Gransnet forums


Starting to become agoraphobic in lock down

(89 Posts)
Judy54 Mon 04-May-20 13:32:36

Is anyone else starting to become agoraphobic during lock down? Whilst I miss seeing family, friends and going to various groups, lately I have started to feel that the longer this has gone I feel less inclined to go out even for shopping or exercise. This is unusual for me, not sure if it is because I have become accustomed to being indoors or if secretly I actually quite enjoy it.

Florida12 Tue 05-May-20 11:39:42

It reminds me of when I had my first child, not permitted out for two weeks, and when I first took my son out in the prom I couldn’t wait to get home to my cocoon. Everything seemed louder somehow.
I have a feeling this isolating will have the same effect on me.
That said, I am enjoying it really.

bubbly1960 Tue 05-May-20 11:45:16

I have had Agoraphobia since I was 20, and although learned to function so that people are not aware, the feelings do not go away, in my case.
In the 1980s, when I was a young Mum, I went from housebound, to be able to go out, uncomfortably. some Drs and Therapists were unkind. I was made to feel lazy, cowardly, and even accused of enjoying my illness.
I went back to work in the 90s, but the guilt feelings for how I felt never went away.
This is my long way round of explaining that I appreciate this lockdown. I am better in, better away from places and people. I don't have to wear my brave face. I have not had attacks of IBS, the feeling of impending panic. I am in my safe place and am not guilty for being so.
it is going to feel weird after this lockdown, but with repeated visits out, we will adjust again. Just count your blessings that you don't feel ill days or hours before an event, or feel panic and horrible discomfort when you try.
It is difficult to over come. I feel it always stays, however much you do again.
Apologies for being a black cloud.

SuzannahM Tue 05-May-20 11:48:32

I think most people will be surprised at how soon we forget lock down and will soon return to 'normal'.

Once more people return to work, more places start to open up, and egged on by the people who were never really locked down to begin with, the fear of missing out will soon overcome the fear of going out.

For those who think they were locked down for no reason - you've done your bit to stop our hospitals being overwhelmed. You should be proud, I am. I'm not used to taking a backseat, I usually like to be in the thick of things, but for once I accept I am more likely to be a hindrance than a help if I get ill. If all those people who gathered in hordes over Easter had done the same the death toll may have been a lot lower by now.

Freeandeasy Tue 05-May-20 11:49:53

I fear I could become acrophobic. I was never one for socialising - have always been a bit of a loner. I didn’t mind supermarket shopping and browsing clothes in M&S etc. but I don’t think I’ll enjoy these things any more. I do a supermarket shop every 7/8 days for myself and OH, my elderly mother and elderly neighbour. Last Friday, I had to queue nearly 20 minutes at the supermarket. It was soulless. Nobody interacted with other, just stared into space or stared at their ‘phones. When I eventually got in (following the one way system) I grabbed whatever I needed and got out as soon as I could. I didn’t browse as I used to. I even felt nervous driving - couldn’t wait to get home.So grateful for my small, bungalow in a nice area. I feel for those who are worse off.

Annecan Tue 05-May-20 11:52:02

Lots of people are becoming terrified to go out
Lots of people are loving it
Lots of people are happy to be getting money for sitting at home
Lots of people are going to suffer in the years to come
It’s going to be an interesting study into human nature and the British psyche in years to come

Soozikinzi Tue 05-May-20 11:58:06

I agree I think this will be an issue for lots of people. It’s cosy staying in and you get so used to it you will have to push yourself to get out when it’s all over . I definitely think I will feel like that myself.

arosebyanyothername Tue 05-May-20 12:08:26

I'm feeling less like going out as the weeks go by.
After the birth of my first child I had post natal depression and avoided going out as much as possible. This all feels very familiar.

angieblt Tue 05-May-20 12:16:59

I had agoraphobia for 16 years where I could not leave the house, even to hang washing on the line was a fete in itself, I've never really recovered from it, but made myself go out daily , got a job, and pushed myself to go out for fear of becoming house bound again, now I'm at home, I have started to not want to go anywhere again, and I'm scared that it will escalate into not wanting to leave the house ever again, if you have ever had this you will understand my fear. If anyone has this I'm totally understanding the anxiety that this causes, push yourself to walk around the block every day, it helps to make you feel better

Helenlouise3 Tue 05-May-20 12:18:16

I once spent 2 years not even peeping my head out of the door. Please if you can manage it, try and go outdoors every day, even if its just a 200 m walk. Agoraphobia has a way of creeping up on you and once you start being afraid to go outdoors, it's very difficult to overcome the fear.

sodapop Tue 05-May-20 12:32:11

I think agoraphobia is probably overstating the case but certainly reclusive. I enjoy my solitary walks ( with dogs) and don't really want to talk to anyone. All things being equal I can go back to my voluntary work at the end of May so better get my head around socialising again.

Milly Tue 05-May-20 12:32:14

Like so many of you I am comfortable with the present situation and hope Boris doesn't say the over 70s can meet up soon cos then i'll have to either go back to the Choir I belong to or be considered a wimp for not doing so!

GreenGran78 Tue 05-May-20 12:56:40

Having always led a busy social life I am surprised not to find myself frustrated at the limitations we now have. However, I’ve always been one of those ‘take things as they come’ sort of people. I don’t worry about something until it actually happens. Even when the doctor found a lump I didn’t think that it was cancer. It turned out not to be, but serious enough for 5 days in hospital, but I just assumed that I would get better, and did.
I am sad that my visit to Oz for my new GS’s arrival has been scrapped, but otherwise life goes on. I don’t worry about being in the over-80 group, and supposedly very vulnerable. I take a long walk every day, chat to the neighbours, and anyone I meet. I go shopping about once a week, and it doesn’t worry me at all.
I suppose that I will feel rather nervous when it comes to mixing in with a lot of people at close range again, but I will probably take it in my stride, like all the other things that life has thrown at me. I feel very sorry for those of you who are finding things difficult. Please try to get out of the house every day, even for ten minutes. Covid is a virus which is passed on by close contact, not a ravening monster just waiting to leap on anyone who sticks their nose out of the door!
Be brave, but be sensible.

sarahellenwhitney Tue 05-May-20 13:05:06

Hetty58 Like you, living alone,I do need that 'chat'
As we are limited to where we can/cannot go /who we see I have to feel sorry for the guy who helps with my garden needs and politely puts up with my 'chatter.'From the required distance I must add. Could the endless cups of tea I provide help?

Baloothefitz Tue 05-May-20 13:33:10

I have the same attitude as out Meryl Streep

Baloothefitz Tue 05-May-20 13:34:02

Oops our

Sheilasue Tue 05-May-20 13:51:56

I am quite happy at home, I do my half hour walk, and relax when I come back in time for escape to the country? am quite enjoying lockdown, feel very chilled dh has a walk then goes for a sleep so I read or watch Netflix. Making the most if it I know when things get back to normal I won’t start rushing around to get to places anymore.

Judy54 Tue 05-May-20 14:40:30

Thank you all for your interesting responses. My sincere apologies to those who have come forward to say that they do suffer from agoraphobia it was not perhaps the best use of words to describe how I am feeling. At the beginning of lock down like many people I felt trapped, now my feelings have changed to not wanting to go out. This has only happened in the last few days and is probably due to having become acclimatized to staying indoors. Hopefully when things ease I will enjoy the prospect of getting out and about again. My good wishes to you all.

Tillybelle Tue 05-May-20 14:42:04

Judy54. It has crossed my mind that this experience, bred through anxiety, will engender some new Sufferers from both Agoraphobia and OCD - washing, or where the person has a fear of germs. Underlying these, as I said, is fear or high anxiety which fuels the conditions. To be phobic is very uncomfortable, it is distressing, and the behaviour - staying in, washing hands, - is done to reduce the anxiety.

If you are just rather enjoying the quieter life of being at home and not feeling particularly anxious about going out, except that you prefer being at home, it is unlikely that you are developing a phobia. If at the end of lockdown, you choose to alter your life a little and not do as much going out as before, that is fine. Who knows? You may have decided this without the lockdown.

If anyone is apprehensive about going out again, I would suggest that, within your current environment, you take little short outings. If that is possible. Mine are only in my garden which I am lucky to have. If you live in a flat try going to different windows every so often and looking out for a while, observing the birds, people, clouds floating by or whatever you may see.

I was forced to live alone and hardly go out long before the lock down and was rather surprised by how easily I adapted to it. I am lucky to have small dogs and a garden, I do realise and appreciate that. Time does go by very quickly and there is always far more to do than I can manage each day.

I think when life begins to get back to normal you will be able to adapt to going out again, but there is no reason why you should not put in practice the new pleasure you have learned; that you enjoy staying at home, and so enjoy more time at home than you had before. If at first going out is a bit difficult, make sure you plan only short forays and do not put too much pressure on yourself. Gradually you will become acclimatised again. Meanwhile do not worry too much about the future and how you will manage. Cross that bridge when it comes. I think it will not be as hard as one imagines.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and comfortable time at home and most of all good health. To anyone lonely, unwell or unhappy, I send much love and prayers and remember, you are not alone. There are so many of us who live alone, but we can think of each other and send our love which I sincerely believe does sail through the air and into the right places. ???

Jaxie Tue 05-May-20 14:50:50

I’m recovering after a total knee replacement; the pain was worse than that if childbirth. I have had no physiotherapy at all and 2 months after the op my knee feels terrible. I can’t bring myself to walk outside as I’m afraid of stumbling and falling. I’ve lost my appetite completely and feel a total mental & physical wreck, as though I’m not normal. Is it usual to feel nervous of going outside and completely demoralised after this op? Every time a parcel arrives I’m convinced its wrappings are tainted with Corona virus. I’ve never been the wimpy type before.HELP...

Tillybelle Tue 05-May-20 14:52:12

Helenlouise3. I'm so sorry you had that worrying experience. I wanted to say how kind of you it is to tell us and to help us with the suggestion that we keep going out just a little bit as much as we are able. It is a very good and important suggestion. I'm inclined to forget to contact anyone for days on end and forget to go out. I was particularly impressed by how you said "Agoraphobia has a way of creeping up on you". That is a very important point. Thank you.

tiredoldwoman Tue 05-May-20 14:52:50

I've become even more self conscious than usual as I've put on weight ! I love walking the beach and woods but hope no-one sees me !
I need to get back into work with a routine and fitness regime .I'm away for a sweetie.........

Greciangirl Tue 05-May-20 14:57:57

It’s just plain silly to fear going out again.

We should welcome the day when we are sanctioned to go OUT. I can’t imagine never being able to meet up with friends and family again.
Feel the fear, and do it anyway.

Yes, the banks are open, albeit shorter hours.
At my bank, it’s one in and one out. So, no need to be afraid.

tiredoldwoman Tue 05-May-20 14:58:15

Yes, Jaxie, I was terrified of falling when I had both my knees done last year . This lockdown has stiffened them up so I'm back to my basic physio exercises , my lock down weight gain won't be helping either . Look at Bonesmart for good advice and do your exercises that you got on discharge , but nice and easy . Yes, you've been through hell , your body will still be in shock and will be jangling . Big hugs x

Tillybelle Tue 05-May-20 15:00:34

Jaxie. I'm so sorry. The pain sounds awful. I have heard it is a very painful op. afterwards. You are not going mad, being in pain makes us realise we are vulnerable. You will get through, I really believe that. If the pain is intolerable at this time after the op. I would contact you GP for some medication. It is natural that you fear falling and don't want to go out of your house where you feel safe. If you can have what you need delivered then I would try and do whatever exercises they advise at home for a bit. I think the fear of contamination on parcels is not very likely but if you feel happier, just leave them a day before opening. I have deliveries and haven't been particularly bothered about the virus being on the parcels. I just wash my hands.

I hope you can gradually begin to regain your confidence. I am sure the pain is undermining you. I think you need stronger painkillers. Good luck and very best wishes. You will get better and be walking miles before you know it! ?

NfkDumpling Tue 05-May-20 15:21:09

I’m not getting agoraphobic but the reverse. Been shielding for over seven weeks with DH. I long to go for a walk in the countryside - which is at the end of the road - or down to the beach. But I am getting to feel very apprehensive about being in crowded situations. Even with social distancing. I’m scared of the prospect of going into a shop or walking of the promenade in the summer with other people around and it’d take a lot of courage to get on a bus or train. Planes are out of the question now, think of the airport!