Saturday, July 30, 2011

A, my name is Agoraphobia Post #120

I have been under the care of a psychiatrist for 14 years and should have been all my life.  Anxiety, panic attacks, major depressive disorder, bipolar are things attached to my name, and justly so. My Dr said so.    Well, here is another one and I think it should go to the head of the list.  This one I have diagnosed myself... who better knows me than me ...  unless in my memory lapses or hearing failure I have forgotten my Dr telling me that I have this too.  Between his accent, Vietnamese I think, and my dog eating my hearing aides I don't understand a whole let he says to me so who knows what he has told me.   I also see a therapist who I understand perfectly and we have discussed almost every single one of these symptoms but if she has labeled me agoraphobic I don't remember her telling me this is what all those things point to.  (note to D' may have told me and I just didn't hear it----mentally or physically...sometimes when we are talking about my problems I get too stressed and my brain shuts down.  You seem to sense when that occurs though) Anyway, I think if you look agoraphobia up in the dictionary my picture should be there as the poster child. 
I just discovered a website .......  clicked mental health, saw the drop down list, read the text below and said to myself well this is just a perfect description of me. 
Symptoms of Agoraphobia:
1) Frequent panic attacks – a period of intense fear that lasts ten minutes in which four of the following symptoms occur:

•Rapid Heart Rate   yes
•Sweating   yes
•Shaking or trembling  yes
•Fear of dying  yes
•Nausea or diarrhea  yes
•Feeling short of breath  yes
•Feeling of choking or smothering yes
•Feeling dizzy, light-headed or faint.  yes
•Feelings of unreality or detachment   i don't think so
•Chills or hot flashes  yes
•Numbness or tingles  yes
•Fear of losing control  way yes
•Fear of going crazy  too late, that train has already left the station

2) Avoidance Behavior – heck yes those with agoraphobia avoid places or situations in which making a quick exit due to panic attacks would be embarrassing or those in which no one would be around to help if they had a panic attack. Those with agoraphobia avoid going places unless it’s with a “safe” person or a “safe” place. definitely me
Common situations avoided are:
•Driving a car     yes
•Being outside  no
•Being away from home   yes
•Sitting in the middle row at a theatre or stadium  yes and if I am in a restaurant I want to sit in a corner my back against the wall so no one can come up behind me
•Using public transportation  i'm sure it would be yes if I were in that situation
•Crossing a bridge  i was simply terrified of bridges for prob 45 yrs
•Taking an elevator only if someone else is in it unless it is one of my "safe" people
•Standing in lines  yes

3) Fear of Being Alone And Scanning –NO not afraid of being alone as long as I have my dogs...uh oh, I guess they come under "safe people".  Thanks to the physical sensations of panic attacks, some agoraphobics engage in obsessive scanning, or the constant monitoring of their own bodies for any unusual symptoms. Agoraphobics are often afraid to be alone, even in a safe place, because they’re afraid no one will be around to help them.
4) Safe People and Safe Placesdefinitely big time for both and i fear losing my safe people and places, because I have lost some of them  to cope with the fear, agoraphobics establish safe people and places.
A safe person is someone with whom the agoraphobic feels emotionally close. Safe people are generally parents, children, close friends, relatives and spouses. While a safe person is around, agoraphobics can travel farther from home and enter feared places and situations.

A safe place is a place in which an agoraphobic feels psychologically comfortable and is generally their home. A safe place can also be the homes of safe people, therapists offices, and other established places. Some agoraphobics can feel safe many places whereas others may be confined to their beds.
Does anyone else out there have this? How do you cope?

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