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by Neal Sideman

I have chosen to focus on my healing, and to say only a few words about my long period of suffering. Chances are, you already know – firsthand or secondhand – more than you'd care  to know about the suffering! My own suffering had its unique form, but essentially, it was no different from what you probably already know.

After my first two panic attacks, I awakened each morning to an instantly racing heart, hyperventilation, and cresting waves of fear and apprehension. My range of activity for each day was dictated by my agoraphobia, and my range gradually got narrower and narrower.

Every aspect of my life was deeply affected. Once, a friend asked me to explain what things I couldn't do. I answered that it would take much less time if I simply listed those things I could do.

At my low point, I was buffeted from morning to night by waves of panic anxiety, and I was barely able to venture one block from my apartment.

To summarize a story that could fill many pages, I spent years doing everything I could to heal from this condition. After many disappointments, my tenacity finally paid off. I found my answer.

The answer I found was the deeply transformational process of learning mastery over my panic and anxiety.

For me, there were two keys to learning this mastery and curing this condition: education and practice.

Read the rest of Neal's story on his website. 

"A friend asked me to explain what things I couldn't do. I answered that it would take much less time if I simply listed those things I could do."
Disorder

Comments

I've been searching the web for about 2 years and I've read every success story there is, my thing is what about the people who need the help but have no money are no insurance I want help but there is no help unless you have a pocket full of money every story begins with what to do how to do it and then the big $$$$$$$$$ comes

Hi Natalie,
I haven't fully recovered from agoraphobia; I still struggle with traveling in the car and on planes. However, if you're housebound, there is a book that might help - "Simple, Effective Treatment of Agoraphobia" by Claire Weekes. It's an old book, the language is a little outdated and the author is no longer alive, but it's one of the best I've read so far. She shares the stories of people that were agoraphobic for 10-20+ years and still managed to recover.

The short version of every recovery material out there is basically this:
-Face the fear over and over again in a systematic way, in small steps until you can do bigger and bigger things
-Try to do it while calm so as not to reinforce the fear
-Let time pass as your nervous system slowly calms down

You don't necessarily have to have a therapist - a calm person that can accompany you and remain calm while you are anxious can be incredibly helpful. There are also affordable therapists online, if you haven't looked into online therapy, I would strongly advise it. Social support was one of the strongest contributors to me getting better, you may be able to do it alone, but it will be far more difficult.

MONICA SANCHEZ

June 20, 2018

In reply to by Laura

try lemonbalm tea or capsules ( at your local health store) also called Melissa- I jut started- been looking for a long time for relief- seems to be working!! good luck- this is horrific suffering we are enduring

From past few days I bought a bp machine when I checked my own bp is much higher . From dat day I feel very deprresed .. that night I felt I faint and my whole body is going numb. Suddenly I went to doctor bp was 180/100 .. I don't want to take medicine . Please help me .. I'm worried

I did the same as you. Evry time I see a blood pressure machine now I panic.
i have to calm myself down before I go to the doctor . It has gone up in the 200's having a panic attack over it. Do not take it when you are worried.! it will be high then you will get nervous and make it higher.. vicious cycle

I did the exact same I panic over my bp. With the machine it was higher then having them doing it manual but then you wonder if they can hear right lol.. I will feel my pulse cause my chest hurts a little thinking it’s real fast and it usually isn’t. One point I went to urgent care thinking I was gonna have heart attack and the EKG was good BP was high but it’s bevause I was freaking out. Then I went to my dr had blood work done and it was perfect, sugar, thyroid, cholesterol, blood count etc. but I still worry and I can’t seem to stop dr gave me hydroxine as needed but I don’t like to take meds so I’ve never taken it. It has been years since I had one and since Thanksgiving it’s like they won’t stop! I hate this feeling I want to feel normal again!!

I am so surprised that so many other people got a panic disorder from a BP machine. I thought I was alone. Stupid part is the machine I was checking on was faulty all along. I drove myself into a panic for nothing. Panic disorder was so scary I thought I was going crazy, that I wil never get over it. I couldn't even go to my friends house or even a store without freaking out. After 1 week of non stop panic attacks and 1 week of studying and research I simply realized at times I am okay (at night time at home) which men at I could be okay all the time eventually. That thought and my family kept me strong. I had to suck it up every day and get ready and leave the house terrified inside with my head spinning, feeling a of unreality, distant from the world, scared, with all these thoughts that I couldn't get out of my head, and in a state of panic all the time. In the course of the next 3 weeks I kept going out, practicing thought control, and eventually my anxiety went down, my body and mind didn't react the way it usually would and I was now starting to feel a normal life again. The thing that takes a little time once you get over your panic disorder is the trauma. The fear and disbelief of what you went through and why. The anger. For me there was a problem with stopping my control of thoughts, I was constantly over thinking, but with time, family, and faith, you will get through it. Just dont try to rush into being back to "normal" or rush into forgetting what happened. Accept that it was you, it's what you went through, and now is the present. And eventually it will be the past. Yoi will look back one day and it will be a memory. Just dont keep yourself in the loop of fear. When you feel the fear tell yourself to be strong, there is nothing to worry about, dont lose yourself in a thought that will trigger your panic. You need to know it's just a thought. When the thoughts tell you you are depressed or you will never get over it dont believe it. Btw I was able to do it with no therapy and no medicine. Just patience and faith.

Good luck. Hope this helps

I was diagnosed with agoraphobia over 20 years ago when no one really understood it that well and I am much better now but the first thing to do is find a therapist and describe exactly how you're feeling I didn't leave my room for 2 years I just wanted to die but even as terrifying as it is there is help for it I can do just about anything anymore except I still have bad days sometimes. There really is a lot of help out there nowadays so the first thing I would suggest is to set up an appointment with a psychiatrist. Good luck I know how debilitating this condition can be.

I suffer from agoraphobia. It is controlled now. Seems to come back every 7/10 years though :( You should look at all treatment options. Psychiatry and CBT therapist or psychologist is a good combination. Gene tests are available to predict which meds your body can tolerate the best. I used Genesight. They offer pay scale. If you can go to library there are self help books. The more you know about what you are going through the better. You learn about triggers. You might be able to figure out what's cause this. Mine is stress and social anxiety. So I work on these areas. I wish there was a simple solution but for me it's using all of these. Set goals for yourself. Ultimately you will have to expand your safe zones. Little by little. I wish you the best!

Take calm breaths, know you are not alone in this, and you are one of us. You have more mind and self control than you think. As long as you do things under your control you should get through little by little. It's ok to be afraid, it's ok to not be ok. Acknowledge this, and you will understand more. I have SO much advice but not enough space. Feel free to contact me if you like.

Yes you are defiantly not alone! I have struggled and continue to struggle daily with agoraphobia for the past 14 years. I also feel like I am the only one that has this issue. And there are times I trick myself into believing that I am crazy and there is no help.

I've developed getting anxiety and panic attacks I feel as if the panic attacks are worse than the exact it I am on medication they've tried a lot of different anxiety meds that made me feel cuckoo I just see my primary care doctor I'm kind of nervous to talk to a psychiatrist because I have no idea where this came from and I don't have the money to see a real good one I'm really nervous and confused on what to do I don't want to be on medication please help

I was 22 when my Dr gave me Xanax amd soem other stuff. Made me worse and I wish he would have gave me aome other options. CBD oil specifically for panic disorder is great!
Or rescue relief drops from gnc. I keep trying to get off these meds and I can get through the overwhelming symptoms. I also foind out my panic attacks and agoraphobia were way worse 2 weeks out of the month. Also my b6 and b3 vitamins were way low. Please check all the physical reasons it could be before your doomed to suffer with or with out the meds and no longer know who you are. Go to library and get a cognitive behavioral therapy book. You got this!

I suffer panic attacks but its been over a year now. I get maybe one for 10sec after weeks. You need to be strong and gota pray namaz and gota be a good person then you don't have to worry about anything.don't be sad stay happy..

I recently started zoloft to treat my panic disorder. I live every single day in fear of having another panic attack. I know when they happen that they will soon pass, but it is the most terrifying thing i have ever experienced. My heart races, my hands tingle, i get very cold, and it feels as though i will never recover. Seeking words or advice on how to live with panic disorder.

I am at work right now and have been taking 1 mg of Ativan for panic .. doc put me on a.25 of Clanazapam and I see it’s equal to half of what I’ve been taking ... can you help me through

Mary Merryfield

May 24, 2019

In reply to by Laura

What if I don't have a support system

Paul camacho

May 27, 2018

In reply to by natalie grant

Hello... I know how overwhelming the sense that you are losing your. Mind can be because of panic attscks, because I suffered them myself... And I also cured myself...
I was 19 and experimenting with drug when after a particular heavy might of cocaine use i began feeling a shortness of breath... The feeling of not being able to catch your breath is sifforcating and unbearable... Because I was young and didn't understand enough about the affects of drugs I thought I was overdosing and having a a heart attack... I began to panic badly and felt like I was losing my life energy and would pass out and die... At the emergency room though I insisted I was sbiut to pass out die... They just kept foe observation knowing better... A few hours later I was more come and felt more comfortable and they let me go hone... It was the scareiat experience of my life... I was fine for about three months thought I worrying about that felling often... Afraid it might come back... Sure enough, 3 months later I began having pa attack... It was a miserable time of my life... I would have then every day and I would not leave the house... Agorahobic.. I thought I was going crazy and it seemed that this would now be my life and it sickened me... I couldn't watch anything on TV except sports programming because everything else would inspire bad thought or feel key with anxiety... But baseball just went inning in inning out and seemed to soothe me... The worse thing I remember was this fear as I tried to go to sleep every night that I was going to die in my sleep... Imthis continued for 18 months until finally I broke... And this is what I did to beat it... I was tired of the fear... So damn tired and I just wanted to sleep peacefully... And I remember vividly ontheblast night I had one just giving up and getting very angry..m I was angry at them plaguing me...m and I remember twining to myemself before I went to be in raging inner voice filled with anger... And I said to myself... I don't csre... I dint csre if I die in my sleep.... I was just sontired and sick of it... I took a stance of anger toward and with absolute rage I just didn't care what happen to me in jay sleep that night... I didn't care if I died... I was done worrying and being afraid of it... And that night I sleep so peacefully and I woke up the next say feeling rested and fresh... And though I was worruong I may have a panic attack... I didnt... They stopped... I raged it yeah some how... That was all... It worked some how... So what I would recommend to oh is to get mad at it... Get angry with it... Find that rage inside of you and. Yell at it... Really, just scream out loud at it... Face it and tell it that you don't care abut it and your not going to fear it tonight... Not this night... I think once you do that you gain a sense of confidence back.. I think that's what csuaes them... A sudden dramatic traumatizing blow to your deep seeded sense of security and comfort in dealing with your reality... Its as if your fundsmnetal belief system that supports your ability to feel safe... Suddenly erases and you feel vulnerable and in fear of everything... To regain it you must rage agsisnt the fear... Rage agsisnt the sickness... Tell it you don't care about it... And it cent hurt you... Because after all... Its only in your mind... I hope that helps... It Wes the best thing that ever happen to me... Good kuck

38 years now of this agoraphobia and still scared of the panic attacks.i have a new list of things now added on as well.i think i need to understand why am so scared of the panic attacks that's my problem and its this that stops me from going and doing things i really need help now.i no life to short but am so scared still i don't have confidence anymore just more problems.

thankyou for your email.i have missed alot of my life due to being to scared its so silly but so horrible.i have anxity,deppression,fear of going far,tall buildings,open spaces.etc might as well shoot myself plus i cant spell.but thankyou for email back

In a weird sorta way this actually does make allot of sence! I have suffered from anxiety for 30 years and have had countless panic attacks! At some point, as hard as it is, you do have to get mad and tell yourself to just stop! Regain that confidence and try to snap yourself out of it!

Gain control and make yourself snap out of it? Don’t you think if people could control panic they would? That’s what makes it panic—you can’t control it. That’s one of the 10 things you’re never supposed to say to someone having an attack.

I have been getting panic attacks for 7 yrs now.I believe it was triggered from the passing of my mom that died in my arms.I was doing better for a while now I'm getting it again.I hate it,I get it at the gym,I have to run out.I take meds but not working.I want my life back 😢

Thanks for that, you don’t read that In self help information but I feel at a point where this kind of approach is beneficial. Sick of living in fear, learning to live with anxiety and not let it dominate your every move. I just went out to a family gathering I spent all day anxious about forced myself to go no matter what and will continue to go till this horific illness ceases or looses its power over my mind

You know....that is so simple and so right.....I've had panic/anxiety for decades (downgraded from panic to highly anxious to a kind of mostly functional fearful/hypervigilant adaptation over time) ....started when I was 19 just like you....not from drug use....more depression/fear and a passive personality with a strong tendency to worry and finding pressures of growing up and university life hard to handle....plenty of psychological stuff there. But the panic attacks are a thing in themselves irrespective of what triggers it in the first place. running from them is a weak response although totally understandable on an instinctive level and I in no way judge this as it was exactly my response. much advice is based around don't fight them let them happen don't resist as it generates more fear. but this is super hard to do especially when they first start and are so new and shocking to the system and deeply unpleasant to experience....something along the lines of being burned alive and someone saying "oh, it's ok....just let it happen ...it'll pass".....but it feels unbearable in the moment to the sufferer. Anger is active....it's strong.....it's physical....in the body.....it's determined too when you channel it....and it's focused. And while the first panic attack or two may strike out of the blue it's the mind that perpetuates them. The worry habit. Mine started over 30 years ago and I've survived and even thrived since then so if ever proof is needed that they don't kill you I guess that's it! Panic is disempowering....anger is empowering. Panic is like fire....determined unwavering anger is like the fire extinguisher! Good luck who all who have to deal with this. I know how it feels and how it sucks the confidence and hope out of you and shrinks your life. The piece by Paul is one of the best things I've ever read on the topic. Makes total sense. It harnesses the body and not the mind and since panic happens in the body that's where it makes most sense to fight it. Be angry, be active, be energetic, be sure you are stronger than panic because you are and be prepared to follow that strong energy you use to fight panic to live a better life.

Hi help
So sorry to hear that your not well. I can relate. I'm 47 and have been sick a long time. I'm a "home body" also:) and havery been searching for help without $. Unfortunately that's how this world is:( I have 7 diagnosis's. I do receive an ssI check and Medicaid. I had hoped that medicaid was the answer. Unfortunately no it's not. It's had made my struggle a tiny bit better. I'm a Christian. If not for my faith in God, well, idk I don't believe I could make it thru such pain. I feel for you. And will keep you in prayer.
Thank you
Ski

Tammer p jensen

July 18, 2018

In reply to by natalie grant

some days i can get up no problems then start to leave my bedroom and then get panicky have to stop and try and stay still until it passes i joined a group caller DARE stared by a man named BARRY McDonagh he has been a life saver this program has been the reason i can write this note but there are still days i just want to feel normal

MM731

September 8, 2018

In reply to by natalie grant

Natalie, I am in the same exact spot as you. I have had agoraphobia for 5 years. I drained my savings and checking accounts on a few sessions with a phobia specialist. All of the phobia specialists make you pay out of pocket but because of the agoraphobia, I can't work and I can't pay the specialist. The cycle is exhausting. It's the most helpless I have ever felt. You have a phobia, you need help, but you have no money because of phobia, specialists won't help you. You remain sick. I've tried to get well as much as I can on my own but it's been a long 5 years. I need actual help but like you said, only the people with money can get better.

Abraham Martin

February 3, 2019

In reply to by natalie grant

I am suffering from rapid anxiety panic attacks disorder anxiety disorder depression schizophrenia and Agoraphobia Autophobhia Monophobia I have searched internet for every penny I got from parents as long as they could have provided..... From measly 6kpbs gprs to WIFI HOTSPOT if anybody had heart to provide the same what I got was ridicule insults mixed with very small amount of money to 2 or 4 doctors psychiatric all I ever got was banned pills to hate and self claimed mayo clinic doctors the pharmacists, all they cared about was money and labelled me as stupid melodramatic uncared for....... Ahhhhhhh the pain I am malnourished as I have bone density less than that of 70 year old person osteomalacia I hardly got out of home so no vitamin d or less sun, not proper absorption of food I am 40 years old everyone has black hole for money and abuses as midday hot summer sunshine I am literally dead man breathing....... OTC supplements medicines natural allopathy are none to few and costly enough to buy food for weeks...... Help.