Misconceptions about Agoraphobia

There are a couple of things that bother me about what people think agoraphobia is all about, so I thought I’d address them.

  • agoraphobics can’t go out at all
  • not so. Agoraphobia is defined as a “fear of open spaces”, but it can also be an excessive type of social anxiety disorder. My fears when I’m out include people, interaction with people, unpredictability of people… Well, people mostly. My biggest fear though is that I will have a panic attack while I am alone, and what will happen. If there is no Safe Person to put their arms around me and tell me I’m okay, and stop me from running away – what happens?

  • agoraphobics are depressed, and that’s why they don’t go out
  • This is (I think) why I failed to qualify for IB (oh yes, that again). I strongly believe that the doctor thought I was claiming to be unable to work because I had depression, therefore didn’t go out. This is COMPLETELY INCORRECT. I have agoraphobia because of the way panic attacks affect me. Sometimes, I get depressed because of this. Depression is not a pre-requisite for agoraphobia.

The WHO Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders sums it up quite well.