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07/13/2009 01:03 PM

still trying

valentin
Posts: 204
Member

hi everyone,i have been agoraphobic for 12 years.before that travelled everywhere.Agoraphobia has ruined many aspects of my life(no work,few friends,no girlfriend etc etc).I had 1600 hours of a very broad range of therapies and self treatment with virtually no improvement.Then i tried a year of exposure therapy,it was the only process that improved me,after about 6 months of painfully slow improvement,i suddenly leapt ahead,i couldn't believe it,for the next 9 months i improved so much i thought i would soon be cured,i felt great.Then,i had several traumas at once including near death from heart attack,and was back to square 1.I practiced exposure therapy again(this time on my own),and was amazed to find the process worked for me again,but i have recently lost motivation and got stuck.i welcome any communication from anyone,love V.
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07/13/2009 01:12 PM
mem8011

Hi there,

So glad to have you in the group! I'm really interested in exposure therapy. Can You tell me if your therapy was assisted how you went about gettibg it?


07/13/2009 01:33 PM
Anna321
Anna321  
Posts: 10505
VIP Member

Hi Valentin,

I know what you are feeling. I have had this illness for 14 years now and I too have only responded to slow exposure. The biggest thing for me was to not run away from my panic, not to fight it at the same time not ignore it. I look at it more rationally, less emotionally. That has allowed me to be more panic free to the point that I have regained at least some of my life. Like you I feel stuck at this point. I do not feel like going out of my comfort zone any more and hence I do not challenge myself. I want to be free but after so many years I find myself wanting to give in and give up. I think we both need a good kick in the butt because our lives are in our hands and as they say "No pain, no gain" right? A setback is just that, nothing more and now that you know what works for you, you also know how important it is to keep doing it until it means nothing to you any more.

Anna


07/13/2009 02:46 PM
Wintersnow

Hey Valentin, It is so nice to meet you. Just wanted to welcome you to our group. It is wonderful that you have come here for advice. We are a friendly, nojudgemental group. Feel free to PM me anytime ofyou have questions.

Welome!


07/14/2009 10:59 AM
valentin
Posts: 204
Member

Hi,well,exposure therapy is going repeatedly into the frightening situation,that's the basic process.Horrible,but the only thing that improved things.

My exposure therapy was assisted.I had a lovely caring therapist visit me in my apartment.As i got better,we would meet away from home.Once per week for 1 year.

They say it works just as well doing exposure on your own.When my agoraphobia returned 100% after traumas including a heart attack,the therapy wasn't available to me so i tried it myself,i thought it would not work this time,i felt i needed a therapist again,but to my amazement it seems to work exactly the same and just as well!Amazing!Having said this i would never had done it the first time without a therapist,so this is the strange paradox.

I found out by accident that MIND in westminster(MIND are the biggest mental health charity in u.k.)were running an 'agoraphobia support scheme' as a pilot programme,i was interviewed and thought to be a good canditate,so that was it.MIND still haven't spread the scheme further,it is still only available in Westminster(central London).

However,i believe thier are therapists who offer exposure therapy. love, V.(feel free to write back,love to chat)


07/14/2009 11:06 AM
valentin
Posts: 204
Member

Hi,thanks for the warm welcome.I used to be a tough,hard business man,succesful and unstoppable,but now God has decided i need to be brought down from my dizzy hights and i'm getting 'softer' and 'softer' so that even a warm welcome makes me fuzzy inside.I think this could be part of the way forward,L, V.

07/14/2009 11:26 AM
valentin
Posts: 204
Member

yes,motivation(or lack of it)is a huge problem in my life,not just tackling frightening phobias but also anything useful or productive.You are so right about a kick up the butt,i totally agree.

The odd thing is,that in my life,i have achieved astounding things that many are amazed by,and yet i have always had this block with motivation,so i can't quite work it out!

Anyway,i'm very very interested in your approach to feelings of panic,really interesting,could you tell me more,sounds fascinating.

Love V.


07/14/2009 01:45 PM
Anna321
Anna321  
Posts: 10505
VIP Member

Hi Valentin,

Sounds like you and I are in a very similar situation. I too have been quite successful in my life but only to a point. I graduated University at the top of my year and was seen as someone who would go far. What people never knew about me is that I never felt worthy or good enough. I never gave myself credit for my achievements, I suppose that would be low self-esteem. My outlook on life has always been very pessimistic which left me with a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor for which I am known, and which my friends love but only I know where it stems from. Oddly enough after years of battling this illness my attitude towards life changed. I got so pissed off about losing my freedom that all of my shyness disappeared. Yes, I am devastated that this "got" me but I am just as angry about it. How the hell did this happen to me? How could anyone ever expect to be so completely robbed of their life. To be imprisoned without any actual walls? I am sure all of us have these questions.

The one thing that helps me most, as I mentioned before, is to really dissect panic. To know what fear really is and why each symptom appears, what the consequence of it is. That demystifies the feelings I have making them less scary.

When I feel panic I can say "I understand what is happening and why, I also understand that I can make it shorter by giving it less power".

When we perceive a situation as dangerous, whether it is real or false danger, our mind immediately activates the sympathetic nervous system, our fighting mechanism, that in turn prepares our body for battle. Since there is no real danger I suppose our only reaction then is to flee since there is nothing to fight, so we escape, feel better, and reinforce in our heads that the situation was dangerous. However our bodies are well built. There is no way we can stay in that high state of alertness forever. At some point our parasympathetic nervous system must take over to regulate our bodies. If only we stayed in that perceived danger for long enough to see that happen. Knowing about the differences between emotions and thoughts during panic also helps me. Things like that, just raising my awareness of what all of this really is.

That is why exposure therapy is so important, but it must be practiced and practiced and practiced.....

Knowledge is power as they say but having said that I am also very, very human and sometimes I get to the point where I just want to throw my hands up and say "Who the hell cares?!!". Then I get into the "Does it really matter whether we live happy or sad, in the end we all end up in the same place, this is too much work.." You see what I mean? And of course there is life, a constant roller coaster.

And here I am writing you an essay, almost a book about my frustrations, forgive me, but so few people really know what it is like.

How much are you able to do at this point in your life? What is your next goal?

Be strong, Anna Cool


07/14/2009 06:55 PM
PinkWarrior007
PinkWarrior007  
Posts: 1302
Senior Member

I also had therapy years ago, exposure, and it helped me a lot, I even flew on a plane twice. First time I had ever flown. But, over the years I have gotten worse and I am at my lowest right now. I can't seem to do the exposure therapy alone. I wish I understood what kind of motivation it takes to do it alone. My family is totally frustrated with me. I also have some external situations that have been very stressful for some time now. I think those things influence our healing as well, but I will not ever give up because I know that people can heal from this. I think one thing that keeps me down is feeling I have no purpose in life. I have very little stimulation in my world right now. That can also cause anxiety symptoms to increase. Well, enough about me, I just know I will never stop until I am OK.

07/14/2009 07:15 PM
Anna321
Anna321  
Posts: 10505
VIP Member

Oh I know exactly what you mean when you say you feel you have no purpose in life. I have felt that way for a long time now. I am a wife, a mother a daughter but there seems to be no me. There was a time in my recovery when I was also doing much better and then my mom died and then my dad got cancer and my healing went downhill. I became so preoccupied with the fact that I was losing such important people in my life, my heart broke, my motivation flew away. I am very dependent on others and that is very frustrating to me. I function OK within my comfort zone and that gives the illusion of me doing better but I am trapped within my safe walls and the happy face I put on for others, it is fake, inside there is despair and anger. I want to move forward but I don't have the guts to. I am sick of having to constantly ask to be taken places. I dream of independence. I resent the fact that no one understands how difficult most simple things are for me. It is a long and lonely journey. It is an odd illness but I agree with you, we must not dwell on our setbacks, we must work on getting better, it is possible. You are all giving me hope again.
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