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Author Topic: A loved one, suffering from panic disorder and agarophobia  (Read 300 times)

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Offline idrathernot

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A loved one, suffering from panic disorder and agarophobia
« on: February 10, 2013, 06:55:15 AM »
Hi

Im not sure if this is the right place, but in the situation I haven't got many people I can turn to.
My girlfriend has got a panic disorder and agarophobia. She's had it since very early age (possibly around 3 - 5). That, coupled with fear of vomiting, makes her life so uneasy.
She has had her ups and downs in her life, and, all in all, her childhood wasn't the easiest one. Nearly a year ago, she had a miscarriage (a baby from her last boyfriend), and when things got really difficult, she dropped out of college and moved to her granny for the summer. She felt a lot better, and some of the issues seemed to go away. Thats when we met each other, and got together. By the end of the summer, she moved back to her mum. We thought we would not keep our relationship, but everything turned out differently. We missed each other so much, and then I quit my job and moved to be with her. Found a new job, place to stay, etc.

It is nearing our 5 months anniversary. Small time, I know. But it means a lot to me, and she is the most important thing in my life.
Unfortunately, ever since she came back to her mum's, back to the memories and old places, her anxiety has returned, and is gradually getting worse. She has been in cognitive behavioral therapy for years, she tried hypnotherapy just weeks ago. GP prescriped anti-depressants, but the side-effects caused her nausea, sleep disturbances and few other things, so she dropped the medication.

I am desperate to help her. And that's where the problem arises - in her opinion, it would help a lot more if she didn't have people around her, that she could depend on constantly. I have been through so much bad things in my life, that I have become extremely sensitive to other's problems. It is in my foundation to help and support the people I love and care about. I've tried to suggest so many possible solutions and treatments, but a lot of them she has found unsuitable, due to agarophobia or the fear of throwing up.

With her having a tough time, she has been resenting me as well. It hurts like hell, but I go through it without saying anything. At this point, if it meant she would get better, I would let her go. But I dont know whether that will actually help, or make things worse.
I was in a very similiar condition at her current age. I was depressed, had suicidal thoughts. I then moved away from home, dropped out of Uni, and got a job. And, I suppose, with all the crap I have been thorugh, I have developed a really basic, but effective coping mechanism, where I just shut out everything, once things get too difficult. I have suggested this to her as well, and I have told her that with getting older and more mature, her condition will improve. But she doesnt always trust me on that.


So, my question is - has anyone been in such a situation? What did you do? What helped, or what didn't? I am not asking this to save our relationship. As I mentioned earlier - if there is the slightest chance that I am stalling her recovery, I will let her go. I hate myself for even considering it, but I love her too much to see her suffer. And she has mentioned her suicidal thoughts as well, and that scares me so much I've cried several times. Doesnt matter if she breaks my heart, I just dont want her to get to a state where she will start considering an actual ***** attempt. And, since I've been there myself, I know particularly well how horrible it is.

Please help me. How have you helped your loved one? How has your loved one helped you?
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Online Cuchculan

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Re: A loved one, suffering from panic disorder and agarophobia
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2013, 06:50:12 AM »
Obviously home is were her main triggers are at. She has to learn to begin to trust in home life again. To begin to know that is safe to be at home. Now this could take some time. It would mean a lot of work on her part. I am saying she has to want to do all of this, because that is how it works. It can't be a case of her wanting to do it to please others. She has to want to do it for herself. It won't be easy. There seems to be a lot surrounding her family home and that area that she doesn't like. It is all about how to get by all of that. Letting go of the past. And building towards a beteer future. There is no set methods as such that she can use. As an agoraphobic myself I find we tend to find our own methods. They may differ big time. It would be good to get her writing. About what it is that she does not like around her. And why she does not like these things. Then we might have something to start with. But you are good for sticking by her. Not many would. A lot would run. Her mood will change. Depression can set in when people find things are bringing them down. They get odd thoughts. I have always found that writing helps me. Even if it is just writing for myself. Words that nobody else will ever see. We know ourselves what is going on inside our own minds. It can take time. It can mean letting go of friends. Until we find ourselves again. But no matter how bad she may be feeling there is always a road back. She just has to try and find that starting point. Then build slowly from there. She can regain a life. I was housebound for a decade. I get out daily these days. Lot of battles with my own mind. Lot of times I felt like giving up. But I knew I had to fight on. Once you take those first steps. Once you see you can make some form of progress you begin to lift in spirits. You begin to push that bit harder. It is like you see a life that you haven't seen in years. Try and get her to write. It will be a form of theraphy in itself. But she has to keep on doing things. She can't just sit around all day. That is the worst thing she can do right now. She may like that is all she can do. But this is when we need to dig deepest of all. She may get snappy at you. But don't take it personal. It is just the condition. Once she finds that starting point she will have something to aim for.
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Offline idrathernot

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Re: A loved one, suffering from panic disorder and agarophobia
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2013, 06:25:57 PM »
I am so grateful for your reply and advice, Cuchulan. Im happy that you have succeeded with your battle, and it gives hope to me and my girlfriend.

When you mentioned writing, I remembered that I did it as well, years ago. Just expressing my thoughts, feelings and emotions of the moment. I kept a diary for several years. And after a long time of filling it, it was helpful to see the changes between the first and the last page of diary. I will talk to her and explain it.

Fortunately, she is not homebound. There's quite a few things she'd avoid to do, but also many she enjoys. I just don't want her to get any worse, and lose the positive that's left. Once she's steadily on her feet, it will be time to regain what's been given up.

Thank you for the response, you have been very helpful!

Kindest regards
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