Daughter with Agoraphobia
I believe my daughter has Agoraphobia. I need help to get her help. She has no income, she has no medical insurance. We are not starving, but I cannot pay for a therapist.
This all began about four years ago. She was working full time for a relative she loved and trusted. The dynamics of the business changed and where she was very comfortable and confident, she had to choose sides and chose against the relative, who she had already felt had betrayed her. I believe this is where her issue with panic disorder began. She started getting "sick." I took her to the doctor, to cardiologists; had all the necessary tests done; they showed her heart was sound. She, for all intensive purposes was healthy physically. She was living with a boyfriend at the time. Before this she was a gregarious, outgoing, leader of the pack kind of person. She is mine, but she truly is a stunning beauty as well as an amazing personality.
The illness intensified, she missed work, would regularly have "spells" with her heart etc. No doctor said, "Hey this is a panic disorder." I don't know why they didn't, but they didn't. She believed herself to be very ill, possibly gravely, and that no physician was diagnosing her properly. This only served to increase her attacks and send her further into her cut-off world. Long and short, her boyfriend cheated and that relationship ended.
After that, she moved in with me. She was "gaming" all day and night. She was a full time student at the local Community College, met a boy online, and had a relationship with him for 3 years. He only came over here to see her, as her "condition" won't let her go very far or fly or anything.
He broke things off with her yesterday and I have no recourse or resources to help my daughter get well. There is much more: the loss of her beloved Godfather and then her father (who she loved very much, but had only reconciled with as he was a recovering alcoholic) happened in this time as well. She needs help, I need help. How do I even get her to the mental health clinic when I can't get her to leave the house except to go food shopping or such with me? She is no danger to me or herself.
Two things need to be done: symptom management, then when she can, dealing with the causes. Symptom management is simple to understand, but needs courage to do. The rule is, "Face the fear and do it anyway."
First, your daughter should read my page on panic attacks This explains what a panic attack is, and how it can be defeated. There is a section at the end that shows how panic attacks can lead to agoraphobia. She could also spend a (very few) dollars and buy an electronic copy of my book Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias
There is only one way of defeating agoraphobia. Gradually, in small steps, she should set herself challenges that are scary, but manageable. It's good that she has you, because having a support person can make all the difference. The thing is, if she dares to put herself into a feared situation and stays in it...and stays in it...and stays in it...eventually the fear fades away. The reason is explained in my book.
So, suppose that riding in a car is scary. Then she should sit in the stationary car for long enough for there to be little or no fear left. Then she can have you drive to a nearby place, and do it there. And so on, until she can drive to a predetermined place, by herself. In this way, over a matter of a couple of months, she can regain her life.
Once she has done this, life will change. There is a surprising thing: when you send negative energy to the universe it responds in kind, and bad things come into your life. Once she is sending out positive energy, she will find work she likes, men she likes and who treat her well. She will find a good life. At that stage, she can invest some of her earnings into therapy for doing the second stage.
This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com