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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted here once in the spring, but haven't really been back since. Rather than go through it again, I'll just link to my original post.
After 6 months of not thinking of travel one bit, it's popped back into my head. I have a small, but delightful ray of hope thanks to my upcoming wisdom tooth surgery. My doctor saw how nervous I was about it, so she prescribed me Ativan to take the morning I get my wisdom teeth out. Any doctor I've ever had has completely ignored my anxiety because depression was always a greater concern, so drugs like Ativan are a completely new concept to me. I can see how they would help me get on a plane, but I'm unsure how the rest of the trip would go. Would I be fine once I got to the destination? Or would I have to keep taking something to keep me calm? Ativan causes amnesia (so wikipedia tells me), which would really make the trip pointless. Would I have to be drugged for a period before the trip so I wouldn't have one long panic attack or just cancel the trip? Fulfilling one very deep desire while battling strong instincts to stay away from that desire... Is it worth it? Could I come out of it worse? Or, I suppose, could I come out of it better? Has anyone faced similar fears this way? Is there perhaps a better way to tackle this?
 

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Well, that is completely up to you.

You'll have to test it out slowly by driving to places, and see how it goes. If you enjoy it and can do everything normally, push it a little farther. Stay in a motel for the hell of it. See what happens. You may or may not need medication for "small" trips.

The problem with the plane ride is you usually go to a place totally new which is anxiety provoking in itself. If you can handle the small trips, there is at least some hope about going on some longer trips without being on medication. However, a day trip or even a few nights is much different than being dropped across the country, or even in a different country.

In my case, it's the whole trip and not just the plane ride. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy your trip. Make sure you have enough medication and let your doctor know what's going on, and have a good time. When you come home, you'll have to stop immediately so you don't get addiction/dependence issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I actually love flying. While more recently I've had a tiny bit of fear about it (I shouldn't watch the news), that's nothing compared to the fear I have about being somewhere outside of my house or further away. I like trains, too, although they're not as quick as planes (and quick is good). Cars are the worst. I don't drive. On highways I get scared of transport trucks' wheeling falling off in front of me. On the other hand, cars are private, which is always good for SA. That was fairly off-topic, but it's not the sort of fear I let anyone else know about, so saying it felt good.

Your idea is good, probably standard, about working up to a further trip rather than just jumping into it. For myself, the issue is that I have zero desire to travel anywhere local. I've always travelled internationally. The part of me that wants to travel wants somewhere different and new (yes, in complete opposition to the other half of me). I see more value in risking leaving my house to travel somewhere amazing than some mediocre place a city away from me. I don't mean to attack your idea at all. In fact, I would be quite happy to hear that my idea is wrong and I shouldn't try it... half of me would be, anyway.

In any case, it's all just a dream cause I don't have money. I enter a lot of contests, so the only way I'd have the opportunity is if I won a trip. I've started entering those contests, which I wouldn't do before. I guess that's a very small bit of progress.
 

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Well how about that, another agoraphobic! :D Nice to see you! Our conditions are not identical but similar enough. Quick IS good. Private is good. I also totally get the desire to travel. I just came back from Virginia by myself (plane) but I cannot go to the grocery store alone. Finding the value is something I totally relate to.

Has anyone thought of prescribing a benzo? When used with therapy I found it opened a lot of doors for me. Then I grew a tolerance and...well the help stopped, haha. But I know many who will use it in an extreme condition like traveling and it helps a lot.

My fear is being alone. I fear my symptoms because in extreme panic attacks I faint. So if I'm alone I'm prone to an attack. In the airport I switched between playing games on my iPod and texting on my phone - busy hands and mind are great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I can't imagine doing any travelling on my own. The only way I can leave my house is if I go with my mom or sister and I don't do that any more than once a month. I live with my mom now, partly because I also fear being alone. Mostly that's just because I'm worried I'll choke while eating one day and no one will be around to help me. Silly, I know, cause it's not like she's by my side 24 hours/day. Moreso, my trouble with living on my own is that I can't do basic things like get groceries. Before I moved here, I'd have to order in pizza all the time just so I could eat.

I always have a puzzle book (word searches, etc.) in my bag if I go out. It's distracting and the monotony of it keeps me calm.

I've only ever taken SSRIs, plus one SNRI and one SARI, and whatever mirtazapine is, all of which were solely for depression. Right now I'm taking Cipralex (Lexapro in the US) and Trazadone. Benzos are a completely new concept to me. My first reaction was that it would be a miracle drug, which really is inaccurate due to its addictiveness. I understand that it can't be taken often or for a long period of time, but is it very useful as a jumping off point? Taking a trip would be a huge thing to conquer, but my even greater question would be: Could it make me ok enough to get a job? Could I one day be able to leave the house and be around people every day?

I talked to my sister about the idea of travelling with the help of Ativan, but she wasn't supportive of the idea. She figures if it can be addictive, it will be addictive. She implied that I would become addicted to it. I may be obsessive, but I've never been addicted to anything.

I'm trying to get a psychiatrist appointment, but it'll take a while. Mostly I keep quiet about things, but maybe I need to push through and be completely honest. I've told doctors before that I'm agoraphobic, but I've never told anyone that I have SA or BDD.

Sorry that was all over the place!
 

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I'm sorry your case is so severe. You are absolutely not alone in this. I too think I might starve if I didn't have the help of family or housemates! Even ordering food is a complicated task because I don't enjoy interacting with the delivery folks (those who so often take their tip out of your change and generally are unpleasant).

I've loaded my iPod with monotonous yet engaging Apps. The fragile balance is a game that engages you but doesn't stress you out, haha. Have you tried sudoku?

In my personal experience, the benzo was a miracle drug. It only turned into a nightmare when the psychiatrists failed to inform me until it was far too late how addictive it is. Being an innocent 16 year old I never thought to question them until university and it was too late by then. That said, I don't regret starting the drug. I just wish I had a doctor who would have recognized, "Okay she doesn't need this anymore." So I'd ask your doctor about that, as a jumping point yes, in conjunction with therapy. It's simply meant as a crutch to help the therapy. Once you're stronger you can wean off. The benzo and talk therapy allowed me to return to high school, to get a job, and to start university. After that I believe it lost its effectiveness and I refused to up the dose. I had a good few years of normalcy and an active social life as I once had.

I think if you're fully aware of the risks and respect the drugs, aka know when to draw the line, you'll be okay. By strict definition addiction means you seek out a higher dose. I don't do that after 10 years of Clonazepam. I've never ever gone above 1 mg. But that's due to awareness. If you're smart about it with a healthy amount of respect/fear for it, I think you'd be fine. Something to get you started, to make therapy easier, could be priceless.

Funny, I've been more quiet about my agoraphobia than my panic disorder. :) I can never convince myself that anyone would understand unless they've experienced it. It'd sound awfully strange to the normal ear to say, "I can't leave the apartment alone." And yet I'm free to mention panic disorder!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My dream would be to live in a city with grocery delivery, so I could live on my own. Online grocery shopping would be amazing. Delivery people are a necessary evil, unfortunately. I've never had a problem with any, but it could always be next time. Mainly I hated them seeing me.

Sudoku, fill-ins, and word searches are my go-to puzzle books. I don't have a cellphone or iPod, so I'm curious if more interactive games would do a better job to take me away from the situation. I have a netbook, but I would assume that's inappropriate to use in a place like a doctor's waiting room. If I were actually to go on vacation, I think I'd have to buy a laptop and load it with all my comfort tv shows.

I'm more and more confused about benzos. I don't know if it's something I should push for, as much as I think it could help me. I feel like if I do, they'll assume I want it for recreational purposes. Also, I found out today I won't be getting any to take before I get my wisdom teeth out. It seems like everyone is against me taking it. I've been nervous for the past week and it's only going to get worse every day. I expect constant nausea come Tuesday (surgery's on Wednesday). And no gravol allowed on Wednesday.:no

Does Clonazepam still help you? If you were to stop taking it, would the withdrawal be terrible? I've never experienced it from anything I've ever taken. The only thing I can picture is what has been portrayed on tv.

I didn't realize that's what addiction boiled down to. I've done my fair share of one particular addictive drug (as well as non-addictive ones - and in this case, I'm not referring to legal ones), but it couldn't have been easier to stop. Does that indicate I have the will-power to stop? Or could every drug be different? (I should note that it's been years since I've done anything illegal.)

Depression is the easiest for me to admit because it's so common. Anxiety, too. That's always been my code word for SA, cause I'm too scared to call it that, but it's a bit useless if I'm the only one that knows what it really means to me. I also hate to say I'm agoraphobic, so I don't know how that came out before SA. But I don't tell anyone any of that beyond my immediate family and a couple people who were my closest friends for years. My last counsellor basically told me to quit because I couldn't really open up. So, no more counsellors for me. Internet is nice, though. I don't know you. As far as I'm concerned, you (and everyone else) aren't real.
 
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