Breaking through Agoraphobia
Agorapbobia Workbook to help you overcome Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia is a phobia which is directly linked to the experience of panic attacks. It is the absolute fear of open spaces or of crowded spaces such as concerts, shopping malls and markets. Agoraphobia is also the fear associated to leaving a comfort zone such as home.
People who live with Agoraphobia often experience panic attacks when going to such "open" places, though it is true that the intensity and degree of a panic attack may vary. Whilst some experience a lingering preoccupied sensation when leaving home, others become completely immobilized by this fear that leaving the home even if only for a brief moment, becomes a terrifying experience.
The main thoughts of an Agoraphobic are that it is in fact unsafe to leave the comfort area, and if something were to happen, there would be no one to medically assit the person having the attack.
This vulnerability grows from the feeling that once caught in the anxiety, they are suddenly unable to take care of themselves, and are left at the mercy of the people surrounding them who are complete strangers.
Agoraphobia is progressive, and when it becomes extreme, panic attacks and fear can cause the person to stay in the home without going anywhere, for years.
This is by no means a hopeless situation, as there is no such thing. Though I would like to leave a reminder that hopelessness only depends on if the person really believes that it is hopeless.
As a start, it would be a good idea to address the issue about the belief in the safe zone. Just to clarify, this is the zone or area where the person feels least threatened and where panic attacks occur the least, or don't occur at all. Because it is where comfort is found, it is the place where the person tends to spend more, or most of their time.
This safe zone is also a myth which is created and sustained by the mind, and it creates and sustains that by habit. The mind develops a habit of thinking that makes one believe that being in the comfort zone is the only place to feel safe and where agoraphobia and panic attacks won't occur.
If agoraphobia is actually an issue for you who are reading this, watch as your mind comes up with reasons and great believable excuses as to why only certain areas are safe, and why others aren't. There can be hundreds of reasons, which can range from the fact that you are closer to a phone, or closer to family, or close to people that can give you medical assistance...
The reality (the one outside of your mind), is that there is no such thing as a safe zone, and that there is nothing life threatening about a panic attack, and that therefore sitting under the stars, in a field or in the desert is exactly the same thing as sitting at home. Of course your mind will immediately conjure a thousand reasons as to why sitting in the desert is unsafe: "there are no hospitals there", "there are no doctors there", "I may catch a disease", "This, or that may happen"!!
I'd like to ask you something.. is this really how you want to live the rest of your life?
You will need to review a very important fact here... after all your panic attacks, aren't you still here and alive, even though you thought you were going to die?
Well, if the same thing were to occur to you in the desert, you'd be alive also, even if you were alone out there.
Doctors are necessary when you're having an asthma attack, or diabetes, and yes it would be a good idea to be near one if this is your condition, but no doctor in the world will tell you that there is a safety zone which you should stay within. None!
I know as well as anyone what a terrifying experience this can be, but it's not real. I certainly don't want to seem harsh here, nor do I want to seem like it's about chastising people for their behaviours. It's only a way of looking at solutions and seeing throught the myths that condition the lives of so many people. My goal is to help you return to a richer and more meaningful life, by ultimately defeating agoraphobia and panic attacks.
I also realize that the people that live around you may not understand you, and your reasons to not wanting to leave the house. Even though they may upset you once in a while try to forgive them and see that they don't have a full understanding of your problem. Not everyone has the same issues, and it may make things a bit harder if you are together with someone who doesn't understand what you feel. If you can see that their intentions are well meant, then you will be able to relate to them better and help sooth any potential conflicts.
There is one thing though, that I am sure we all agree on, and that is that the only person who is able to get you out of agoraphobia is yourself. These thoughts and beliefs are yours, and only yours to deal with. When you begin to change your thinking, and constantly push forward, you will see that is becomes easier and easier to break through. You'll see that the safety zone is almost as big as the world :)
Here's a very interesting testimonial about Agoraphobia and Panic Attacks