Motivation is the key to recovery from agoraphobia. It fills the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it.
You'd think someone suffering from agoraphobia would have no problem finding motivation to recover. It seems like getting over all of the excruciating anxiety symptoms, the debilitating panic attacks, and limited ability to go anywhere would be motivation enough.
But anyone who has actually HAD agoraphobia knows different. We know just how hard and exhausting a recovery effort can be. We know the physical and mental stamina it requires to practice relaxation skills, to repeatedly expose ourselves to our fears, and to catch and replace destructive thoughts on a daily basis.
There are days when you get so tired that you don't want to move or think.
There are days when it feels like you are making so little progress that it's not worth the struggle.
Several times during my recovery, I quit trying altogether and resigned myself to the idea I would be stuck in my house forever, and be cheated out of the chance to live a real life.
To be honest, I felt so frustrated and hopeless that one day, I started swinging a baseball bat in my bedroom and shattered the lights. I also thought about killing myself. But that's just how desperate trying to recover from agoraphobia can feel. And as bad as panic attacks can be, wanting to avoid them is simply not enough motivation to sustain a recovery effort.
To recover from agoraphobia, you need to find motivation from INSPIRATION – not DESPERATION.
You need a strong reason to keep moving against the fear on days you don't feel like it.
A reason to keep hoping on days when there seems to be no reason to hope.
You need a reason to recover that's bigger than just wanting to stop a panic attack.
To carry you through the dark days and on to the life you really want you need a PURPOSE greater than fear.
Please understand that nothing was easy about my recovery from agoraphobia. I felt like I had tried everything and nothing was working. I was faithfully practicing exposure therapy (taking my baby steps), doing my breathing and relaxation exercises, and working hard to change my bad thinking habits – but for me, this just wasn't enough.
I never saw enough progress to be motivated to keep going. I kept almost giving up until …….. I found a purpose greater than my fear.
One night in a deep state of prayer, my motivation for recovery changed from just trying to stop panic attacks and get my life back – to do something meaningful in the lives of others.
I found a burning desire to do something that moved my focus away from the inward world of controlling panic symptoms to doing something to make a difference in the world around me.
That was THE turning point in my recovery. That's when all the recovery techniques began working and everything fell into place
Today, I have made "finding a purpose greater than fear" my personal mantra. It is central to everything I teach others as they recover from agoraphobia.
There is a wide gap between knowing what to do to recover from agoraphobia and actually doing it. Motivation fills this gap.
To be successful in your recovery from agoraphobia, it is important to find the right source of motivation. Motivation that comes from inspiration – not desperation, that comes from a deep sense of purpose that is bigger than you or the suffering you are going through.
If you have agoraphobia right now, it is my hope that you will find a purpose for living that will set you free to live fully again – one that is greater than your darkest fear.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." – Ambrose Redmoon.