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I'm afraid to go for a walk


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Hi guys,

 

So i have some pretty annoying agoraphobia and of course bad anxiety because of all this. The agoraphobia has been with me at least 2 years while I've been on K. I can do pretty much anything as long as I'm with someone at the time. But if I'm alone, I cannot decide what to do and I'm afraid to do most things. I think this agoraphobia is part of the reason why I'm afraid to be alone so much right now (because I need other people to go out comfortably) and also why I can't make ANY decisions.

 

I really want to go for a simple walk around the block but I can't because I feel like all eyes are on me and it's terrifying.

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Do you have a dog?  I used to walk my dog in the mornings just before dawn, and just after sunset, so I wouldn't have to run into other humans. 
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Yes I do have a dog but i am seriously paralyzed by all these emotions.

 

I am frustrated and can't decide what to do, so I'm bored, and i get even more frustrated at the boredom, and I'm afraid to go outside so that makes me even more frustrated..... ugghhhhh!  :'(

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I'm sorry to hear you're having this problem.  Have you considered some sort of exposure therapy where maybe you just start sitting out front for a while, and later on, you start walking to the corner, and past that you go for a walk around the block?  Even if you can't get past the first where you just sit out front, that will at least get you outside and give you something to look at.
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I'm sorry to hear you're having this problem.  Have you considered some sort of exposure therapy where maybe you just start sitting out front for a while, and later on, you start walking to the corner, and past that you go for a walk around the block?  Even if you can't get past the first where you just sit out front, that will at least get you outside and give you something to look at.

I will think about trying this... I can be out front as long as I'm doing something like weeding, but if I see someone nearby i usually become too uncomfortable. So to just sit there and "people watch" would be a huge huge challenge for me. I hope this is all because of the benzo. As an adolescent i was the most active, fun-loving adventurous kid. I was always riding my bike around the neighborhood literally at all hours and going on hikes to explore. I loved it so much and I miss it :(

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I'm sorry to hear you're having this problem.  Have you considered some sort of exposure therapy where maybe you just start sitting out front for a while, and later on, you start walking to the corner, and past that you go for a walk around the block?  Even if you can't get past the first where you just sit out front, that will at least get you outside and give you something to look at.

 

I will think about trying this... I can be out front as long as I'm doing something like weeding, but if I see someone nearby i usually become too uncomfortable. So to just sit there and "people watch" would be a huge huge challenge for me. I hope this is all because of the benzo. As an adolescent i was the most active, fun-loving adventurous kid. I was always riding my bike around the neighborhood literally at all hours and going on hikes to explore. I loved it so much and I miss it :(

 

Well, I'd say anything that's a common benzo symptom that you didn't have before benzos is more than likely a benzo symptom in your case as well and will go away when the withdrawal does.

 

As for the issue at hand, there are two things that come to mind.  If this wasn't a benzo symptom (and I believe it is, but I'm just talking about the average person with the same problem) I would say that the only way to get past it is to face your fears and just make yourself take these small steps.  That might also be the case in your situation, too, even though the behavior is caused by withdrawal.

 

*However*, that said, I have (embarassingly) intermittantly been very afraid during my withdrawal of a pair of lizard hands coming out from under my bed and grabbing my ankles and dragging me under my bed which I would rate as being about as rational as crippling agoraphobia.  I can tell you that I tried the expose technique time and time again making myself stand next to my bed at night, forcing myself to wait it out, telling myself "see? no lizard hands on the ankles!" and nothing I did ever made a difference in my fear other than just healing from my symptoms over time.  Further more, I would say that though I was trying to make myself confront my fears, all I really accomplished was just totally torturing myself nights on end standing there with this horrible fear of the lizard hands (and feeling very foolish for it on top of it, I might add).

 

So, at the end of the day, I suppose my suggestion would be to just try some minor exposure therapy such as sitting in your yard for a while, and setting a timer to something a little uncomfortable but withing range for you (10 minutes? 20? you decide).  I think it might be worth trying several times just in case this method could be successful for you.  But, that said, you might find yourself up against a stone wall, like I was, in which case I'd say don't torture yourself or stress out about it and just know that you're going to be totally fine in the end and give yourself permission to have this irrational fear in the meantime.

 

I hope things get better for you, soon!

 

:)

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This might not be very helpful, but maybe for now you should be gentle with yourself and think how great it is that you can at least enjoy the walk around the block with a companion along--believe it or not, just being able to have someone along for the walk is a good sign. It is ok to rely on others when things are too difficult--the most effective, "functional" people do.  As you get healthier, you might want to ask your companion if they will walk a few steps behind you for a couple seconds--just like your parent was right there when you tried to swim or ride your bike.

Also, make sure to congratulate yourself on being able to get outside to garden.  So what if you need to go inside if things get tough, celebrate what you achieved!!  It is all part of accepting that healing will take time and will occur in increments.

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I used the Linden Method to help me with agoraphobia, and completely got rid of it. I'm not trying to sell the Linden Method; indeed it actually failed me. The creator of it promises an anxiety cure within weeks, and while I improved A TON, it was not enough due to real respiratory issues/benzo w/d. It was basically glorified exposure therapy, so I think that sweet g's suggestions are very good. I was housebound for a good time in 2009, and I managed to get over this agoraphobia with physiological dyspnea compounding the problem 8) I even made it miles into underground caves this last summer!!!

 

You are doing fantastic, and if you are already out, I'm sure it's only a matter of short time before you are fine alone. Sorry I don't have an exact science to offer!

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Hi

I am stuck with agoraphobia too. I had it before but got over it and now got again when my w/d started.

Avoiding places is the worst you can do. And I can understand when you say that is difficult make decision. That is because you think too much and planing your going out. It has to be done fast. I am going out and go. More you think more of 'What if? thoughts you will have and you will imagine every possible scenario what can happen outside. And after all of that scary what can happen, you don't go. You have to work on it daily. Even if is only 5 min out of your home that is progress. You can find a lot of technique for facing with scary places. As I said avoiding is the worst you can do. Maybe I am not a good example now but I like to help you and at the same time to courage myself  :). You can do it step by step. And be happy for every day progress. You can start at first go with some supportive person and when you feel you ready you can start going alone. Every time you will feel a little uncomfortable but as the time go you will feel more and more confident. Just don't stay at home.

To not talk much try to find some technique here in this http://books.google.com/books?id=CxLTcVskCMsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+anxiety+%26+phobia+workbook&hl=en&ei=1kQZTq-SFszDswa75rCuDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false pg 157 (and some pgs around). Some pages are forbidden for on line reading but you will find some help.

 

Take care

 

Marija

 

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Well... I just got back from taking my dog and myself for a very quick walk around the  block.

It was very hard and uncomfortable for me (and for him... he has "anxiety issues" too lol!)

 

But I feel good after having done it. My leg muscles are twitching now like they do whenever they are overworked. Isn't that sad, just once around the block and my leg muscles are excited lol.

 

Last night I went for a walk with my dog, as well as my parents. That was a lot easier because I was with them, but they stopped and talked to several people and my social anxiety, combined with my wd brain fog/disorientation, made for my brain being completely checked out of the whole experience.  :-[ It's scary to see how the brain can react to try to protect itself from what it can't handle. I felt like I was zoned out and somewhere else separate from everyone else as they were talking. That's insane. Has anyone else had these issues happen in wd, particularly with their social anxiety getting out of control now?  

 

I'm going to try to do it every night and see if I can eventually get better.

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Good for you taking your dog on a walk around the block all by yourself!  That is huge, Holly.  I probably wouldn't have gotten farther than 1 block the first time when I was agoraphobic.  Just knowing you CAN do it and not only survive but feel the better for it will help you in the days to come.  When going around the block gets too easy, just start brancing out a little bit more from time to time.  Eventually you won't even have to wonder "can I do it".  I promise.  :thumbsup:
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I'm really pleased to hear that you were able to go out for a walk with your dog.  Good for you  :thumbsup:

 

When I first started taking my daily walks, during the height of my withdrawal, I was riddled with anxiety and found it really difficult.  But the benefits soon began to outweigh any of the difficulties I experienced, and now, at 12 months benzo free, I look forward to my daily 6am walks with gusto.

 

Keep up the great job  :thumbsup:

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Hi Hollyms,

I am so sorry you are feeling that way. I felt like that too, when I switched from xanax to valium. It is not a good feeling to feel trapped by your own emotions. Did you try to exercise another way, at a gym, or at the pool for example? Exercising would probably help with the anxiety...

I think you are making a lot of progress. Be kind to yourself.

 

Nat

 

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It took me quite awhile to get out and walk. I would walk back and forth on the flat roof top of our apartment building for awhile instead. Eventually I got down and walked out. I felt like everyone was focusing on me and I was terrified. I had a panic attack and went back. About 5 or so days later I tried again. I walked all the way around the block multiple times. At that point my walking started becoming daily. I now enjoy it. Sometimes my mind still runs rampant though but that happens no matter what I'm doing. I have actually gained strength in my legs and shed some pounds though that probably has more to do with no real appetite. One thing I will suggest too is listening to some music while you do it too if you don't already. It kind of puts a barrier up between you and the world.
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That is awesome that you actually confronted your fear and did it!  A huge accomplishment!

 

I can go to social gatherings, the mall, etc...but for whatever reason I can't bare the thought of going for a simple walk alone.  I had to the other day to get to a doctor's appointment, and that was a good thing b/c it forced me to do it...but the thought of even going into my yard to weed scares me.  It's a strange feeling and I hope it goes away somewhat soon.  If my husband comes out w/ me, I'm fine...or if my dad comes over to visit and helps me out in the garden, I'm fine....always nervous but I still enjoy it.  But the thought of doing it alone is what scares me the most. 

 

It's amazing how these meds affect us b/c I too have never had issues like this BEFORE taking them. 

 

All the best to you...amazing work,

Schatje

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Geez I had no idea this social anxiety-type symptom was so common in benzo wd! It makes me feel a little better since my social anxiety is through the roof and it had never been this bad before.

 

Shatje, I'm exactly the same as you... I can go anywhere with anyone, but alone I'm a complete and utter mess. And I don't know why a simple walk feels so much harder. Maybe because it feels like every single person is watching you, it feels like you're going to display yourself to the whole neighborhood  :idiot:

 

 

Thank you everyone for the encouragement! It was certainly not easy, I was tense and stressed the entire time. I wish I knew when this type of anxiety starts to fade for most people.

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Glad you went out. More you practice even very short walk, it is better for you. Everyday will be easier, more comfortable and longer.

 

Marija

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Well... I just got back from taking my dog and myself for a very quick walk around the  block.

It was very hard and uncomfortable for me (and for him... he has "anxiety issues" too lol!)

 

But I feel good after having done it. My leg muscles are twitching now like they do whenever they are overworked. Isn't that sad, just once around the block and my leg muscles are excited lol.

 

Last night I went for a walk with my dog, as well as my parents. That was a lot easier because I was with them, but they stopped and talked to several people and my social anxiety, combined with my wd brain fog/disorientation, made for my brain being completely checked out of the whole experience.  :-[ It's scary to see how the brain can react to try to protect itself from what it can't handle. I felt like I was zoned out and somewhere else separate from everyone else as they were talking. That's insane. Has anyone else had these issues happen in wd, particularly with their social anxiety getting out of control now?  

 

I'm going to try to do it every night and see if I can eventually get better.

 

High five!!!!!!  I am so proud of you!!!!

 

:)  ;D:);D:)

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Geez I had no idea this social anxiety-type symptom was so common in benzo wd! It makes me feel a little better since my social anxiety is through the roof and it had never been this bad before.

 

Shatje, I'm exactly the same as you... I can go anywhere with anyone, but alone I'm a complete and utter mess. And I don't know why a simple walk feels so much harder. Maybe because it feels like every single person is watching you, it feels like you're going to display yourself to the whole neighborhood  :idiot:

 

 

Thank you everyone for the encouragement! It was certainly not easy, I was tense and stressed the entire time. I wish I knew when this type of anxiety starts to fade for most people.

 

Under normal circumstances (without benzo withdrawal) people start feeling relief within the first few times, because once they start doing it then doing it becomes their new normal and they adjust to it.  Since benzo withdrawal is more than likely causing this symptom altogether, or at a minimum is really fanning the flames to an artificially high level, it *may* be longer, but hopefully it won't be.  Why don't you keep us updated and let us know?

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Thank you again everyone, I am pretty proud of myself!!  :yippee:

 

 

Just a little 5 minute search led me to read on wiki about "substance-induced" social anxiety disorder, and what do you know... the word benzo was all over the place!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_anxiety_disorder#Substance_induced

"A person who is suffering the toxic effects of alcohol or benzodiazepines will not benefit from other therapies or medications [for social anxiety disorder] as they do not address the root cause of the symptoms."  :sick:

 

 

This is also  an article that they led me to. I could believe when I read, "When symptoms are persistent following a distressing event it is often the case that alcohol or benzodiazepines are keeping them going." Holy crap! That explains my entire life these last 2 1/2 years on benzos! lol http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1295099/?tool=pmcentrez

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Try this book 'When Panic Attacks' Dr David Burns

It is not just about panic. It is about anxiety, panic attacks and depression. How to help yourself with some techniques and without meds. This is home version of CBT. Benzo's are not solution for anxiety they just mask problem for some period of time and usually feel worse then.

Take care

 

Marija

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[fd...]

Thank you again everyone, I am pretty proud of myself!!  :yippee:

 

 

Just a little 5 minute search led me to read on wiki about "substance-induced" social anxiety disorder, and what do you know... the word benzo was all over the place!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_anxiety_disorder#Substance_induced

"A person who is suffering the toxic effects of alcohol or benzodiazepines will not benefit from other therapies or medications [for social anxiety disorder] as they do not address the root cause of the symptoms."  :sick:

 

 

This is also  an article that they led me to. I could believe when I read, "When symptoms are persistent following a distressing event it is often the case that alcohol or benzodiazepines are keeping them going." Holy crap! That explains my entire life these last 2 1/2 years on benzos! lol http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1295099/?tool=pmcentrez

 

Yep. So my question is and has remained the same...if it's THAT easy for us to find (a simple google search) then WHY, WHY, WHY are these drugs prescribed for as long as they are?? It's RIDICULOUS and HAS to STOP before more lives are ruined. The second link you posted is from the National Institute of Health. So...they KNOW!! WHY then is something NOT done about it or WHY then are we constantly ridiculed or told that we don't have W/D, we have a "return of our anxiety", etc, etc. It just pisses me off that this information is out there, but yet there are SO many of us suffering- afraid to leave the house or go on a walk- prisoners to our own bodies and brains b/c we've been "chemically raped". It makes me disgusted and angry, to say the least.

 

Holly, thanks for posting these. I believe that once you are through the worst of it and you have some good healing time under your belt, your social anxiety will pass. Just think back on what you were like BEFORE the drug and know that you will be that person (only BETTER and improved) again. This WILL pass. For now, we have to cope the best we can.

 

Much love and hugs, Nicole

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Dear Holly, You are too young to have to suffer like this. You are so beautiful both inside and out. I went to the website you had posted, read most of it and thought of me being on benzos for 42 years. #%@**!##%! I am so angry that I was innocently put on this drug. I so glad you have found the TRUTH early in your life. It sounds like you are going to beat this and I rejoice with you. I have been off of Klonopin for 83 days but I'm still scared to walk around the block. My dog would love to take me :laugh:. Keep posting your success just maybe it'll inspire this brain of mine to keep trying.

 

Marry, I went on Amazon and ordered the book. I've read my share of books, maybe this one will FINALLY help me. Thank you kindly. The reviews are very good. I'm just scared of the leg work the book is going to tell me to do. I get out of the house by going in the car with my husband but I now must get out of the car. My anxiety just goes through the roof when I even think about it.

 

I agree that these drugs have ruined all too many people. They should have not given me Klonopin six and a half years ago. THEY KNEW!!!! But they chose the drug. This week I saw a alternative medical doctor about acupuncture and after seeing me so emotional, she told me maybe I should go back on Klonopin until things calm down for me. She told me acupuncture brings out more emotions and I wasn't ready. Thanks for nothing Doc. THEY JUST DO NOT GET IT!!!!!!!

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Thank you for your comments Lamber. I didn't mean for the links to make anyone angry, but I can see how they would! I would LOVE to know why these meds are still being prescribed for daily use! The only reasons I can think of are money and uneducated doctors.

 

 

Lucy, it really makes me sad hearing that I'm too young for this... because yeah I am, but there's nothing I can do about it. I'm hoping and praying that this means that I'm getting most of my "suffering" in life over with at an early age lol. Hoping it's something I'll outgrow, in a sense. At least it better be that way, because there's no way I could take just getting worse and worse in my life. That's really scary to think about. :(

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for your comments Lamber. I didn't mean for the links to make anyone angry, but I can see how they would! I would LOVE to know why these meds are still being prescribed for daily use! The only reasons I can think of are money and uneducated doctors.

 

 

Lucy, it really makes me sad hearing that I'm too young for this... because yeah I am, but there's nothing I can do about it. I'm hoping and praying that this means that I'm getting most of my "suffering" in life over with at an early age lol. Hoping it's something I'll outgrow, in a sense. At least it better be that way, because there's no way I could take just getting worse and worse in my life. That's really scary to think about. :(

 

Well, look at it this way, if you were old then you'd be too old to be dealing with this crap!  ;)

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