I've had some issues myself with eligibility for public assistance programs where although I'm not working because of my anxiety/ panic attacks etc. I have no income. At the same time when I was working I was above poverty levels and/or I have too much in a savings account to be eligible. I've been to the hospital twice in the past year with panic attacks and was amazed at how expensive it was especially given how little time and attention I was given. I can't afford groceries, but then am made to pay $2-3000 for an ER visit.
Anyway, there are a number of programs out there and the trouble is often finding them. Each state has programs that are different along with anything at the federal level. I'm in NJ and recently was in a program where I could see a psychiatrist and get group counseling. I honestly hated the group and felt like I got very little out of it (and recently quit as a result), but I was at least getting help of some sort and was able to get started on medication. The state paid for it through a program called Charity Care and the hospital program filled out the application. I was so out of it that day and all they asked me to do was sign a few semi-blank forms. They handled all the details. Again the hard part is finding out about
services like that. NJ also has a service called 211 where you can call that number and get information about
different social service programs.
I guess you could try calling your local hospital's psychiatric department to see if they have any ideas, referrals, there may also be a hotline like New Jersey's 211 where you live. You can also try social service agencies who hire case workers and/or therapists. Case workers and case managers are people who specifically work to find and connect people to various services. Local colleges with nursing and/or social work programs may be great resources as well. Catholic Charities, Jewish Family Services, and other faith based groups may also be less likely to turn a person away from counseling or psychiatric care if you need/want that. And you certainly don't have to be Catholic, Jewish, etc. The catch though is there may be a several month waiting list to get started.
It sounds like you're having a really hard time right now and although counseling/ meds, etc. might help you also have that "mass" to address. Again something like NJ's charity care might pay for that. If you're in the military or have anybody in your family that's in the military you can call a service called Military OneSource (nationwide). I used to work there and they'll research ANYTHING for you. It was a long time ago since I worked there so things may have changed, but they can be a great resource. If you have a friend who has a parent, aunt/uncle in the military whatever... have them call. I can't guarantee they'll find anything, but it can't hurt. And it's free. The same type of service may also be available to you, a parent, a relative, etc if their employer has an EAP (employee assistance program).
Finally, as far as the agoraphobia.... my suggestion is to take it slow. You know yourself best and pushing yourself beyond your limits is usually not a good idea. I haven't had agoraphobia myself in the past, but have been developing a minor case of it recently. I started to make these really small goals for myself. Such as.... Day 1 - sit on the porch for 2 minutes. Day 2 - sit on the porch for 5 minutes. Day 3 - walk to the end of the driveway. Day 4 - walk to the end of the driveway a few times. Day 5 - walk a little way down the block and actually off our property. My next goal is to walk to the grocery store, stand in line (which causes me anxiety feeling trapped behind and in front of people) and actually buy something. They may be really small steps, but as long as you're doing something you're moving forward and making progress. I wish you the best!
Post Edited (Fugs) : 7/28/2010 8:24:42 PM (GMT-6)