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  1. #1
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    Apr 2010
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    Girlfriend has agoraphobia

    We have been seeing each other for 4 months and at the start she showed no signs although there were a couple of occasions were she found it hard going in the car to get to places but nothing major. However a month ago she had to get her lift to stop and she walked home, it was the first bad attack she'd had in nearly a year. Up until that point I never realized how serious her problem was. Since then she has really went into her shell and has told me she wants to deal with this by herself. She has told me she can't cope with a relationship until this is sorted out. I have fully respected her decision and have only begun to see how bad it has got, I've told her I will give her all the space she needs in the hope that she can get better and when it does I will be waiting for her.

    She has been referred to a counsellor and I'm really hoping this will help her but I know that it may take time. It's frustrating because only now do I understand how bad it must really be and I admire her bravery because she gets in her car every day and goes to work and doesn't make a big deal about it. It's hard for her to talk about it because it's so frustrating for her trying to convey what it feels like but I read a good one that said "its like a woman describing to a man what it's like to be pregnant".

    I love this girl to bits and really want to tell her that I understand her fears and to let her know that she is free to express it as she chooses and that when she needs to withdraw then I'm fine with that as she does have moments were it gets bad. I understand now that when she says she wants to go home thats what she means and no one is going to change her mind in fact trying to persuade her only builds up the anxiety.

    We still hang out and this is the second breakup we've had this month it just seems that since this has all happened she has bad days were she wants to break it off and good days like today were we have been in contact a lot making plans for the weekend. This week has actually been a good one with her she has been taking her beta blockers which seem to help and the doctor gave her antidepressants because last week she was going nuts with it. I'm fully behind her but it's hard because I know it could take along time for her to get back to being the really happy girl I knew....it's like she woke up one morning and a switch had went off with regards to us.

    So what I want to ask is there any advice people can give me? Is it common for you to go into your own world and push loved ones away? Because I have all the patience in the world to help her with this I just hope that she can get on top of it not only for her but for us as well.

    Also I wanna introduce myself on this and also say to everyone that's going through something similar my heart really goes out to you all!

  2. #2
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    Jan 2010
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    8

    Re: Girlfriend has agoraphobia

    Hello,

    Its so nice to hear a considerate and understanding person who understands the pressure of daily life of someone suffering with agoraphobia. Obviously I can only speak for my own experiences, however just a few thoughts occured while reading your post:

    1) it IS important that one is able to do things on their own, becuase its easy to rely on one person being there which then can obviously be burdensome...not just on the person who is supporting but on the sufferer who feels they can only do certain things when someone is there with them.

    2) Just because one does things alone doesn't neccessarily mean not recieving support; I know that I thought I could do it alone for a long time and I was so wrong...I do need my friends around me to understand that its not a good idea to change plans halfway through an evening becuase I have chekced the distances so I feel comfortable, or at least like it is manageable and to be able to talk about what I go through with others...its great to see people offering that so freely!!

    3) Relapsing takes a massive knock to your self-esteem; I know when I relapsed quite badly I felt a lot of shame and anger towards mysefl for 'letting it happen again' and also it certainly made me feel like I wasn't 'good enough' for anybody. Personally, when I've felt that way it has made me push away the people I care about in my life, rather than trusting them to support me.

    Just some of my own reflections, and I hope it helps you!

    Take care, Benno

  3. #3

    Re: Girlfriend has agoraphobia

    sortzcov,

    my wife suffers from panic disorder... call it agoraphobia, call it monophobia... whatever... bottom line is she has panic attacks, they are horrible for her when she has them (last one was about a year ago) and she is deathly afraid of having another one.
    Because of this she does everything she can to avoid another one or any situation where she thinks it would be a really bad place to have another one (driving, alone in the house, alone with the kids, etc).

    Lemme' tell ya' something sortzcov, EVERYBODY has SOMETHING wrong with them.
    Maybe it's alcoholism.
    Maybe it's depression.
    Maybe it's anger/violence.
    Maybe it's philandering and cheating
    etc, etc, etc.

    nobody is perfect.
    so, if this is really the perfect girl for you in every aspect EXCEPT the agoraphobia one... don't let it ruin your relationship... if you weren't working together to overcome agoraphobia you'd be working together to overcome something else.

    good luck.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    8

    Re: Girlfriend has agoraphobia

    Hi all..I'm sure by now some of you know me. My wife has agoraphobia, clinnical depression. Is no longer in therapy (did it for years before she quit), supposedly is still on meds. We're in an LDR (long distance relationship), and haven't talked for more then a month. I get texts or e-mails from her, mostly short ones. Not much info on how she is. Sometimes she ignores questions. I don't push them on her when she does that, sicne there is no point in pushing she still won't answer if she doesn't want to. I get so enraged sometimes..get to thinking that a person who loves you would try to do something about their such situation. Other times i just feel like bawling. Naturally none of this is said to her, i keep it away from her. Hang arround places like these to understand her better. But it doesn't change the fact that i feel alone in this..

  5. #5
    Member
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    Aug 2011
    Location
    Tasmania, Australia
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    Hi. I'm a 22 year old girl and suffer from the same thing. It started at 17 when I first started seeing my boyfriend. Thankfully he was an angel! I would tell him not to come over (because I was too scared to see him) but he would occassionally anyway. Thank goodness he did. We've now been together for over 5 years.
    I really hope it goes as well for you.
    Just provide constant support, understanding and let her take control of things. Make things as easy on her as they can possibly be. Slowly it will get better. Please understand though that agoraphobia is a condition that sticks around for a long long long time!

  6. #6
    Member
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    Aug 2011
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    Tasmania, Australia
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    That's so sad. While I'm young and not married I can understand. My guy has felt this exactly and has said those same things. Believe me, it's not a sign of being unloved. It is the absolute hardest thing to do! I swear it. It's a survival instinct. There's no way to just get over it for someone else. I wish it was though or my guy wouldn't have to feel that way too I really hope you all the best.

  7. #7
    Member
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    May 2011
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    belfast, Northern Ireland
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    45
    its really good that uv joined this forum, so sweet that you want to help her, my boyfriend is ready to break up with me, he hasnt even so much as researched the condition, he just tells me to 'snap out of it' which clearly shows he has little to no understanding of the condition

  8. #8
    Member
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    Aug 2011
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    Tasmania, Australia
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    Aw sad. i hope you're ok Cheryl. I don't think there are too many people in the world that can be understanding of these things without having them themselves.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator
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    Feb 2011
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    819
    I love this thread... I like it when people open up about how debilitating depression and agoraphobia is.

    duckduckduke, I completely agree with you on this one. Even very well meaning people in my life have told me the same thing, but they have no idea the invisible forces at work here. Agoraphobia, like it's predecessors depression, and anxiety, build their energy on conquering our feelings and capitalizing on our fears. Once you are far along the journey, the effect seems to be exponential, which is hard to envision if you don't suffer from it at all.

    I find I wonder at the amount of time I have spent sequestered in my house or apartment, because once you break free the chains seem to melt off. It is confusing and amazing to see how just a few moments ago, the chains were solid and impenetrable, just to see them melt off like spun sugar. I find that the energy spent either way works the same: energy spent in a certain way will build exponentially on itself.

    If I feel mentally suckerpunched, the energy it takes to go from zero to one, is incredible. And once I stay in that spot for a few days, then it can easily go onto weeks because I've started down that pathway. The same goes for putting myself in motion. Once I overcome that hurdle of getting outside, I tend to stay in motion (like Newton's law!! It works for mental things as well... not just physical objects!) and getting outside seems easier and easier every day.

    sortzcov, my heart goes out to you to be with a girlfriend who has agoraphobia. To look at it from the outside takes extreme nurturing abilities, and if you cannot provide that for her, it's better to be upfront and acknowledge that. On the other hand, if you find that this girl worth the effort, the paybacks are incredible. My agoraphobia and PTSD did not manifest until after I was married, and if our situations were switched, I am not sure I would have stayed with my husband, had he been the sufferer. But our relationship, having gone through fire, is very resilient to life, and I find it draws you closer to your partner in unspeakable ways. That's not to say we don't have our extreme ups and downs, because we do, and we will always have them, as with any other relationship. The fact that you are asking on this site proves that you are willing to invest in the time if she is the right person. Let us know how it goes!

    Colourgirl

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    Feb 2012
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    IL
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    Ironically, I did this very same thing with my sister/friend. My in-laws were visiting and I have terrible social anxiety. Worse yet, I was left alone for the day with them. I wanted my sister to meet us for dinner for support, but she doesn't like them either and made up an excuse. I got hurt, felt out of control because of my mounting anxiety, my low self-esteem kicked in and took over. I pushed her away (figuratively).

 

 

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