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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 It's an old book, the language is a little outdated and the author is no longer alive, but it's one of the best I've read so far.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!!

When I had my first panic attack I was prescribed with BP medicine. At that time I did not know what happened to me. Nobody spoke about anxiety or panic attacks at that time. I even asked my doctor if my intense fears were caused by stress. He said no and continued prescribing me even though my BP has normalized. However, I became obsessed with my BP. Eventually I left my medication and wondered what was going on with me. Years later I found out that I was suffering from panic attacks. Then I knew I had to make changes that have helped relieve my panic attacks with no medication. My last one was last year. I exercise, make sure I am breathing correctly, adopt a positive attitude, and stay active. My BP obsession is gone! If you do not want to use BP medication make sure that your ALL blood tests are fine. What you need to do is to face your panic attacks or anxiety. Your mind might be causing all of this because you still have panic attack or anxiety. Try to distract your mind from scary thoughts. It takes time and patience. I know there are people who are going through all this! That's why I just started a web site breatheoutpanicattack.com about how to face and control your panic attacks without medication. I share my experience and tips to help you cope. Good luck!

I didn't know others had the BP obsession! Mine is mostly gone now, but it was especially present in the first year or two of my panic disorder. I checked it obsessively. A dr gave me blood pressure medicine when I showed up to the ER at age 16 for a panic attack. Nothing was explained to me. For 5 months I had chronic anxiety and frequent panic that included the BP obsession. After getting brave to check the side effects, chronic anxiety was listed as one. I shifted to another med and things improved, but I remained agoraphobic to varying degrees for the last 11 years.

I love the positive outlooks here! However, what would you suggest for a person who has learned to avoid panic during conscious hours but awakes in full panic around 3AM every day for nearly 20 years now? They continue for approximately one hour then the alarm goes off. Medications are all that has helped. I eat plants only and live an extremely active lifestyle and include yoga and breathing exercises. I also take vitamins and limit caffeine. Have you got any other suggestions?? I'm so tired of living this way I know it's killing me slowly.

how? im still suffering from pqnic attacks and its keeping me insane i hope this wont last too long im scared of getting pregnant bcoz i always think i might have panic during my pregnancy oh lord help me

Unbelievable! My story is exactly same as yours. I left BP medicine same as you all my bloodtest was normal. Did a heart check up it was normal but had rapid heartbeat. Took antidepressant for 2 weeks and left. I had my 1st panic attack a year back in May end. So far I had 4 to 5 suicidal panic attacks and anxiety everyday. One thing no one mentions is that there are some things which actually helps to keep you away from panic attacks is a good pre and probiotic, a good diet vegetarian with no sugar no alcohol no caffeine no bread, make sure you are not constipated ever coz it triggers panic attacks, take an aged garlic supplement, make sure you don't have diarrhoea, take good digestive enzymes, exercise etc i did all these and my anxiety is much better still it's not gone completely but its slowly fading away I can feel it.

I was also having panic attacks doc gave me bp medicine I had to take it but after few days of medication it was lowering my bp than normal, so I had to take lower dose, checking my bp in machine was scary, all my bloodtests heart checkup was normal, then I heard about leaky gut and its symptoms it was matching up with mine n thought I have huge gut health issues which is affecting my brain health, that is my root cause of panic attacks, I stopped eating artificial sugar and having meals on time is making me quite better, one thing recently I discovered by checking my sugar levels often at home I have quick sugar droppings reactive hypoglycemia which is also a cause for panic attacks. In sugartest it was normal but home readings showed that I have reactive hypoglycaemia.

I wouldn’t let my doctor take my BP. Just looking at the BP machine I would get in to the panic attack.
At one point I got panic attack with chest pains. Ended up at emergency. My EKG
was good , but my BP was 200/ 110. I had my blood work done, even chest x ray.
Everything was normal. They gave me Valium and 2 Tylenol for the chest pain and send me home.
It took some time for me to figure out why I was getting high BP. First I cut out all alcoholic drinks and coffee. That helped. Panic attack was not that severe and not very often. My BP was still high.
Then I started 4 day fast. Just drinking water. Panic attacks disappeared and my BP was 123/71 heart beat 77. There is a cure after all.Now I do periodically fasting maybe once a month and everything is normal. I suffered with panic attacks and high BP for many years. Who knew that little fast and cutting out alcohol and coffee will fix my problems. You won’t hear it from your doctor.They just pushing meds.

It's good to read what others go through, most times I feel crazy as my panic can be debilitating, I thought I was the only one with obsessive BP issues, I changed my diet, cut out sugar and carbs,I eat only whole foods drink lots of water,I'm 57 and my anxiety is every month for about a week and half, I swear it has something to do with my hormones,

I was abruptly off Thyroid medication 5/2019. My Anxiety & Life has spiraled downward have lost 70 lbs. Plus husband of 36 years divorced me. I am renting with a friend. Horrified to even leave her house just to go to Post Office. HBP issues, Severe Depression, cannot envision living alone. Dear God.

I just posted what i've been going through on reddit and i swear mine is too, i described it as debilitating as well. It comes every month usually after my period and last almost 2 weeks!

I saw your comment and I was like YES!
I swear anxiety is very connected to horomones. It is the same for me where I will feel so amazing and that I can do anything fearlessly then BAM I'm kicked off my happy horse and back into a panicked anxious state for a week and a half or so.
Very cool to see you say that.

Hydro worked for me the first 2 times. I had an attack last night and had to take 2 pills and it still didnt go away until aftr i threw up and took a nap.

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 just wanted to thank you. My daughter is 22. She has epilepsy and now she just started too have nightmares. She said she has panic attacks and depression. Thank you for ur note. I pray she will get better. Please let me know what can I do to help her.

Thank you so very much for this positive comment. I know I will be ok but when my thoughts seem to strike and feelings get out of whack and makes you feel like you dont know what is real...just have to remember to be strong. Thank you so very much!

Taylar

Thanks so much . This gives me some sort of relief. I am experiencing this anxiety now after my pressure had been high and I’m feeling like I won’t be like myself again. I’ve been afraid to even drive too far alone and the panic has taken over my life. I’m actually thinking of seeking therapy.

Thank you for reassuring us dealing with these issues. And you are right, it’s all in the mind. The mind is so powerful. Walking, reading, exercise, and YOGA are amazing to help reduce panic/anxiety. Hot yoga has helped me so much. And Zin yoga. I believe after taking Norco’s for my pain management started to disagree with my body after years of taking them my body just started to disagree. I didn’t know that norcos create anxiety, but they do. And coming off of them caused my neurotransmitters to go wacky. Which created anxiety. I’m so done with medications. I will overcome this. Talking to patient people, exercise, yoga, and praying has helped me. I will beat this crap! I am STRONG!

Thank you very much for your encouragement. You gave me hope that this is something that I will have to learn and not impossible

How did you really keep yourself out of that thought? It’s hard for me cause I’m 18 & I’ve been dealing with it since February this year

The lockdowns im my country caused my anx and insomia to worsen. Could not hike, could not jog, cant even see friends. Its so hard specialy when ur living alone in a decrepit boarding house with poor ventilation and lighting

I have many of these issues including "White Coat Syndrome". I have had many surgeries and always fear what the doctor, any doctor will have to say. Blood pressure is taken AFTER visit. Not before. Usually it is normal. Ask your doctor about this. It Matters to us that suffer. Best of luck.

I suddenly got very high blood pressure spikes. Many years ago I had panic disorder. I don’t think this is panic but now instead of just high bp I’m dizzy very weak in legs shaking and short of breath. The doctor says I’m fine. Can this be panic. I feel I can’t do anything because of high blood pressure but I try to go for a walk and cannot walk without major weakness and shaking. Is this high blood pressure or am I panicking agsin.

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.

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