I have come to believe that I have agoraphobia. For years I believed that agoraphobia meant that you were so paralyzed with anticipatory anxiety and fear of panic attacks that you couldn’t leave your house or even a room. While this is certainly true of some sufferers, this was never the case with me.
Here is a great definition I found for agoraphobia:
Agoraphobia is a condition where the sufferer becomes anxious in environments that are unfamiliar or where he or she perceives that they have little control. Triggers for this anxiety may include wide open spaces, crowds (social anxiety), or traveling (even short distances). Agoraphobia is often, but not always, compounded by a fear of social embarrassment, as the agoraphobic fears the onset of a panic attack and appearing distraught in public. source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agoraphobia
Situations in which I have felt frightened because I had no control included:
- shopping malls
- classrooms during my high school years
- lecture halls in college
- standing in lines, such as in grocery stores or at the post office
- attending church
- movie theaters in my late teens and throughout my dating years
- going to social events with acquaintances as an adult
I had a friend in college whose mother had agoraphobia, and she was housebound for years. It was a very sad situation for the entire family. This also terrified me, because I knew my friend’s mom suffered from panic attacks like me. I came to the assumption that I would someday be confined to my house as well.
Because of that fear, I forced myself to go out of the house. I even moved out of my house and into an apartment, even though I attended a local college. The fear of becoming housebound has propelled me to force myself out of my comfort zones over the years, and I believe this was a good thing for me.
Do you have or have you had agoraphobia? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to share so we can help each other.
I wish you peace,
p.s.This is the program I am using to stop panic attacks and develop a plan for agoraphobia and generalized anxiety in the long term. My aim is full recovery and I am happy to report that I am doing very well. Click here to get started.