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06/11/2010 01:45 PM

Agoraphobia Awareness Letter

jojobear
jojobear  
Posts: 6115
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I'm an Advocate

Ok after some bad trips to the clinic I was thinking maybe I need to bring a letter with me to explain my situation. I was being treated poorly as they did not understand my situation. Well I have found a letter online that anyone can use to give to doctors or dentists or whoever for when you have to go places. I found this on: http://www.healthyplace.com/anxiety-panic/living-with- agoraphobia/desensitization-awareness-letter/menu-id-1244/

There are many situations that people challenged with anxiety and agoraphobia have to face that might be made easier if other people, such as doctors, dentists, restaurant owners etc. were aware of our dilemma. The "Dear Person Letter" is a tool you can use (you can alter it to fit your personal needs and/or preferences) to let others know about your situation and apprehensions in the hope that they'll work with you to help you accomplish certain tasks. The letter may go something like this:

Dear Dr. ____

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you something about myself. I have an anxiety disorder known as Agoraphobia. It's a challenge that even in this day and age, not too many people know much about. It's a type of "nervous" condition that often causes panic attacks.

Although 1 in 100 persons are challenged with Agoraphobia, few people have a true understanding of the condition. It's sometimes embarrassing for me to talk about it, but it's very important to me that you're aware of it, hence this letter.

Agoraphobia is similar to claustrophobia, except that panic attacks are triggered by many causes such as crowds, distance from home, dentists, bridges, bright lights and loud noises. I can neither anticipate nor control these attacks. Therefore, I often avoid situations which might arouse this extremely uncomfortable, sometimes terrifying, and always embarrassing reaction.

I am seeking help for this problem and am making progress, but I still have some reactions. At this point, I've made some progress and want to make even more, but I still need a way out of situations that are frightening to me. I've found that when I feel I have permission to leave an uncomfortable situation and know people will understand, I can do better.

It is extremely important to me to feel free to leave any given situation at any time, no matter how innocuous the situation may appear. I don't ask that you understand my condition, but I would appreciate your understanding of my predicament. (You can fill in here what your specific needs are in the situation.--.i.e. to come to the office several times before the actual appointment to familiarize yourself with it etc.)

In telling you this, I'm not soliciting your sympathy, but I would like your moral support as I work toward recovery. I realize that the way I confront the problem may be confusing and even seem inappropriate. Be assured I desperately tried other ways, but am convinced the approach I am using now is the only one that will work. By your acceptance you will be working with me.

Thank you very much for your cooperation,

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06/11/2010 01:50 PM
slamm311
slamm311  
Posts: 7356
VIP Member

Jojo that is absolutely amazing. I think I might actually print one out and give it to all of my bosses so that they know what I am going through. I think they just think that I'm a stuck up brat because I avoid them like the plague. Nice find!

06/11/2010 01:56 PM
jojobear
jojobear  
Posts: 6115
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Yeah I need to really go to the dentist so I think I may try to make the appointment and send them this letter and ask to be able to come in to the office a couple of times before I actually have to have the teeth cleaning. I also think I will mail it to my general doctor and the walk-in clinic so that they have it on file and know kind of what to expect if I come in.

06/11/2010 02:05 PM
Anna321
Anna321  
Posts: 10505
VIP Member

LOVE the letter Jojo! This might be a help to many of us. I like that it is non-apologetic, just explanatory. Thank you.

06/11/2010 02:20 PM
jmick
jmickPosts: 13899
VIP Member

Cool letter. That could definitely come in handy. I hate having to explain my issues to people, especially people you would think would understand agoraphobia.

06/11/2010 05:59 PM
slamm311
slamm311  
Posts: 7356
VIP Member

I don't think anyone who hasn't gone through this can ever really understand Kevin. That's why I love this place. I have my therapist but you guys are more comforting. I know what you guys are going through and you know what I go through. We are all connected in this way.

06/11/2010 06:25 PM
jmick
jmickPosts: 13899
VIP Member

That's so true. I have even been to a variety of therapists that didn't truly seem to get it. I think before you become a therapist you should have to go through one panic attack before you start practicing. Kind of like how the police can't carry a tazer unless they get tazed once themselves. lol

06/11/2010 06:26 PM
jojobear
jojobear  
Posts: 6115
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Yeah I agree Jenny. Even medical professionals if they have not experienced this themselves cannot truly understand. I honestly don't think my pdoc or therapist has a clue. My primary care doctor and the doctors & nurses at the walk-in clinic definitely have no clue.

We are all so lucky we have a place where we are understood. I sure have needed it and it has meant more to me than most everything else lately. Ok getting sappy here. Smile


06/12/2010 02:30 PM
PerryM
PerryM  
Posts: 2072
VIP Member

Great letter JOJO!!! Lots of us will get some much needed understanding by using it! Thanks Smile

06/12/2010 03:43 PM
Knightmare
KnightmarePosts: 1660
Senior Member

Thanks Jojo I am saving this letter and I know I will be using it in the future.
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