View Full Version : MRI Agoraphobia Thank You!

21-08-13, 15:02

I suffer with Agoraphobia and I feel like I am well on the way to overcoming my demons. About 2 months ago my new-found coolness :shades: was about to be put to the ultimate test when I found out, to my despair, that I had to have an MRI on my sinuses, (unrelated issue).

My MRI was yesterday morning and while over the last 2 months, I had managed to ignore the imminent exam, over the last few days my anxiety hit new highs!!

A lot of people think that claustrophobia is the main problem with having an MRI, but speaking from an agoraphobics point of view, the thought of being strapped to a table and being automatically slid head-first into a huge machine in an unfamiliar room was too much for me to bare.

I wanted to say a big thank you to all the advice on here and to everyone who posts helpful advice or their experiences because without it I would have probably ran away. I wanted to make an account and provide you with my own experience so that I may be able to help anyone similar in future...

I don't know if anyone is the same but for me, knowledge is power. There is now nothing I don't know about MRI procedures or machines. I found knowing what to expect made me feel like I'd been there before as everything was exactly how I'd imagined it. They lead you in and sit you on the bed, you won't have to wear a robe as long as you have no metal on your clothes. If you're just there for your head/upper body, they don't mind if your jeans have metal on.

The room it was in was not a lot bigger than the machine and was dimly lit. It helped that it was a kind-of portable machine that was in a room outside the hospital for my escape plan, (at least if I ran, I'd get straight outside). She laid me back, gave me ear plugs and rested my head in a sort-of plastic cup on the bed, she then slid a plastic cage thing over my head - heart and breathing were going overtime at this point!

The cage isn't really so bad, it is kind of a hat that goes down the sides of your face with a bar going down the middle in front of your nose but you can't really see it if you look forward, (try holding your finger 4 inches from your nose and read this). The cage thing also had a mirror so I could see out of the machine towards the tech room.

As I went in, I closed my eyes but they opened again on their own. I glanced around the machine and realised that even though I had a panic button, nothing could stop me from sliding down and out should I have to. This realization really helped me relax a bit, I used all of the breathing techniques and imagined my happy place. When you look through the mirror, it can almost feel like you're standing up looking at the tech room.

The biggest thing that helped me though, and I hope it can help you, is that I realised I could see the reflection of the MRI machine on the tech window through my mirror - no big deal until I noticed that there was a count-down digital timer, obviously above me on the machine, but now reflected in the window counting down the duration of each scan. The MRI is separated into a number of smaller scans, typically going from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. This really helped me take my mind off the procedure as I could see how long each scan had left to run and even try adding them up to determine how long I had left.

And the last thing - it is loud! I mean loud. I though people were over-emphasizing the noise when writing about it but it does make loads of different funny noises like the last spin on your washing machine or road drillers going to work or like beeping noises. Some of them I found to be quite relaxing - never thought I'd say that in a million sundays!!

To summarise, sorry this is so long winded - I wouldn't hurry back but I would go back should I need to. The build up in your head is 100 times worse than the actual thing. Practice your breathing and control beforehand and remind yourself that its 20 minutes broken into groups of 2 and 3 minutes and once it's done you can go home proud of yourself!

Thank you so much for your help - I'm sure I only got through that because of all the posts I'd read in the lead up. :)

22-08-13, 11:06
well done not fond of mris myself have one next week, i am going to go armed with a sedative glad you have overcome your hurdle blessings

04-07-14, 19:07
I'm really glad you managed to overcome your fears with your MRI scan. I don't want to add to anybody else's fears who may read your post by going into detail about my own MRI experience that I had today, and with my failed previous attempt at the MRI scan. It was interesting to read you mention agoraphobia as my own condition is claustrophobia. I have now booked another doctors appointment to see where I can go from here. Todays attempt was tried with 10mg of Diazapam but it didn't help erase the memory of my previous attempt !!! , Take Care.