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Avatar universal

Need to identify a specific phobia of mine....

First I am 29 and I have anxiety....not on meds, never seen doc...it's manageable, but still something I deal with daily.  Most of it I am convinced stems from alcohol....although I don't abuse alcohol imo. (5-7 beers 2 times a week or so and  1 to 2 beers another 3-4 nights)  but I am not ready to swear off drinking.  I eat fairly healthy and excercise 3-4 times a week so it balances out in my mind.  On a completely unrelated note, most of my anxiety is the fear of nighttime.  Strange I agree but one problem at a time :)

Okay, as long as I can remember, I have had this phobia of not being able to get out of situations I am in without causing a scene.  For instance, being in a wedding party and standing up at the front of the church.  Because I couldn't get out of there if I needed to without causing a huge scene and have people think negatively towards me, I panic.  Basically I will be nervous intitially, then comes the panic thinking I am going to pass out, rapid heartrate, lightheadedness, sweaty, etc. etc.  It comes in waves....for 2 minutes or so I will be in complete panic, then it'll subside for a few, then randomly it'll surge back...This has happened in school back in the day a few times.....I would just end up leaving class though.  Most recently, after a long 4 days in vegas it happened on an airplane (could have been a side effect of all of the booze though) where I couldn't get off that plane if I needed to (why I would need to I have no idea).  I always have to sit on the aisle seat wherever I go....even during a friends wedding where I was in a pew...I had an attack where I had to get out.  I didn't because I was sitting in the middle of the row and it would've made a scene....

Another example, say back in college we were going to the beach for a weekend....I would HAVE to drive, just in case I needed to leave.  In stadiums it's happened before....like what if I pass out here etc....my own wedding was the ultimate...I was a disaster but made it.  FWIW i've never actually passed out during one of these eps.  Heat makes it worse...if it's hot in the church, ballgame, plane etc...it adds to the dizziness and lightheadedness.

My problem is I am in another wedding coming up and would like to have a solution or at least a better understanding as to why.  My alternative is to drink beforehand and be buzzed in the church lol.

thanks for reading and I will appreciate any advice.
4 Responses
Avatar universal
one more thing...i'm deathly scared of being on meds for anxiety.  To the point that I dont' even want to try.  (my doctor before my wedding and explaining my situtation to him about being nervous prescribed some medication that is used for alcoholics to minimize the effects of alcohol withdrawal)....like I was gonna experiment with that lol
480448 tn?1426952138
Welcome to the forum!

You've described about half of us on this forum.  In my unofficial opinion, you have panic disorder with agoraphobia. Look it up and read about agoraphobia, I think you'll be shocked.  I've experienced it many times when my anxiety/panic was not under control.

It's avoidant behavior based on what you said...the fear of not being able to escape, feeling 'trapped" and the fear that you'll "freak out' and make a scene.  For agoraphobics, ANY place confining is a nightmare for us...traffic jams, bridges, airplanes, trains, even just being a passenger in a car as we feel we don't have "control" of when and how we can leave a place.  It comes with a lot of anticipatory anxiety, or constant worrying about an event basically from the moment you find out about it...all the way up to the event itself (ie, wedding, vacation).  Some people cun muddle through despite the anxiety and panic, but some people actually have agoraphobia so bad that they become housebound, unable to leave their house.  I've been there.

The good news is...it's treatable.  You need to get yourself to a doctor (preferably a psych) who can properly assess and diagnose you.  Then you can discuss treatment options.  Meds aren't for everyone and that's okay.  Many people learn how to cope with therapy and other non-medication approaches.  Just don't eliminate any possible treatment (including meds)...go in with an open mind.  Medications have been a Godsend for so many of us.  Keep your options open.

Lastly, alcohol is one of the very WORST things when it comes to anxiety and panic.  I'm NOT saying you have a drinking problem at all, just that alcohol causes fierce rebound anxiety (anxiety/panic after drinking) for a LOT of people.  When I decide to have a few drinks, my anxiety is INSANE the next day.  The more I drink, the worse the anxiety gets.  Just something to keep in mind as you start addressing the anxiety.  I think you'd be shocked at how much laying off the alcohol will help your anxiety.

You need to dicuss this with your doctor and start addressing the anxiety.  Unfortunately for most of us, it doesn't just "go away" on its own without help.  It's okay to need help with this..so many people do.

Look up these terms (both google and on this site, in this forum)....panic disorder, agoraphobia, anticipatory anxiety.  MedHelp actually has an Agoraphobia Community...check that out as well.  You'll be nodding your head off in agreement and most likely having many "ah-HA!" moments as you read.  Those moments are a great feeling, because it makes what we're going through understandable and it is reassuring to find out that you are not alone and that there is help!

Keep in touch and let us know how you're doing!  Hang in there!!
Avatar universal
Great advice from nursegirl!!
1353681 tn?1387087333
Hi there,

I am also 29, and have had anxiety about many things for the past 5 years..the first 2 years were very intense..constant tightness in my chest everyday , and at work.."did i do that right? was i on time? did i do enough?????" could go on and on....when i started to realize I am HUMAN, and do not have to be (at allll....) perfect, this , that etc etc, blah blah..it lifted a LOT off of my mind/worries..I would read a lot of self help books to help my self esteem and confidence..and they did help...(eckhart tolle's books were WONDERFUl, and Byron KAtie's books are GREAAAAAT as well...really! )

I , besides experiencing generalized and occasional health anxiety (not as much for both as first two years), have a VERY hard time going in other people's cars as a passenger (one of my friends 7 yrs ago, sped down a big hill, and it was an "out of control" feeling)...I go out w/my sister to constantly, constantly practice: it has helped..I KNOW the more I feel at EASE about it, the more I can gain confidence doing it w/anyone...but still getting there...I know what you mean when u say you feel like you would get ":panicky", or feel almost trapped, w/out people looking at u negatively..that is how i feel EXACTLY trying to even tell my friends or others (i have not yet) that I need them to go slow, etc....or i start to get that panicky twinge.....so i am really just constantly practicing, so the feeling becomes "boring' to me..not any attachment/worth anything..

But, I am not sure (although nursegirl seems on target ) exactly what it is called of your phobia, I think it is an intense anticipatory anxiety of sorts....with yours, maybe try to remember that no one is REALLY focused on YOU...they almost always!!! are focused on themselves...also, when u are out, remember that you deserve to feel calm, at ease.

I think that just knowing everyone else is extremely, inexplicably connected to you, and you to them, will ease your mind that you, and they are NO different..you would like to enjoy the event/game/party/thing, etc. .. and def. CAN...i sometimes think to myself, when I've had anxiety about this /that, geesh, if they can have fun, relax, let go, just BE, and be themselves with NO thought/worry about how they are seeming, how they are to others, etc, why can't I?????? I started to then more let my guard down, after observing others, and would watch them too..most were only looking down, most of the time, at most places!! or checking cell phones very frequently..very absorbed essentially in themselves.....  
IF you ever needed to /HAD to leave (very, very rare)...u could calmly, simply say,
"oh , i just have to go use the bathroom, thanks.." Or, "something is in my eye, gotta go to bthroom to check..".......

I'm kinda the same way when it comes to dating ...i haven't dated in a long time b/c i am worried a bit i'll get panicky/nervous in front of date..but I KNOW deep down that if i did, i could just excuse myself to bathroom and it really would be fine....also, like i said, know that you are no diff. from anyone..we are all one, and even that is just a THOUGHT; we are more connected in every way than we could imagine...I love how Byron Katie in her books, writes, "when I look at you, I am just looking in the mirror." Also, no thought anyone could ever have on you, could ever be true...no THOUGHT in itself about any of us is true....you already ARE truth and love....she says, when I look for approval, i go away from love, for we already ARE love itself..now when we THINK , seek approval, etc..we stray away from what we already ARE..her stuff is really , really helpful to me=)

Also, to close, something she says  that I LOOOOOve, and that might help u out, next time you are identifying w/your mind (thoughts), know that we are all amazing beings , so great , that we are beyond any thought, or any form of judging from others...she has 4 q's she asks people to ask themselves on ANY problem  at all....
1. is it true? (usually it is almost always never true..esp. she says if it is something that causes us stress..it is not a true thought for us at all...)
2. Can u be sure it is true? NO
3. How do u feel when you BELIEVE this thought (or story you are telling yourself?)..most say..sad, anxious, tense, panicked..
4. Who would u be withOUT this story, or thought?  (b/c , she means, you already ARE the person WITHOUT this STORY (fear)..it is content, and a Story, nothing else you are believing)...most answer I'd be free, happy, calm, confident!
Now turn AROUND that thought.. so u can see truth/find it.....

in your case, your story, or thought, might be "I need to find a way out of a place, or people might see me in a neg. way", or, "I need a plan to get out, or I won't be calm"

1. is it true..? NO
2. can u be sure it is true? No
3. How do u feel when u think it? tense/panicked, etc..
4. what /who would u be w/OUT the thought? Free! Happy!! ME!! human!! , joyous, calm...
turn around: "I do NOT need to find a way out of some place, and people will NOT think neg. of me", or , (there can be a few turnarounds she says)..."I do NOT need a plan to get "out", and I will be calm."  

I think when we do not give importance to something, it will not attach to us, and have us think we need to fear it.... it will become a boring thing, & we won't give it much attention- & the more we practice , the better, and easier it is/becomes!!!! i hope any of this helped, and i apologize that i rambled!!! woooow, didn't mean for it to be that long..hahaha..talk to  on here sometime =)
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