How Has The Pandemic Affected Your Agoraphobia?
Managing Agoraphobia During Covid
If lockdown has provoked feelings of anxiety, then take steps to alleviate your symptoms and head outside once again.
The need for Brits to be restricted in their social movements during the pandemic has created some significant challenges for those with agoraphobia. Whether you were diagnosed with this condition prior to lockdown, or have starting to experience symptoms in response to staying at home, the situation may feel overwhelming. Learn how to manage your feelings and access help where necessary during the pandemic.
If a person feels afraid of being in public places, and may have experienced panic attacks when out and about, then this could be attributed to agoraphobia. If you feel that staying at home and avoiding these situations is your way of handling these fears, then you might be displaying symptoms of agoraphobia.
Increased Impact During Pandemic
Feeling nervous or even embarrassment about being seen in certain social settings is difficult at the best of times, but is even more challenging in the midst of a pandemic. Typically, agoraphobics would work to break down barriers and challenge themselves to meet people outside of their familial environment. Of course, the impact of social distancing regulations has made it normal, and even required, for the population to stay at home for several months during 2020. This may have set agoraphobes back a few steps in the management of their condition.
Taking Steps Towards Recovery
Although there are still certain limitations in place, there are also many opportunities to leave the house for several hours of the day and to expose yourself to challenging situations. By regularly walking around your local park, or even queuing in line for the supermarket, you’ll be taking enormous steps in your treatment plan.
It’s important also to analyse the specific reasons why you feel fearful about being outside, as these may differ across agoraphobes. You may have agoraphobia which crosses over with another health condition such as alopecia. Here, you may have social anxiety about your physical appearance and being seen in public. You can take steps such as wearing hair toppers to make you feel more comfortable and at ease with your condition.
If you feel that your agoraphobic symptoms are unmanageable by yourself, then it’s time to access support. You might ask a friend or family member for help, but it’s important that you don’t rely on them entirely to do things for you such as shopping or picking up prescriptions unless there is another medical reason for doing so. If you’re not at specific risk, then it’s important that they help to motivate you to get out, or perhaps accompany you on a daily walk. This type of support is crucial in normalising being outdoors once again.
If you feel that you need professional assistance, then you should phone your GP for advice. At the moment, they may wish to speak to you over the phone to find out more about how you’re feeling. Alternatively, you can access a variety of NHS mental health services, or call 116 123 to speak to the Samaritans.
Be aware that no matter how overwhelming your symptoms may be, help is available and you don’t need to experience these feelings alone.