Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Mental Health Support » Leaving the house anxiety...

12-29-2011, 12:40 AM   #1
Inwe's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Leaving the house anxiety...

I was diagnosed with crohn's in 2007 and for the last 2 years I have been extremely sick on-and-off, never 100% healthy. I'm on humira & methotrexate now and am slllowwwly getting better. I think anyways :P

I've always been a stress-ball my entire life and seeked helped (through medication) when I started to develop more severe anxiety because of my crohn's disease. This past summer I was in the hospital twice from Crohn's symtoms and since then I have started developing a fear of leaving the house because of my crohn's. My house almost represents a comfort zone to me, I can get to a bathroom immediately, I can lie down if I feel sick or gassy, if I have an "I didn't quite make it to the bathroom incident" I dont have to worry about anyone noticing, etc.

I've noticed when I take an ativan (a take-as-you-need anti-anxiety pill) or get busy doing something my symptoms get SOOO much better. I've come to the realization that I really do make myself sick, if you know what I mean. It's totally a catch-22. I get sick because I get anxious, and I get anxious because I feel sick.

I do force myself out of the house though and usually feel not too bad when I'm out, it seems to be the THOUGHT of leaving that makes me sick to my stomach. Like, if I know I'm going out with friends the next day, I start to get more and more sick as the hours countdown until I leave.

I'm thinking of starting yoga or meditation too as stress management. I guess the point of my post is to vent and to seek anyone who has ever felt this way/feels this way and ask how they coped.
Currently On:
- Vedolizumab (Trial Drug)
- Sulfasalazine (for Arthritis)
- Sertraline,Vitamin D, Folic Acid, Multi Vitamin, Calcium

Failed Drugs:

- Sulfasalazine, Asacol, Imuran, Remicade, Humira, Methotrexate

12-29-2011, 04:55 AM   #2
Senior Member
Rebecca85's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Nottingham, UK
I wonder if some sort of CBT could help here? I'm not a therapist, but I have leraned a bit about CBT and have used it on myself with some success.

I don't have the kind of anxiety you describe, but I used to suffer from a phobia which was interfering with me going out and enjoying myself. Whenever I left the house I would constantly be on edge.

I went on fluoxetine for depression and it made such a difference to my anxiety symptoms! While I was taking it, I made sure to expose myself gradually, go out places that I wouldn't before, and therefore learn that my anxiety was unnecessary. Now I'm off the fluoxetine, I managed to come face to face with the thing I was phobic about, and dealt with it exceptionally well!

For anxiety about leaving the house, I would start by going somewhere everyday where you feel fairly comfortable- even if it just means leaving the house, walking to the end of the drive then coming back in! Once you can do that with no anticipatory anxiety, extend your walk a little further. Go to a friend or relatives house if there's somewhere fairly close to you. Try going to a small local shop. Just take it slowly! And make sure you leave the house frequently- if you're not feeling up to much then make your walk shorter again rather than staying in.

If you have to go somewhere in the meantime, pack your handbag with supplies. Try wearing a sanitary pad in the back of your undies so if you do leak, all you have to do is change your pad. Wear clothes that give you a bit of camouflage- like long tops over leggings.

Hope some of that made sense!
Crohn's in the terminal ileum, dxed Jun '10

125mg azathioprine
4g Pentasa
12-29-2011, 05:59 AM   #3
Senior Member
handle's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
It's completely understandable that you feel anxious leaving your comfort zone. No-one would choose to go out when they might suddenly need a toilet, or feel exhausted or be in pain. I've never been an anxious person, quite the opposite, and yet I also now prefer the safety and reliability of my home....
If you think about meeting your friends or popping out to the shops as a fun thing to do, and an escape from your confines, then that makes it more pleasurable.
Anxiety is much more difficult to deal with when you have a nasty physical illness. I think yoga and meditation would be great, as well as whatever medication serves you well.
It's really good to hear that your combination of Crohn's meds are giving you some relief!
Have fun...
12-29-2011, 08:12 AM   #4
Senior Member
Susan2's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia

My Support Groups:
Could you get friends to come unexpectedly to take you out, even if only for a cup of coffee? Then you won't have time to build up the anxiety and should enjoy the experience more. After a number of successful excursions like this, you might be less anxious about things that you know are coming up in the future.
12-31-2011, 09:02 PM   #5
Inwe's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Thanks guys I've started packing what I call "essentials" in a big purse to help me, extra undies and sweat pants. As well as a roll of toliet paper! The last one may sound a bit extreme, but lets just say I went to the bathroom once in a store and there was no toliet paper paper in ANY stalls!

I do go back to university for one class in the next couple of weeks. It's twice a week for an hour and a half so I think that's a good start to help with my anxiety. Slow and steady wins the race!
12-31-2011, 09:52 PM   #6
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: California
i had real problems getting back out there, especially back to school. but sometimes getting out makes me take my mind off of the whole thing. i always plan ahead to make sure there is a bathroom available and all so thats one less thing to worry about. good luck to you getting back out there!
Diagnosed with Crohn's: September 29, 2011
Medications: REMICADE (yay!) and vitamins
Previous Meds: Fagyl, prednisone, Budesonide, Hyoscyamine sulfate(as needed), Omeprazole, Sulfazine, 6mp

12-31-2011, 11:22 PM   #7
Super Moderator
DustyKat's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Hey Inwe,

Here is a thread that I think will be of interest to you...

Dusty. xxx
Mum of 2 kids with Crohn's.
01-31-2012, 08:09 AM   #8
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Vermont
I can empathize completely with leaving the house anxiety which is ruled very specifically by a fear of not making it to the bathroom. I have been seeing a therapist for about a year for this and while it helps I feel as though I may need some sort of medical intervention. What is your experience with as needed atavain? Have you tried any natural remedies? I would highly recommend talking with someone about it. It gets it out of my head and I have really made a lot of improvements since I started. Thanks for sharing something I think many crohns sufferers deal with all the time.

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