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Ways To Cope With Agoraphobia

As mentioned in my previous blog post, agoraphobia is a part of anxiety.  It is the fear of public places.  It commonly accompanies PTSD & C-PTSD.

 

And to put it bluntly, it sucks!

 

I have a hard time going out with someone, but alone is an extremely nerve-wracking prospect.  It’s been very challenging trying to come up with ways to cope.  I have found a couple of things that help some, so I thought I would share them with you today in the hopes they help you as well.

 

Valerian root is an herb with anxiety combating properties.  Taking a pill before going out can be quite helpful.  It may not make you super calm, but it does help to take a great deal of the edge off.  If you haven’t tried it before, you’d be best trying it on a day when you don’t have to drive.  Normally one pill won’t make you sleepy, but there is a chance it may.  Not something you want to deal with behind the wheel!  I have found one pill about every 12 hours can help with anxiety, but more than that puts me to sleep unless my anxiety levels are exceptionally bad.  Many people are the same way, so just be forewarned you may be as well.  Valerian root capsules are readily available in some stores that sell vitamins & herbal supplements as well as online.  It’s usually quite inexpensive too.  Also be sure to follow the dosing on the bottle, as manufacturers sometimes make different strengths.  If you’re taking other medicines, it would be a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure it won’t interact with valerian.

 

I also make sure to go out during quieter times.  The middle of the afternoon during a Tuesday is often a time stores are less crowded.  Early Tuesday or Wednesday morning for DMV.  Also, off times also mean less traffic- an added bonus!

 

I like to reward myself with a little something when I’ve had to go out.  A milkshake, a new bottle of nail polish, or something similar can help motivate me to do what needs done.

 
If I’m able, I try to either go out with someone or meet someone.  Even if I go to lunch with someone then do the errands I need to do, it helps because I had some fun.

 

Motivational thoughts can help some too.  Things like,

  • The sooner I get this trip done, the sooner I can come home & relax.
  • Once this trip is done, I can do something I enjoy- watch that movie I’ve been wanting to see, do a manicure, snuggle the furkids, etc.
  • I also try to focus on something positive, like I am grateful I have this wonderful car to drive, & I am able to go out without having to rely on someone to take me out.

 

I hope these tips help you to better manage living with agoraphobia!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

About Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia can be a crippling phobia.  It is a part of anxiety, & is common among those with PTSD & C-PTSD.  Agoraphobia is a fear of public places.  In fact, some people are even afraid to step outside the door of their own home.

 

I developed it in 1996 when my paternal grandmom died.  When my husband told his mother then later his sister of my loss, both completely ignored the news, changing the subject back to themselves.  Something in their reactions made me think that I do not matter.  Nothing about me is worth acknowledging, & I shouldn’t bother anyone with my problems or even my presence.  Granted, this wasn’t new- growing up with a narcissistic mother certainly made me feel that way.  However, God showed me that their lack of acknowledging my loss cemented such awful, dysfunctional beliefs in me, & made me believe I shouldn’t even bother people with my presence.  Then, developing C-PTSD in 2012 made the agoraphobia even worse.

 

Not everyone develops it in a way like I did.  Some people develop this nasty phobia along with C-PTSD or PTSD.  No matter how it starts, anyone with agoraphobia knows it is extremely challenging to live with.  It strips you of your independence.  It devastates your self-esteem since you feel crazy or useless by not being able to go out as you once did.  You feel like a burden because you need people to go with you or do your grocery shopping for you.

 

If this describes you, please know that you are not alone, Dear Reader.  Many people, especially those who have been subjected to narcissistic abuse, suffer with agoraphobia.  It doesn’t mean you’re crazy or useless or even a burden.  It means you have been through some bad things that made you sick.  I’m sure you don’t feel that is the case, but truly it is!  You are fine- you simply have a problem resulting from trauma.

 

Tomorrow’s post will offer some suggestions I have found for coping with agoraphobia when you simply must leave home.

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Filed under Narcissism