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Joined: 8/19/2005
Msg: 1
AgoraphobiaPage 1 of 4    (1, 2, 3, 4)
OK, I've been diagnosed with mild agoraphobia (basically, I get very nervous, and can even have panic attacks, if I'm out in a large public forum with a lot of people, specifically people I don't know).

This causes a major problem, because everywhere I look, people are always telling/suggesting/demanding that a meeting occur in a public place. Public places make me very nervous, so I know I won't be myself if I were to meet someone there...but by the same token, I can't say "Oh, let's not meet in a public place" because that's when everybody gets suspicious and thinks I'm an ax murderer or something.

What can I do?
Joined: 1/9/2005
Msg: 2
Posted: 6/5/2006 1:08:05 PM
I am also affraid of Al Gore. He is one scary democrat with is talk of global warming and his hippie superpowers.
Joined: 10/14/2005
Msg: 3
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Posted: 6/5/2006 6:47:48 PM
Figure out a place you can handle that isn't too overwhelming - you say your problem is mild, so you must have a few places that feel safe for you - then invite your guest there. I would explain you problem - perhaps they will understand - you would need to know if they are comfortable with that anyway, going into a relationship.
I had a girlfriend with this - she just kept going out more and more, a bit at a time - each time she did she would seek out someone who she felt comfortable with, to associate with - it made it easier for her.
Joined: 10/29/2004
Msg: 4
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Posted: 6/5/2006 7:24:56 PM
I don't have agoraphobia, but I do have social anxiety and panic attacks. Bit by bit, I am getting better at forcing myself out. Medications and behavior therapy can help tremendously. I was on medicine for awhile until I could cope on my own. My first step was to find a few places I felt comfortable and frequent them more and more. I had a good friend accompany when I went out. Over time it got easier and easier, the anxiety lessens and I rarely have panic attacks.

I have become comfortable at a few books stores and meet there regularly for coffee. I have no problem meeting people here because I feel comfortable. I let people know before I show that I am very shy and guys have been very understanding. I also tell people that when I meet them it will be coffee for 20 mins and if it goes longer, great, if not, I excuse myself. Now I am at the point where I am continually challenging my comfort level and am going places on my own (dinner, shopping, and art shows) You can not let anxiety control your life and must challenge yourself to overcome it.
Joined: 6/4/2006
Msg: 5
Posted: 6/11/2006 11:43:20 PM
Wow....that's tough, dude. My adivce, for what it's worth, is to overcoe your fear before you start finding a date. I know, you're lonely and want someone there. Hey, I used to have anxiety disorder so I kind of know what you're going through. Seek counciling and overcome your fear, then find that special someone. And I am aware that's much easier said than done. It's tough. And there will be times when you wan't to give up.


Hang in there buddy, you can do it.
 carrie bradshaw
Joined: 2/21/2006
Msg: 6
Posted: 6/12/2006 12:09:52 AM
You need a psychiatrist. He or she will prescribe one of the following for you:
1. Lamotrigine usually at a 100 mg bid.
2. Prazosin usually at a 3 mg bid.
3. Gabapentin usually at a 600 mg bid.
4. Clozapam usually at a 20 mg bid.
These med's were not initially meant for agoraphobia but patients have had much luck with them. Your psychiatrist will probably start behavioral therapy with you. S/he will usually also do exposure therapy.
Best of luck.
~Carrie B.
Joined: 4/1/2007
Msg: 7
Posted: 4/15/2007 7:48:42 PM
Hey I suffer from it as well and I actually had a Dr. tell me to try chat rooms cause that way your not actually face to face.
Joined: 4/11/2004
Msg: 8
Posted: 6/4/2007 8:01:25 PM
It doesn't sound to me like you are ready to date.

You should take the afore mentioned advice and seek medical attention. See a therapist regularly. Work on your problem.

You need to try and overcome your problem or at least find some public places that you feel comfortable enough to meet someone. Chances are not very high that you are going get someone to date you if you just want to stay home all the time. Most people want to go places and do fun things with their partner, at least some of the time.
 Miss W
Joined: 12/4/2006
Msg: 9
Posted: 3/28/2008 3:23:15 PM
I suffered from that and anxiety in my 20's and reached a point where I refused it to let it take over my life. One of my fears was driving on the freeway. With a lot of work on my behalf and therapy, I conquered it and now live a happy life. Please go to counseling. Best to you OP>
Joined: 1/14/2008
Msg: 10
Posted: 3/28/2008 4:08:28 PM
I too would suggest that you talk to your doctor and perhaps start some medication and therapy.

I know of two people who suffered from such symptoms, they were both best friends, elderly women, only one was actually diagnosed as Argophobic. She did not want to acknowledge it and take charge and do as her doctor prescribed.....she shut herself so far into her home that she now is in her 70s and can not leave her home.
The aniexty and the fear of the unknown and her unwillingness to go out of her comfort zone has now left her housebound. Her family caters to her, she has everything delivered to her home, her grown children live with her.
Her friend?...well was my mother in law, who was unwell, she became housebound too, and got into a place where she did not want to face the world...and followed the example of her friend...stayed housebound.

this can get out of control without some medical attention. You are young, please see your doctor and find out what they suggest.

good luck with this.
Joined: 5/19/2006
Msg: 11
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Posted: 3/28/2008 5:53:34 PM
Search high and low for a suitable therapy and cure. I know someone who has lost years of her life to this problem and it's such a waste. Others have suffered inconvenience too as a result of trying to help her cope with it. There are treatments that do work: find out about Paul McKenna's methods and other desensitization therapies. What you are asking for at the moment is a way to get round the agoraphobia rather than dealing with it. You will not be doing yourself a favour in the long run by avoiding it and it will have an impact on anyone you are in a relationship with too. I know this for a fact. I know it must seem unbearable to you now that a cure would enable you to do the things you most fear, but once the fear is gone it's a totally different world. The right treatment will work and you will feel so much better and be free to enjoy life again. Good luck.
Joined: 7/20/2005
Msg: 12
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Posted: 3/29/2008 12:29:22 PM
Be honest about your agoraphobia right away (before meeting), try to date another agoraphobic, to increase chances of lifestyle compatibility, and then find some really out of the way, quiet coffeeshop or restaurant and plan on meeting on a really quiet time. Meeting in public places really only requires one person (one quiet preoccupied shopowner in the place) so that the person feel safe, and not isolated if something were to happen. It doesn't require a crowded, busy room full of people. If something weird happened, the one shop owner could call the cops. The biggest thing is to only date women who already know about the agoraphobia, and still want to date. It's not fair to withhold that info until you meet, and it would be very counterproductive. My other thought is a quiet park in the daytime, or maybe a horse carriage ride for just the two of you and a driver and a horse. In other words, look for somewhat private places that involve just one other person (to make her feel safe). Book a couples massage or some other couples spa treatment where you are basically in a small cozy relaxing room, but there is still the spa staff person around. Or a private dance lesson, with just the instructor.
Joined: 2/8/2008
Msg: 13
Posted: 4/24/2008 6:39:17 AM
Believe it or not OP,,,,there are more people out there who feel the same way you do. I once went to a seminar on quitting smoking many years ago at my work. There were about 20 of us in this small room with the door closed. During the meditation we were doing a huge panic attack came over me and it literally took everything i had in me to not jump out of my chair and bolt for the door. Being in that room with all those ppl with the door closed really freaked me out. I dont even like going to Malls. If i do go to meet someone in a public place i prefer it to be where there is lots of action/activites/wide open spaces like a town festival or some type of amusement park type thing.
Joined: 1/31/2008
Msg: 14
Posted: 4/24/2008 11:05:12 PM
A lot of people here have given great advice and you should all be commended for helping out. Not to often you see a thread like this, but did anyone bother to notice the OP posted that nearly three years ago? I am curious if he has made any progress...
Joined: 2/27/2008
Msg: 15
Posted: 4/29/2008 9:47:49 PM
well, I'm not into all these earthy panic attack stuff; I just read where one of the drug companies wants to make road rage a mental disorder.

Your very limited; talk to the professional that is handling you but not very many people are going to be comfortable with your situation. I've had someone in the same exact situation contact me and I wouldn't meet. I'm not a believer of all these things; rip me to pieces but sorry; not getting it.
Joined: 8/10/2004
Msg: 16
Posted: 9/5/2008 9:54:44 PM
I have that Susan Jeffers book on an e-book.

“I can handle it” is the main lesson. What ever happens "I can handle it"

I use to worry a bit about it. I died in 1998 (revived no one knows how long I was dead - I woke up 13 days later) - a few months later the panic attacks started. My nerves got pretty fried and I think that was part of the panic attacks.

I learned my way out of panic attacks (mostly still get some anxiety sometimes).

I too had a hard time in say a WalMart with a zillion people.

Learning about breathing will stop the hyperventilation. That was a big big deal when I got that learned and how to control that aspect.

Also a Dr. in the ER (panic attack) told me a cool little deal.

He told me when he feels something coming - he just holds his breath. That has the same effect as breathing like you are suppose to (12 breaths a minute) and same effect as breathing into a paper bag. It slows down your oxygen intake and allows the proper conversation to the proper gases it takes to take the oxygen to your brain. Too much oxygen screws up that process.

Too many people think they are not getting enough oxygen and they are actually getting TOO MUCH oxygen.

What added to my potential agro was ..... I work from a home office and have for 20 years. I seldom even leave the house - there is just no reason do so.

Then all of a sudden POOF ........ I was alone in the world. Kids grown and off and married - wife dumped me - my mom died ......... poof alone in the home office.

These days it really don’t bother me to get out and I actually “invent reasons” to get out of here some. Like go to the store for a couple of things I don’t really need all that much.

OP ............ read read read read ......... learn learn learn.
Joined: 7/14/2008
Msg: 17
Posted: 9/5/2008 10:41:40 PM
To those that tell shigogouhou to go get meds and "deal with it" or see a doctor because he/she can help you, you have to understand that agoraphobia is not a cold or something simple that a doctor can prescribe a medicine and that it will all go away. Doctors have yet to understand how the human brain functions. I have a friend that has had it for the better part of 18 years and she still lives with it everyday, and yes, she has prescription pills that she has to take to help the anxiety, panic attacks, tunnel visions, and other symptoms that have prevented her from leading a normal life. From the time of diagnosis, it took her over 10 years to move her life from one side of the city to the other. It was a major achievement for her, but it didn't cure her. It only gave her a new view of the city. But it was a start. From that point on, she has been going to a support group at the university that she lives near and has been able to get somewhat more mobile. Not a lot by the standards of those that don't have this disorder. But for her, it's meant seeing more places and doing more things. She lives close to everything in terms of grocery stores, malls, dance clubs (she doesn't drink because of the strength of the medication), movie theatres and parks. She has learned to live with it as she deals with it the best that she can.

Shigogouhou, it's all about one step at a time dude. You've probably gone out of your mind trying to find a way to find a solution. Borrowing from my friend's experience, my advice would be to first off, move from wherever you're living now,even if it means a short distance away. Make sure you have some close friends and family close by that can be your support and will yourself to do it. Make sure all anemities are close at hand; parks, malls, movie theatres, stuff like that. If that works,congrats, try the next level and go for a walk to test your limits and find out how big your "safety zone" is. From there, you will know your limits, then the tricky part begins. Always try to stretch that limit a little bit. If it gets hard, whatever, its ok, just try again tommorow. But don't give up. There's always a chance something might finally 'click' for you and you might spread your wings.

And whenever you meet someone that you will feel comfortable with, take the time to get to know them first. Keep the interactions within your safety zone, but spread it out. Do the mall thing, find a restaurant you like, . But at some point you will have to spill the beans, because after you keep saying no to going and doing things that she knows you like, it will start to seem weird to her and you're better off to tell what is going then to not say anything or lie about it and then you've become an ***hole for being a liar when you're not really being one... But that's all I got,so good luck and hang in there..
Joined: 10/1/2007
Msg: 18
Posted: 3/14/2011 10:26:39 PM
Ok champ heres the go those who havent suffered it dont get it.The anxiety creates the agoraphobia simple as that ha ha .Well mate see your Doc work out your own program to slowly work your way back to a form of normalicy.Meds can help so dont totaly dismiss them but be your own guide take your time for its easy to say you want to be well now,..... it dont work that way.Try and not sit alone and think small things into large ok.So pull your finger out and have a crack you will get well .
Joined: 3/10/2009
Msg: 19
Posted: 3/20/2011 9:49:07 PM
not agorophobic, I just dont care for large groups of people. It significantly increases the propensity for stupidity, violence, and mayhem.
Adjust your schedule and go off peak
Meaning if you go to the gym MWF.... so does everybody f'n else, go T, TH Sat
(notice the amazing emptiness)
Work second shift. While everyone is trapped in office buildings, you practically have the streets, stores, and parks to yourself
Work weekends, take Monday Tuesday off, notice similar dead zones
Outsource yourself, there is enough technology in the world that you can do a job from home, or even further remote.
Avoid public transportation
Avoid concerts, fests, rallies and holidays.
This last week was St Patty's day, I had the Mexican resturant to myself
On cinqo de mayo; I plan to similarily dominate the Irish Pub.
Fourth of July? spend it in canada.
Christmas ? Orthodox Russian Christmas is January 7; Go anywhere on the 25th of December - and you own the place (if it is indeed open)
And when all else fails, go sea kayaking. You get eaten by an Orca and it is natures way of recycling.
Joined: 3/15/2006
Msg: 20
Posted: 3/20/2011 9:55:39 PM
^^^ Clearly you do NOT have agoraphobia. I love your ideas, but they aren't practical for those of us who do have such a wretched anxiety problem. There isn't "forethought" in how we live, there is just getting by day by day if/when we are having an episode. I go through phases. I can be panic attack/agoraphobia free for LONG periods of time, then BAM ~ immobile. No reason, just am. And when it happens? Life stops right then and there. It's not as easy as going to an uncrowded place (at least not for me) it's a matter of actually opening the door to get out to go to any place. JMO
Joined: 7/7/2005
Msg: 21
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Posted: 3/22/2011 5:25:48 AM
I do hope you do find something that works for you. It's terrible to be held back from what you want to be.

In most cases the "just keep doing it" is wrong because the center of your brain that "learns" anxiety and fear is reinforced further each time you're in the experience. It's seldom a just get used to it situation.

A therapist that specializes in phobias can help you to re-train the fear center of your brain because your phobia is learned and remembered. It has to be modified... you don't erase that memory of a fear response but there are techniques to "learn" an alternative to the situation.

If you have one expenditure that you make that makes you have to cut back in other luxuries... such as some people buying a boat or a Harley having to shut off their cable TV... this expenditure in dealing with your situation will be well worth it. Few people can undo a phobia on their own and opt for avoidance which shackles you from living the life you want to live.

Best of luck to you!
Joined: 5/24/2011
Msg: 22
Posted: 5/14/2012 6:37:24 AM
I know this is an old post, but I have the same problem. I haven't gone out on a date since 95.

I wish we could chat privately.
Joined: 5/4/2012
Msg: 23
Posted: 5/15/2012 7:25:41 AM

Do what I do with it, face it head-on and meet at a coffee shop, you get nervous and start saying things that don't make sense tell them your nervous and apologize for it. but keep a drink on you so when your nervous you can take a sip and focus on that and the girl your with whenever your drinking it. imagine yourself by a waterfall or beach alone with just you and her. But, keep her in the conversation, so do what you can to convince yourself your background is differnet. Keep in mind people are going to say negative things about you, that shouldn't matter, shes the only one you need to worry about, and remember here is one of my favorite qoutes that I try to keep in mind when on a date from a movie I once saw and it has worked for me. "if she didn't like you should would have said no, so its not your job to try to get her to like you. It is however your job not to screw it up." Hitch.


Joined: 1/8/2012
Msg: 24
Posted: 5/15/2012 7:54:54 AM

Please, just skip these Public forums altogether and head straight to private chat. Or better yet, stick to email, it's safer.

Joined: 5/7/2011
Msg: 25
Posted: 5/15/2012 10:39:22 AM
Then suggest private quieter, less busy places to meet. In the meantime, work on your agoraphobia. You probably already know it is going to hold you back in a lot of areas in life. There are books you can read on the subject on how to desensitize yourself to anxiety-provoking situations until you eventually become more comfortable . I don't think a first date is an appropriate time to go to a busy place to work on your agoraphobia, because it's already too much pressure and you don't want to overwhelm yourself and cause a panic attack. That's why I suggest staying with quiet venues until you get more control over your agoraphobia.
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