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Hi everyone;I'm wondering if anyone else out there has been suffering with agoraphobia (literally: fear of open spaces, but fear of leaving the house). I have severe IBS C/D. I had to quit my job in February because the pain and bathroom trips made it impossible for me to be a good employee. In the past couple of months, I've noticed increasing panic attacks when faced with doing something as simple as going to the store.The other day, I cried for ten minutes before going to a movie with my husband. I'm totally freaked out about having terrible symptoms, but even in a place where I know there are toilets. It upsets me that the media, like Oprah, won't touch IBS, when look at all of us, we are suffering soooo much.Please feel free to share your stories. I think it would make me feel a lot better to know that other people are experiencing fear of leaving the house.Thanks!!Amy
 

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Although I don't have a fear of public places etc.. I do stress whenever I go out anywhere.Mainly its dealing with the fear of having an attack of D , and not being able to get to the bathroom.IBS can set the stage for this sort of thing.I know that although I do go out, and although I lead a normal life, I feel safest, and the most relaxed when I am at home.I hope you can get some help and find some support.Don't be too hard on yourself..things can get better you just need to find someone and something to help you.Hang in there,We're here for you ,((((HUGS))))Jeanne
 

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Frustrating isn't it?? I have slight agoraphobia. The doc gave me xanax for it but I found it just made me sleepy and made me feel hungover when it wore off. I couldn't (and probably still can't) even go out of town. I can go to a restaurant but I usually talk myself through it. Okay There is a bathroom (I am IBS-C although sometimes I am sturck with the oh no I gotta go syndrome!) If I feel really bad I can leave. I find too that when I make plans to go out I do much better if I drive myself and no one else. That way I can meet up with people and if I start to feel bad (MY main symptom is nausea--bad nausea) I can just leave without disrupting anyone elses evening. I mean who wants to be out and about with the constant presence of that I am going to puke feeling?? I am slowly working on the agoraphobia it is hard to kick but just talk yourself through it tell yourself everything will be okay and start off small. The only way to beat it is to do the exact opposite that it wants from you, I also tell myself okay so what if you puke?? You'll be embarrassed but hey thats life. And for those who have had accidents in their pants I can only imagine the humiliation one gose through in this situation but hey it is also life and embarrassment only lasts as long as you let it. Good luck,Kellie
 

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I've got bad agoraphobia. Have had it on and off for over 30 years. I had a few good years from 1993 to 2001, but for the past year I've found it difficult to even leave the house. It's not just because of IBS - both are the result of severe stress and one aggravates the other.I'm on valium (tiny amounts, and not taken every day), which just blunts the edge of the panic. I had a lot of success with CBT, but right now I'm too far gone for anything to help me. I'm coping with serious family illness and the terminal illness of my mother. I don't think I'll be able to get back to "normal" until after she has died, because I'm living with permanent terror in case I won't be able to be with her at the end, or will be unable to go to the funeral and let everybody down. It happened when my Father-in-law died: my husband, an only child, had to go through it without me beside him.There is a lot of help out there for you; books are OK, but what you need is a good Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and a stress management programme.Good luck.
 

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Amy,I have exactly the same problem as you and I've been living with it for years. I am not going to write here how it has ruined my life because it is just going to get me depressed. However I will say that I recently started seeing a psychiatrist and he gave me xanax to use on an as-needed basis and it works wonderfully. Whenever I need to go somewhere and I find I can't do it, I take a xanax and an hour later I am on the road without any urges to turn around. I thought that I had agoraphobia, but he said technicallly I didn't, but more accurately I have a phobia (although the label isn't very useful). He wants me to wait for the drugs to help before I try non-drug approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy.I strongly recommend that you see a psychiatrist or psychologist. I wish I had thought of that years ago.
 

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I tend to panic a bit too if I'm not sure how I'm feeling. That's why I take Immodium sometimes. It's my safety net. Last week my husband and I went to a restaurant that we were really looking forward to going to (organic and everything) and 5 minutes into eating I started getting nauseous and sweaty. At the end I ran to the bathroom twice with no results. I felt like the whole place was watching me. I went to sit in the car until my husband payed the bill and that made me feel better. I've had these mini panic attacks on other occasions too and am starting to wonder if I should get those hypnotherapy tapes. I am calmer at home. Proffesional help is probably the best idea.
 

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I've just fairly recently become a slight agoraphobic. I can leave the house by myself, but when it comes to going out with others, then I panic and can't do it.I guess this is because I know if I'm out doing something by myself and start to feel sick, I can race home right away, whereas I may not be able to do that with someone else.Restaurants are an absolute no-no for me. I haven't been to a sit down place in months. I had a horrible panic attack in a restaurant a few months back and ever since then I have not been able to go back to one.Nausea is a problem for me, along with stomachaches and rumbling. I usually don't feel like I'm going to have an accident or anything, just fear of feeling sick.Take care - I think we all understand where you're coming from. It stinks.
 

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Alongtin,I feel your pain. Living in NYC with IBS is no picnic. The thought of riding a subway used to fill me with terror. Then, as I made small trips out of my apartment, I started making a mental note of clean bathrooms I could dash to. It sounds funny, but now, at each subway stop, I know of a bathroom so that, if I have to dash off the train, I can. Slowly, I was able to increase the range of my movement as I made an inventory of bathrooms I could raid, should I need to. Just that knowledge, made the panic go away. If I go to a movie, I just sit on the aise, so I can make a quick, discreet getaway should I have to.All these mechanacians have relieved my stress immeasurably. I can fly with relative ease. Take car trips. As an actor, I can get on a stage, knowing I'll be up there for 45 minutes, and not freak out.Just thought I'd share what worked for me. I would suggest you talk to a therapist or your GI about this. They should be able to help you get back out there.
 

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I just wanted to add myself to the list here. I'm also agorophobic. I can go our by myself, and even then I get panic attacks, but it's easier to make it through knowing that if I need to I can go home relatively easily (not always so easy for me, but I'm coping. The main problem comes when other people get involved - I have to make up all kinds of excusese to take my own car everywhere. Sometimes it makes no sense, but so far I've managed it. I get in an absolute PANICKED state if I think I'll have to go on even a short trip with others in the car. It's so silly, but I can't get over it. I have Xanax to take as needed, but I'm thinking of asking for something more - has anyone tried Paxil? Anything else? I'm worried about side effects though... Anyway, I feel like I'm living such a limited life. I don't want to lose friends, or have this hurt my career (which involves occasional travel, but I've had to say no to 2 out of state trips so far this month. I don't know how many more I can get out of, and there's just NO way I could do it. I know there's an out of state car trip coming up too with 4 peers, I am sick just thinking about it. Don't know what to do exactly...) OK, there's my 2 cents I guess. It's nice to have found this website and know that there are other who feel the same as I do (mapping out bathrooms when out comes natural to me too now)
 

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Hi Amy, I too suffer agoraphobia. In fact it has plagued me for so long that I'm suprised my family still wants to try to do things with me. I use immodium 1 hr before I leave on a day trip but on a daily basis I'm a complete basket case. It has gotten so bad that minutes before we leave I start panicking and then I get angry when my husband or kids try to help me to where I shut myself in the room and tell them to just go. I'm not angry at them of course, but at the fact that my kids shouldn't be trying to take care of or comforting me (16,13,6yrs), I'm only 35yrs old. Tomorrow is my first visit to a hypnotherapist. I'm very hopeful because I know that most of my "D" attacks now are panic related. But I'm also nervous. I will say that since I've been able to openly discuss this with the people here things for me have improved. I no longer feel ashamed.The best to you
 

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My husband has been having panic attacks on and off for over a year, and in the past 3 weeks they have got worse. He was unemployed for several months and just started a new job in June. This morning he couldn't get out of bed, and has been having waves of panic all day. The result is that my colon has responded by going into overdrive. He is also experiencing violent D when he feels stressed.I wish we could find a cure for panic, because in so many cases it's inextricably linked to IBS. From over 30 years of experience - with two periods of remission and two relapses - I no longer have any confidence that any of my remissions will last: no matter how well I think I understand the panic mechanism, over-exposure to stress always sets me right back at Square One. I'm about to "celebrate" the first anniversary of my latest relapse; the last one lasted from 1981 to 1993, so the future doesn't look good.
 

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It's so good to know that there are other people out there with exactly the same problems. Up to a certain point, I think there's a certain amount of mind over matter - although I agree that sometimes the mind doesn't matter! I've also learned to find out where the bathrooms are, and to face the fact that "it" could happen at any time. I'm not going to let it take over my life and to prove the point to myself, I have recently travelled extensively throughout the UK. At one point in time, I too didn't leave the house unless it was a life or death situation - but I gradually took longer and longer trips.I haven't reached the stage where I'd travel with anyone other than an immediate family member, or take a strange trip... trips are meticulously researched with bathroom stops just about everywhere - just in case!Life has been adjusted to a certain degree.. but just when I think I have it all in hand, I have another vicious attack, and I start again from scratch.The way you deal with the problems must also stem from the way you were brought up, and just how open family were in dealing with medical (especially this sort) problems. My family was always hush-hush about GI problems, so it has made it difficult for me to discuss problems - even with my husband. But one day I'll surmount that problem too.Good luck to us all!
 

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I cried as I read all the posts on agoraphobia, because I thought I was the only one going through this. I suffer mostly from gastroparesis and hiatal hernia (stomach pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea), but also IBS symptoms (bloating, gas, intestinal pain, but no D or C). I too have no problems going out by myself, even into a crowded store. But I panic when I think there's no escape (buses or taxis or subways are out of the question) or if in a situation where people would "notice" me if I had to get outta there (I haven't set foot in a restaurant for years). It's true that's it's not really "agoraphobia" per se, but as a result of a physical ailment. When I know I'm feeling okay physically for a long period of time, I lighten up. But I still won't go to a restaurant because I have problems with eating in general. And I always have to be the driver! Otherwise I get claustrophobic and panicky. I've been known to ask the driver to pull over on a freeway so I could get out and walk around for a few minutes because I was so panicky.
 
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