Avatar universal

Help Agoraphobia is ruining my life

I was diagnoised with agoraphobia 18yrs ago and have had CBT for it which does work for a while, a few weeks ago i took a panic attack driving and now i panic everywhere at home i feel as unsafe as  do when i am out, i understand the agoraphobia when i am out but why am i so bad at home can't stand to be alone am totally terrified, is this normal, i have been to the doctor so many times and she said its anxiety but i don't believe them which is probably making it worse, i am so depressed i can't drive my kids to school anymore or do anything i used to enjoy, what do i need to do. I have a therapist who really isn't much use anymore i don't feel safe with anyone or anywhere i just wondered anyone else feel the same or am i going mad, please help i am so scared.
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Avatar universal
Sounds like you are in 24/7 panic mode. You had your panic attack. It was horrible. But the big mistake was you let it take over your full life. Like you were expecting panic to just happen at any moment. Once you felt nervous indoors too you allowed that panic to enter your house as well. Thus you have created a situation were panic is now the ruler. And you are the pawn. It should be the other way around. You have let it into places you once felt safe in. And it here we must start. To see can we win these places back. One at a time. I am not trying to encourage you not to go outdoors. But for now we can put that to one side. You need to learn to relax in your own home. What if I told you that what you were feeling were just emotions. They come and they go. But when they come on it is all about how you react to them. That will determine what will happen next. There are four key elements. The mood, the thought, the reactions and the symptoms. They are all linked as one come the end of the day. Each has a knockon effect on the other. Panic hits you. How do you react. What thoughts are in your head. I would guess not so nice ones. Horrible thoughts. You react by pacing the room. Rubbling your hands together. You are thinking the worst of everything. Thus feeding the panic. It will continue to grow if we continue to feed it. What if you were to say ' I have had this before and it went away before too '? Big change of thought. With a big change of thought comes a change in the reaction. It has passed before. It has gone away before. So now you know it can pass and go away. So you don't pace the room. You just take 5. Sit yourself down. Close your eyes. Allow it to come on. But with the mindset that it will go away. By feeding it we get all those horrible symptoms. By not feeding it those symptoms will stay away. I am not saying this will be a walk in the park. Far from easy. To let the thing you fear the most to come on strong. Our first thought is to flee. To get the heck out of there. Run from the panic. Fight or flight. Flee is the first thought. But now you have a situation were you can not flee. Because you panic in the one place most people flee to. So for you it would be best to learn how to deal with the panic in your own home to begin with. Win your safe haven back. Make that your first goal. I know it is hard. Very easy for me to write these words. But I have been there before. Was housebound for a decade. Today I do go out and about. I practice what I like to preach. I let those bad feelings come on. It was hard. To try and stay focused and not freak out. The first few times are the hardest. But then your body and mind get so used to it. They are new feelings that the body has to adapt to. It is a bit like going back to when we were babies. Learning the basics all over again. The skills are still there. We have just forgotten how to use them. They are still within. You have just locked them away and let this nasty anxiety take over. You can be your own therapist if you feel you need to be. By keeping a simple journal on the mood, thoughts, reaction and symptoms. Look for a pattern over a period of weeks. Then ask yourself could you have thought in a different way? Could you have reacted in a different way? It is all still a learning process. No matter how long we have had these conditions. We are learning new things every day.
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Avatar universal
Thanks so much for the reply, i am trying to convince myself that it is anxiety and that i will be ok, i know that the more i am anxious the worse i will feel its hard to accpet the symptoms as anxiety but i have had them so long you would think i would be used to them by now, i know i need to make home my safe place again even that is hard to do but i am getting used to it by telling myself its ok to panic that it will pass and that i will be ok.
I will try the journal thing i have been writing down my feelings and symptoms anyway.
A decade was a long time to be housebound you done really well to get out again. Thanks again
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1492418 tn?1289149263
hi, i too got to where my house was not even safe from panic. My story sounds much like yours. I am getting better again, The book, the Mindful Way Through Depression, and the accompanying cd have helped me tremendoulsy,

I got the Jon Kabit-Zinn advice off here and it was the best move I've made toward helping myself. Since there is no real threat usually it really is a matter of teaching our mind how to focus while not fighting the thoughts.

Each day I gain a greater connection with my body feelings and thoughts. Many won't do what it takes to help themselves, just hope it will go away, and as you know that isn't going to happen. I decided to throw myself in and trust a process.

Within the last week I have driven from another town, granted with my husband following in another car but still, drove to a friends and stayed a couple hours, sounds like so little but was such a huge move for me, I told my therapist that asking me to go outside my box was too much so I decided to build a bigger box :)
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1118884 tn?1338592850
I believe it is important to accept your condition.  Every day will not be the same.  You already know that.

You both have others around you for support.  Be grateful for that.

If you live alone, as I do, it is really all up to me.  I take clonazapam and most days are good.
If I have a day of high anxiety, come back to apt. and regroup.  It will pass.

Good luck.
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