I'm 30 years old and since I was 22, the severity of my anxiety has escalated to the really terrible place it is now and made me limit all but the absolute most necessary of public interaction. I've left my home two times so far in 2012. Thank you to those who might be interested.

Edit: Holy hell you guys. I'm just some nerd that sits in his house all day long! I never thought you'd all be so inquisitive! Sorry if my responses are taking awhile. I have A LOT of them coming in. I'll do my best to get to them all. Back to it I go!

Edit2: Wow. You guys are nuts. My inbox won't go away and now that I look back through here, there are tons more questions piling up that weren't sent there. I need a wee break but I'll certainly try to get back to as many as possible. Some I'm skipping due to getting many many repeats. Thanks everyone for hanging out with me!

FINAL EDIT:All right guys. I give up! You've defeated me. I've been going at this about six hours now and I don't think I've ever typed so much. I greatly appreciate all the support, all the kind words, all the ideas and all the job idea help. I especially wanted to thank all the success stories you've all shared. It gives hope to a dope like me that can sometimes only see the bad stuff. Thanks again for a really fun day and I wish you the best with the rest of yours!

Comments: 2186 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

Azernox1763 karma

Finally an AMA that we know the guy won't start and leave after an hour!

OutsideSucks1211 karma

I had a few dates with super models lined up. I figured I could move a few things around to waste some time with you nice folks. xD

barching834 karma

thanks for being so out in the open about this.

OutsideSucks681 karma

Well played psychological warrior...well played.

SirHumanoid497 karma

The same sort of thing happened to me at about exactly the same age...Everytime I went out I would get palpitations, feel faint and have to sit down but everything was absolutely fine with me...Built quite athletically...

However, when it hit me, I couldn't even look outside...And being from the part of world where such issues are looked down upon or as weaknesses, I was left to my own devices...

However, I am a Muslim...As a Muslim, I am commanded to attend the Mosque 5 times a day...So I decided I would do that...So I kept going...It was tough at first...Very tough...But slowly, I kept seeing the same faces 5 times a day and slowly and gradually, I looked forward to going to the Mosque...

By the grace of God, I am now married with children, work and am a full functioning member of society without a single medication taken...

I now understand why Islam doesn not condone ascetism...It requires/demands that you be and remain a fully visible, functioning member of society...

OutsideSucks248 karma

I'm incredibly happy you were able to overcome your problem. Not nearly enough of us are able to get out from under the weight this puts on us. Thank you for giving me a smile. Best wishes.

Magorum358 karma

What did you leave your house for?

OutsideSucks444 karma

My mother went in for a very routine surgery to help restore some circulation in her legs that came from diabetes. However, things didn't go as planned and extra surgeries were necessary. I went to spend a few hours with her there.

And toward the beginning of the year, I went to human services to re-apply for food stamps and thankfully was granted them again.

kristennc275 karma


OutsideSucks472 karma

If I'm forced to leave my home, it usually takes at least three to four hours of mental preparation. I cannot spontaneously leave. I have to know well before hand. I try and acquire some anti anxiety meds if I'm able to help things a little bit.

The trips out usually are very difficult for me. I usually try and keep myself as covered up as possible. Big black hoodie with the hood up, covering as much of me as I can. Which, is rather counterproductive because I'll usually draw more attention to myself trying to hide than just being regular.

And, the times out usually are very tough on me. I start shaking so hard. Some have compared it with an unmedicated Parkinson's patient. My heart rate goes through the roof, I twitch and shake so hard, I get extremely nauseous...but yeah, it's always pretty rough.

And thank you for your question. Very kind.

theamorouspanda108 karma

This happens to me when i have to read something in front of anyone, even my family, out loud. Dont know why, but it was awful during highschool with all the presentations i had to give. So i cant say i know how you feel, but i think i feel similarly when i have to do something like that.

OutsideSucks168 karma

Social anxiety is very common and very tough to deal with. That's how my condition started out and then progressed much too far. It's a very difficult thing to deal with. I wish you the best in keeping that under control.

ImSleepDeprived58 karma

I have pretty bad anxiety, I start to get really nervous in public when I shouldn't be. There isn't anything wrong with me. Do you think this is linked to my past?

OutsideSucks114 karma

Anxiety and panic disorders can come from a number of places. Traumatic experiences in your youth is certainly a possibility. It might be part of my issue as well.

I think more in my case is the fact that I have a long family history of mental illness and I got hit with the Hummer of the crazy gene.

To figure out where the manifestation of your issues lie is best left to a counselor or therapist of some kind. Some people have aversions to seeing folks like that. But if you can open yourself up to them (and find someone decent at it) it can be a liberating experience. I enjoyed my time in therapy. I wasn't able to stay long enough to get real results but I think it really can help. They can arm you with the tools to help yourself as well.

Give it a shot. There's nothing to lose but a few hours.

sensualsanta65 karma

Why did you stop your therapy sessions? I realize it's all very difficult for you (I also have social anxiety) but one day I was just sitting there and I realized just how lonely and isolated my life had become. I was spending half my time living a fantasy life in my head rather than going out and actually living. I did not want to spend the rest of my life trapped by my own mind. I know you have probably heard this a million times, but you can do something. I know it sounds crazy right now but it is within your control to change things...all these thoughts are all in your mind and with therapy you can get rid of all the bullshit that is keeping you down. It's still very hard for me to meet people but I am one step closer and it feels amazing already. Please do not give up. You are going to wake up one day and realize you wasted way too much time being miserable for no real reason.

OutsideSucks27 karma

Yikes! I didn't realize more questions would stack up that didn't come to my box! Anyway, yeah, the exact reason I stopped the therapy was due to money. Shrinks are so crazy expensive, so...yeah.

draibop219 karma

how do you make money?

OutsideSucks336 karma

Sadly enough, I really don't. My Mother is a manage of a subdivision of rental homes. She was kind enough, about two years ago, to let me stay in a home that she was unable to rent out. She also was kind enough to take care of my Internet bill.

I have a roommate who takes care of the power bill and does all the shopping for when I have food stamps. It's a fairly meager existence, but we get by.

[deleted]161 karma

Isn't there some sort of job you could do online?

OutsideSucks168 karma

There are a few jobs that can be done purely online. The bad part is most of them are in the medical transcription field. Nearly no one will hire you for such work without some schooling or certification. You basically have to treat it like your own business. Going around gathering clients and being a general people person. I'm not quite able.

The other stuff is like..looking through online ads and all that. I've never found anything, with my limited skill set, that I can do for regular income from home.

trotsky1947327 karma

Try [Amazon Mechanical Turk.](www.mturk.com) You can make a decent amount of cash from it

OutsideSucks271 karma

Just finished up reading a bit about that. That sounds very interesting and something I believe I'll be checking out. Thank you very much.

lootnaf58165 karma

I've made about $30 so far with just doing a few surveys at a time, at my own pace. /r hitsworthturkingfor is a great subreddit to find easy/well paying surveys.

OutsideSucks124 karma

That's fantastic! Thank you! I'll most certainly be checking that out. I've already signed up and now looking through it.

trotsky194748 karma

No problem. I know I made $30.00 in 2 weeks just from a few hours after school. With the time you've got on your hands I bet you could do decently.

OutsideSucks59 karma

I certainly will give it a shot. Thank you!

unclelou74 karma

Have you thought about trying to learn programming or any other skill set that would help? If you demonstrate an ability there are plenty of places where you can get part time work from home.

OutsideSucks58 karma

I have, actually. Yet again, that steps into undiscovered territory that freaks me out. The worries start creeping in like..."If I graduate from this college and am still a nutjob, how am I going to pay back the loans?" or "What if the stress of the learning is too much for me to bear and I end up wasting all this when I can't do it."

It sounds pretty silly and is something I suppose could be remedied. Just..jumping into something like that seems so daunting.

[deleted]150 karma

How did you develop this phobia? Do you have friends? Is it actually leaving the house itself or leaving the property you own that scares you?

OutsideSucks249 karma

  1. The condition of mental illness usually starts to creep up in your early to mid twenties if you are genetically predisposed to it. As was my case. My whole life up until I was 22 was very normal. Tons of friends, never at home and always out having fun. However, at 22, it just hit me hard and being in social situations became gradually more and more arduous. It was slow progressing but devastating in what it limits you.

  2. I do have a few friends that are very patient with me. Old friends that I've known 5 years or more. I can't have anymore than two people at my house regardless of how comfortable I am with them. Too many people and I get freaked out badly.

  3. I'm frightened of the world basically. I get scared at the thought that I'll go into a crazy panic attack due to not being in a place where I feel safe. So, to actually get out and do things in the world scares me so I stay inside, but I feel awful because I never leave and get to experience anything.

Suzy_Sweetheart151 karma

22 is the time that I started to become reclusive also. Not nearly so bad as you, but before that I had many friends. Now I have none except my boyfriend. I leave my house only for work, errands, and so see him. I blew off my friends too many times to stay home in my comfort zone, and they all ceased being my friend (who could blame them?) I wish the best to you and hope we both can overcome this

OutsideSucks95 karma

I'm very sorry to hear about your friendships. The same happened to me as well. I don't really blame them. Dealing with someone like me, it's hard. Friendships should be easy. Only the closest and longest friendships I've had are the ones that lasted and they are saints for putting up with me as much as they have. I'll never be able to thank them for everything they do for me.

Best of luck getting over your condition as well. Keep that boyfriend close. People like that can be more comfort than you might ever realize.

creaturefear134 karma

Please don't think I'm being insensitive when I ask this:

Does your condition frustrate you? I've never had a very good understanding of mental illness, and I have difficulty sympathizing with those who do genuinely suffer from mental health problems. You seem to know that there is no good reason for your condition, and that it's sort of silly to have the anxieties (you mentioned it being counterproductive trying to cover yourself up, thereby drawing more attention). How do you deal with your own issues when you're at home and not having anxiety? Do you ever think "Man this is so stupid!"? I feel like I would be unbelievably frustrated. Thanks in advance for if/when you answer! And good luck to you.

OutsideSucks178 karma

It very much is incredibly frustrating! It pisses me off regularly that I can't go and sit in a restaurant with my friends or family and just have a decent meal.

It really doesn't make much sense. It sounds foolish and like you should just be able to slap yourself in the face and scream "WAKE UP AND GO OUTSIDE!"

However, the effects of the issue are just as crippling as physical. I'll stop, unable to go. My mind won't let me go. Much like someone with two broken legs, their body won't let them walk up a flight of stairs. My mind won't let me head to the gas station for pretzels. I hate it very much and I'd give anything to just feel...fine. Just regular. Not good or great...but just normal.

motorcityvicki59 karma

For curiosity's sake, what do you think would happen if, say, someone physically removed you from the house? Like, if a strong friend just fireman carried you out the door? Would you lose it on him, or would the lack of control of the situation force you to surrender? This is obviously the most hypothetical of the hypothetical, but I have suffered from generalized anxiety for a long time and the only thing that would snap it is when people would DRAG me out of the house. Physically, my friends would man-handle me out the door. I didn't have a choice, and somehow... that made it less scary. Don't ask me why, since the familiarity of home was what I craved.

OutsideSucks80 karma

A very interesting question.

If I was aware that I was physically in danger and needed to be rescued, I doubt I'd put up much of a struggle being taken away due to the fact that the most dangerous stress or pain is the one you pay nearly all attention to.

As for say, an actual abduction, I really don't know what I would do there. I'm not sure if I'd flail around like a lunatic or I'd just collapse in the fetal position.

As for your friends grabbing you and tossing you in the car for your own good, I highly doubt that would work for me. I'd be screaming and swearing all over the place. Being in control of my environment is what keeps me okay. When I'm taken away, the control is lost and the unknown and incalculable things begin to happen.

creaturefear34 karma

Ughhhh. That really sucks. :(

I hope someday you can find a medication or therapist or combination of both that enables you to find some relief.

Or maybe even you'll just sort of gradually snap out of it, like you gradually fell into it. Probably not likely, but the human body/mind are unbelievably durable and resilient. Never know.

Again, I wish you the best. Thanks for doing the AMA. It has opened my eyes to some of the subtleties of mental health issues that I couldn't really understand before.

OutsideSucks45 karma

It is entirely possible and would be amazing if it did.

And thank you for stopping by with questions. Hope your days goes wonderfully.

Neocoleoidea120 karma

So, if you lived in the middle of nowhere, and no humans other than you and your family were within 50 miles of you, would you then feel comfortable outside?

OutsideSucks115 karma

That is a great question. I really have no answer for you. It's nothing I've been able to experience. I know it's kind of a let down, but I really don't know. Probably still be afraid of snakes or toilet seats from a space station coming down and crushing me.

MarcusXXIII104 karma

Real Life interaction are not ok but Virtual Life (such as these) are ? What difference lets you manage the anxiety?

OutsideSucks188 karma

I figured this question would come up and I'm glad it did.

What I'm doing here is totally in my control. If a bunch of trolls or idiots show up, I can close this and toss this account into the void and never have to deal with it again.

Also it comes down to the Internet anonymity. You all talking to me today don't really "feel" like real people. I can mentally put up a disconnect from all of your nice folks due to the fact that you're all just text to me and not all sitting in my living room firing questions off at me. The same reason 12 year olds act like assholes online is the same reason I feel comfortable talking with all of you. You aren't real people! Just Internet words! :)

w0bb274 karma

You aren't real people! Just Internet words! :)

That hurts bro... I'm a real boy :(

OutsideSucks150 karma

Or maybe that's just what you want me to think? shifty eyes shifty eyes

freakindirt123452 karma

TIL I am just internet words :[

But really, I hope that this virtual wonderscape can help you through your life! Good luck sir/madam!

OutsideSucks68 karma

Don't worry Words. I still like you despite your lack of humanity. :)

"Sir" and thank you. I sure hope things eventually work out.

DeHussey101 karma

Is this about to be the longest AMA ever conducted?

OutsideSucks190 karma

Hey now. Just because I never leave the house or leave my computer doesn't mean I'm just going to sit around on my computer all day!

Er...well, maybe it will be. :(

dreamer_dw11 karma

Speaking of being on the computer all day... Have you ever been on Teamspeak? Over the past few years my health has deteriorated, and I've developed terrible social anxiety. Bad enough to where I have anxiety attacks when I try to go out to a friend's house. I got big into PC gaming and got invited into a clan in one of these games. We're on Teamspeak every day and play lots of different games. It's a way to be social without actually being social. I dunno if it's something you've ever done before, but I've met some amazing guys on there. They're fantastic friends. Since you're like me and can't really be social, it might be something you want to check out.

OutsideSucks14 karma

I've tried Teamspeak and Vent and all those while gaming. The mass of voices isn't good for me. I joined a small clan for SC2 awhile back and I couldn't handle all the voices. So, I just stick with text chatting. The only exception are online friends I've known for a long time and I can talk to occasionally on Skype.

[deleted]100 karma

Are you sure your not agoraphobic and just a Redditor?

Do you watch Doctor Who?

OutsideSucks138 karma

Heh. Although that would be a condition I'd be happy to have, I'm afraid I have a big shiny piece of paper in my medical records stating that I am.

And yes, I adore Doctor Who. I'm a modern series watcher though. Never could get into the older ones. And Tennant/Piper by far the best duo. _^

Kaz5866 karma

I also have agoraphobia, although not as severe as yours. I'm 22 and was completely housebound for about 3 years until November last year. I'm not sure what happened, but I decided I wanted to seek therapy, so I went to my GP and was lucky to be referred to a counselor of sorts. I've been leaving the house a few times a week. It's still pretty hard for me to go out alone, but I'm lucky to have support from my mom (who also has anxiety).

I'm not really sure why I decided to post this since I'm usually very uncomfortable talking about it. I guess I just wanted to say I hope you get better and enjoy life more (not to say you can't find joy at home).

OutsideSucks35 karma

I'm extremely happy that you were able to find at least a little bit of relief from it. Sounds like you are on a terrific track to getting your life back in order and that makes me smile. Good job and keep up the good work.

aeonapocalypse0054 karma

Could you describe the day/month/year your agoraphobia developed. What events and feelings occurred during this time? Also, were your parents the same way you are now when they were younger? How were they when you were growing up?

OutsideSucks144 karma


I remember the exact moment it started in fact. I was 22 years old and I had just finished making some tostadas in the kitchen and went to jump in the shower. A few minutes in the shower I was overcome with a horrendous bout of nausea and threw up several times in a row. That nausea persisted for a long time, landing me in doctors offices that had no idea what was going on.

The nausea has never left. Everyday of my life I live with the feeling of possibly throwing up at any second. I was treated for a nausea disorder for five or so years I've been this way. Only until I moved to another doctor, a super old guy, did I figure out what was actually wrong with me.

The nausea was what really started me off. I started going out less and less because I didn't want to throw up in public. The thought scared me to death. Embarrassment and all that. After a good while, you get use to your guts feeling crummy and now I fear shaking. I hate the shaking when I panic. It's just unbearable for me.

My father, whom I did not know very well at all. We talked about 3 times my life. Not his fault) did have mental issues. I don't really know the extent of his condition, but I have been told such. My mother is mostly okay. She has depression and minor anxiety issues herself but thankfully nothing close to what I have.

Dasdardly51 karma

Have you seen Welcome to the NHK?

Do you have people that bring you groceries or do you order everything online?

Do you think if you had grew up 10 years earlier you still would have developed your phobia?

Do you live solely off of government money?

OutsideSucks44 karma

  1. I have not. I didn't know what it was an after a quick Google search it appears to be anime? Never could get into any of those. Too weird!

  2. I live with a roommate that does all the shopping and such for me. He's been a life saver.

  3. Due to the fantastic genes given to me by my parents, I don't think it would have been any better to be born...at anytime. I was born to be a nutcase. _^

  4. Sadly, I can't even get any government money to help me. I've been turned down three times for disability. Maybe one day!

  5. I'm doing okay actually. It's cool again which I love. Can't stand hot.

regroce15 karma

rejections from SSDI are common; you have to go through the appeals process w/ legal representation

OutsideSucks21 karma

Done and done 3 times. One of them went all the way into the second appeal and had to head into see a judge and all that. It was basically a nightmare and I was still turned down. I'm currently in application process number 4. Working on it!

trotsky194728 karma

What do you do with your time, then? Do you have any hobbies or special talents/skills?

OutsideSucks51 karma

I spend nearly all my time staring into this silly light up box we call a computer. Thanks to computers, so many kinds of entertainment choices are available. From games to music to TV and movies and reading and learning...I can do it all here. So, that usually takes up most of my time.

As for talents, when I was 18 until I became a Looney Tune, I did trance DJ gigs for clubs around where I use to live. I was the resident DJ in a small club that would see 20-30 people on a Saturday night. I've since lost my mixer so I can't use my good ol' vinyl turntables anymore so I do music mixing digitally on my fancy computer box.

trotsky19475 karma

Any links to your work?

OutsideSucks13 karma

Due to the fall of Megaupload, something like 35 albums of mine were lost to the nether. I have a few done but I haven't uploaded them yet due to my upload speed being nearly the speed of molasses.

I have one that was a request from an Internet friend of mine. He gave me a track list and I threw it together in about 30-45 minutes. Not nearly my best work but some good tunes in there if you're interested.


jenniferjuniper28 karma

Have you ever tried CBT??

OutsideSucks14 karma

Due to my severe lack of money, I've never been able to attend any kind of targeted therapy for my condition. It's something I'd be happy to do, however, I'm unable to receive any financial aid from anywhere, so I'm rather stuck with what I have for now.

frakilk27 karma

You said you get scared due to not being in a place where you feel safe. How do you define "safe"? Is it familiarity with your surroundings? What needs to be in an area for you to feel safer?

BTW I feel you. I had/have just a small fraction of this feeling sometimes and it's very uncomfortable. It's like a feedback loop in your head that keeps intensifying and it's hard to break it once it starts.

Best of luck mate.

OutsideSucks28 karma

I do think a good deal of the safety is familiarity. I know my house and I know what to expect when I go there. I know there won't be any unexpected people showing up and knocking on the door. Things like that.

It's an environment that I can control. Being out in public is completely out of my control. So, I just try and keep things as routine and expected as possible.

And thank you. Hope your day treats you very well.

Indulge_Me24 karma

Have you ever smoked marijuana? or have you tried any other drugs of that sort?

OutsideSucks65 karma

Yes, I have. From about 15-22 I was a very heavy to moderate drug user. I've done all of the regular narcotic drugs everyone knows about: herb, acid, mushrooms, cocaine, meth etc.

Funny enough, I stopped doing all those things when my condition appeared. Many have pointed out the fact that my excessive drug use might have been a catalyst to my current situation. It's an interesting thought. I was predisposed to mental illness through my family, and tossing a bunch of mind altering drugs into my brain surely didn't help things much.

draibop15 karma

wanna come play outside with me?

OutsideSucks39 karma

Is there some type of multiplayer video game in which we can do that? Then yes, definitely.

Aiox12 karma

What games do you play and on what?

I'd be happy to offer some faceless interaction on the interwebz.

OutsideSucks25 karma

I usually just keep to single player PC games. I've not owned a console since my original Xbox and PS2 died within a week of each other through some kind of cruel cosmic event.

I play Starcraft 2 far too much and am still quite terrible at it. But I just play whatever is good that I can find. On my third run through of ME3 currently as well.

Aiox13 karma

Within a week of each other?! Reading that was painful D:

OutsideSucks34 karma

The console gods were not benevolent that week.

[deleted]12 karma

Have you tried taking anything for this? Or any sort of therapy?

OutsideSucks16 karma

I have tried many, many medications. I've been through the whole spectrum of anti-depressants which I react very poorly to for some reason.

I was prescribed Xanax for about four years and that helped a little at times but I was still very rarely able to leave my home. That medication was then taken away from me near the beginning of the year because...my doctor was an asshole or something..I don't know.

Therapy I have attempted a few times. Two of the three that I have seen were unable to treat me due to the severity of my condition and then I was referred to someone else that was usually 10x more expensive. Due to the ridiculous cost of therapy, I've not been able to get the treatment that I'd need.

fingersandtoes7 karma

What do you fear about the world?

How much connection do you feel with politics and current events?

Are you actually personally opposed to being in public, or would you like to be able to go and socialize?

Also, one more: What did it feel like when you were slipping into this disorder? Were you conscious of it? Did it scare you or maybe even depress you? I realize that might be kind of personal, so whatever you're comfortable with.

OutsideSucks15 karma

I mostly fear my panic symptoms being in public. The shame of throwing up or shaking like a lunatic are very daunting. Then, you kind of build your own psychological security blanket in your home. It's easy, you feel as normal as possible. It gets very comfortable and much easier to justify never leaving.

If I were able, I'd love to be out in public again. Meeting new people, having girlfriends again, getting smashed in a bar and throwing up in a cab (again). I miss all those things a lot.

[deleted]5 karma

This is happening to a very close friend of mine. For a second time, he has stopped all communication with his friends after emerging and being completely normal for a few months. Is there any advice you can give me about communicating with him in this situation? He's been one of my best friends for almost ten years and it's frustrating and scary to watch him pull away again.

OutsideSucks11 karma

The best thing you can do for him is to make everything his rules. A good approach is to not bring up how he's acting or the condition. Talking about it can make the person frustrated due to the fact that they can't really control anything about it.

Tell him you want to hang out some time. Watch movies or whatever he's comfortable doing. Don't bring anyone else. Don't bring anything that would surprise him. Put your phone on silent as well. Make everything as transparent and predictable as possible. If he lets you in, and you get to talking for a bit, he might ease up a little and you can go back to laughing and having fun like you use to. You just have to take it very slow and have TONS of patience.

I hope you can get through to him again. Whether he admits it or not, he will need you. He just might not be able to say it.