Sunday, July 24

Depression and Anxiety

I've suffered from depression for five or six years now, with a touch of anxiety thrown in for good measure. I originally thought that my depression was down to being a teenager - you know, all those hormones and what have you. I then came to realise that in fact I suffered from a mental disorder that needed medical attention and wouldn't sort itself out once I left my teens and my body became "stable". I sought out help, went to my GP and was put on anti depressants, therapy was not offered but I think the GP put me on the Community Mental Health Teams waiting list.

The first anti depressants didn't go too well - I ended up having panic attacks and any glance in the mirror made me want to scratch my own eyes out. No idea why I had that particular reaction to them but two weeks later I was put onto a different type, which I've been on for a three or so years now. They work, the depression is under control and what have you but the anxiety has gotten progressively worse, to the point where I ha vent left the house for almost three months.

It seems I have developed agoraphobia without even realising it.

Definition from (their source - American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th Ed.). Washington, DC: Author)
Agoraphobia is often misunderstood as a phobia of leaving home. However, this is not quite accurate. Agoraphobia is a phobia of being in a situation where escape would be difficult or impossible, or help would be unavailable if a panic attack should occur.
Agoraphobia is often a progressive phobia, and may eventually lead to a fear of leaving the house. However, it is the panic attack, rather than the act of being in public, that is the cause of the fear. Symptoms of agoraphobia may include:
  • Panicked Feelings: Agoraphobia can become a self-replicating cycle. The sufferer is anxious about having a panic attack which can, in turn, lead to a panic attack.

  • Avoidant Behavior: Limiting life activities in an effort to avoid situations where help for a panic attack may not be available.

  • Clustering: A pattern of avoided situations is generally present. Common clusters include public transportation; shopping; driving; and leaving home.
Agoraphobia often develops out of an untreated panic disorder. More information about panic disorder with agoraphobia can be found at What is Agoraphobia? However, agoraphobia sometimes develops with no prior history of panic disorder. A mental health professional can determine whether your symptoms are those of agoraphobia or another disorder.
This rings true with me -

Panicked Feelings - I suffer from panic attacks and I fear having them which in itself causes a panic attack. Hyperventilation, at least for me, causes me to feel sick, dizzy, shakey, hot, sweaty and if I don't calm down quickly my hands go into spasm, both my arms and legs go numb and I get pins and needles in my face.

Avoidant Behaviour - I avoid leaving my flat which is my "secure" place. When I'm at home I rarely have a panic attack and the ones I do have at home are because I'm about to leave it/should be leaving it.

Clustering - I didn't actually realise just how much I avoided situations until it became so bad I wouldn't leave my flat. Thinking back, I've always had a fear of going to new places, I'd stick to my usual haunts and would usually refuse to go out with family and friends if they wanted me to go somewhere new, it then progressed to avoiding certain public transport, then avoiding going to places that weren't close to my flat, to eventually not leaving my flat at all.

The problems that anxiety has caused me have been awful - financially, I've screwed both myself and my other half up, I have no friends, I don't visit family and I cant even remember the last time I walked on grass or touched a tree trunk.

I will be seeing my GP this week (well, I'll arrange a home visit) and I will be able to discuss treatment with him. I'm just terrified I will never become well, that I'll never be able to go outside and enjoy the sunshine without being terrified. That I'll never be able to go shopping or to Chester Zoo or get married because of these stupid fears that I don't really understand. But, there is treatment, therapies and all sorts that I can try so I will never give up hope that's for sure, I control the depression, I can control the anxiety too!

Sorry for the "poor me" type post - with the docs appointment this week I've been thinking a lot about my illnesses and wanted to share my own experiences with it, maybe someone out there with similar feelings will realise that they aren't alone.

Just a bit of shameful advertising - I'm selling a few books and a tarot deck on eBay, if you're looking for some bargins check out the items I have for sale -


  1. Hey - have you done any spellwork to help with these issues? A daily devotional may help. Its something small, simple, and they work wonderfully. Now I'm not suggesting you use your magick to replace the doctors or the medicine - of course not. If you had 5 dollars you wouldn't toss 4 of them out since you already had one, right? But our craft is to help us, and to help those we care about. The tone of your post is that of someone who wants to change these aspects of her life - why not use some positive thought magick?
    While you are feeling like this, like you want to change these phobias, write a devotional. It needn't be long, just stating what you want to change, perhaps the things you miss, and that you will become strong enough to overcome these fears. Say it every day. Twice, if you can. The possitive reinforcement of your desires will help manifest them!

  2. Oh sweetie I'm so sorry it's progressed to this! You've got to get have your whole life ahead of you and you don't want to miss a second of it. :) I have anxiety also but take meds to keep it in check. I've been on Paxil for 5 years and it takes the edge off just enough to function somewhat normally. Plus the combo of Paxil and atenelol keeps my migraines at bay. Phobias are scary and hard to understand...please let your GP know all this is going on so he can help you. I agree with Lilith too, spellwork helps me alot. Just burning calming incense and blue candles makes a big difference. Think about trying some spellwork or meditation and see if that gives you some relief. Take care of yourself ((Hugs))

  3. Hello *hug* I saw you followed my blog & wanted to tell you that your blog is amazing :)

    This was a great post. I too suffer from depression, panic attacks & agoraphobia. I have had alot of ups and downs with it. I was on prozac & it helped alot.

    There would be times where I had to give myself a 10 minute prep talk and work up the courage just to open my door and walk the few feet across the parking lot to take out my trash. The entire time I would be in a panic- couldn't breath shaking. Or someone would come to the door and as soon as they left I would run to the bathroom and sit on the floor hyperventilating.

    I've learned some magickal techniques such as grounding & centering, shielding and having a trinket like a pent necklace or a bracelet or prayer beads- I have a lovely mala. That can help to bring your focus forward and help to manage the panic attack. I also have alittle chant when I feel one coming on-

    "I am a tree. Strong & beautiful. My roots sink deep into the Earth. My branches reach high into the heavens. The Goddess is with me. I am safe & protected."

    It is a difficult road. But you are not alone! And you can get better! & thanks for sharing this it is always nice to know that we are not alone in it.

  4. I can relate to this post more than you'll ever know!

    I have struggled with depression, panic disorder & agoraphobia since than age of 15 & Im 24 now.

    I recently just got off my medication for the panic disorder & so far, it is going very smoothly.

    I hope you find something that works for you. It's a very difficult thing to deal with, especially the anxiety/panic attack/agoraphobia.

    Keep your chin up, I know we don't know each other but I'm here to offer my support ♥