LIFE With Mental Health Issues ~ “It’s Not Because I Don’t Want To, It Is Because My Agoraphobia Won’t Let Me”!!!

Hello Recovery Friends, Readers, and Welcome All Visitors,

 

Today I wanted to share a little of my own mental/emotional health challenges thanks to seeing this image on a blog. But not just any blog. It’s a friend and new author, Rhonda Johnson’s blog. And her new book is now out.

 

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So her new book just released titled; Memoirs of an Addict, Fact or Fiction . . . Now available on Amazon Books. . .
http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Addict-Fact-Fiction-Johnson/dp/061577279X

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Now when I saw this chart above, it hit home for me of what I use to be, what I used to do myself due to my undiagnosed mental/emotional health issues besides just my gambling addiction. AND WHY?
Because I happen to be sent an email from one of my book promoting clients about a wonderful WordPress Event for those who are on, or who  use WP as their web or blog hosting site.
As far as I’m concerned, WordPress is the BEST hosting site to have a blog or website on.

So I read this email from my client, and it’s an all day Seminar/Workshop being help by WordPress, and top bloggers on WP currently, who will teaching all you need to know about WP. Everything about their services, dashboard, themes, and more! So I took a look at the email flyer and thought, this sure would be an awesome opportunity to learn all the in’s and outs of my hosting site. Then my bubble burst when I started thinking about how many people would be there, and it’s an all day event of workshops, a mixer one evening, and more.

Just thinking about all the people, I could feel an episode of fear of my disorder start to build, just like when I have an attack come on out of the blue from my Agoraphobia disorder I suffer from, and that I’m still in behavioral therapy for. And NO it’s not that I’m lazy and don’t want to go, but the huge fear and shame I have when an attack comes on while I’m out in public, and around many people I don’t know. It is SO debilitating, and makes me angry all at the same time. Yes, I’m working with a therapist to learn more tools and life skills, counseling , and take meds, but I’m not quite all there yet. Here is what and how Agoraphobia is bit different from  just regular panic disorder.

What Is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is an intense fear and anxiety of being in places where it is hard to escape, or where help might not be available. Agoraphobia usually involves fear of crowds, bridges, or of being outside alone.

Causes:
The exact cause agoraphobia is unknown. Agoraphobia sometimes occurs when a person has had a panic attack and begins to fear situations that might lead to another panic attack.

Symptoms:
With agoraphobia, you avoid places or situations because you do not feel safe in public places. The fear is worse when the place is crowded.

Symptoms of agoraphobia include:

  • Being afraid of spending time alone
  • Being afraid of places where escape might be hard
  • Being afraid of losing control in a public place
  • Depending on others
  • Feeling detached or separated from others
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling that the body is not real
  • Feeling that the environment is not real
  • Having an unusual temper or agitation
  • Staying in the house for long periods of time

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Choking
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Nausea or other stomach distress
  • Racing heart
  • Short of breath
  • Sweating

Trembling

Treatment:
The goal of treatment is to help you feel and function better. The success of treatment usually depends in part on how severe the agoraphobia is.

Treatment approach combines cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with an antidepressant medication, which may include any of the following:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are usually the first choice of antidepressant.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another choice. Other antidepressants and some anti-seizure drugs may be used for more severe cases.
  • Other anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed. For example, your health care provider may recommend benzodiazepines when antidepressants do not help or before they take effect.

CBT involves 10 to 20 visits with a mental health professional over a number of weeks. CBT helps you change the thoughts that cause your condition. It may involve:

  • Understanding and controlling distorted feelings or views of stressful events or situations
  • Learning stress management and relaxation techniques
  • Relaxing, than imagining the things that cause the anxiety, working from the least fearful to the most fearful (called systematic desensitization and exposure therapy)

You may also be slowly exposed to the real-life situation that causes the fear to help you overcome it.  A healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, enough rest, and good nutrition can also help be helpful.

Some persons with agoraphobia may:

  • Use alcohol or other drugs while trying to self-medicate
  • Be unable to function at work or in social situations
  • Feel isolated, lonely, depressed, or suicidal

Now I have had many,  but not all of the physical symptoms  when my disorder started in 2011. But, I went undiagnosed for years, just as I did the bipolar depression and PTSD. Yes, there are a lot of labels, but I can tell you that having these disorders can really disrupt many area’s of your life.  I remember one attack I had in early 2012 put me in the ER.

I woke up and felt this strange feelings come over me, and the pain and shortness of breath along with the trembling, I thought I was having a heart attack! My neighbor drove me to the ER and was there all day. They told my husband when he finally got to the hospital later that afternoon, that I had so much fear and pain? They had to give me 3 separate shots of morphine to get me calm and pain-free.

And yes, they did all sorts of tests, EKG, blood work and NOTHING. When my husband told the ER doctor some other symptoms and mental health issues, the doctor told him I may have had a severe panic attack. I feel that it could have come from a lot of the work, feelings, and overcoming fears in therapy, since I sought seeing a psychiatrist 6 months before this attack. And it is what my psychiatrist thought as well, so he added 2 more meds to what I was already on. Today, my attacks are not that severe, but I do still have them. So something must be working. And yes, I do not go out of my house sometimes for weeks at a time. But currently working on this very heavy with my new psychiatrist here in Arizona.

So, back to the Seminar by WordPress. I wish I could go, but I’m not quite there yet in treatment to chance it.  But I can tell you that I fight each day like hell to claim my life back from this awful mental health challenge! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. What I just want others to know about mental/emotional health problems, and those of us who suffer? Just because we may look alright, or look normal on the outer appearance? Doesn’t mean we are fully healthy in mind, body and spirit  . . . . “Lets Shatter Stigma Together”

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author, Advocate and Book Promoter

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