This might sound silly, but how do yo...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
This might sound silly, but how do yo...
Wed, 02-12-2003 - 6:30am

This might sound silly, but how do you know if you have agoraphobia? More...

I feel like I would never care if I left my apartment again. I have reasons to be depressed which I will not burden you here with. The main thing is, I don't want to go out at all. I do have anxiety attacks when I have to go out other than walking my dog or going to the grocery store at the corner, which is usually okay with me. I am normally a very courageous person. I have traveled all over the country all alone in a van with four pets for months on end. I am a student pilot and love to fly. But the past few months, I just do not want to go out at all. I don't even want to walk my dog, although I do. I just want to stay in here and not go out at all. I am so happy when I have groceries and pet food stocked and don't have to go out for a day or two. I walk my dog around our apartment complex and see cars going by on the street and think, "Wow, all those people! What are they doing? Where are they going? What are they thinking - go home, go home!!!" To me there is no place better than home. I have even considered engaging an assistant to do my errands so I can stay at home. I have everything I need here. Is this agoraphobia or simple laziness? I confess I fear it is the latter. I don't think this is a healthy attitude to have. As happy as I am at home, I feel that I should be more engaged with the world. I should go out and provide for myself and my pets. I am single with no children and no one to rely upon. I am not under any doctor's supervision and do not take any medication.

Any thoughts would be welcome, if only to jolt me out of this months-long torpor.

Hugs - Amy



Remember Penguin  &nb

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Wed, 02-12-2003 - 7:36am

~~Amy~~Welcome & (M)

first of all your question does not sound silly..My name is Patti & I am the Community Leader here & also a "Functioning Agoraphobic" after many years of being totally housebound with extreme PAD, with agoraphobia..I think that in answering your question..Let me first explain (IMO) what Agoraphobia is..

Agoraphobia is considered to be especially complex in that it results as an interplay of many factors: possible genetic pre-disposition, state of health, personality traits and attitudes, and more. Total recovery requires attention to many aspects.

Media attention to agoraphobia has often attempted to portray agoraphobics as "hermits"--usually women--imprisoned in their homes by unreasonable fears. In actuality, only a very small fraction (some say 3%) of agoraphobics are fully housebound.

This distorted picture has done a disservice in that it does not accurately represent the experience of most agoraphobics.

Many agoraphobics appear to be functioning quite well, yet they may be experiencing extreme distress; many manage to hide their discomfort so effectively-for fear of possible embarrassment-that others do not believe there is a real problem.

Most agoraphobics become phobic as a result of their attempt to avoid very strong, very uncomfortable and "disorganizing" body and mind sensations caused by extreme anxiety, particularly panic attacks. Severe sensitization of the nervous system can occur, creating further symptomology.

A panic attack can be so traumatic an experience that one begins to become extremely hypervigilant to physical sensations which might signal a pending panic attack. Often this occurs almost unconsciously.

Sometimes very gradually, and other times with great swiftness, a person may begin to link situations or places as potential triggers to an attack. If for example, a person has a panic attack while watching a movie at the theater, he may come to associate such outings with his "attack" and inevitably be on guard for it to happen again. This tense and "on alert" state can in itself cause further anxiety, leading to more panic attacks and a state of chronic, high level anxiety. It takes learning and practice to develop the tools necessary to prevent this response.

This in itself would require a great deal of explanation, but for our purposes I will not attempt to go into the complexity of causes or treatments of the conditions.

Not all panic attack sufferers become agoraphobic; about one-third of panic disorder patients develop agoraphobia.

Though one may be inclined to think that agoraphobics are afraid of people, places, things, or situations, this is not quite the case as with "simple phobias" (i.e. social phobias, animal phobias, needle phobias, etc.)

Again, what the agoraphobic fears is the very feelings of anxiety itself, especially feelings of panic attacks. The agoraphobic may go to great lengths to avoid the possibility of feeling those feelings because they are tremendously powerful and unpleasant.

Amy, in reading your post (IMO) it doesn't sound like you suffer from Anxiety disorder that causes you such extreme panic attacks that you are avoiding going places for fear of having a panic attack etc....or that the anticipatory anxiety is keeping you from doing things you have to do..You mentioned that you have been or are depressed..Being depressed is a normal reaction to loss, life's struggles, or an injured self-esteem. But sometimes the feeling of sadness becomes intense, lasting for long periods of time and preventing a person from leading a normal life or doing things that you once found great enjoyment from..& Depression can certainly cause lots of anxiety..panicky feelings..etc..& could possibly lead to avoidance behavior..My suggestion would be to get a medical check-up to rule out any physical problems & then assuming you are suffering with Depession with PAD.. you will find that there are numerous treatment options to help you get back on track.

Early recognition and treatment will offer you the greatest chance of recovery and the earlier you seek help the greater the chance that recurrences can be prevented.

Amy, I am glad that you found this board & posted..this board is full of the most compassionate, caring, helpful, supportive people I have ever had the pleasure to get to know..I hope you will continue to post here & PLEASE know you are not alone..finding others you can relate to is so helpful & comforting..I look forward to hearing back from you..

Take Care



Avatar for coolslav21
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 02-12-2003 - 11:05am

Welcome Amy (m)

First off I would like to start off with two important things I belive that go on this board. ONE is that nothing is a burden to any of us we are all here because we have problems and we need to talk about them. SECOND you have come to the right place for some support and as much help as we can give you. Now I have had days and even weeks where I did not want to leave my house (like many of the people on this board) because I felt comforatable at home and I felt like I would not have an anxiety attack, but I knew that was not heathy. My friends knew what I was going through and they tried to get me out as much as they could. I started going to counsling at the beging of January and I can tell you that it has helped me out. I started meds last week but I have to give them a week or two before I know if they work. I guess if I could give you some advice it would be if you really feel depressed I would try to find a counsler I really feel that it helps. We are all here for you Amy anytime most of us go though very similar situations. I am glad you found this board and I do hope that you stay here and chat with us. Also we have a chat tonight that you can get to through this screen. I hope you can join us.. ((((HUGS)))) Beckie

Avatar for trishbail
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 02-12-2003 - 12:29pm

I am so glad you found our board here Amy!!! (M)

And I can totally relate to what you were saying and feeling in your post! That is my exact situation right now. I have been diagnosed with depression &PAD and I think that I simply do not enjoy things like I used too. I am happier sitting in my apartment and it is where I feel comfortable and safe. I have no desire to go out and do things & I love when I have groceries, pet food, etc ( I related so well to you when you said that!). I worry I have agorophobia sometimes too, and I feel I do with certain situations alittle bit (certain things I fear going out to do). But, most of the time I just feel I don't want to go anywhere, more than an actual fear of going there - which I believe is the depression talking to us! I suggest going to a psychiatrist for med options or a psychologist for therapy or both! It can only help you to get on the track of getting your life back!

We are here for you! And, please know you are SO not alone with these feelings! Hugs and welcome here! Trish

Avatar for erinmagers
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 02-12-2003 - 3:25pm

Welcome Amy!.......*m*

I'm glad you found us here! We're a great group that's very supportive and very understanding!

You mentioned that you had reasons to be depressed, it sounds to me that that is the main problem you're dealing with right now. I know that for me, it's been a big difference between when I don't want to leave the house because I'm depressed and when I don't want to leave the house because I'm terrified. Do you ever feel fear about going anywhere, or is it more like you just can't get up the energy and motivation to go out? Either way, I think looking into therapy would be beneficial. And keep coming back here, we're always here for you!

HUGS, Erin =)