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big city... can’t leave the house

bmcelroy620

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Hi everyone! I am 26, and recently just moved from a small town to Chicago with my boyfriend of 2 years. Ever since moving here I struggle to leave the house. Little tasks so much as going down to get the mail or stepping out to do my laundry take hours to build courage. It’s so busy. So many people I feel crippled with anxiety. I dread leaving my front door in such a busy place. Trips to the grocery store make me feel like I’m going to die. I can’t even take my car out because traffic is bumper to bumper and I feel claustrophobic.
I love my boyfriend but he’s very much a social butterfly. He wants to go explore and he wants me to come with, but I have lived here 6 months and never even so much as ventured downtown because the thought of a bustling city setting makes me feel like I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m letting him down. He wants to try all these new places, go out and see the city but I... just... can’t. I step outside and feel like a million eyes are on me and the further I get from our apartment, the more hopeless and overwhelmed I feel. I just want to feel okay. Just want to be normal. I don’t want to disappoint him or lose him. He knows how hard I struggle and he tries to understand but I feel so alone in this new city. He wanted to walk down to get coffee earlier today and I dreaded it like the world was ending. Embarrassingly, he even drives me to work each day because taking public transit makes me feel like my hearts going to explode.
I have two modes when I experience extreme anxiety: panic, shakiness, heart beating a mile a minute, sweaty OR my body goes into shut-down mode where the mental exhaustion i battle turns physical and I become extremely fatigued like I could drop to sleep in a seconds notice. I want to be back home, safe in the comfort of our little apartment with my cat. I’m drinking much more than I used to, drinking almost a bottle of wine a night to ease the anxiety. I’ve talked about not continuing the lease and moving further out of the city but I can tell how disappointed that makes him because he’s thriving and absolutely loves the big city. I told him I’d adjust.... hopefully eventually and I’ll keep trying... for him. I feel like such a failure. He loves it here and I hate it and I’m slowly slinking down into a depression. Anyone else dealt with anxiety in the big city before? How’d you overcome it? What good is living in a big city full of adventure if you can barely get the courage to leave your front door mat?
 
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triceps

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Welcome bmcelroy620. Sounds like you've got a bit of agoraphobia. It's terrible isn't it? I relate to everything you're going through especially the exhaustion, guilt for the disabling fears over seemingly simple tasks and only feeling sane with the help of alcohol. However, I go through my same fears while living on a small farm, 18 miles from the nearest town that only has 610 people. I'm in my late 60's and I had to quit the alcohol (the best medication for my condition I've yet found when kept to a reasonable amount) as it got out of control and I've been sober for 9 years. So be careful with the alcohol please, and try to get adjusted where you are if you can. I'm as rural as you can get but still have the same symptoms as you every time I have to leave my property or even have to go get my mail. Just know you have someone here going through almost exactly what you're experiencing.
 
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