Many people believe that Agoraphobia is a fear of open or public spaces – but in fact, Agoraphobia is an extreme or irrational fear of ‘being in situations where escape might be difficult or that help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong’. This is a very complex phobia.
A phobia can be caused by a particular experience or situation where you are faced with your fear. Due to this initial reaction – the second time you face your fear, you may experience the same irrational feelings of terror – if this forms a pattern it is a phobia.
The key to getting over or overcoming a phobia is to face it, otherwise it may get worse over time. People usually deal with phobias by avoiding them but this can prevent you from doing certain activities which you may want to do and from living your life in general.
One of the best treatments for phobias is exposure therapy, which you can easily do yourself through self-help.
Self-Help for Agoraphobia
Facing your fear is key to conquering it – whether it is lifts, stairs, tall buildings, bridges or another fear.
You can help yourself through exposure therapy – but make sure to begin with something you can cope with/handle – exposure therapy may not work if you start with something too scary.
Follow my step-by-step approach for agoraphobia below:
Agoraphobia is a very complex phobia, and your experience with it (the particular things you fear) is probably very specific to you – so you will probably need to make your own step-by-step approach, but I have created a general one to give you an idea of what could work for you.
- Step 1: Learn how agoraphobia affects you – learning what situations cause you anxiety and to feel fear can help you to deal with your agoraphobia.
- Step 2: Whether it is lifts, stairs, bridges or another fear causing your agoraphobia – start off with something that is easy to handle – simply coming face to face with your fear is a good start. It can help to do something as simple as observing your fear. For example, go to a bridge – don’t go onto the bridge if you don’t feel comfortable. Remind yourself that you are safe.
- Step 3: Continue to gradually expose yourself to your fear – if at any point you feel uncomfortable or like it is too much, try to stay calm (focus on your breathing) and take yourself out of the situation.
You can make your own step-by-step approach to help you deal with your specific fear which causes your agoraphobia – if you need any help, please feel free to leave a comment below.