Author Topic: Benzo free and trying to overcome severe, longer-term agoraphobia  (Read 3910 times)

[Buddie]

I know that many, many of you became agoraphobic while on the meds and during withdrawal, and I wanted to reach out to you for some support.  I have been battling my agoraphobia for a good two years or so, to a more severe level.  I gave up driving and became, more less, housebound.  Sometimes I did venture out with someone I trusted, but could never go far from home, and then it got progressively worse where I couldn't even get into a car and leave my driveway without having a meltdown.  This all started after I began taking Xanax!  Go figure!  Prior to that, I did deal with anxiety issues that worsened while on Paxil for a total of 13 years, which was what led me to taking Xanax, but before the Xanax, I was able to work, drive, and I was quite the social butterfly who was always on the go.  Then the walls came crashing down.

After I quit the Xanax in May, shortly after that I was able to get in the car as a passenger and take peaceful rides with lower anxiety.  I've been in a few stores since then, and have begun taking walks.  But I still have boundaries and still feel unsafe going too far from home, and the thought of going anywhere alone is still very scary. 

The fact that I can actually get in a car now and take rides (a few times I even got behind the wheel with my boyfriend as passenger), and the fact that my anxiety has dropped dramatically, overall, tells me that this was all caused because of the meds, obviously.  But that is a long time to have such severe issues, and so much of it has become a learned response.  I am really doubting my ability to overcome these hurdles and get back to being fully functional again.  I want my life back!  While I am happy for them, I become jealous of many on here who, even though they are suffering while tapering and withdrawing, are able to get out and go places.  How could I ever let this get so bad!?!  I am so angry with myself.  This is not who I am.  I love people and doing things, yet I have allowed myself to become a prisoner to this!

Just wondering if anyone else has had this to a more severe degree, and, of course, I'd love to hear from any who have experienced the agoraphobia to any degree.  I have been taking it easy and not really pushing my boundaries yet, as I am still not feeling the best, but soon I know I need to take those baby steps forward and start pushing, and possibly seek out some therapy an CBT.  I also think that maybe as I get further away from the drug, I will start having an easier time pushing those boundaries and getting over this.  I sure hope that is the case.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Benzo free and trying to overcome severe, longer-term agoraphobia
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2010, 11:36:14 am »
i never had agorophobia, but i have it now; i think i'm afraid to leave the house now because of the extreme heat this summer and also i don't want the "neighbors" to see the crazy drug addict they live next to;  i also don't want the people in my small town to see me and what i a have become...i don't know what "buzz" will be started about me....and that scares me.

my best suggestion would be practice Claire Weekes techniques...she's good but even she says you have to continue to pratice them in order to overcome the fear.

i hope this helps,
love, truck
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Benzo free and trying to overcome severe, longer-term agoraphobia
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2010, 02:07:52 pm »
It's my feeling that if you didn't have it before you won't have it when you're healed.  I don't feel it is a learned response, but I'm sure it can certainly feel like that.  I don't know anything about agoraphobia the disorder, but I know about drug induced agoraphobia.  I developed it as well, not to the degree you've had it, but it was there.  It's gone now, it left me and I've watched it leave for hundreds of BenzoBuddies as well. 

You are not your agoraphobia, it is the drug.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Benzo free and trying to overcome severe, longer-term agoraphobia
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2010, 02:15:54 pm »
Sweets,
I have it now.   It's worse as I continue my taper.   I can mangage to get places but thinking about leaving the houses scares me. I would much prefer to stay home.   I feel very vulnerable in this taper and I think that is contributing to my agoraphobia.   I think these drugs just make us feel extremely insecure and exposed.  I feel like I can't defend myself. 

 I think when you feel ready that CBT could be very useful for you.   I find that praying calms me down alot.   I have also started using some relaxation tapes that my doc made for me.   
I think though that CBT really can help retrain your brain.   Give it a shot.   I will probably pursue something like that as well.
You are doing great.   Just remember.....baby steps will get you there.   I think you have made great strides.  We can't always see it  in ourselves but I have noticed lately that you are really making positive changes.
Love ya,
Mel
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Benzo free and trying to overcome severe, longer-term agoraphobia
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2010, 02:48:06 pm »
I finally found out how to post! I just want to chime in on being understanding about the agoraphobia issues which I now have experienced after having 'jumped off' over two weeks ago. I never had experienced this prior to the klonpin taper and I fully felt it yesterday when I made myself take the Lawrence Ave bus to Montrose Beach yesterday. Wow! I stand to tell you that it's entirely possible, even living in a city like Chicago. It was tough yesterday but I just couldn't sit in the house anymore. I love Chicago and I love my neighborhood so it's a good motivator but just getting on that #81 bus to the beach, and going into Jimmy Johns because I was starving was difficult, to put it mildly. But entirely possible, I echo back. It's been a rugged ride and a long two weeks but having this site to share with others who understand this bizzareness helps greatly as Ive been very much to myself through all this. I love you all! Keep your head up, literally, even if it is painful, and breath and feel your feet hitting the sidewalk as you walk. Also, laughing at myself whenever I can helps release the overt seriousness of our situation. I like to hold something in my hands ( like a water bottle ) as I walk too , to fiddle with, to feel, as I walk. Take it light and laugh when you can, even if you think there's no reason to. -Alive in Chicago! -[...]-
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Benzo free and trying to overcome severe, longer-term agoraphobia
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2010, 04:35:42 pm »
Gosh [...] I love Chicago.  Been there many times.
Kudos to you navigating around that big city with agoraphobia.   You should be really proud of yourself.
Nice chatting with you yesterday and glad you are finding your way around the forum.   Next time you are out say hi to the big city for me ok?
 :)Mel
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Benzo free and trying to overcome severe, longer-term agoraphobia
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2010, 01:51:02 am »
Hi Bittersweet,
I am really feeling for you right now.  Please don't think this agoraphobia is permanent or you.  I am in full agreement with [...].  If you didn't have it before withdrawl then it is withdrawl.  I too had developed agoraphobia to some degree when I was tapering and also the early parts of post withdrawl.  It was scary.  I am such a people person, have always been extremely outgoing and talk to just about everyone. I would go nuts if I did not get out every day and be around others or do something.  Until......
Benzo's.  Just even thinking about going down the street would blow me into a frenzy.  Things I used to take for granted doing seemed so huge and scary for me.  So, I hybernated.  I have no idea why this happens to us in withdrawl.  It is scary and it is so easy to feel like we are permanently changed or damaged by this poison, but we are not. My agoraphobia is now gone,  thank God,  I still have some other issues that seem to be a bit stubborn but I am no longer pushing it.  The way I look at it is if I still have these issues post withdrawl 18 mos. out then I will get counseling , otherwise I wll just let Time be the healer. I have a feeling you will be surprized when you think of doing these same things at some later point in the future and realize that they bring no terror or fear anymore.
Hang in there,  it will be alright soon enough.            [...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Benzo free and trying to overcome severe, longer-term agoraphobia
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2010, 02:18:12 am »
I think this happens as almost a primal instinct for us to protect ourselves.  Our body and brain know that we are not on our game and therefore both feel vulnerable and insecure.  I think the brain fears that we may not be able to react in situations that require a rapid response and so therefore it's much safer to be at home in our cave.
I think it' more an instinct to protect than an emotional or mental flaw.  I NEVER felt scared to leave the house and I do now.  I think it's just part of the healing.

It will eventually go away.

 
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Benzo free and trying to overcome severe, longer-term agoraphobia
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2010, 09:07:38 am »
Thanks, everyone, for your input and ideas on this.  I feel I have lots to say on the topic and in response, but can't seem to think too clearly at the moment.  But I wanted to check in and thank everyone for taking the time to respond.

Mel, I really like that primal instinct theory.  I think you're on to something there.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Benzo free and trying to overcome severe, longer-term agoraphobia
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2010, 10:48:15 pm »
I felt that way when I came off xanax...bur switching ti the valium taper made it better  :thumbsup:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.