Agoraphobia, Anxiety and Panic Attacks

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  • #21331
    AvatarJeff Harding
    PSTEC User

    Hi All,
    I have suffered Agoraphobia since 1985 after I was prescribed antidepressants for depression and threw them away convinced they were doing me no good at all…and they weren't.

    After a few-a-days, I had severe withdrawals as I had been on them more than 6 weeks. Yes it was silly of me to just throw them away. I did so out of ignorance and also thought I would feel better. Instead, I thought I was dying with hyperventilating and very frightening anxiety attacks which got so bad they turned to panic attacks whenever I walked outside.

    And so I related all those panic attacks to leaving the safety of my home where I tried hard to manage my anxiety withdrawals. To cut a long story short, I went back to the docs and I was given tranquilisers, and after seeing psychiatrist after psychiatrist, doctor after doctor, I ended up on a cocktail mix of 8 tablets a day including tranquilisers and anti-depressants. I had become a legal junky!

    It took years to come off them and I still suffer agoraphobia today…I reiterate: Agoraphobia is a fear of stepping outside of your comfort zone by leaving the safety of your home. My first question is: Agoraphobia is surely a fear and NOT a phobia???

    My second question is a little longer: Tim says on the free tracks Panic Tutorial: “panic attacks need more work and you need NOT bring up the feelings, just the memory.” So, do I treat agoraphobia as a phobia or as panic attacks…bring up the memory or the feelings or both?

    Also taking into consideration I suffer chronic anxiety symptoms that rarely leave me which includes: a tight chest, shaky legs, buzzing sensation throughout my body, palpitations and more; therefore, as you can imagine, it is extremely difficult for me to bring up the feeling of panic attacks as I struggle with the anxiety already flowing throughout my body; however, the memory is easier.

    If I try to bring up the feelings of panic whilst I leave the comfort of my home; whether that is walking, driving, being a passenger in a car or going on any public transport or airplanes it exacerbates the anxiety feelings for which I do not have an answer…only it all started when I threw away the tablets.

    I hope I am making sense and someone is able to respond to this post with advice so I can move on.

    In love and honesty, William James

    #22407
    AvatarJeff Harding
    PSTEC Pro and Forum Moderator

    Hi William!

    To answer your first question…

    A phobia is a fear of a fear; such as the fear of the clamminess, the heart palpitations, etc.  But mostly just a fear of a memory; something that happened in the past.  Usually people may remember the event that caused the phobia but they just don’t relate it to the cause or it as having significant effect.

    As you alluded, phobics work to control the phobia, quite often, with coping techniques like desensitization techniques.

    So, is agoraphobia a phobia or a fear?  Well, a phobia is a fear, so it's difficult to answer that question per se.  The key here is to realize that there are fears involved, yes, and they are usually immersed in the sub with emotions, so the CT is the best solution as you approach this type of issue.

    Now, you also mentioned, “I related all those panic attacks to leaving the safety of my home where I tried hard to manage my anxiety withdrawals…”; there is a trigger in there somewhere and it behooves you to fine the cause… find the source of the conclusion by the sub that leaving the home is dangerous.  These are based upon memories… most likely experiences and so that's why we are usually looking for the memories that contribute to the issue.

    Usually, a panic attack is a mutation of the phobia… not consciously connected to anything.  This is what makes dealing with PA's so difficult as you could say they are “more” hidden from our consciousness.

    You mentioned suffering Agoraphobia after the introduction of the meds in 1985, but you did not talk about why you were prescribed meds in the first place.

    You're second question…

    I would begin with the PA's and work with the CT's as Tim prescribes and that means asking the questions:

    • “When was the last PA I remember?”
    • “When was the one before that… the one before that… etc.?”
    • “When was the first time I remember having a PA?”
    • [/list]
      Make a list and then begin using the CT on each and every one.  If you can associate a feeling with the memory of each one, be sure to focus during the CT on both the feelings and the memory.  Be sure to follow the instructions in the Panic Attack Special as a part of the free Basic Package.

      The instructions state, “Work with memories, not JUST feelings.  Tim does NOT recommend that you work with only memories and no feelings.  There may not be feelings and that's ok, work on the memories,  But, if you can work with both, all the better.

      Be sure to search around some of these periods or events in your memories: being prescribed med and event leading up to that diagnosis prior to 1985 and the withdrawal episodes when going off the meds (dying with hyperventilating and very frightening anxiety attacks).

      Back to the agoraphobia… that would be a separate strategy as you work with that fear in the standard ways of using PSTEC.  In the case of a fear, there may be emotional as well as belief and behavior issues, in which case the use of PSTEC Positive would be the tool of the day.

      This issue can be quite complex, so if you desire to work with someone, check the PSTEC Registry for someone that can help you.  Do not let geography get in the way as this work can be done, quite often, over the phone.

      Aloha!

      Jeff

    #22408
    AvatarJeff Harding
    PSTEC User

    Hi and thank you Jeff for your excellent advice,

    You asked what happened before I threw the anti-depressant tablets away. Having served in the British Army during the 70s, I came out and soon realised I was not going to just fall into the job I wanted and so took anything whilst I searched for what I wanted and was fully qualified to do.

    I remember thinking I could see no end to this working in factories and dead-end jobs. This went on for a few years. I am a thinker – maybe that is part of my problem –  I love a challenge, to create and I am ambitious too.

    So you see, I could not understand at the time, these feelings of inadequacy and lack of drive. I could never be a robot on doing the same thing day in, day out…although I was for 5 years.

    I had no one to turn to and was too proud to tell my then wife, so I went to see the doctor, a place you would rarely see me in those days or in the present. He listened to me and diagnosed me with depression…ha! I didn't even know what the word depression meant or agoraphobia, anxiety and panic attacks.

    In retrospect, I believe I was not really depressed at all; we all get our days and I was on a real downer lasting longer than normal. I thought a little bit of councelling with the doc would help and in my vulnerable state I readily accepted the anti-depressants really believing this was the answer.

    I saw no results on these retched things; in fact, they made me feel worse. After around  6 weeks, maybe more, I flushed them down the toilet and that was that.

    Soon the withdrawals came, yet another thing I neither understood or knew why…you know the rest accept I do remember at the age of 13 having my first panic attack after thinking of my own mortality and soon forgot it, but I think the fact I was being bullied at school had much to do with that episode.

    Finally, I witnessed and had some not so good moments in the Army. Put that altogether with a traumatic birth with the chord around my neck and being pushed back up the birth canal with forceps and my Mother telling me she thought she passed her fear onto me. Also very unhappy with my situation right now with the controlling people I live with and so am in a state of anxiety almost all the time.

    Phew…Sorry, it was kind of theraputic just writing that and my previous post to you. I don't expect you to have all the answers Jeff and maybe it would be best for me to choose a PSTEC Practitioner as you advised.
    Meanwhile, thanks again and here's wishing you and all on the PSTEC Forum a great New Year!!!

    William James

    #22409
    AvatarJeff Harding
    PSTEC Pro and Forum Moderator

    Hey William,

    Well, good job on allowing that info to come forth… writing is the doing part of thinking.

    There are several memories and even imagined events for you to use with the CT, EEF and ATT.  So get to it my good man!  I segregated them as far as I can “see” them via this discussion… this is a little less specific because we are not working together on this, but if the memories and there, might as well neutralize them…

    • Having served in the British Army during the 70s… there is a source of “non-JEEP” memories right there… I witnessed and had some not so good moments in the Army…
    • I realised I was not going to just fall into the job… when did you realize this?  What moment do you remember this dawning upon you?
    • …took anything whilst I searched … what are you memories of the search and how did you feel in taking something you, perhaps, didn't really want?
    • I remember thinking I could see no end to this working in factories and dead-end jobs.
    • I am a thinker – maybe that is part of my problem –  … this maybe more of a belief issue.
    • I could never be a robot on doing the same thing day in, day out…although I was for 5 years… how does it feel to have been doing that?  How is that 5 years represented?  Maybe a recurring vision/image… also what were the worst experiences during this time?
    • I had no one to turn to and was too proud to tell my then wife…
    • …in my vulnerable state… what is the evidence of this… how is that represented in your mind?
    • I do remember at the age of 13 having my first panic attack after thinking of my own mortality and soon forgot it…
    • …the fact I was being bullied at school had much to do with that episode.
    • … a traumatic birth with the chord around my neck and being pushed back up the birth canal with forceps … this may be an imagined event, that's ok, just go with your representation of it and the feelings they invoke…
    • and my Mother telling me she thought she passed her fear onto me.

      This one is not an issue, but an answer to your statement… “I don't expect you to have all the answers”… no, I don't… ah, but you do… The Answer is all in there for you!

    • [/list]Plenty of grist for the PSTEC Mill there!

      Aloha!

      Jeff

    #22410
    AvatarJeff Harding
    PSTEC User

    Hi Jeff,

    My apologies for taking time to answer your post. I was well involved with the holidays and also had computer problems – I won't even begin to to tell you lol!

    Well, you have given great advice Jeff, and I have followed through and still have more to go.

    The tightness in my chest is more manageable. I have been going out, unfortunately, there is still the “what ifs?” before and when I step outside the door and I suffered near panic attacks a couple of times, just outside my comfort zone.

    The real point is I feel improvements and I have you and Tim to thank. I will post my progress here when I have any good news. Also, I am here if any of the members require my support or help.

    Best wishes William James

    **************************

    Hi Jeff and all,

    I have taken a while to get back to this forum as I wanted to come back with something positive.

    Unfortunately,  I am still having a bad time going out (leaving my home and going outside my comfort zone). The positive is, I can have some good days and I walk to the shops no problem.

    Then another day I get so far and the thoughts in my head, such as: what if I panic? What if I can't get back? Then I tell myself not to be so ridiculous! There is no threat! You are fine! Look at those kids! Look at that old man! They can do it, so can you!! Nothing is going to bite you in the ass!!

    I sometimes stop and go to turn around and run back home, but if I do that, the thought of failure will stay with me  for days, and my confidence is so shattered it is like having to pick up the pieces one by one till eventually I have the courage to try again.

    I am doing everything Jeff advised. Seems agoraphobia (fear of leaving the security of your home because I fear a panic attack in the street) is the most dreadful stubborn phobia to get rid of.

    Believe me I have tried many energy healing modalities, EFT for one. One more thing: I have a chronic tight chest all the time. It only changes with intensity.

    I know PSTEC has helped more than any other technique, but it looks as though this is  a long road ans is going to take time and persistence. I look forward to the day when I can come to this forum and say I HAVE DONE IT!!! I AM FREE!!! I AM ME AGAIN!!

    Best wishes,
    William James

    PS: As agoraphobia is so difficult to overcome, I wonder if Tim could do a CT
    especially for agoraphobia?

    #22411
    AvatarJeff Harding
    PSTEC User

    Hi Jeff and all,

    I said I wanted to get back to this forum with positives. I am so pleased to tell you all, because of PSTEC I am improving daily. I am tackling all the issues Jeff mentioned in an earlier discussion…thank you Jeff.

    I am going outside further and further and my confidence is soaring!!! PSTEC is the best healing modality I know, and believe me, I know and have tried many. Tim and Jeff are geniuses and I KNOW I am going forward and life is getting better and better!

    Thank you to you all for the posts you have put up here which really does help and gives us hope and a knowing it will all work out. Also thank you Tim and Jeff.

    I will be back to keep you up to date with my progression. Can't thank you all enough.

    I wish you all health, wealth and happiness.
    William James

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