It all started about 5 years ago when I was out shopping at a mall. As the crowds got thicker, I felt my heart start to race and a feeling of panic come over me. It felt like something bad was going to happen and I needed to get out of there fast. As I started making my way out of the mall, it felt like everywhere I turned, someone was staring right at me and judging me for wanting to leave. By the time I made it back home, I realized that this wasn’t the first time an experience like this had happened. It seemed that with any kind of crowded places or situations, my anxiety would take over and I’d feel completely overwhelmed.
This is how my struggle with agoraphobia began. It’s been a long journey since then to figure out what works best in managing my fear of being outside or away from home. It took some trying different treatments and gaining knowledge about mental health before I finally found something that worked for me - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Understanding how thoughts and thoughts patterns can influence our emotions has really helped me gain control over my anxious feelings when facing certain challenging situations outside of the house.
Living with agoraphobia has definitely had its highs and lows but overall I have found ways to work around it without allowing it to stop me from living life or taking risks. Having a trusted support system made up of family members and friends who are understanding has also been incredibly helpful in helping me cope with overcoming any fear filled moments that may come up along with managing my agoraphobia in general.