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Thread: So...am I actually agoraphobic?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    75

    So...am I actually agoraphobic?

    I have never thought of myself as agoraphobic at all until recently, but now I'm beginning to think of that as my main problem. I have a few questions, though. I know that I can't get an online diagnosis, but if I explain my situation hopefully someone will be able to tell whether this sounds like it.

    I started getting panic attacks when I was about fourteen. They got worse and worse when I was out. Gradually, it became harder for me to venture outside and now that I'm seventeen I realised I can't do it. It happened so gradually that I didn't even notice I had such a big problem.

    I haven't spent a night away from home for years. Severe homesickness, panic, physical illness etc.
    I haven't been able to even think of a holiday abroad. The phrase 'never in a million years' comes to mind.
    Sometimes I can walk down the street without feeling scared, other times I can't.
    The problem isn't with going TO places, it's leaving home, the only 'safe' place, that's the problem.
    I feel like a dog tied to a lampost. I can move so far, but I'm always dragged back.
    I feel constrained and...whatever the opposite of free is.
    I can't get a bus into the nearest town by myself.
    I can't go anywhere at all - not even around my village - without my mum. That's the most embarrassing problem. I don't have a problem being left at home while she's at work, but if I'm going out, she needs to be there.
    Sometimes I manage to go out with people and without my mum, but I don't feel as safe.
    I don't always get full-blown panic attacks: usually when I'm out I get one symptom at a time. Overwhelming nausea, a headache, choking feeling, dizziness. The symptom doesn't go away until I get back home.
    When I do go somewhere, the 'difficulty level' is judged by low long it'll take me to get back home if I'm ill.
    The main thing that stops me from going out is the thought 'what if I feel ill?' I think it's all health anxiety.
    Sometimes when I'm out, I feel exposed. Like the world is massive and frightening. The buildings seem to tower over me and I feel dizzy, as though I'm going to faint. I feel the need to go to a small, quiet place and lie down.
    It can feel as though I'm standing on water, not solid ground. Like I want to cling to something in case I 'fall off the edge of the world'. Dramatic, but it describes the feeling.

    Sorry for the length of this! Does it sound like agoraphobia? If so, what can I do about it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,840

    Re: So...am I actually agoraphobic?

    Hi hun,

    Yes it does sound like agoraphobia as you have just described most of my symptoms there.

    I am 40, and i've not long let go of my mum as my safe person, my home and my car are my safe places.
    The way to dealing with agoraphobia is by taking little steps at a time, you need to keep going out, even if its up and down the road.
    The biggest help to me is my ipod, it can be anything, an mp3, a walkman, absolutely anything, i find if i have music on i cannot let them feelings come in, if i feel they are, i turn the music up and yes i have been known to have a little bop while i'm walking lol.

    Read the success stories on the forum there is quite alot on there about people dealing with there agoraphobia.

    In christmas 07 i could not go into asda at all, not even with my mum, i struggled massively in little shops, and a few days i tackled asda all on my own, so it can be done.

    But do check out the success posts and feel free to pm me if you need more help.

    best wishes

    di xx

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    , , United Kingdom.
    Posts
    1,481

    Re: So...am I actually agoraphobic?

    hi yes like diane says it does sound like agoraphobia - does your gp know about this? wa syou able to go to school when this started age 14? have you been able to finish your exams? wha tare you doing now education/work wise? you and yor family need to get educated about this condition - it is a seriously debilitating pshycological disorder that you do not have to live with - it can be overcome, you do not have to live like this for the rest of your life! ask as many questions as you can and get as much help as you can to overcome this - you will do it, odnt give up on a normal life!!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    75

    Re: So...am I actually agoraphobic?

    Thank you so much for your encouragement, Diane. It's always nice to hear people's success stories.

    My GP doesn't know about this but I am seeing a psychologist, so I don't think he needs to. I haven't actually spoken in much detail to my psych about it though.

    I was able to go to school at first, but my attendance got worse and worse until I stopped going altogether. I missed my GCSEs so am re-taking 3 of them this year. I'm managing to get to an evening class, but only because my mum takes me there ( ). Thanks, emmas. I'm sure it won't be like this forever, it's just that I'm seventeen and everyone keeps telling me I should be outside 'having a life'. It makes me feel like crying because that's what I want to do but I can't! I just wish things could get better faster.

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