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Fear of death makes it difficult to leave the house?


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I keep getting this fear of dying, and it's making me think twice about leaving the house or driving to the point where I panic and don't want to go out when I should. Is this part of my GAD? I'm going to tell my pdoc at my next appointment but I'm worried it might develop into something like agoraphobia.

 

Does anyone have any tips on how to combat this? I've been taking my anxiety medication when I won't be driving but I can't take it when I need to drive which is more often than not and I'm getting almost panic attacks at times.

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The reason I am afraid to leave the house is: 1. Severe tremors, 2. Fear of car crashes, freeways, and bridges, 3. People. It is probably a good idea not to drive on anxiety medication if it effects coordination, etc. I am not a Licensed Medical Practitioner so the following advice are personal experiences which may or may not help:

 

1. I cannot drive because of medications (I can barely walk for that matter). So it feels safer to get a ride from someone you trust, or take the bus (bus drivers are pro).

2. Talk to your doctor about this fear of dying. It may or may not be related to GAD or something else such as agoraphobia.

3. The remainder of my advice is omitted for being grounded theories involving credible sources.

 

In any case, I really hope your fear and going outside gets better! Personally, it took quite a toll just to leave the house (quite a toll is an understatement), and I will think of experiences that have helped in the past to keep this thread updated. I know there are some I forgot.

 

tel

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It could be a part of GAD. How are you doing on your new medications so far? I don't very much fear death, but I'm sure if you are anxious some wise words won't stop the fear. You just have to live your life, and realize that you won't die (most likely. Although car crashes can happen, using defensive driving and not driving very late at night, keeping a safe distance between you and other cars, and other defensive measures will prevent most crash scenarios. And car crashes will not definitely kill you, I've been in a car crash that flipped over, and went down a small hill and smashed into a tree, and all I received was a scratch on my knee. If you believe in fate, you'll just accept that when it is your time to go, and living in fear of it is just going to make you suffer unnecessarily. I encourage you not to give in to your fear and to keep going out as much as possible to prevent you from developing any type of this phobia, but your new medications will also help with anxiety as well as the other issues you mentioned in a previous thread. I know that rational thinking isn't a point of helpfulness when dealing with anxiety, but I just had to try anyway. 

Edited by Forbidden91
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Sure, it could definitely be part of GAD, which means the GAD isn't being treated properly.

 

Therapy works really well for GAD, and meds work best for anxiety when combined with good, focused therapy.

 

Agoraphobia sucks, and, yes, what you're describing very well could be agoraphobia.  Talk to your docs.

 

ETA:

 

"Fear of death makes it difficult to leave the house?" is pretty much a really good description of active agoraphobia-- not that I'm diagnosing, but you should seriously talk to your doctors about it.

Edited by dianthus
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I had to think about this, and try and estimate the chance of it being counter-productive.

I think I need to risk it and take any flak that comes back.

 

With GAD, there can be an overall or wide-spread fear due to misperceiving 

 risks or from having an exaggerated dread of their consequences.  This can be exacerbated by a misperception of what is "safe".

 

Houses are not desperately safe, especially kitchens and bathrooms.

In going outside one is not actually leaving a "safe zone"  for a "danger zone"

(OK, except in some particular parts of the world.)

The "giant step " at the front door is far more mental than real, though seriously real enough in its own terms.

 

Life is risky.

And you don't get out of it alive, even if life expectancy on the whole still increasing.

(The average risk of dying on any one day has been dropping for generations, since on average as a population we are getting more days.) 

 

If everything is a bit risky, that's essentially the same as no risk for decision making purposes.  it should not factor into changing what you'd *like* to do.  Only the excess, extra risk *weighed fairly*  should affect that.

Driving is a bit more dangerous than sitting at home, and distinctly so for those under the age of 24.  On the other hand it offers benefits.

 

Throwing yourself out of airplanes is a little more dangerous, but a fair number of people think they get enough out of parachuting to outweigh that. Some variety in judgement calls is fine.

 

Where does this end up?  Trying to get hold of the real risk numbers may help hold things in proportion.

Including that slightly disturbing one that you may be gauging your fears from a "safe zone" which isn't, really.

Which is perhaps not a nice thing to grasp initially, but it brings a lot of activities much nearer to being on a level playing field, which can then be liberating.

 

Just my take.

 

Chris.

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I'm on the waitlist for a new therapist where I see my pdoc (she actually was making some calls for me because it's been taking them awhile to get back to me) so I should be starting therapy again sooner than later.

The reason I feel safer at home is because I'm in control of the variables here. I can control who's around, what's around, what I'm doing and interacting with and I just don't have that control elsewhere. I feel that without this control I'm in danger of being hurt or killed.

This started about a week ago when I almost died at work due to someone else's negligence. This made me realize that no matter how careful and particular I am there's nothing keeping me safe from what other people choose to do. I keep reliving the incident and having panic attacks related to it and death and I'm not sure how to stop it other than with my medication right now. I try to slow my breathing and place myself somewhere safe and comfortable but there's only so much I can do when I'm at work and can't take my medication because of the nature of my work and having to drive home afterwards. 

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It's probably pretty important to let your new tdoc know that there was a specific precipitating event for your increased desires of not wanting to go outside. That kind of changes the landscape a little bit. But the treatment is still pretty much the same if you're getting good treatment for what's going on.

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Hi. I feel you. I went through the same thing in 2003. My uncle died of cancer, and I was his caregiver while he spent the rest of his time at home. It was a wonderful experience, both happy and sad. I was always close to him, he was like a father figure, would take me fishing, come to me and my sister's softball games, etc...and I loved him very much. So the time with him at the end of his life and being able to give back at least some of what he gave to us was a good experience. Losing him, of course, was awful, and the last month was excruciating both emotionally and physically as I had to tend to every need and he was immobile..

 

Anyway, long story short, about a week after his funeral I started having acute panic attacks again (I've had GAD for about 20 years) and suffering from a pretty much paralyzing fear of death. I would imagine all the things that could happen to me, my kids, my husband, etc...and after a few weeks of it getting worse and worse, I could not leave the house. I'm exactly the same about medication - will not drive on it - so that made things really difficult.

 

Some things I did - I'd force myself to leave the house, but only with people who knew what I was going through and I felt safe with. My daughters would take me out to lunch, etc...(I work from home so thankfully that was not an issue). Before going out, I'd meditate, do some yoga, drink chamomile tea (not that it does anything for anxiety, just the ritual of making the tea, sitting in a comfy spot, and sipping it was relaxing) and do relaxing things to put me in a calm state before leaving the house. I would take my meds (generic xanax) with me in case I needed it, but would not take one before leaving. 

 

I talked to my doctors (both family practitioner and therapist) about the issue. Family doc recommended following through with therapist to address the underlying issue of losing my uncle, facing mortality, etc...and he also suggested I try driving on a half dose around our country roads with my husband present in case the half dose effected me enough to not drive. I did, and it went surprisingly well. The xanax would make me a bit woozy and tired at a regular dose, but when I broke it in half, all it did was calm me a bit. Didn't effect my driving. So I learned that on a half dose I could drive, which made life much easier. I don't recommend doing this without talking to your doctor, because I don't know what your meds are or what the doses are, and I'm not a medical professional, but I did want to relay what worked for me in case it's something you can talk to your doctor about possibly being an option for you.

 

I also practiced my therapist's advice religiously. Mostly we worked on underlying issues with the anxiety, and recognizing destructive thought patterns and replacing them with productive thought patterns. That was, and still is, the hardest thing for me.

 

The fear of dying/death lasted intensely for about 3 months, then tapered off. I still get it once in a while, but I'm able to work through it. Those 3 months were very difficult, though.

 

Hope everything is going well for you, and hope you were able to work out a solution.

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This started about a week ago when I almost died at work due to someone else's negligence. This made me realize that no matter how careful and particular I am there's nothing keeping me safe from what other people choose to do. I keep reliving the incident and having panic attacks related to it and...

 

That would be enough to shake many people, but to keep reliving the incident and having related panic attacks is something that  needs professional support.

 

I can say much more as my reactions and emotions are atypical.

My cleaner came quite close to killing me by accident  three weeks ago, but I didn't get excited about it at all.

I have a lot invested in keeping cool and calm, both in terms of past history and current need.

I had to hammer out how I feel about risk, uncertainty and possible death years ago, while handling what I now know were part of my Asperger's traits.

 

Chris.

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