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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

Hello I would go to a doctor and get on some meds and keep on trying as hard as you can to get out there again and get past this unrealistic fear . It's horrible but to get rid of it you have to face the fear I know it's easier said than done because I'm still trying to but I know what I need to do .Baby steps ❤️

Go outside. Every day. Do not let a day pass when you do not go out. Just go a little further each day, even if its only a foot or two. Then go back inside and try again the next day. Took me a year to go around the block, but I made it and you can too.,

Mary Merryfield

May 24, 2019

In reply to by Laura

What if I don't have a support system

Developing agorophobia suddenly after husband died a month ago. Doing less and less

I as well am suffering from the trauma of watching my husband pass away unexpectedly after an accident happening before me. We were working together and it just hit him. He went down and I couldn’t do anymore to help. He was transported to the local hospital. From that hospital they sent him to another hospital where he never regained counscieness there. Since then I am having so many weird symptoms of anxiety. Head feels pressure and heavy. Headaches, shakes, fear of staying alone. Hate night time now. Weakness and lightheaded. Some feeling of discomfort in my chest of quick pulses, or like an quick electrical current zap. The feeling of being extra warm inside of my body at times. No appetite and just weak sometimes. Sleep still isn’t possible still after months since he passed. I have been trying to focus on the relaxation breathing but just don’t get the results I want. Then being alone 24/7 is scary too. I keep seeing visions of my husband and how helpless he was. I do try to make sure to do some things in the house. I don’t want to just sit and dwell and worry. But I find I have so much of these feelings it’s hard to not want to just do that. I dealt with a similar situation 20+ years ago with another family member and went thru similar feelings. But had a full blown panic attack during that time. Then continued for months of unbearable anxiety. I lost my mother a year ago as well. I just hate the lightheaded and tightness feeling in my head at times. These feeling and not being in control of the anxiety feelings. You think how can a person have so many different symptoms of anxiety. How do others get thru after such a traumatic event and continue to function normally again. You feel hopeless, frightful, and alone. I feel for all others for suffering with their own anxiety.

Claire Weekes is the best!

Please give her books a try.... yes the language is outdated but the method is timeless. CBT before it was invented!

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 ?

Look out for the book 'Anxiety and Panic' by dr. Harry Barry. It helped me. In short, when symptoms of panic come, you have to accept them and ask for more of those symptoms, that way you put yourself in position of control over fear. Also, key thing to realize and repeat to yourself is that panic attack is uncomfortable but it will not kill you. Moreover, dr. Barry recommends 'provoking' panic attack, for example - going to a place where you usually get one and to want to get a panic attack. It's so effective and powerful concept.

If it were that easy we wouldn't be suffering. My husband used to tell me to calm down but after i explained to him (while sobbing) i don't want to feel this way, it just happens.. he just quiet and he keeps looking at me to see wtf im going to do. sometimes i want to jump out of the car (yeah, it's that bad) and one day, i probably will.

One of the worse things is dealing with this without proper support from those close to us cause they don't understand.

If you heard some of the garbage I've heard from supervisors, co workers, family members it would make you very mad.

Must be nice to go through life without a bit of worry.

I agree being told things like that by those who don't understand here's a list of things told to me by people all around.

1. Quit being chicken **** !
2. Face your fears (said to me while person was smiling)
3. You just need to get over it!
4. Your fear of crowds is really getting on my nerves.
5. Don't worry about them people. They don't care about you.
6. Ain't noone worried about you (said sarcastically)
7. Get your a** in there now!

Had people make fun of me, abuse me, ridicule me, lash at me, talk down to me and even talk about me with others.

And strangefully It really doesn't hurt my feelings it just pi**es me off like severely. Maybe in a way that is hurting my feelings, but I feel anger like incredible anger with these people instead of hurt.

If you don't understand the illness that's fine but respect the person and keep your mouth shut is all I want to say.

im finding that i cannot watch the news, i thought i was nuts for thinking it made me anxious but reading your comments, i guess i was right. QVC or Food Network keeps my stress levels down and i don't have to think much.

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

Paul I'm 62 years old now I've had panic attacks and anxiety real bad since I'm 24 years old I was smoking weed and it came across me I can't get rid of it since the smell of marijuana makes it worse but yet they say marijuana helps with anxiety but I keep telling my doctor I can't do that I'm on Xanax three times a day I'd love to get rid of this anxious feeling I have fear of driving in cars markets I have a agoraphobic real bad my way of thinking is my worst enemy my doctor wants me to see a shrink but I've seen one before and she was nuttier than I was I would give up my both legs to get rid of this anxiety can you please help me

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.

Thanks paul
Crippling social anxiety... Have to psych myself up to ask for something in a store... Airport security, panic....walking down aisle of plane, suffocating... Feel so demoralised... Fighting for my life for many years.
Sick of submission, your rage has inspired me and ignited hope.... Homeopathic Aconite is great for fear/panic and faith keeps me sane knowing I'm never alone.
Time to rage and overcome... Thank you!! ?
God bless

With anger towards it come strength to overcome it. When we let go of trying to be in control, things get better. When we realize that God is in control and that we can give our worries to Him. Life becomes more meaningful. But I really enjoyed your post. Best of life and blessings to you!

I just had my second panic attack, I’m feeling waves of anxiety every time I think of something deeply. I don’t know how bad I have it but I still manage to find the strength to do the things I love. Even with discomfort I fight it. I tell myself at night that I can go to sleep peacefully even tho I dream all night I still manage to rest. I try to face my fears head on & I “get mad” at my attacks. I tell them I am stronger & that I can get through this. It does help a lot & you saying this made me feel so much more in control.

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.

Kal mohamed

May 14, 2019

In reply to by natalie grant

Hey I want to let you know that I got panic disorder 2 months ago, I was in a loop of fears that I knew were baseless. Thoughts that scared me but I knew were not true inside. Prove your thoights wrong, write them down. Dont go out thinking you will have a panic because you will. Get up every morning g and as hard as it is smile, look around and start thinking of the things you should be grateful for. Even if your shaking and your head is pounding take your shower, do the things you would do before, get ready, go out and face your fears every day, prove to your unconscious brain that there is no fear of going anywhere or seeing anyone. This takes time, you have to repeat this process everyday and it's hard. But beat your panic and agoraphobia. Make sure you dont think about it too much. (That is the hardest part) but over time you will realize its alot easier when you are busy, reading, working, and not purposely taking time our to thi k about it (like I did everyday) the more you search your symptoms the more garbage goes to your head. So stop and socialize. Accept what you are going through and Male a plan to overcome it to get your life back. If you need to talk then talk all day to your friends and family. To people who have gone through it. It helps, dont be afraid for people to find out. I told everyone I saw. It made me unconsciously less scared of them and situations, you build confidence, and helps you relax knowing you have support.

I know this might sound silly but I am going to print this and read it when I'm feeling defeated, I had my first panic attack in July after I had my baby. It was my first day back from maternity leave and when I got up to get ready for work I lost my vision and felt light headed and I panicked. Ever since that day, I had a fear of losing my vision when I drive and dying but I tried to ignore it and I thought that worked but ignoring it for so long has made it so much worse now. I am currently on month 1.5 of living depressed and anxious, not wanting to live or hurt my baby. Some days are awesome, and even great but then I get this dread of "it's been 5 days since you've had one, it's coming...it's coming" and that's what makes them come back, just right now I was having a panic attack at work and tried breathing slowly and counting my breaths and surprisingly I feel better, it's as if that made it go away.

After 10 years of not leaving home I’m now booked in for a trip to Italy next week.

Anonymous

November 27, 2019

In reply to by natalie grant

I agree. I suffer from Agoraphobia for 3 years. It's not bad until a large amount of people start accumulating in the group then I start feeling claustrophobic and have anxiety attacks.

My biggest issue is why do people have to congregate. If they just fan out then there's no issue. But no people just HAVE to be shoulder to shoulder and that's what frustrates me. Sometimes I just want to tell people "Can you give me some room?" But no I mind myself and exit the area. I just don't understand some people they are really weird.

But I tired a therapist online and after finding information the first thing they flashed was the expensive pricetag we are talking a couple of hundred dollars for each appointment. Jesus do you have to be rich to get help??

So now I am left to deal with this myself. Sucks to live in a greedy world. Oh well the only people to care about us is ourselves.

Toto

January 31, 2020

In reply to by natalie grant

I know I have no insurance it costs a fortune to get to the dr and then meds .I have awful pain and panic

Why is this happening to me. I wake up in the middle of the night covered in a complete full body sweat. I have horrific nightmares. For some reason a small part of that nightmare crosses my mind and my. body begins to heat up really bad from head to toe. Terrifying. Why?

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