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Agoraphobia

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  1. Going out.

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    Agoraphobia means, literally, fear of the market place. You can interpret this as the supermarket, the bus, the train or any open space where you feel insecure. What happens? You FEAR you will be overcome by the feelings and collapse (extremely rare) and have to be 'taken' somewhere. The ultimate will happen although when asked to define this you will probably not be able to. Insecurity means fear. If you are in a situation where you feel threatened; insecure, then FEAR will surely enter the picture. Physiologically fear will cause certain bodily symptoms as it did with your ancestors; the cave dwellers who were confronted by wild animals. You still have those reponses built in and, by and large, they are good because they help you respond to danger which is a normal function. But you, in modern society, cannot run away or fight. (You can fight but would probably finish up in prison!). If you run away you would be regarded as a coward or, if in employment, an unreliable employee. So you try to 'stick it out'. But the feelings intensify and so more FEAR comes into the picture. You clutch the supermarket trolley until your knuckles show white. You sweat; you tremble and feel sick. And all because you cannot respond as did your ancestors. Then you begin to try and fight your way out. "I will not be beaten" you say, with gritted teeth. To 'fight' means 'to enter into combat with'. Now this uses a lot of energy so you become drained; exhausted, and, after a time, depleted. This is where depression may come in. It is nothing more than depletion magnified; exaggerated by your state of mind. What to do? When you feel a panic attack coming on try not to react by trying to push it away. Above all do not add second fear (as Dr. Weekes calls it). The 'oh my goodness; what shall I do, I will never get over this one; this one is the worse yet'. Take deep breathes and try and go with the feelings. Stop fighting and struggling to get rid of them. You will not succeed as they will run their course anyway. Adrenalin can only be secreted in limited amounts and the chances are you have certainly reached that limit in a panic attack. It ALWAYS subsides if left to do so without adding SECOND FEAR. Do you see the cycle. FEAR-ADRENALINE-FEAR. You can break the cycle by going about your business as calmly as possible (not easy). Tremble if you must; feel sick (which you wont be), let your body shake, it will not kill you by doing so. Never mind how self conscious you feel. The chances are that no one is even looking at you. You just think they are. You CAN and Will recover if you just ACCEPT how you feel and stop fighting "IT". FEAR feeds "IT". Don't give "IT" more energy to upset you. Good luck. J.

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