The lead’s doing nothing, really

Agoraphobia is stupid isn’t it. I mean I’m not belittling it, I have it myself. But it’s stupid.

How can I allow my brain to take over me in such a way that prevents me from doing everything I want to do? I allow it to convince me that I’m trapped in certain situations when I’m really not – and even if I was, it wouldn’t hurt me.

It’s what I’ve conditioned myself to believe, but it isn’t real.

It reminds me of my beautiful dog, Charlie. When mum’s in the front garden and leaves him in the house, he barks. But when she let’s him out, he runs out of her site.

So instead, she began putting his lead on him. She doesn’t hold the lead. She doesn’t even have toΒ be anywhere near him, but he doesn’t leave the garden. He recognises that the lead means he’s restrained and can’t leave,Β but of course that’s not true.

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That’s what I feel like – my poor baby (it’s for his own good really!) being tricked into thinking something that’s not true. It’s as though somebody’s put a lead around my neck and walked away; yet I believeΒ it stops me.

But it’s difficult to re-condition yourself. Simply knowing that you’re incorrect isn’t nearly enough to stop feeling it. So how do you do it? How does one with agoraphobia finally take the lead off and be free?

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57 thoughts on “The lead’s doing nothing, really

  1. Leslie says:

    It would be so wonderful if we could just rid ourselves of all this mental baggage by realizing it’s not true. I often talk to my therapist about my logical side (which knows what is true and what is not) and my emotional side (which is the side that reacts poorly anyway).

    By the way, your dog is adorable!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Billy says:

    Aw bless him. My dog is the same, with the lead. And yes, would that it would be so easy as telling yourself that it isn’t there. But I find that little by little it may actually hep, if oyu have an image as clear as that (a lead, perfect:)) and think that whoever put it on you did love you and their intention was good (yourself, at some point, to protect yourself) maybe, just maybe, little by little, you can walk yourself out? But, like my dog, whose developed agoraphobia just recently bless him! and I slowly trying to get him back to loving miles of walks outside, it helps if you’re not in a place with millions of scary triggers at once. Little by little may just do it perhaps. It doesn’t matter if you don’t manage it, just don’t stop trying πŸ™‚

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  3. Amy says:

    I had agoraphobia for a long time and now am able to do anything I want. Every once in a blue moon I have a panic attack but now know how to manage them. You are doing a great job Lauren, keep up the good work.

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    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Thanks, Amy. That’s so reassuring to hear. It seems completely impossible at the moment. But talking to people like you at least makes me realise it can be done and I’m not fighting a battle than can’t be won!

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  4. anxietybug88 says:

    Baby steps. Little by little, try something new. Push yourself, but not too hard. Agoraphobia won’t go away overnight, so don’t feel down if you still struggle. I know you can do it, though. πŸ™‚

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  5. ladycamecu says:

    My I can only imagine this horrible feeling! You are brave even if you do not consider yourself as such! I get bouts of this with my anginophobia so I can somewhat relate. But to feel like this everyday. I am truly take my hate off to you to still stay so open and positive. And you doggie is such a cutie! I have a black mini schnauzer and his hair gets like that when it gets long, lol.

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    • bylaurenhayley says:

      I used to suffer with that myself. I never knew it had a name then. I go through periods of different anxieties! I was so scared of choking I dropped to below 100lbs, I was very ill. It’s still there. I’m careful with certain things I eat, but I would say I’m as over it as I possible could be. My agoraphobia is horrible but you’ve just reminded me of another time I thought I couldn’t get better, and did! And thank you, I love my doggy – and it’s my favourite when his hair gets long!

      Liked by 1 person

      • ladycamecu says:

        Yes mine results from a mixture of fatigued muscles from my myasthenia ( I get to weak to swallow sometimes and have to take a break until I am stronger to eat during the day when my meds kick in) and the traumatic hospitalizations of choking and suffocation during medical procedures near my neck.

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      • bylaurenhayley says:

        That’s horrific – although at least you have good reason. I’ve never choked in my life! Even now while I’m eating I cough to myself sometimes a little bit. I did a first aid course a couple of years ago that told me it’s impossible to cough if you’re choking. It settles my panic a little bit at the reassurance that I can!

        Liked by 1 person

      • ladycamecu says:

        I have been a professional rescuer (as a lifeguard- CPR/ First aid/ AED) since I was 15 years old and I get to educate others who have a fear of choking of that little nugget too and it helps ease their fear a bit too. WE always tell you to keep coughing forcefully until you no longer can! That’s always a good sign when actively choking because you are still breathing! You always take breathing for granted until you cannot do it! I think about it more than most!

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      • bylaurenhayley says:

        You’re very brave for being so open about it with the fact that it affects you so terribly. I can’t even think about it too much. If it happens in a film I’d walk out of the room. A while back there was a TV advert teaching you what to do if your child chokes – I had to change the channel everytime. It’s crazy because my fears would probably subside a bit if I knew what to do in the case of it happening, but the thought just makes me panic straight away!

        Liked by 1 person

      • ladycamecu says:

        My logical side takes over until I need surgery, LOL. Then I am in panic mode! I have learned some coping methods for minor situations for my myasthenia but for surgery I have not found any yet. I panic every time. They have to sedate me, HEAVILY. My mom and I have managed teach each other breathing techniques that have worked for everything except my surgeries, I just have not managed to snap my mind away from the memories of what happened and what is about to happen and then I cause things to happen sometimes unnecessarily that would not have normally happened (such as actually choking). Self-fulfilled prophecy, lol.

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      • bylaurenhayley says:

        Honestly you shouldn’t be hard on yourself about that. It must be so traumatic. I don’t think anyone could blame you for feeling the way you do about it – although I do hope for your sake that you manage it soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. amyegardner1 says:

    This is very well written and a great analogy. Unfortunately in my case all the things that terrify me really do happen and really have happened, which makes talking myself down from a panic attack a real challenge. In some cases the lead is attached to a real object.

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      • bylaurenhayley says:

        Mine used to just come out of nowhere and U didn’t get the link for the longest time but actually they are all related (for me). it’s always the feeling that I can’t reach help if I need it. That can be open spaces, closed spaces, transport, crowded places – and so much more. Try and take note of where you get them and hopefully you find a common link. If you do you can work at dealing with the problem a bit more. For me for example, I think mine all comes down to the fact that I have to be in control of a situation. I’m not in control if I can’t get out at any given moment, or if I can’t find my way somewhere because it’s an unfamiliar place. So what I really need to work on is my ability to let go!

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      • amyegardner1 says:

        You are right. I do think there is a common link, which has to do with experiencing loss and/or rejection. It’s impossible to avoid loss and rejection though. I guess we both need to work on letting go!

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      • bylaurenhayley says:

        Of course it is; it’s just about learning that it’s not the end of the world if it happens though – Trust me I know it’s not that easy in practise but logically it is! I bet there are some exercises online to help with rejection!

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  7. spykeyone says:

    NLP is one ‘possible’ solution. I touched on this earlier in the week in a post called ‘Waking up grumpy…’
    Neuro Linguistic Programming is designed to ‘reprogram’ our minds and therefore change our behaviour and beliefs. I’m a natural sceptic but I can’t deny the fact that I walked 12 feet over two thousand degree hot coals in the evening after the first day of lectures without injury just using the ‘power’ of my mind.
    Food for thought? There’s many books and on-line resources to check it out.

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  8. Blue290 says:

    I’m stopping my meds and trying to find other fixes that don’t come out of a bottle. Finding other outlets to work off the pressure and focus. The proverbial baby steps are a good start.

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      • bylaurenhayley says:

        I don’t think you can burden yourself with that. I don’t think many of us try hard enough. It’s a traumatic process – I put off fighting it as much as I possibly can sometimes. If someone were to say medication could help and relieve some of that, I think most of us would at least try it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • bipolarsojourner says:

        here in the states, they have pill pockets, a soft morsels of goodness. they are made to be a delivery method for pills for dogs & cats. (-: have you tried those? πŸ™‚ btw, that’s meant to be funny.

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      • bylaurenhayley says:

        Haha! Even if you weren’t I don’t think it would work! On me or my dog actually – we always put them in his food if he’s not well and sure enough there’s always just a pill in his bowl by the time he’s finished eating haha!

        Liked by 1 person

      • bipolarsojourner says:

        our dog takes two pills daily. he’s use to them, so they can go in his feed dish and he take them with no struggle. the other day, he had an infected toe. the doc gave him a steroid to eliminate the itch. the new pill got put in the bowl along with the others. he recognized it as foreign, so he dropped along side his bowl.

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  9. bipolarsojourner says:

    have you you looked at acceptance commitment therapy, act? i’m having pretty good results with variants of it.

    have you seen the movie inside out? the message is every emotion has a purpose. as members of society, we are taught to have emotion-phobia, taught to be afraid of our dark emotions. i found this excellent write up and did my take on what i read. it is a really cool read.

    i hope these ideas help. no one deserves to live life with a lead around their neck.

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  10. jennymarie4 says:

    Love your analogy! Wish I had the magic answer for you. I had agoraphobia/panic attacks for years. What finally helped was when I was prescribed an antidepressant to balance my serotonin levels. On a side note, your dog is soooo cute!

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    • bylaurenhayley says:

      See it’s so tempting to try medication but part of me just thinks ‘you can do this without’ – I have no idea why, I have no evidence to support that claim whatsoever lol! The fact that it worked for you makes me definitely think about it more though, I haven’t heard too many success stories with agoraphobia and medication. And thank you, Charlie’s my baby! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • jennymarie4 says:

        When my daughter had severe panic, she was ten. She went on the same antidepressant as me, a really low dose. But it helped so much and she was finally able to go back to school and live her normal life. About a year later, she gradually stopped taking the meds. She told me she doesn’t need it anymore. The meds got her out of her worst time. She’s 20 now and still not taking meds. She motivated me to try to wean myself off (with dr supervision) but I couldn’t do it. But did lower my dose. Different meds, different side effects. Everyone’s different how they respond. I’m still so grateful the first one we tried helped us.

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      • bylaurenhayley says:

        Do you mind me asking what it is that you take? That’s so good. I’m so glad that she didn’t have her teenage years ruined because of it and she was able to keep it under control. Mine weren’t too fun! I’m pro-meds if they work for you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • jennymarie4 says:

        Yes, I am too. But I know taking meds is controversial for some. I take Zoloft, which is what my daughter was on too. I don’t mind at all that you asked πŸ™‚

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  11. Darkwriter11 says:

    Pretty spot on analogy. You know, it takes a lot of mental strength to see that you are boundless and recognize that most of your problems are scenarios made up in your head. Still, lovely post.

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  12. eggertl2 says:

    I like the idea of your concept. I like it because a lead, or restraint if you will, can be cut or broken! This is an exciting idea. Maybe by thinking about cutting those restraints over and over, just like the thoughts that bind you, maybe, eventually one could sever the link.

    We do learn, sometimes instantly, to be afraid of something. A sudden fright may cause a phobia just as an eventual fear can. Unfortunately, few things can be unlearned quickly. As pointed out in one of your posts, time is needed to break the bonds that hold us. As for your canine family member, he might accidentally discover freedom or it might be a squirrel that catches his eye. What might break your chains?

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