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How I beat my agoraphobia
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TOPIC: How I beat my agoraphobia

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#24407
Myk (User)
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How I beat my agoraphobia 5 Years, 3 Months ago  
I was so bad I couldn't go outside to my own backyard and I was not doing too good inside either.

My fix for the agoraphobia went hand in hand with panic disorder so you can discard what doesn't apply depending on where yours stems from.

My first step was Xanax. I took it solid for a week or two until I was OK with just being at home without agoraphobia. Learning to crochet/knit helped me not feel so worthless sitting on the couch doing nothing all the time.

Then I started having my roommate take me with him to stores (at first I waited in the truck while he went in) or take me to stores I had to go to, while I was on Xanax of course. I slowly got exposed to these things that were giving me issues.
Only taking enough Xanax to get me able to leave, MUCH smaller doses than some doctors think especially at the start when there's such a downer effect. The idea isn't to have the pill do it all but have it help you learn to do it on your own.

Another thing I did all through this was make recordings of my voice telling me everything was OK and correcting any negative thoughts I had. I used CD Walkman but a MP3 player would be better because you can add to it on the fly and loop a play list. My issue was panic disorder but this would work for other agoraphobia causes too. I also had printouts scattered about making the same corrections.
I adjusted the recordings as needed to correct new things and played it constantly. I listened to it when I went to the store and when I went to sleep.
I haven't listened to it in years but I still will have a moment where I think "I feel sick" or "I can't.." and automatically come back with "You feel fine" and "Yes you can". What's funny is even when I'm really sick I automatically correct it.

It took a long time but I finally got to where I could be taken with just Xanax in my pocket in case. By that time I was over the downer effect. I started going to stores on my own. Sometimes on Xanax sometimes just in my pocket. Panic was no excuse to postpone going somewhere (unless the somewhere required too much Xanax and driving myself).

Before some quack screwed with my head and set me back months (that I never fully got back because he scared me off going back) I was even forgetting to bring my Xanax along. At first it was scary realizing it wasn't in my pocket but I powered through. Instead of being 20 minutes away from relief I would just have to make it home to get relief.
Being able to go to local stores is about as far as I got because of the quack setting me back. But now I have a good doctor so I'm hoping he will have me go back to this exposure therapy so I can extend my range beyond 14 miles.

Driving on a prescribed benzo is something you and your law have to decide for yourself. For me 1 .25mg Xanax is way better than me driving in a panic. Some laws say it's illegal prescribed or not.
If you can't drive on it you just need someone else to drive you until you get good enough with being out and about that you don't need it.

I don't know how this works for a more OCD thing but I do have some of that if I'm going to something that causes panic and didn't take enough. I've had to stop at the end of the street and come back to check the door I knew I locked. Sometimes running through my check list out loud keeps me from repeating too many times.
 
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#24409
Azmom (User)
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Re:How I beat my agoraphobia 5 Years, 3 Months ago  
Thank you Myk......that's kinda what I have been doing, except that I am also on an ssri called celexa. My anxiety started when I found out I needed a surgery. I was terrified of getting the anesthesia. Anyways my nightmare started from that day. I had my first panic attack about a week after that in a grocery store. My anxiety got to where it was causing insomnia and then of course this causing more panic attacks. Had a terrible time on the first few tries with ssris. Had every possible side effect. I still can't believe I've survived all that I have been through. Anyways celexa has seemed to finally start to ease some of the panic attacks. I have also been using a very low dose of klonopin.

I will definitely try some of your recommended techniques. Thank you for your times and I hope things are well with you. I will keep you posted
 
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#24410
Myk (User)
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Re:How I beat my agoraphobia 5 Years, 3 Months ago  
I've had the panic since I was a kid. I did avoidance but it never turned into full on agoraphobia.
I don't mind the anesthesia, I mind the IV they put it in

I have a fear that I'm going to end up as bad as ever after all this medical stuff is done and running into people that have to see the anxiety get really bad before being willing to allow anything to be done. At least I have an MP3 player this time.

As far as insomnia, I've got like 9 hours of sleep since I last woke up at 7pm on Monday. It's 10pm on Thursday.

I don't think I can bring myself to do SSRIs. I had a terrible time when messing with those chemicals.
The same .25mg Xanax has been working for me for 7 years and the only major change is I no longer ever take 1/4s and 1/2 is getting rare. But once I quit going to doctors and just went to my dentist I stopped being aggressive trying to change and just lived with what I had. I'm having moments that are really looking up with this new doctor.
 
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#24417
Azmom (User)
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Re:How I beat my agoraphobia 5 Years, 3 Months ago  
Ugh....insomnia is the worst. Just about as bad as panic attacks, right! I had it real bad about a week after my sinus surgery. Went to the emergency room two times. How are you coping with the insomnia? I had a terrible time with ssris too. But I think my brain is starting to finally get used to it. I've been on celexa about three weeks. Im able to drive a few places now. And go to smaller stores. Although my anxiety is still pretty high. I think it will take a while to actually get the thoughts of panic out of my head. It's hard to forget those feelings of impending doom. Lol. I have never been completely house bound....I always got out everyday even though most of the time it was with someone I trusted. Always on the verge of panic but always pushing through. My thought was ....I can't let this happen to me. I hope celexa starts to help me more as e days pass . Hope you are doing well and getting some rest~. Sonya
 
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#24418
Myk (User)
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Re:How I beat my agoraphobia 5 Years, 3 Months ago  
I got 6 hours of sleep last night. I had planned on getting the 1-4 hours and then when I woke up with my mind running take a Xanax for the other 4 hours. But 6 hours is good enough.

It depends on what insomnia is caused by. Generally if I have to go to sleep and can't it's because of panic so it's a double whammy. But that's generally something half a Xanax will fix.
This week I was wired so other than ending up dazed it wasn't so bad.

Getting completely housebound doesn't stop it getting worse as I found out. Getting out once a day is good. That's probably why I never got agoraphobic as a kid, for all my mother's faults she knew just how far to push it.
I think my problem was I work at home and once I started having more and more panic linked to driving in winter I just holed up all winter.

If you're tolerating the Celexa I think it should work.
For me even Buspar made me loopy.
 
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#24419
Cybervato (User)
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Re:How I beat my agoraphobia 5 Years, 3 Months ago  
Myk you are lucky you didnt go into full on agoraphobia. I did and ended up being housebound for a month and a half. It was terrible and thoughts of taking a final plunge ran rampant.

Luckily, through a good Doctor, the right meds and a plan to deal with the anxiety, I have been mostly severe anxiety free for the last 6 years. (Still have normal anxieties though and an occasional Panic attack).

Azmom, I totally agree those thoughts of impending doom and lack of control are a hard cycle to geet out of. The fact that you are doing something constructive to change your condition will help you get out of that whirlpool.

As for SSRI's. I had to go through a couple before finding the one that worked for me. Paxil, which many people can and do take, gave me horrible side effects before my Dr and I decided on luvox which worked exactly as it is suppposed to.

So if one doesnt work for you, it doesnt mean they all won't.

and yeah insomnia UGH! I am sorry you are having it so bad Myk. I am sure the lack of sleep just magnifies all the angst as well.
 
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