Hello my name is Ashley, I'm new here, I'm looking for support, hope and help.
Sometimes I feel so trapped by my agoraphobia I feel like ending my life. I used to love the outdoors. My favorite activities where rockclimbing, canoeing, backpacking and camping in the wilderness. I would go on walks, not knowing where I was going to end up for hours, sit on the bus just to people watch listening to music. Now I feel so weak. If I go outside I worry I will have a panic attack. I don't have panic attacks very often and I think that is the problem, I wish I had them more often actually because now it's like I only get a panic attack once or twice a year and when I do the residual anxiety and panic takes forever to leave, I am high up and can't sleep or do anything for days and I feel scared for months, it takes so long to get back to normal. So I guess I am so afraid of panic attacks because they are so inconvienient in my life and I am trying to avoid having one so bad.
Anyways, when I go outside I feel like I am too out in the open and I need to be contained in my house, I want to go back inside of someplace that can contain me asap. I don't like the sunlight, it's too bright, the flowers are too bright, everything is too bright and open, I don't like being out in the open with the breeze. I used to love it :'(. It's spring time and I can't even enjoy it, I used to love nature so much before and now I can't stand it. Before I know it it will be winter again and then I won't be able to leave my house because it is too cold, i'll lose another year :'(. I'm not afraid of anything specific like getting robbed or lost or ridiculed or something i'm just scared of being outside in the bright and open, nobody understands that, I'm just scared i'll have a panic attack because i'm not contained and the brightness makes me feel like i'm more suseptible to having a panic attack.
Everyday I feel it getting worse, I feel like soon I might be housebound. I have been before for short periods of time before. I was even afraid to take this black sheet off my window to let the sun in. But that was before I got on klonopin for anxiety. Things got better for a while, I went camping, I was normal. Then I got tolerant..Now I take 2mgs a day and I hate it, I am addicted and it doesn't really do anything for me, I am in the same place or worse than I was when I got on it but now I can't get off of it or else I will have a panic attack right away.
I feel so trapped. I feel like it is impossible for me to get better, that these feelings will never go away. I want so bad to be normal again, I cry all the time, I feel so bad for my boyfriend whenever we go on a walk (which I can't walk for than a couple blocks having anxiety the whole way and I don't have a car sooo...) I can't talk or have fun while we are walking like we used to, I just cry and grab and scratch at him in fear and beg to go home :'(. I can tell he is disapointed in this but he tries to help, it just angers me when he tries to help, I feel like he doesn't understand. I feel like I should leave him because I'm just bringing him down.
I am 29 weeks pregnant and I want to be able to go out with my baby when she is born. How will I ever get over this?? Is it possible? It feels impossible. I feel like I have wasted my life, ruined myself and everyone around me. Sometimes I feel like I should give my baby up for adoption even though I love her so much, I just don't see how I'm ever going to get over this. It's just gotten worse since I've gotten pregnant, actually like a million times worse. I used to walk everywhere last fall, even at night. I used to like the outdoors. When I became pregnant I also moved away from home into my own apartment in a not so good neighborhood, I don't have a car and I'm pregnant. Could any of these factors be the reason things have gotten so bad? Even tho when I was living at home it was a terrible and stressful enviornment with really negative people and unhealthy dirty living conditioons, I lived there since I was 7. Maybe it was my "safe zone".
I have derealization panic attacks and they scare the sh*t out of me. I don't care about my heart racing or anything else. I used to have that thinking I would have a heart attack and stay up for days but one day I got tired of it and said screw this, I'm not going to have a heart attack and if I do I'll get to the hospital in time, no need worrying about it and ruining my life. That worked and the heart attack feeling panic went away, but I can't do the same thing with the derealization. I just don't like how I feel disconected from everything and everyone, I feel so alone in my own little world. I don't like being alone and so far away from everything. My worst fear is that the feeling like that will last forever and I'll be disconnected forever and I don't want to risk that.
I don't get how my life could change so drastically from going camping in the deep woods and rockclimbing all the time feeling so free and happy to not being able to even walk down the street. My apartment is a very small studio and thats my life, just a couple steps around. I even get scared when I go to the bathroom :'(, sometimes I hold my pee because I don't want to go in there, or I leave the shower curtain open while I shower and get water all over the floor and my boyfriend gets mad at me. I feel vulnerable in the bathroom though, only in this TINY living room are things "safe". Is there hope??
Post edited by: Goingtoheal, at: 04/28/2012 09:22 PM
You poor thing.A terrible terrible situation.I lost everything to Agoraphobia,work i loved,money,girlfriend,holidays,the joy of nature,singing in a rock band,friends,social life and deep pleasurable spiritual meditation(as it sparked off panic),I cannot list the joys and pleasures agoraphobia has squeezed out of my life,however,i am still here,discovering new pleasures,feeling life is good and very slowly getting better.
You have the same problem as all of us,you are not alone.You have an illness which is severely disabling.It's terrible and you have a right to feel awful.
But you also have another terrible problem which you DO have power over and can start to transform it right now.And that problem is negative thinking.Putting yourself down and having thoughts of not getting better and how awful the future will be is only natural,guilt and worry.And who could blame you for thinking that way?It's only natural.But you can choose to think positively or differently if you wish.So your problem is two,one is the agoraphobia and one is the negative thinking.You may not be able to do much about the agoraphobia,(at the moment),but you CAN start to change your thinking.It may not help your agoraphobia or panic but it certainly wont make it worse.
So start changing what you DO have control over,your thoughts and thinking,distract yourself or think positively every time a negative thought comes in.Don't dwell on it or feed it.counter it with something pleasurable,distracting or with more positive thoughts.You cannot know the future,you are not a psychic who can predict your future,none of us know the disasters or delights in store for us so stop predicting and making the future awful.It hasn't happened yet and who knows what delights might be already set up to come your way?So re-align your thinking to the sunny bright happy joyful possibilities.You have enough to deal with,with your agoraphobia,you dont need your 'awful future'thinking added on top as well.Think more positive possibilities,you might as well.If things turn out bad it can't be much worse than you're imagining and if things turn out better,what a fool you'll feel having wasted all that mental and emotional time and energy in just scaring yourself and bringing yourself down.
We all get ill and illness is disabling.That's what agoraphobia and panic/fear is,an illness.You wouldn't blame yourself for having asthma or an allergy or cancer,why blame yourself for panic or agoraphobia?
Be kind to yourself,start becoming your own best friend,talk to yourself with kindness,acceptance,approval and encouragement.It may not help your agoraphobia but it will certainly help how you feel within the illness.
At least then you can think about what may deal with your agoraphobia,because that is certainly a big enough problem to get over on its own.You don't need negative worry/guilt thoughts and feelings added on top to deal with as well.Agoraphobia is more than enough work to deal with on it's own so take the demands,pressures and judgements about yourself and your future off,work on reducing them and countering them,they're not helpful so you might as well be practical.Prepare for the worst but think and hope for the best.
I was the same was as you I loved the outdoors, hiking, going to the beach and all. Now I am trapped. I can only walk a few blocks with my husband and teenage daughter, can't get to the stores, and feel trapped. I agree with valentin about the negative thinking( I have it too). You have to replace it with positive thinking( I am still working on this). My panic attacks are different than yours, mine are all in my throat, I feel like there is a ball stuck there and I am going to choke to death, which led to the panic and somehow led to agoraphobia. I hate it, no one likes it, but you are not alone. I also think you need to let your OB/gyn know about what you are feeling, and I take klonopin too and it doesn't do a thing for me. Cheryl
Welcome to the group Ashley. There is always hope! You can and will get better . You have to believe that, because it is true! You may want to visit the eye doctor to find out why you are having trouble with the brightness outside. Then you can get that worry off of your mind. You are going through a very stressful time in your life right now. That could very well explain the derealization feelings. That's a natural response that our bodies use to fend off stress. It's not a nice feeling, but it is normal and safe. Relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and using positive affirmations can be a great help. Look into those techniques. Now take a deep breath, exhale, smile, and tell yourself... "I am going to be just fine. I am safe now and always."
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