Agoraphobia

Della

Senior Member
Location
Ohio
Agoraphobia is creeping up on me. I've always been a homebody and it's getting much worse.

Lately every time I leave the house it becomes a huge stressful event. I've already talked about getting confused at the polls early last month. Then it was a few other things. I decided not to go to my one really social party of the year, my book club's Christmas party, because it all seems so overwhelming.

I planned to get things done so I could relax in December. I did a deep cleaning of the whole house and decorated and I did a ton of baking. I thought things were going pretty well, but then yesterday I left the house alone for the first time since the voting ordeal. I just went to the store for some produce so we could have a few much needed salads. The shopping only took about ten minutes, but, oh no, all the registers were closed so I had to go through the self-check. It took forty minutes and help had to come five times. I was almost in tears. I'm considering having groceries delivered.

So today I returned my almost due library book so I wouldn't have to leave the house again for the rest of the year. I just checked e-mail and the library sent me a notice saying they had renewed the book for me. The one I had just returned. Now, I don't know what they did with the book. A few months ago they misfiled a book I had returned and it was on my account as over due for three months before they found it. If I don't have the library I really have nothing to leave the house for.

I'm freaking out at the thought of having to go back there and try to explain things. My ability to handle the unexpected has dropped to zero.
 

Nathan

Well-known Member
Phobias can be debilitating, I know from personal experience. The good news is that they are highly treatable. I would not recommend anti-anxiety medications, you just don't want to go down that rabbit hole. Perhaps a counseling session or two(maybe online or phone) could get you pointed in the right direction.
Just the mere knowledge that phobias could be conquered gave me the needed push to overcome my Amaxophobia. I hope you conquer yours as easily.
 
Last edited:

Aneeda72

Well-known Member
Agoraphobia is creeping up on me. I've always been a homebody and it's getting much worse.

Lately every time I leave the house it becomes a huge stressful event. I've already talked about getting confused at the polls early last month. Then it was a few other things. I decided not to go to my one really social party of the year, my book club's Christmas party, because it all seems so overwhelming.

I planned to get things done so I could relax in December. I did a deep cleaning of the whole house and decorated and I did a ton of baking. I thought things were going pretty well, but then yesterday I left the house alone for the first time since the voting ordeal. I just went to the store for some produce so we could have a few much needed salads. The shopping only took about ten minutes, but, oh no, all the registers were closed so I had to go through the self-check. It took forty minutes and help had to come five times. I was almost in tears. I'm considering having groceries delivered.

So today I returned my almost due library book so I wouldn't have to leave the house again for the rest of the year. I just checked e-mail and the library sent me a notice saying they had renewed the book for me. The one I had just returned. Now, I don't know what they did with the book. A few months ago they misfiled a book I had returned and it was on my account as over due for three months before they found it. If I don't have the library I really have nothing to leave the house for.

I'm freaking out at the thought of having to go back there and try to explain things. My ability to handle the unexpected has dropped to zero.
So I have a lot of trouble with self checkout as well. I rarely shop without the husband and he always uses self checkout; but he sometimes has issues especially at the grocery store with vegetables. Thank heaven we rarely buy them 😂

Target is great though. I complained about only self checkout being the only open checkout; and she said, oh, let me open a check stand for you. 😊. Talk about service.

The problem is when we, and I mean anyone, gets frustrated It is harder and harder to do something. I suggest you simply stop, catch your breathe, try to calm yourself, and then continue. As for needing help, they are used to helping that’s why they are there. At Costco, the helper will come up to us and do the self checkout out for us. But I’ve had them do it wrong and have to start over as well. Don’t feel bad.

But you need to out at least twice a week even if its only to walk around the store and look. Agoraphobia is something you do not want! It really ruins your life and is life threatening. Imagine your house on fire and you are unable to get out.

Please do not stay in your house.
 

NorthernLight

Senior Member
Location
Northern BC
@Della I could relate to so much of what you said. In my case, I've never thought of it as agoraphobia though. It's just that everything seems so much harder, with so little reward. Partly because I'm getting older, and partly because things are changing -- as with the self-checkout. Also being forced to do certain things online, and then having them not work.

@Nathan I'd never heard of amaxophobia. But I am afraid of driving in certain conditions, moreso than in the past. Maybe it's slower reflexes, or ??? Actually I had it before too, 30 years ago.

Anyway, yes, I don't really want to go out much. There are so many reasons. I should be going out twice a week: once for Spanish practice, and once for shopping and errands. But it exhausts me. Maybe soon I'll only be able to manage once a week.

As for the library, Della, why not phone them? Libraries do make mistakes and are usually good about making things right. I have mentioned how much I hate the phone, but libraries seem to be one of the few humane institutions left. I don't mind phoning them.
 

Nathan

Well-known Member
I'd never heard of amaxophobia. But I am afraid of driving in certain conditions, moreso than in the past. Maybe it's slower reflexes, or ???
I have a pet theory(everything has to have a cause & effect in my mind) that an incident that happened on the freeway set me up for the amaxophobia. I was driving in the #1 lane S. bound on the 405 fwy, when a VW bug in front of me a few car lengths went out of control, and dumped the driver out onto the highway, right in front of my car. I didn't have time to look, I just swerved to the right to avoid hitting her. Fortunately, the lane to my right was clear, but I think that uncertainty left a mark that triggered some kind of anxiety about automotive driving. I had that driving anxiety for about 15 years, until sometime in the early 90s, when I read an article in the Sunday newspaper about phobias being treatable.
 

Lavinia

Well-known Member
I have this problem too, mostly caused by prolonged stress. It creeps up on you and you find yourself restricting your life more and more. Tranquillisers do help but are not a long-term solution. What has caused you to lose your confidence?
 

Blessed

Senior Member
Oh my goodness, I suffer from this, have been diagnosed way back when I was 34. It is debilitating, scary thing that most people do not understand. I was lucky to marry a boy who did not understand but stayed by my side every step of the way.

He died 12 years ago. I kept going, I had a son still at home and moved my Mom in when she got sick. The son has married and has his own home, my Mom has passed. I am here alone but for my 3 pups.

All that bad stuff is back, I avoid, avoid, avoid when I can. I know it is not the right thing to do but with older years we have so many things that come into play. We are tired, we don't feel well, we don't want to get all dressed up to go to a family event or party. What will I say when I get there? Who will judge how I look, what I wear, what I say? I wish I could say what it is to be normal but I really, truly do not know. I have been thinking lately that I need to go back into therapy.
 

mrstime

Senior Member
Location
BC,Canada
I have always been happy to go (pretty much anywhere). However, since the oxygen is necessary along with a long hose so I can get around the house, its a pain in the neck. getting dressed is too, so I put on my grubby clothes and then I don't feel like going anywhere because I'd have to change clothes. A chore with the hose following me all the time.
 

BC Flash

Member
Della: IS there a "seniors' center" nearby? (ie: a place operated by your community to support seniors). The center might make suggestions for you to alleviate your fears and anxiety. Another plus: often there are activities for seniors to socialize - eg card games, coffee groups, crafts, outtings)
 

Blessed

Senior Member
Just so everyone understandsI there is so much more involved. I don't think any of you have seen a doctor or physiachrist. This is true medical/mental illness. I have suffered since I was a small child. They think it may be the result of my fathers death when I was just 3 years old. I don't remember it but it must have scared the crap out of me. I have never felt safe, can you imagine, living you whole life in fear of things you did not know should be a concern. WTF, I never talked about it until I met that boy, fell in love. I wanted him to know the truth, I had problems. He did not understand, no one talked about these things back then. He said it was not a problem so years later we married and he dealt with my wacko problems.

I have acutual panic attacks, you body temp goes up, feels like your blood is boiling in your chest and body, you can't breath, in my case I get a sick stomach with vomiting and diarrhea. Sometimes you have to lie down because you think you are going to pass out, does not matter where you are, a parking lot, the grocery store, just lay down. The only place you want to be is home, to feel safe. Sometimes it passes quickly, sometimes it is hours. I have given up on the emergency room, they run all these tests, at great expense then say you just had a panic attack, like I did not know that!!! just give me a sedative and send me home like I told you. I am lucky to find a GP who gets it and I have meds when I need them but is always there, hiding in the back of my mind, just waiting to attack.
 

Supernatural

Member
Location
Scotland
I understand what you're going through. Me, it's the complete opposite, I'm finally having to go out and I love it. I'd been stuck indoors far too long, but that's what happens when outside abuses take place and the grief if losing one's son. The last 2 years in the old house was horrible. I was in the attic most days or in our room. Daughter would spend time with me, hubby carried on with his daily commitments.

Once we moved out of the hold place, I felt the chains come off... Then again, the Pandemic happened and I was stuck indoors anew. Hubby died out of the blue, it was a upheaval and I had to take control of myself and fix the situation. Now, I still enjoy just chilling indoors, taking care of daughter and now looking after our new kitten.

Yet, going out for taking care of business and the groceries, that is super relaxing and a fun time. Yesterday, saw one wee hiccup but in the end turned out fine. It's Saturday once more and in itself a difficult day now as hubby died in a Saturday. So, a wee bit tough going, but I keep busy. The moral killer in all of this, the waiting on mail. The last announced strike day was the 2 December, yesterday... Hopefully, from Monday the floods promised in tarot will open up and answers will finally come. Hermit mode extreme is no good, but I had loads in my plate. Agoraphobia is the opposite and bad too.

At the end of the day, you've to look inside, find your calming point and take one day at a time. If it takes a while well, it'll take a while but eventually it'll feel better and all the pieces will fit the puzzle and you'll get the courage to break the chains and face the day without FEAR!

Blessed be!
 

Della

Senior Member
Location
Ohio
@Nathan, Wow, I never knew there was a word for fear of driving. I had that so bad when I was younger, I didn't manage to get my license until I was thirty. I still really hate to drive and rarely go outside my little town.
I have this problem too, mostly caused by prolonged stress. It creeps up on you and you find yourself restricting your life more and more. Tranquillisers do help but are not a long-term solution. What has caused you to lose your confidence?
@Lavinia, I think it's simply being out of my element with technology these days and I've always really hated being "put in the wrong," where people have to wait for me to do things to correct my mistakes. So I'm embarrassed, my blood pressure spikes and then I really can't think at all.

After reading other's problems I know I don't actually have agoraphobia which is why I said I "felt it creeping up," but I'm fine when my husband or son drives me and goes along. I do need to watch it though and take the advice of @Aneeda and others before I lose every last speck of gumption. @ Northern Light, I'm going to call the library on the phone thanks to your idea!

@Blessed I am so sorry you've dealt with this all your life. When I was about six I was playing with a friend beside the highway when her brother went by on his bike and was struck and killed in front of us. I remember the trauma for all of us, particularly the boy's mother and personally I'll never forget my own overwhelming feeling of panic and nervousness. For the rest of my life, I think I've tried very hard to avoid ever feeling that again and perhaps try too hard to have a tranquil lifestyle. I did at one time see a psychiatrist for "anticipatory anxiety," and that became better immediately with behavioral therapy although I still absolutely hate having anything on the calendar.

Dear Blessed, I think what you have is my problem times ten and I'm so very sorry.
 

Ronni

The motormouth ;)
Location
Nashville TN
Phobias can be debilitating, I know from personal experience. The good news is that they are highly treatable. I would not recommend anti-anxiety medications, you just don't want to go down that rabbit hole.
I would respectfully disagree with this.

While I agree that meds shouldn’t be the only approach, or even the first one, I think they can be very helpful in alleviating the very worst symptoms so that a more active approach can be taken. If you are able to reduce the most crippling effects of your anxiousness so that you can actually get out the door and take a more active approach to tackling the issue, I don’t consider there’s any downside to that.
 

Blessed

Senior Member
I am happy that you and your daughter are recovering from your loss. It has not been easy for me. The horror still haunts me. I have accepted that I will always feel this way..............the son grown and gone, family of his own.

I have learned what I can do and what needs to wait. I have been thru therapy, it makes a difference.!!
 

Aneeda72

Well-known Member
Just so everyone understandsI there is so much more involved. I don't think any of you have seen a doctor or physiachrist. This is true medical/mental illness. I have suffered since I was a small child. They think it may be the result of my fathers death when I was just 3 years old. I don't remember it but it must have scared the crap out of me. I have never felt safe, can you imagine, living you whole life in fear of things you did not know should be a concern. WTF, I never talked about it until I met that boy, fell in love. I wanted him to know the truth, I had problems. He did not understand, no one talked about these things back then. He said it was not a problem so years later we married and he dealt with my wacko problems.

I have acutual panic attacks, you body temp goes up, feels like your blood is boiling in your chest and body, you can't breath, in my case I get a sick stomach with vomiting and diarrhea. Sometimes you have to lie down because you think you are going to pass out, does not matter where you are, a parking lot, the grocery store, just lay down. The only place you want to be is home, to feel safe. Sometimes it passes quickly, sometimes it is hours. I have given up on the emergency room, they run all these tests, at great expense then say you just had a panic attack, like I did not know that!!! just give me a sedative and send me home like I told you. I am lucky to find a GP who gets it and I have meds when I need them but is always there, hiding in the back of my mind, just waiting to attack.
I have panic attacks. Others on senior forum have panic attacks as well. We actually do understand @Blessed I actually had to lay down on the floor at Walmart once, lay down or pass out, a medical issue. But you know, it was Walmart. So 😂, no problem.

There are a few seniors on here who are currently in therapy, and more that have been in therapy. One of the issues with having mental health issues is people think they are the only one. That assumption is untrue, it is simply rarely talked about as everyones issues are so individual.
 

Della

Senior Member
Location
Ohio
While I agree that meds shouldn’t be the only approach, or even the first one, I think they can be very helpful in alleviating the very worst symptoms so that a more active approach can be taken. If you are able to reduce the most crippling effects of your anxiousness so that you can actually get out the door and take a more active approach to tackling the issue, I don’t consider there’s any downside to that.
I agree, Ronni. during that particularly bad period, while I was living in England, the psychiatrist gave me a prescription for 15 anti-depressants. I took one every day for five days and then, added to the behavioral modifications, I felt ready to put them aside. I took the remaining ten pills, a few times a year when I visited my father.;)
 
Last edited:

Aneeda72

Well-known Member
I am happy that you and your daughter are recovering from your loss. It has not been easy for me. The horror still haunts me. I have accepted that I will always feel this way..............the son grown and gone, family of his own.

I have learned what I can do and what needs to wait. I have been thru therapy, it makes a difference.!!
@Blessed I have written about this before but maybe you have never read it.

My second birth son, my husbands only birth son, was born December 25, and died December 27. I have a picture of his coffin that sits with the birth pictures of my other children. It hurts my heart to hear you say that “you have accepted that I will always feel this way”.

We all handle grief differently. But I had other children, and Christmas was not cancelled because of our baby’s death. Then another baby boy died, SIDS, at 6 weeks; a baby we were set to adopt. Years later another baby boy who needed a home, and a mom, and a dad. A baby no one wanted who was set to live his life in an institution. A very special baby who died when he was a year old.

I know grief. I learned grief at a young age as a young mother. @Blessed you had precious years with your love. I wish you could celebrate those years.
 

Top