Looking over the 'Stresspac' information that I was given from David i found something useful. At the back of the agoraphobia supplement there is a section called 'Advice for Relatives/Friends.
I haven't seen anything like this before and wish i had given this to Gerry before we set out on our many trips. I thought I would type it out for you and see what you think...
If you don't suffer from agoraphobia, it will be hard for you to understand how it is affecting your relative or friend (now referred to as 'partner'). Talk to them about it. Try to look at it from their point of view. Even if you still cant understand it, accept that it is real and is not going to clear up without a great deal of hard work. Your help will be of great use. You may find the following points of use.
- It will usually be easier for your partner to go out with you rather than alone. At the start, this is very useful. So make yourself available.
- Always do exactly what you have jointly planned. NEVER do anything the two of you have not planned. If you have agreed to meet at a certain place at a certain time, make sure you are there ahead of time.
- You may have to cope with irritation, anger, criticism etc. from your partner. These are often signs of stress. Try not to react to this. At the same time, try to keep your own irritation, anger and criticism under control. It is very hard coping with a partner who has this problem so accept that this problem is putting you under a lot of stress as well.
- If something goes wrong, don't criticise. Talk it over, work out why it didn't work and plan ways of coping next time.
- Offer all the encouragement you can, especially after a setback. Pats on the back after success are crucial.
- Remember that this is taking a lot of guts on the part of your partner to face these places which cause so much fear so make sure he/she knows that you are with them 100% of the way.
- Make sure that as your partner improves, his/her dependence on you eases. Encourage your partner to take on challenges alone.
- Accept that your own life will chance. You may have got into habits of paying bill, doing the shopping, making decisions. You will have to encourage your partner to share these tasks.
- Always be there for your partner. Give him or her a shoulder to cry on when the going is bad.
- Why not a rewards to show how you feel about the hard work and progress - a bottle of wine, chocolates etc