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Thread: Is this agoraphobia?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    180

    Is this agoraphobia?

    I don't necessarily mind how far i travel, it's more busy places that i find very difficult. When i go to family it's a 2 hour drive and it's just relaxing there i'm pretty much fine. But if i go to the shopping mall a few mins from my home, i get very panicky and just really want to go home. If i don't go home right away, the panic starts building up till i get so uncomfortable i just have to go home because i can't take it anymore.

    I just get so overwhelmed in busy places. And places where i can't 'escape' easily. I always feel like going back home, because that's where i feel safe and were i can distract myself from these feelings.

    I used to be able to walk in shopping malls with no problems, i even went there just because i enjoyed it - that was only a few months ago. Now, i can't go for more then 10mins without really needing to go home. My mind is on high alert when i'm there constantly.

    How can i overcome this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Posts
    197

    Re: Is this agoraphobia?

    Yeah, sounds like fear of open spaces. I've been recently overcoming this with CBT and exposure therapy going out at least 30mins daily. Its been annoying as hell. I feel like a little girl or something. The comfort of home is always calling me back. Wherever I am I long to go home.

    Its getting easier to go out without an iPod or anybody. Its usually to get groceries. I wanna just run home! I can't work because of this. I seriously force myself! I notice that if my hair and clothes aren't planned out the night before, it will stop me from going out and ruin my exposure therapy progress.

    Everyday I'm like "what the f**k is the point of doing this f***ing shit?!" Then I think its a challenge I can't back out of or else it means I'm weak. I give myself tough love with this particular thing.

    The consequences of staying in too much are missing more and more of my life opportunities and having no friends. There is a profound lack of balance here. I've already long crossed that line as far as I can go. So I may as well build myself up and explore other ways of looking at life. I've already missed so much participation.
    I hope a new habit will form.
    Last edited by Bee84; 28-04-17 at 16:28.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    13,543

    Re: Is this agoraphobia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Panda22 View Post
    I don't necessarily mind how far i travel, it's more busy places that i find very difficult. When i go to family it's a 2 hour drive and it's just relaxing there i'm pretty much fine. But if i go to the shopping mall a few mins from my home, i get very panicky and just really want to go home. If i don't go home right away, the panic starts building up till i get so uncomfortable i just have to go home because i can't take it anymore.

    I just get so overwhelmed in busy places. And places where i can't 'escape' easily. I always feel like going back home, because that's where i feel safe and were i can distract myself from these feelings.

    I used to be able to walk in shopping malls with no problems, i even went there just because i enjoyed it - that was only a few months ago. Now, i can't go for more then 10mins without really needing to go home. My mind is on high alert when i'm there constantly.

    How can i overcome this?
    Hi Panda

    I suppose Agoraphobia is like everything else, it differs in severity.

    I have suffered from agoraphobia for many years now and at my worst, Just leaving my house was extremely traumatic. Agoraphobics tend to have a safe place and the further you are from it, the more the anxiety is heightened.

    If you're comfortable and relaxed driving two hours to spend time with family then (from my experience) I would say having agoraphobia is highly unlikely so I really wouldn't worry too much on that front.

    It is however very common for people to feel very anxious in large shops or shopping centres etc. It can give you that feeling of being closed in, ( claustrophobic even) especially if the place it quite busy. This is where your anxiety levels reach the (fight or flight) level. Do you stay and face it or do you run for (what we would see as) safety?.

    They say the best way to deal with these situations is little but often. If it's in a shopping Mall for example and you are feeling extremely anxious after 10 minutes then try to stay two more minutes and then leave. You repeat this until you are more comfortable to say add yet another two minutes on. First time I tried this, I lasted about 30 seconds and bolted for the door. Lol...It's not a nice feeling at all.

    Best of luck

    Lisa
    __________________
    "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice". Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself and you won't go far wrong.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    23,629

    Re: Is this agoraphobia?

    I agree with Bee & Lisa.

    I've suffered this too but I don't consider myself as having suffered real agoraphobia because it was more an element of my GAD. It has hit me in two episodes over 10 yes and both were when I started meds which made my anxiety a lot worth.

    The reason I mention this is because you were talking about panic on another thread. Disorders like GAD can mimic others e.g. social anxiety can come with it too but it mat not warrant a seperate diagnosis.

    Panic Disorder & Agoraphobia are often discussed together from what I've seen. It may be because of comorbidity?

    ERP works for it. NHS Scotland have got a really good user guide for this:

    http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/panic.asp

    It worked for me. Now I can do all this stuff. Whilst I got myself out & doing it, it took quite a long time for me to stop feeling a little on edge (as opposed to the panic & anxiety of the earlier days with it).

    Panic & anxiety naturally subside after a certain amount of time (around 20-30 minutes) but it can spike again as a new challenge is presented under the same exposure e.g. you become comfortable in a store but then you have to go to the till...another classic trigger.
    __________________
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    For free Mindfulness resources, please see this thread I have created to compile many sources together http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=168689

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