Author Wynter seeks to find accommodating answers to psychosocial stressors by doing extensive research and interviewing therapists.
“The finest people, as people go, cannot help but betray a fair portion of fear and insecurity, even full-blown panic.” - Thomas Ligotti -
How does it Feel?
Do you ever get this feeling like you don’t want to leave home? We have all felt it one way or another; I am sure this idea has popped into your head sometimes, this world can be discouraging, and our daily lives depend on our will to move forward and to strive for the best, this feeling I am discussing can be momentarily by which I mean lasting for a few minutes or hours, but if it happens to be persistent, and when it starts to disrupt daily life, then one must consider the reality that they might be experiencing Agoraphobia.
What is Agoraphobia According to Science?
Agoraphobia is a type of disorder in which you avoid places where you might panic, these places are outside your comfort zone which is most probably anywhere you are not familiar with or the center of attention. People are social species by default, they rely on cooperation to survive and thrive, but an introvert wouldn’t agree with that and a person with agoraphobia most probably wouldn’t, the fear of leaving the house could stem from many problems, it is not the only type of Agoraphobia, but It is worth speaking about because it is a horrifying experience to many. Agoraphobia affects almost that 1.3% of the general population, and there is no clear cause for it, however, it has been linked to having an existing panic disorder.
You leave your house and you start feeling detached from reality like you are wearing contact lenses, things seem hazy, and after a while, your body starts trembling, you sweat profusely and have trouble breathing correctly, meanwhile, your heart races, thinking that you are going to have a heart attack, you feel like a fish out of water, like you are going to get embarrassed. It also feels like everybody is staring at you, critically judging you, and you start feeling disoriented and extremely scared; the more you stray away from your home, the harder it gets, and the heavier this burden weighs, this unknown burden of betraying yourself and putting yourself into this situation, you feel unsafe and your mind starts to race into thinking that you need to be home as soon as possible, your subconscious is pulling you there, towards your safe place.
This Indoor Feeling.
Once you get back home you start feeling relieved like all your symptoms diminish gradually, you start recovering from the shock of being outside, your body starts to calm down, and your mind becomes more at ease.
First things first, seek professional help, you should also try self-therapy and relaxation techniques, there are lots of online self-help tools that can help you improve your mental health, and there are specialized tools for Agoraphobia that are well convenient such as online live therapy, articles, available manuals (journal like) and self-help books. Therapy types can include Cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention, Psychotherapy, and Systematic desensitization. CBT is the most practical and effective treatment for Agoraphobia, typically lasting for 12 weeks, what they basically do is they replace the negative thoughts you have with much more realistic ones and help you understand your distorted beliefs further, the therapist will also utilize techniques from exposure therapy which means gradually facing your fear until anxiety falls, bringing up the concept that Avoidance can lead to difficulties because the vicious circle of anxiety builds up, exposure must be repeated and prolonged until the patient feels comfortable going about their lives again, Setting up your own individual exposure programme will help you out a lot, by overcoming different levels of space where anxiety elevates, from the easiest to the hardest situations, I know it is easy to say but for the people suffering with this condition it is a real challenge for them that no one else can understand, you should also consider Systematic desensitization therapy which involves being less sensitive to stimuli that produce anxiety, by which you should remember its 5 R’s: react, retreat, relax, recover and repeat. You should also implement Stress-Management Relaxation Techniques such as meditation and mindfulness and coping skills that will help you through the situation as breathing techniques and helpful thinking, last but not least, you should always reciprocate your fears in a journal, writing down your thoughts, addressing any underlying issues that are considered to be obstacles to further understand yourself and reach a higher level of self-realization.
- Psychiatric Association (2013), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.)
-Adamec, Christine (2010). The Encyclopedia of Phobias, Fears, and Anxieties, Third Edition
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2022 Wynter Northfield