lonelybird

New here and Agoraphobic

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lonelybird    1

Hi I don't know where to begin this but I am new here,and I have been experiencing severe agoraphobia for the last several years. You can call me Anne btw. Not my real name though( I am also a radio personality and don't want people to know this is really me),but you get what gender I am.

I was actually officially diagnosed agoraphobic by an actual doctor in 2004,but lately feel it has gotten way worse compared to the last decade. 

As of right now,I have not left my house since December,and prior to that since July,and so forth. 2015 I hardly went out at all. Only two times to visit my friend's radio show and to use an ATM machine nearby,and that's it. I live with a roommate who is much older than me too. She knows about my illness but alot of times doesn't seem to get it,and during arguments brings it up as if to insult me and make me feel as if it is  my fault.  I don't think it is my fault... it was NOT this bad before,and also this is not a choice I am making.

Several things that have made my agoraphobia worse I think:

 

1) My younger brother and grandfather who raised me both passed away earlier this decade, and that has sent me into a spiralling depression making my agoraphobia worse.

2) I have been attacked in public,both verbally and nearly physically by men,and that has produced enough trauma for me not to want to go out. I used to get sexually harassed in public also,and that has made me not want to go out either. It even stresses me out to think about those things.

3) I use marijuana on a daily basis. My roommate brings it to me or I have it delivered.Don't think that is the main problem but I am sure it doesn't help my condition either.

4) I have most things delivered online these days like groceries and stuff. I dread going to the store. I just don't feel comfortable around people. I never liked being in  big crowds.

5) I have body dysmorphia. I have also been made fun of in public. I am very sensitive towards criticism based on my looks.

6) I feel I have an addiction to the internet.

7) I also suffer from Trichotillomania(hair pulling) and feel it makes my body dysmorphia even worse.

 

I've tried anti-depressants also before and nothing seems to work. They put me on one last summer,but it did not work at all.

Irony is that I also have my own radio program. The station I am currently on lets me air it from my home though,and I never have to meet them face to face. Proir to that I used to work for another station nearby where I actually had to physically leave my home  to their studio in order to air my show there. They fired me back in 2014 though. That also has sent me into a deeper depression. So over the last few years ,on and off ,I have been trying to improve my condition by trying to go out and see my therapist,but it's been realy difficult. The last time I was out in public last December,honestly I did not feel very comfortable. I nearly fainted at one point and it wasn't a pleasant experience.

I am just so depressed at the moment, I just don't know how to get out of this agoraphobia I've been in. On top of that I also suffer from severe OCD. I use gloves whenever I touch things. At times I feel my problems alienate my roommate and I ,but mostly she doesn't really try to bring it up unless she gets stressed over money and we argue. I feel incredibly s*****al at times though. I get s*****al thoughts on a daily basis. I have also alienated most of my family because of my problem. I haven't spoken to my mom since 2014,and haven't with my father since 2004. I hide behind my radio show alot but I don't think my listeners know how troubled I actually am. :( Then again my show isn't all that huge,although I have interviewed many celebrities which is ironic.That is also very stressful on some level. People hardly visit me these days either. Ugh I feel so confused and feel so much pain everyday. I am very frustrated and hope to find help soon,but don't know where to find it. I do not feel my regular therapist has been helping me really.I used to go out and do normal things,but now avoid what I used to love doing and that really bothers me. I missed going to a concert last September by my favorite band due to my illness for example.

I hate this illness and alot of times feel very lonely with it.

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Gilly    1,041

Hi Anne, welcome to AC :) 

Thank you for sharing, I'm so sorry to hear what you are going through and have had to endure. I have agoraphobia too, I completely understand. No judgement here! We try to encourage and support each other. 

CBT helped me, but I took it very, very slowly and gradually. I didn't and still don't take any medication. I have a complicated history and life hasn't got much easier either, my husband died last year and I am now alone, everything got harder but I also have gotten more motivated too. 

I still have my limits but I have pushed my boundaries. I have lived where I live for 15 years and before this past year I had never once been able to walk to the city center, I couldn't walk across the street at one time. I can now walk into the city center without anxiety and fear, ok that is not always entirely true, sometimes I still have some 'what if's that make me want to turn around and come back home but I have not, yet.

Baby steps, and hope. Have hope. Support and encouragement is so important and I hope we can help you with some of that! No matter how bad it is, and how long it has been you really can overcome, I promise :) 

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lonelybird    1

Hi Gilly nice to meet you. :)

 

I am in San Francisco,CA by the way. Was born and raised here. Yea I know what you mean about  going to places. One of my favorite neighborhoods here in SF is the Haight-Ashbury district and I haven't even visited up there in nearly 5 years,and it's not even that far from where I live. I feel kinda ashamed of that,I used to go there almost everyday.

I am looking into CBT but I haven't found a good option for that here.  I got in contact with one doctor,but after my last email reply to her she never responded back. I get a feeling alot of times people don't understand how hard this illness is,even some health professionals I feel don't get it.

I usually don't post on these types of forums either,but I think I'll read this alot more. I also have been incredibly depressed lately. Certain plans I made last year never fell through,and makes me feel like a failure. I feel defeated, jaded, and wishing I had done things much differently. Not sure how I'll get over that feeling,but I'll try to take small steps. Thank you for replying to me.

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lonelybird    1

Hi!!! Thought I'd bump this thread up.

 

Still suffering and haven't left the house yet. This is one of the biggest reasons why I am always skeptical of forums like these.... They're filled with a bunch of people only concerned with their own issues,and when I waste my time to open up about personal issues to a bunch of strangers,it always seems to be ignored.

 

If you assume I have it easy, I don't. I really wish more people would respond but I see how it is!!!!!

 

Sorry I've wasted my time here.

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MARC    53

Welcome to the forum. I would try to take baby steps when leaving the house. Walk around the house slowly. Then maybe the neighborhood and gradually increase your distance. It may take time, but you can do it. From the period September 2012 through August 2013, my mother, father and uncle all passed away which was no fun. I believe if you practice self help, therapy and medication, you can overcome this and get back on your feet. You can do it, just don't give up.

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MsLLL    194

Hi Lonelybird,

sorry you are going through a hard time. We all have been there. And yes, we all have our issues but still care about each other and give each other support and help. I don't think anyone thinks you or anyone else struggling with a mental condition has it easy. But you can't expect to get a bunch of responses the minute you post something. Like all good things in life, things take time and the more you participate the more you will get out of this wonderful forum. 

I think it's a first good step you've opened up about your struggles. The second good step is trying to find a counselor and doctor and not give up on that. If you have reached out to one person and they don't respond, get in touch again if they have a good reputation. If this doesn't work, keep trying until you find someone who can help. 

People on here will listen and help, but in the acute state of anxiety professional help is very much needed in my humble opinion and experience.

About your room mate: I don't think she is capable of comprehending what this does to you since she is not inflicted with this condition. I have people in my life who love me very much and didn't understand what was happening, and they have tried very hard. The only people  who would get it are the ones who have experienced it themselves, and even than it's a different experience for each of us. In your post I can hear the expectations you have, you want relief, help and understanding. We all do:) but I think we have to give it to ourselves if that makes sense. You are the one who has to find the right help for you, that will bring relief in the long run. You have to understand what's going on with yourself: and your environment will accept it better too. 

Best Wishes and let us know how it goes! Like Marc said, take baby steps! 

 

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lonelybird    1

Thank you for the replies so far!  It's been very frustrating to say the least. I noticed I became fully agoraphobic after being fired from a radio station in 2014. Prior to that I was going out to places on a much more regular basis. Getting fired in 2014 really triggered this bad depression and made me more agoraphobic.I don't know how to overcome that.  I also feel not very motivated to go out. I constantly feel this pressure over my physical appearance,and I feel really tormented. 80% of the time I dread how I look,and yet I keep getting messages on my Facebook from strangers saying they think my pictures look hot. If they only saw me with my actual problems up close I don't think they'd like me.

I have a regular therapist but feel she doesn't do much. Haven't visited her since last July. I also feel heavily addicted to cannabis,and don't feel any real stimulation or interest in things unless i am totally stoned. Not sure if that is bad,I know on some level it is,but in general I feel very apathetic most of the time unless I am intoxicated on something. Today I am sober because I don't have anything to smoke until tomorrows,but this empty feeling and anxiety is really more prominent when I am sober.

I wish someone can comeby and pick me up in their car and take me out somewhere actually! I haven't had a true friend like that in years.Most guys that do want to take me out want to use me,and aren't real friends. I am so sick of that. I miss having a real friend who is into the same things as me,and cares enough to comeby and checkup on me. Not sure where I can find that again.

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MsLLL    194

Yeah, we probably all wished at one time or another for someone to come by to rescue us:s I still believe we have to do it for ourselves though. It's great to have friends and family who help out but it won't make the issue/conflict go away unless we face it head on. If you don't feel your therapist is helping you, it's time to get a new one! You need to be with someone who really gets you and the anxiety and helps you to help yourself! 

When I was in the midst of anxiety I felt like the ugliest girl in the world. My self esteem was shot. And it didn't matter at all that other people found me pretty. What good does it do when one doesn't feel that themselves? Same thing when people told me: You seem so happy, how can you have anxiety? 

Not to be too philosophical but I think anxiety is a chance too; it helps you to discover yourself in the long run and make peace with things in your life! When people used to tell me this on this forum right here I didn't believe it! I thought: What are they talking about? I just want my old life back! But they were right. It's a journey and you will get there! Whatever it is you need to address! 

I don't have experience with cannabis at all but I'm not judging you. I know a lot of anxiety sufferer's self-medicate until they get real help. 

Maybe you can go outside for 2 minutes today? Just venture out and stay close to your place. Build up your comfort level. 

 

 

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lonelybird    1
7 hours ago, MsLLL said:

Yeah, we probably all wished at one time or another for someone to come by to rescue us:s I still believe we have to do it for ourselves though. It's great to have friends and family who help out but it won't make the issue/conflict go away unless we face it head on. If you don't feel your therapist is helping you, it's time to get a new one! You need to be with someone who really gets you and the anxiety and helps you to help yourself! 

When I was in the midst of anxiety I felt like the ugliest girl in the world. My self esteem was shot. And it didn't matter at all that other people found me pretty. What good does it do when one doesn't feel that themselves? Same thing when people told me: You seem so happy, how can you have anxiety? 

Not to be too philosophical but I think anxiety is a chance too; it helps you to discover yourself in the long run and make peace with things in your life! When people used to tell me this on this forum right here I didn't believe it! I thought: What are they talking about? I just want my old life back! But they were right. It's a journey and you will get there! Whatever it is you need to address! 

I don't have experience with cannabis at all but I'm not judging you. I know a lot of anxiety sufferer's self-medicate until they get real help. 

Maybe you can go outside for 2 minutes today? Just venture out and stay close to your place. Build up your comfort level. 

 

 

Wow some good words there to let sink in. Sounds easy,but I don't think I can go outside quite yet. I also suffer from extreme OCD on top of having agoraphobia :( It makes it hard for me to bathe at times because I don't like touching certain things with my bare hands. I think I have a toilet phobia because if I accidentally touch a toilet with my bare hands, I end up not wanting to touch anything else for the whole day,and I end up being completely depressed. Sounds crazy and I end up using latex gloves alot. Like right at this moment I am typing with gloves on my hands!! I know it is irrational,but feels like I am under this mental block. Not only the toilet,but I don't like touching the floor with my bare hands either.

My roommate is a bit older than me,and is the opposite. She goes around touching a bunch of  dirty stuff with her bare hands,like the garbage can,and then without washing her hands she goes to open the fridge like it's nothing. I have confronted my roommate about this alot,and we've gotten into really bad fights over it. She gets really annoyed when I ask her if she can wash her hands to the point I just have to accept and deal how she is. I don't want to be a control freak,and I try to avoid telling her what to do,but when stuff like that happens it really triggers my OCD really bad. I feel awful because my roommate never goes into my room at all because she knows if she touched anything personal of mine I'd freakout. Despite this,my roommate has been very patient with me. As long as I pay the rent,and foot the grocery bill things seem ok within the household. We get along very well I'd say 85% of the time. So today I woke up and accidentally touched something dirty,and now I feel I can't touch anything else for the whole day with my bare hands. I end up using gloves,and this feeling doesn't go away unless I slept,and feel fully rested. Somehow when I sleep my mind refreshes itself,and then I wake up dealing with not touching certain things.

I feel my best however when I wake up and avoid touching the things my mind doesn't want to touch,and successfully get myself into the bath. After that I feel free to touch alot of my very valuable possessions,but still avoid touching bathroom stuff,the floor,and the garbage. I know that sounds really crazy,but I am not content with just mere handwashing. Like again if I touch the toilet with my bare hands,I don't feel I can touch anything else for the whole day even after washing my hands from it. Somehow a full night's rest makes that feeling go away. Ugh I don't want to be like this,but I don't know how to break out of this mental block I am in. I've read about "exposure therapy" with OCD patients,but it completely terrifies me. There's absolutely no way I can touch the toilet with my bare hands,and then go touching my prized possessions without washing my hands :( The thought of that makes me sick in my stomach,and yet I've heard that is a valid form of therapy.

So I cannot go out yet,until I've had a full bath,and at least a plan on where to go even if it is to just walk around the block I feel at least there's some purpose to it like maybe grabbing a bite to eat or putting something in the mailbox. I still need to visit my friend's radio show,and working my way towards that. We also have a  dog at home,and when my roommate was away on a business trip for a whole week last summer I had no choice but to go out and walk the dog. I felt that really me helped with my agoraphobia,but after that I had a relapse into depression last August and haven't done it since. My doctor prescribed me an anti-depressant medication last summer also,but felt it did not work and feel it is one of the causes I had a bad relapse.

I know at some point I'm also gonna have to see a doctor. One of my tooth fillings fell out over a year ago,and at times I suffer from tooth pain. I told a few online dentists several weeks ago about this,and some of them were like "You better get it treated soon or else it can be fatal.."  :( A part of me feels scared,but also a bit apathetic. On top of that I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my right arm. When I sit in certain positions  I feel a tingling numbness shooting down my arm into my thumb and index finger.

 

So that's where I stand today. Still feeling really trapped with all these issues. I hope next month will be positive.

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MsLLL    194

Hi,

I don't think any of this is crazy, nor does anyone else on here. I think we 'cope' the best we can with what we got and just hope we get relief. And it's totally ok if you can't go outside yet. It's just a suggestion and doesn't need to be carried out at all. You will know when you are ready to go! And like Gily said: Never give up hope! Many people on here had very dark times and found what has helped them and turned things completely around. You will too! :)

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lonelybird    1

I'm planning to get out next week. I'm gonna start off by walking around the block gradually,and drop something in the mailbox. Then if I feel even better I plan to visit my friend next Friday.

 

Wish me luck! I feel incredibly nervous,but I feel more positive about it this time.

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angks    0

Hi , 

 

i'm new here . i also suffer from Agoraphobic .... its Suxxxx

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MsLLL    194
1 hour ago, angks said:

Hi , 

 

i'm new here . i also suffer from Agoraphobic .... its Suxxxx

Hi Angks! Welcome to our wonderful community! You will find a lot of help here and people who are in the same boat! Take it one day at a time. All will be good:) 

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angks    0

Hi MsLLL, 

 

hope really can find somethings useful here to overcome my agoraphobic. 

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lonelybird    1

Hi there. Sorry you're going through it.

 

 

Not sure what to say ,as I still am stuck at home myself,but I've been making plans to get out and really know I'll be getting out a few times at least before the summer's end.

 

 

I reached out to my therapist today and hope to see her next month. Positive things are happening to me creatively lately too which has been a good sign. I do have my own radio show and that keeps me occupied. I still get very depressed though,and I had a small argument with my roommate today,but I'm gonna try not to let those things get me down.

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MARC    53

Many years ago my sister did not leave the house for a whole year due to panic attacks. She had just graduated high school back in 1978. 

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lonelybird    1

Hi there! Just an update on myself. I have not left the house yet :( Going into 8 months of 2017 and I haven't left the house! Things are kind of starting to feel claustrophobic at times,and maybe feeling stir crazy. Sometimes I think "Maybe actually this is a choice I am making too?"... I just hate being around people at times,they really annoy me. If I can afford it I'll just stay inside as long as I need,but starts to get boring. I'm just worried about my bad tooth,and getting too depressed to the point I don't feel I can function.

 

I would like to cutdown on smoking cannabis too. I agree it might be making my anxiety worse,but not sure. It helps with my appetite and boredom,but I guess it doesn't motivate me to get out.

 

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Mark G    873
On 29/07/2017 at 5:50 AM, lonelybird said:

I would like to cutdown on smoking cannabis too

My advice, get of the stuff completely.  I started smoking it at the age of 12 (i know, ridiculous) and it almost certainly aided in the formation of deep seated anxiety in me, it was an enabler as it carved out neuro pathways.  It may well help you in taking the first step in preparing to go outside again.

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lonelybird    1
6 hours ago, Mark G said:

My advice, get of the stuff completely.  I started smoking it at the age of 12 (i know, ridiculous) and it almost certainly aided in the formation of deep seated anxiety in me, it was an enabler as it carved out neuro pathways.  It may well help you in taking the first step in preparing to go outside again.

 

I am working my way towards that. I would like to be able to handle things on a much sober basis,and not feel bad about being sober either. When I am sober, I feel this emptiness like I need to get high again,and I feel miserable. As if I can't enjoy doing normal things anymore while sober. I know it didn't feel that way before I started smoking. There are benefits to marijuana but they are not as big compared to the big picture I think.

 

Anyways I just set an appointment to see my therapist on the 10th. Wish me luck!  I'm gonna try to force myself inside a taxi cab if that's what it takes to get there.

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Mark G    873
27 minutes ago, lonelybird said:

When I am sober, I feel this emptiness like I need to get high again,and I feel miserable

That's addiction, anxiety jumps on that and creates a dependency thought. Anxiety has many elements and that sort of OCD type thinking pattern is common.  This addiction is not a real addiction like if someone was taking much stronger drugs, but as anxiety can create any sensation and thought, it mimics the same kind of feeling.

 

30 minutes ago, lonelybird said:

There are benefits to marijuana but they are not as big compared to the big picture I think.

I completely agree with that.  I think it would be helpful in controlled environments but i'm not a great advocate in using it recreationally just because of how it can affect the mind.  I know i'm hardly one to talk having smoked it for 15 years or so but that's just through my own personal experience of the stuff.

32 minutes ago, lonelybird said:

Wish me luck!  I'm gonna try to force myself inside a taxi cab if that's what it takes to get there.

No forcing, anxiety would prefer you fight it all the way to the taxi. No, you get ready, you see the cab pull up and you say "sorry anxiety, not today" and get in to the taxi.  NO second guessing, no trying t plead with anxiety, this is your time and you will do it.  Best of luck with it, you will be fine.

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