I have this problem too. It has reared it's ugly head several times throughout my life. I believe it began during my first trip overseas with my ex-husband, where we lived in Germany for 3 years. It was very, VERY isolating for me, because we did not live on base (not enough housing) and lived in an all-German town half an hour from the closest Americans. This would have been excellent for immersion, except that the folks there were NOT particularly friendly, and although almost everyone COULD speak English, few WOULD speak it to me. Even after teaching myself conversational German I had little luck making any friends or meeting people. I don't regret such an experience, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. But.. I became SO withdrawn and isolated, lonely, homesick, missing my friends and family whom I couldn't even call because it was SO expensive, and a trip to visit was over 1500.00. Basically, I withdrew into my own mind, hobbies, and sadly- anxieties. My OCD flared up, I dealt with bouts of depression. From there it was to one duty station or another, where again I knew no one and was far away from friends/family. On those occasions where I DID make an effort and force myself out into new and unfamiliar cities he friends I did manage to make would last only that short while until the Army moved us yet again. You stay in touch by phone and mail for a while, but this was before email days, and it was hard to keep track of other military couples who also moved all the time.
Later, my agoraphobia went completely OFF the scale. There were A LOT of factors contributing to this, so I don't want to alarm anyone or give the impression that it gets that way for all of us. In my case, I went through a horrible, painful divorce in which my ex truly raped me financially out of bitterness. I lost my job (no kidding! international outsourcing ouch) 2 months into the divorce, found another job, only to get laid off for the SAME reason again within 2 yrs time! After that, I lost my house to foreclosure (which I had known would happen, thats why I tried to convince my ex to sell it with me or take it himself, he refused to do either) then had to declare bankruptcy because the amount of the marital debt put on me by the divorce judge was waaaay out of proportion now that I no longer had my good job. In fact, I had NO job for 2 months! Following the foreclosure, I had to move to Florida to be near some family members to get back on my feet. This was another mistake, because we didn't get along at all. It was also more culture shock and isolation, a language barrier added to it (all over again, dejavu from hades for me! lol) and so I spiralled into the darkest depression yet of my entire life. At my worst, I was stuck in a tiny bathroom nearly 24 hours a day, for months at a time. I never left the house even into the back yard, because it was a chainlink fence and I didn't feel comfortable that the neighbors could see through it! I wouldn't even walk to my mailbox. I refused to go to the doctor, and even if I had, we had no money, and no medical insurance to pay for it. It was a HORRIBLE time, and I am SO glad I was finally able to get help and start recovering.
I am still house-bound about
95% of the time, but I am working on it! With the help of my therapist and psychiatrist, as well as anti-depression and anti-anxiety meds I have made some good progress in making new friends and reaching out. She even considers THIS group to be a great outlet and a form of social progress :) which is great. I'm looking into a form of medical transcript
ion training I can do from home, that is certified through a legitimate local college (FIU) and although it's going to take a while for me to afford to pay the tuition, it's a goal and I am so excited to get back to being more productive and confident. You are not alone here, there are several of us with agor who can relate :) For myself, I have a "safe person" who is my fiance. I have a "safe zone" which is my apartment, the balcony, and the stairs at the front door. I still haven't returned to driving our car (years ago, this would have been unthinkable for me. I adored driving and drove across the US regularly for business and visiting relatives) but I'm doing more each month. Happy to meet you! I currently take 300mg Welbutrin XL once daily, Xanax (.25) as needed for anxiety/panic attacks during the day, and because Lunesta did not help me sleep (I have insomnia) she switched me to taking two Xanax at bedtime which is the only way I can sleep at all right now. I have tried other meds in the past, Pexeva is one of them, but with no luck. Zoloft worked for years, but eventually stopped being effective for me sadly. Sorry in advance for the length- perhaps if we all could post our intros in a sticky intro thread, it would make this a bit easier for newcomers hehe :)
GAD w/Agorapobia * Depressive Personality Disorder * OCD
Wellbutrin XL 300mg daily, Xanax .25mg (AN) Xanax .50 at bedtime for sleep
Post Edited (Laurana75) : 9/19/2006 10:46:18 AM (GMT-6)