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Anyone w agoraphobia/panic on here?

SB828

New Member
Thread starter #1
Hi, everyone - I'm brand new to this forum and pretty new to panic. I'm 35 and had my first panic attack earlier this year. Since then, I've been struggling with the common agoraphobia that comes with the experience of having had a panic attack in a public place. I went through a "hierarchy of recovery" without the help of a CBT specialist (but with the help of my usual therapist for going on six years) and mostly recovered over a period of months (I actually think being ignorant about what was happening helped!)... but then I had my first attack in months at an airport (despite being a very frequent flyer) about six weeks ago and ended up in a worse place than I was the first time.

I've been able to leave the house, and I'm in a way better place now than I was a few weeks ago. But every time I have to do even everyday things, it's such a struggle, and I will often have pre-panic, which makes me not want to do said things ever again. I realize that in the grand scheme of things, I've been super brave -- but it's almost impossible to not be hard on myself, probably because this is all so new to me. There's this constant narrative in my head comparing the old me with the new panic disorder me. i.e. "The old me taught college and has been an actor for over 15 years without any stage fright, whereas the new me can't go grocery shopping without getting lightheaded and feeling the need to rush out of there."

The word frustrated does not even come close to covering how I feel. As a performer, being suddenly afraid to perform has been heartbreaking. I've continued to do small on-camera stuff, since if I'm feeling panicky, I can always ask to take a five - though for the most part, my career has been on hold. But it feels like an impossibly long road to me being on stage again.

I don't think I have any specific questions right now.. just seeking commiseration.

Sending support to everyone on here <3
 

triceps

Active Member
#2
Welcome. Good 'ol panic / agoraphobia. Been there, still there, awaiting the development of a cure. Am so sorry that your success as the old you has been disrupted by this anxiety disorder. The one thing I'm sure of is that your panic doesn't need a trigger. You can be feeling at your best and it can hit. Although I'm agoraphobic, hate to go anyplace, it's not from fear of a panic attack. I've had enough of them that I have full confidence that I'll survive it and if I have one in public, I'll find a place to sit down and sweat it out. One thing that has helped me not beat myself up so much is coming to terms with my having a chronic mental ailment which is not my fault in any way, shape or form. I do beat myself up for not being more of a risk-taker and getting out more. SB828, I wish you the very best in your recovery.
 

SB828

New Member
Thread starter #3
Thanks, triceps. <3 Panic is still new to me, so I think I'm still getting used to not being afraid of them. I just hate experiencing it. My anxiety is so physical, and I never know just how it will manifest on any given day.

I'm still definitely in the beating myself up stage...

Have you tried doing a recovery hierarchy? I'm moving through it right now, but it's slow going and so, so hard.
 

Rue

New Member
#5
*receiving much needed support*
*sending love*

welcome :)

i 100 percent understand you. even though i'm stuck with going to school(i'm 13) and such, i still experience anxiety when i'm out in public, or any situation. since i was in elementary school, going to places like my sister's orchestra performances would make me so anxious and scared because i was afraid of a shooting. even now, being out by myself, or with a few people, in the dark, scares me. it's even hard being at school sometimes because i'm so scared of the possibility of school shooting and stuff.

it sucks, doesn't it?

i don't really have advice, just sending condolences. i hope you get better <3
 

SB828

New Member
Thread starter #6
No I haven't and tried looking it up. What's the programs' premise?
The way it works is you create a hierarchy of "outings" that are difficult for you, going from easiest to hardest, and you work your way up the hierarchy step by step. So you do the first step until it becomes easy, then you move on to the next step. It works very well, but it's really, really hard. The whole idea is to get you more comfortable with feeling the physical symptoms of panic so you're not afraid of having attacks anymore. But in order to do that, you have to willingly put yourself through some degree of panic, which I'm having a hard time with. Like, the whole point is to induce panic, but when that happens, I often feel like a failure and end up avoiding future outings.

RUE: I'm so sorry.. you're definitely growing up in a different world than I did, and I would imagine many people your age are experiencing the exact same thing you are. Do you have someone to talk to about it?
 

triceps

Active Member
#7
The way it works is you create a hierarchy of "outings" that are difficult for you, going from easiest to hardest, and you work your way up the hierarchy step by step. So you do the first step until it becomes easy, then you move on to the next step. It works very well, but it's really, really hard. The whole idea is to get you more comfortable with feeling the physical symptoms of panic so you're not afraid of having attacks anymore. But in order to do that, you have to willingly put yourself through some degree of panic, which I'm having a hard time with. Like, the whole point is to induce panic, but when that happens, I often feel like a failure and end up avoiding future outings.

RUE: I'm so sorry.. you're definitely growing up in a different world than I did, and I would imagine many people your age are experiencing the exact same thing you are. Do you have someone to talk to about it?
That sounds like it's worth a try. The desensitizing approach hasn't worked for me in the past but this is a different angle that I'll put some effort into. Thanks.
 

SB828

New Member
Thread starter #8
That sounds like it's worth a try. The desensitizing approach hasn't worked for me in the past but this is a different angle that I'll put some effort into. Thanks.
I hope it's helpful. It's very hard, especially at first - and I had a setback recently, so it's harder to get back on the horse, so to speak. Today I settled for walking around the block.
 

triceps

Active Member
#9
I hope it's helpful. It's very hard, especially at first - and I had a setback recently, so it's harder to get back on the horse, so to speak. Today I settled for walking around the block.
I'm having a tough time driving and actually retired because of it. Thanks to your post, I took my truck out on a 5 mile roundtrip. Had a hard time concentrating but it's a start.
 
Thread starter #10
I'm having a tough time driving and actually retired because of it. Thanks to your post, I took my truck out on a 5 mile roundtrip. Had a hard time concentrating but it's a start.
Oh my God, congratulations!! Way to go. I'm so glad you found it useful.

According to the hierarchy, you would repeat that same trip until it gets easy and you're no longer preoccupied with the big bad thoughts. Again, easier said than done - but you're totally right, it's a start.
 
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