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Traveling with Agorophobia
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Traveling with Agorophobia

My nieces college graduation is Friday.  It is a 3 1/2 hour drive away.  I've been doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help and it is getting a bit better.  I can get to a city about an hour away and be a mess, but there. Between my Psychiatrist and Psychologist (CBT), they have taken me off of one of my medications and kept me on Lamictal and Prozac- they are for depression as much as anything.  

My Niece is my best friend and it's killing me not to go-  She knows that it is VERY hard for me to leave town.  

Does anyone have any suggestions for helping me go?  This is the first real thing that I've wanted to go to out of town.  It will break my heart if I can't.
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Avatar_f_tn
Distraction, distraction, distraction.  
Back in the 80's, when I was housebound, I made a trip with my then husband and small kids to Kansas from California.  It was about 1,600 miles, and boy, was I scared to try it.  One of the great suggestions I got at the time was to take some coloring books and crayons and do alot of coloring.  Doing that really helped to keep my mind off being away from home.  Also books on tape work wonders too.  Or reading, if you can do it in the car.  I couldn't.  Made me nauseous.....So the books on tape were a better choice for me.  
I say go for it, and you'll be so proud of yourself when it's all over with and you've done it!!  And think how happy your beloved niece will be, too.  Besides, the time will pass whether you're in your house or in a car going to someplace you really want to be.  
Please let us know how it went and how you did...........
DUCKY
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152660_tn?1291759171
EWWWW- where in KS did you go?  The Western 4-5 hours is the most boring drive you will have in your life.  I'm far enough east that the drive east is great.  

Ohh- Coloring- would love to, but I would have to drive- it's worse when someone else is. I've just gotten back to where I will ride with other people.  I do get car sick if I try to read-I would think coloring would be the same. I can't even read a map- I have to pull over. :p  I love to read so a book on tape would be a great idea- I can check some out from the library for free- even better.  My Psycho guy :) had me drive to Topeka- an hour away- by myself without the radio on- NO DISTRACTIONS.  Ugh really sucked.  Finally broke down and had to call my mother for the last 10 miles there because I was a basket case.   I'm going to go again this weekend to see what happens.  I haven't been able to figure out what it is that scares me.  I know I will be fine, car breaks down- no biggie- call tow truck and have someone come get me.  Accident- Hell, I work on a college campus- that's more dangerous with cars than anywhere else.  It's a daily game of frogger. Flat tire- that's hysterical- I've changed 15 tires on my cars since I started driving.  

We'll see- I may be bugging you guys for the next week.  Then I have a work "retreat" that is an hour and 20 mins away.  I do have an out for that one but it means I have to have my Dr sign off and blah blah-  It's not that I mind that, but I hate that it comes down to having to have paperwork done so that I can be protected in my job.  

I'm just a mess.   If this stuff were even a few weeks later, I don't think it would be as much of a problem.  I've been actively working on it since mid-march.  Had I known there was help here in town, I would have started it sooner.  I guess that's just frustration as a whole.



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Avatar_f_tn
We went to Manhattan.  My then sister in law had just graduated from medical school in Lawrence.  It's the only time I've ever been to Kansas, and I'm guessing that I'll never go again.
I can't imagine a therapist not letting you have any distractions while driving somewhere.  Not even a book on tape?  Yikes, he/she sure is strict.  (And, in my opinion, wrong)
I think what probably scares you is the same thing that scares the rest of us.  In my case anyway, it's the fear of having a panic attack while out.  I'm guessing that most agoraphobics/anxiety sufferers fear the same thing.  
Again, let us know how the graduation was and I wish you the very best...........Keep going and staying strong...........
DUCKY
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152660_tn?1291759171
Ohh-  you came to my town.  That's a scary coninkidink.

The trip was mainly to see if we could figure out what the issue is.  I was shocked that he had me go alone the first time, but we are going through a book and that is what it said to do.  I did have the radio on and chatted on the phone on the way home, so that helped.  My issue is that I've only had one "real" panic attack and that was going home from work- really odd.  Now that I think back, I had lots of times out of town that bothered me, but don't know what the trigger was.  If I knew what the real issue was I could deal.  
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349780_tn?1309637558
I answered this on the anxiety forum. Just to let you know.
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152660_tn?1291759171
Thanks for all of your comments and suggestions.  It's great to know that there are other people out there that feel the same way and can help.

Just an update-  I have decided to not attend the graduation.  It's not based on being worried about anxiety, it's knowing my family.  My niece and sister would worry about me and have me on their minds all day.  It's my niece's day- finally being done after 2 years of HELL. It really ***** to not know if you are going to graduate until about 3 days before the ceremony.  She knows how I feel and understands what it would be like because she has been having panic attacks and serious anxiety about classes, finding patients, taking boards, etc this semester. She should be able to do whatever she wants to on her day without thinking about what would happen with me if they do.  

My sister kept going back and forth with me about going- talking me into it, out of it- over and over.  Once I told her my decision and the basis of it- she understood.  She agreed that she would be thinking about me all day.  

Thanks for all of the help.  I will keep watch on this forum and see if there is anything I can help with.  
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904176_tn?1243620242
Your niece will certainly have you in spirit. May I recommend a great book?  It is called "The Anxiety Cure" By page 38 it helped me more than meds and my shrink.  It still took a bit of work. Baby steps.  At one point I made a list of the 10 most terrifying things in order of least to worst.  It went from going to the grocery store to flying over the Atlantic Ocean.  I do all 10 of those things now, USUALLY with no meds but at most with a prophalactic .5 mg of Xanax.
Any one that has had a panic attack can certainly relate, but it is hard for people [like my boss] who just don't get it and asks questiongs like "what's wrong with you?"
KUDOS for putting it out there.  I promise in time you WILL be able to make that trip.
HUGS!
~Hillary
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