes you can sleep most of the way. Do you have an "on-star" type emergency help system built into your car? I will be praying you will be able to make the trip without any problems...good luck to you!

 
Old 07-13-2010, 02:58 PM   #7
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Re: Agoraphobia for 10 years and HAVE to travel. HELP

Hopen-

I just found your thread and I'm so glad that your trip went well! I went through a phase of severe agoraphobia when I was 21 and would not leave the house for 3 months. The first time I tried to go somewhere, I had a panic attack halfway there and had to turn around. So I know how it is. I'm glad that you have found a way to cope and get your life back! Congrats!

 
Old 05-17-2011, 02:36 AM   #8
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Re: Agoraphobia for 10 years and HAVE to travel. HELP

Hello and I just read your post on agoraphobia. I would LOVE to talk with you. I have agoraphobia really bad and have a big trip coming up.

Maybe we can help each other?

< edited >

Last edited by hb-mod; 05-17-2011 at 02:41 AM. Reason: Please do not post, or request contact information, such as email address, phone or name.

 
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