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!