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How about we try to set some goals?
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How about we try to set some goals?

Hi everybody, I was thinking it might help if we could set some small goals every week...This way we can encourage and support each other. The goals can start off small and we can work our way up taking baby steps. We have to start somewhere and we need some challenge! What do you think? Anybody interested?
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OK I'm going to go first. Being that I have not been out of the house much in months, I'm going attempt to drive to my sister's place, late at night when there is the least traffic. It's about 5 mins away. The challenge will be the distance and crossing the bigger streets. I will make sure I pack a small bag with things I might need, cell phone, gum/mints (dry mouth), travel sickness tablets, water and I will bring along my journal so if I have a panic attack I can write what I'm feeling, thinking and how I'm coping. I will allow myself a week to work up the courage and make sure I'm prepared. I hope to make it there and back safely but if I can't and have to turn back than at least it's a step forward! Any progress is good progress!! I will keep you guys posted.
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I think setting goals is a GREAT idea!!  I also think that driving to your sister's house late a night is a GREAT idea.  I like walking around my neighborhood at night too, mainly so I can be sure that no one is outside and will want to talk to me.  
I don't like being stopped when I'm walking.  It makes me nervous.

And taking along all your tools is a wonderful idea too.  
I take water when I walk.  
I can't wait to hear how you do with this goal.  

I think I'll try to go farther when I walk.  My daughter only lives 5 houses away, and I'm having trouble getting there, so I think her house will be my goal.  
Her birthday is the 6th, so I'll try to make it there by then.  She'll be so excited.  
I'll also report back ........................
I like your attitude, Catisme........Even if we don't make it, at least we tried.  And there's no failure in trying!!!!
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I think that is a great idea too! I've already tried that I have my boyfriend drive me to my moms house on her days off which is right down the street probably two mins away(thats the only thing i can do), but its still a challenge everytime like when we get stuck at a red light I feel it coming on but I just tell myself were almost there and I'll be fine. So,now I'm going to try to go on walks around the block. Good Luck everyone! And thank you for the encouragement!
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I have been preparing for my outing, I have a couple relaxation and breathing cd's , I've been doing the exercises once a day and feeling a little better.
  Oh Starz I feel the same way when I approach traffic lights, even when I was doing much better I'd still feel slight anxiousness. But since I have been in this set back, I have been avoiding everything. I'm so glad you are trying to walk around the block, how is that going? It takes a lot of courage, congrats!!
  Ducky, how are you making out? You can do it!! I'm cheering for the both of you.
I'm thinking Thursday is the best night for the drive. *keeps her fingers crossed* I'll keep you posted!

Good Luck!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a little suggestion for that feeling of anxiety that comes over us at red lights.  I've tried this, and it works.  
Take some cleaning products with you, and clean the dashboard of the car while waiting for the light to change.  OR put a bunch of change in your pocket, and try to figure out which is the dime, quarter, nickel, etc. without looking.  Or count how many coins you have.  These are all good forms of distraction.  
Thanks for the cheering, Catisme.  I'm cheering for you guys, too.  
I think I'll do my walk either tonight or tomorrow night and I'll let you know how it went.
Keep us posted!!!

*also has fingers crossed for all of us*
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My husband and I took our walk tonight.  We decided to take the dogs with us, which is always a good distraction because they're not very well behaved.  LOL    We walked a couple of house farther than my daughter's house, then turned back and stopped into her house for a 15 min. visit.  
I've been there before, but not in a couple of weeks, and it's always hard for me to do.  
It's the anticipation that's always the worst part of it.  
I need to practice going there way more often than I do.............
I hope you guys make your goals too...........It's such an awesome feeling!!!
Ducky
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YAH!!! Way to go! I'm very happy for you, keep it up, you'll be a pro in no time! Yeah the anticipation is what gets to me too. I'm about ready to go to my sister's, I'm not going to think about it much, just get in the car and drive.

Congrats on your success, it is an awesome feeling!
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I love this!!!!!  Everyone is setting goals and that is so important in getting the freedom that you all deserve.  Ducky, you are doing so well with your walks, I just can't believe what you are accomplishing!

The key for all of us is to not over think it.  Obviously we have to prepare more than the average person (that's an understatement) but once we have all our tools in place and we are ready to walk out that door, think positive thoughts or distract yourself with something other than the fact that you are scared.  Hum, whistle, talk with your partner, listen to music, distract yourself from the thing that you are about to do.  If you can do that, you will find yourself in the situation before you've had the time to even realize it and from there you know that you have your truckload of tools with you if in need. LOL   I don't go anywhere without my cell phone, house keys and my sublingual ativan (only used as needed) and Imodium (immodium).  I haven't had to use any of my tools in months (other than Imodium (immodium))  because just knowing they are there helps me get through whatever it is I need to do.  

This is one of the most stressful time in my life and I am, so far, hanging in there but if I do have a set back and I know I will, I will be prepared and with that preparation and the help of my family and friends, I know I will get through it.  The power of positive thinking is so important with agoraphobia.  You've got to be that little engine that could.  
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Hi there, just wanted to let you guys know that I went for my drive and made it!! I could only spend 5 mins over there but wow!! Oh yeah, what a feeling! :) I was repeating " I think I can I think I can" LOL I am the little engine that could. Yes it was scary, my heart was pounding, mouth was dry, breathing was all over the place, all that fun stuff.
The props helped a lot I had candy in my mouth and a cup of ice chips.

Good luck all!
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YIPPPEEE and YAHOOOO for you, Catisme!!!  I can feel your pride in your post.  
It's very exciting, and I'm so proud of you.  
Keep going there, and perhaps staying a little longer each time, and soon your heart will stop pounding, your mouth will not be dry, and you'll be breathing normally.  
When that happens, then you know it's time to try to go somewhere else.  LOL.....
Keep us posted on your progress, and we'll do the same............

:)    
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Got to love that engine!!!!  Great going and as Ducky said, keep doing it until it becomes commonplace for you.  

Oh, by the way, did you reward yourself for this great accomplishment?  I always reward myself after I do something that is really tough for me.  It used to be cinnamon buns, but then I started packing on the lbs. so I had to switch to clothing because after packing on the lbs. I needed a new wardrobe.  LOL   That in itself was a challenge because I have a problem with waiting in line for anything, but it was worth it to get the new clothes.  So again, I was doing my CBT by doing something for myself.  A win win situation.

Anyway,  CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!    Now go out and buy yourself a cinnamon bun or whatever it is that you would like as a reward!
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I think setting goals is a great idea.  Catisme  your goal is a good one and you know what you need to help you reach it.  Can I suggest that maybe each night you get in your car...turn it on...back in and out of the driveway.  The next night drive to the end of your street.  This is a great way to get started.  Remember that the panic will not hurt you.  Good luck....can't wait too hear how you do!!!!
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Thanks you guys! I did treat myself with a nice bubble bath, candles, music and a icy cold drink on the side. It was the perfect ending and loosened all those muscles I tensed up. Again thank you for the encouragement, support and advice. Gotta love this forum.
Ducky, I plan to try again soon, weekends are scary for me..(drunk drivers, more traffic...).

recrdpxi, great advice!! I agree that challenging yourself to something everyday is the most beneficial.

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You are obviously a much better person than I.  You reach for the bubble bath and candles while I reached for the cinnamon buns...Oh well, whatever turns your crank!  LOL

Keep practicing everyday, I understand that you feel you shouldn't on weekends for now but once Monday comes, get back on that horse and just do it.  I can't tell you enough how important it is to make this a part of your routine.  This is CBT and it works if you are willing to put in the time.  It's all about getting out and doing the things we really want and eventually it will be without fear.
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Thanks for the encouragement.  It's defiantly hard to get into the groove of things, I have so many bad days with stomach problems and feeling ill. But I know I will have to just do it no matter how I feel.

LOL barfer, thats funny, I have a list of ways to reward myself and food is at the top! It's the stomach problems that prevented me from indulging. How knows... Maybe once my stomach gets better I'll have that cinnamon bun by candle light in a tub full of bubbles!! LOL.
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Sounds like a great plan!  LOL

Funny thing about the stomach issues, I have IBS which of course, is not unusual for panic people but even with that problem, it never seemed to stop me from indulging in the cinnamon buns.  LOL  It was worth the misery for me and the time spent in the washroom when I was on Remeron.   Now, I'd think twice about the cinnamon buns but still would be tempted to have one.  

What a difference in appetite since I've been off of Remeron.  I put on 40 lbs on that medication and I was on it for 5 years.  After going off, I was depending on ativan to get me through the rough patches.  I was really happy off of Remeron but was feeling physically miserable.  I had so many headaches and a lot of difficulty getting to sleep at night and staying asleep.  I suffered with panic attacks again so I was having to take more ativan.  That was the point when I realized that I needed to go back on a long term medication and I ended up on klonopin.  When I went off of Remeron, I lost 25 of the 40 lbs I had put on over the five years on that meds.  I swear, I would wake up in the morning thinking about food and went to bed at night still thinking (and eating) food.  That was one of the reasons I went off of it.  I figured the way I was going that I would end up so fat that I wouldn't be able to make it out of my house without greasing down the sides of the door frame and someone giving me a swift push.  Now that I am down to a decent weight and I'm on the right medication for me, I don't have the cravings I had before but that doesn't mean that I don't reward myself for doing something out of my comfort zone.  I still treat myself and you can be sure that sometimes it is a cinnamon bun.  

Keep up the good work and the positive thinking...you are doing FABULOUSLY!!!!  
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I did it again! I went late at night and this time it seemed easier. I'm sure I'm going to have good days and bad, but today was a good day. I stayed for an hour and a half, had a nice visit! Stopped off at the store for a treat.

How are you all doing? I want to hear the steps you guys are taking as well.

Practice, practice, practice! :)
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YIPEEEEEE and YAHOOOOO again, Catisme!!  I'm so happy for you.
Yes, it's true that there's good and bad days, but I have a feeling that you're going to have WAY more good ones.  
Congrats, and keep going on those drives!!
I'm so proud of you......

What kind of treat did you get yourself at the store?

I haven't done a thing since I last wrote, but I think it's time for another long walk.  
Thanks for the inspiration!!
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Update... I have not been practicing for awhile. I have been ill :( I've had gastritis/ulcer problems that have returned as well as intestinal pain for weeks. Once I straighten these issues out I will be back at it again. My strength and spirits are better that a week ago, and with the meds for the abdominal problems I hope will start taking effect very soon.
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I'm sorry to hear that you haven't been feeling well.  It's really hard to keep up with goals when you're in pain or just feeling lousy.  
But you've got medication for it now, so I'm sure you'll be feeling better soon and will back working on your goals soon.  
In the meantime, take good care of yourself and let us know how you're doing...........
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Hello everybody!!!! I'm sorry I haven't been on in a while, I was just trying my best not to think about it. I finally saw my doctor and she prescribed me Paxil and it really has been helping I've been slowly going out and doing things like the grocery store and small errands.I was also able to go to my friends house and hang out! It's great to be back in the world! I'm sorry that you haven't been feeling good catisme, I hope you get better soon! It's good to hear that everyone is working on it! Well thank you again to everyone for all the information! I'll be back on soon! take care everyone!
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I'm so excited for you, Starz.  
Keep up with the going out, in small steps.  That's exactly the way to do it.  
I'm really proud of you!!
Post soon and let us know what you've been up to and where you've been.
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Wow Starz!! Great work! I'm very proud of you as well. Keep on going forward, you are doing amazing!! Please do keep us posted.

  So far the meds seem to be helping some, I'm happy about this. I got a letter in the mail from the hosp. My dr. wants to send me for a CT scan in Dec. He will give me something to help sedate me THANK GOD!! So far I'm not anxious about it yet... But I'll be back for support!! LOL. They are looking into Crohn's disease :( Long story there, but at least I'm taking another step. I also did the unthinkable tonight, I drove myself to the bank to use the machine. UGH that wasn't easy at all. My first attempt didn't go so well because it was crowded in there... At 11:30 pm??? Oh well, I went for a drive in the area and headed back, not a soul in sight!. I did it!! Still in shock right now lol. Yay for meeee!!


Glad to see all of you making good progress, please keep the updates coming.
  Ducky, how are you coming along? Any other tips and suggestions would be appreciated as well.
  Barfer, I didn't see your post about IBS till now. Yep, it's quite common, no harm in indulging a little! I have been on a bland, low residue diet for 2 weeks and the thought of a cinnamon bun really turns my crank LOL. Every other food turns my crank actually... I really crave a cheese burger right now. *sighs*

Keep up the great work every one!
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I'm so happy that you drove yourself to the bank!!  I know what a biggie that is, and how much courage it takes to even THINK about doing it, much less actually doing it.  BUT YOU DID IT!!!    YAY you!!!    :0)

And you're taking care of your health, which is also so, so important.  
I think you're doing great.
Thanks for asking about how I'm doing.  I've been getting out some too, and taking rides with my hubby about 1/2 mile from our house.  I'm working my way up to going into some stores at the outlet mall near my house.  I hope to do that soon.  
We'll all take our small steps together, and together we'll get our lives back!!
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Yay for you!!!  When we don't feel well that seems to make our anxiety worse.  But...you have recognized that you were not well and dealt with it.  Sometimes we have to make that choice to stay home for a few days and that's ok.  But now....you are up and out!!!!
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Hi Starz
Nice to meet you. Whohooo for you! What a wonderful feeling it is to get out and enjoy yourself.  I am glad the meds are working for you and that you are feeling your way through the world again.  Keep up the good work.
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I recommend first taking the locan bus and visit malls , downtown , etc ... it helped me greatly and then read the book "you can heal your own life" and "feeling better" by doctor burns or something
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I keep the book "You Can Heal Your life" with me all of the time.  It is like my bible.  It helped me alot and the affirmations are great.  When we babystep our way out it is a wonderful thing. It doesn't matter if it's 2 steps out the door or 2 blocks of walking.  Each step is another step towards freedom.
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You all inspire me to try harder and set goals for myself. Keep up the good work!
I think I can I think I can!!!!!!!!! I am gonna do it!
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