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dino

About Monophobia

11 posts in this topic

Monophobia is an acute fear of being alone and having to cope without a specific person, or perhaps any person, in close proximity. This 'closeness' might mean in the same house or flat or even in the same room. Anxiety Care has encountered monophobics who cannot use the lavatory without another person being in the room with them.

Monophobia is often seen as part of the agoraphobic cluster. According to research, there are no particular personality differences between agoraphobics and members of the general population. 'Fear of fear' (fear of a panic attack) seems to be a component of the agoraphobia (and a major part of monophobia), but there are many other factors that lead to the avoidance central to the disorder and not all agoraphobics experience panic attacks. People with agoraphobia typically suffer from a 'cluster' of phobias as mentioned and Monophobia may be one. Generally agoraphobics will find it very difficult or impossible to carry out certain activities. These could be going into crowded or public places, lifts, public transport or simply anywhere away from home where 'escape' or immediate access to help is not possible. They will probably also fear standing in queues, going on bridges or sitting in any place where they feel 'trapped', such as at a hairdresser's or dentists. A companion for outings is often sought and rapidly becomes essential. There can also be additional fears, predominantly 'social' ones such as a fear of blushing, trembling, talking eating or writing in front of people and of being stared at. (These latter fears can also be part of social phobia or separate specific phobias and don't necessarily mean that someone suffering in this way is agoraphobic or monophobic.) There may also be obsessional and depressive symptoms. If the person becoming agoraphobic was significantly depressed before onset, which is more common when the problem appears later in life, this could be the disorder that is treated first.

It can be seen from this that agoraphobia tends to reduce self-confidence and the belief that activities can be carried out alone. It can be a short step from here to a belief that being alone at all is not safe. A person suffering from Panic Disorder might also believe that he or she will die or collapse or do something terrible when panic strikes and this too might make having a trustworthy person present seem as if it is essential, so leading to monophobia. Some people with social difficulties might also believe that a trustworthy companion is vital before they enter social situations. And children or young adults suffering from Separation Anxiety have also discussed feeling very isolated and alone at times and experiencing the need to have a parent or trusted companion present before undertaking activities. However, in the latter case, the focus is usually on one specific person (a parent) and being alone for short periods is usually not mentioned as a major problem. However, when it is, monophobia might be considered as part of the problem.

Anxiety Care has encountered monophobic people who have few typical agoraphobic or social symptoms, retaining the ability to function in virtually any situation as long as they have somebody with them at all times. In fact the 'pure' monophobic may be indistinguishable from the general population, perhaps even more outgoing than most, when accompanied by a trusted companion.

Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that the monophobic person's feeling of being unsafe, is probably the main focus. This has been seen, within the charity, to occur out of severe self-doubt: even resulting in the needed companion being a parent rather than the life partner. It might be argued here that falling back into a childlike need for a parent is statistically more likely to work, both emotionally and financially, than not allowing the life partner to leave the house. Anxiety Care has encountered monophobics, married to partners who cannot easily take time off from their jobs, literally clinging to that partner as he or she tried to leave the house; begging and crying; with this happening virtually every working day. A parent might be more available and might more easily fall back into the mode of looking after this adult as a needy child again.

Recovery

As with any anxiety disorder, monophobics cannot be talked or bullied out of their problem. The anxiety is not trying to cause harm, it is mistakenly trying to help: telling them, wrongly, that they are in terrible danger when alone. This anxiety does not have a lot of sense, it is operating on the intellectual level of a young child rather than an adult and the way to prove to it that being alone is not dangerous is by experiencing the fact, not talking about it, as with a child. This means working out a structured recovery programme where this person is alone for gradually increasing periods. If this proves totally impossible: the perceived anxiety is too high, then medication might be needed before such a programme could be attempted

'Alone' can obviously be interpreted in many ways: from being the only person in a room when the house is full of people, through to being the only person on a remote island. The monophobic and his or her companion/s will have to work out a gradually increasing ladder of steps, based on the individual's reality: starting with what can just be managed with some anxiety through to being entirely alone for significant periods. The first step might be the companion walking out of the house or flat and standing a few yards away for an agreed period. The distance and time could then be increased over a period of a few weeks. The agreement would have to be met by both sides: being away for two minutes doesn't mean three or four and the sufferer would have to agree not to beg the companion not to go, or to come back more quickly. This work would need to be done every day.

As discussed above, 'being alone' may mean very different things to different people and it will be essential, if this recovery work is done without professional help, to work out what the fear comprises of. That is, if there are any social elements, or fear of personal violence; or if the focus is on one particular person or type of person rather than the need to have a warm body in immediate proximity. For example, one monophobic was found to be much more amenable to recovery work when he knew that the houses in his immediate area had people in them. He resisted being alone when he wasn't sure about that.

If these personalised difficulties are not looked at, the sufferer might be in the position of the cat phobic who worked only with a ginger tom and thereafter had no difficulty with cats of this colour but was still phobic about the rest. In that situation, the work left to do (all sorts of cats) was easier because one aspect had worked well, but it could have been avoided if it had been done right in the first place.

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I have had monophobia for almost 4 years now and at my worst, when I was alone (with just my children) it was so unbearable that I ultimately was hospitalized in a psychiatric intensive care unit for almost 3 weeks. Doubled with anxiety my life was almost unlivable. I have made great strides but still find it difficult to be alone for any lengh of time. My panic start about half an hour after being left alone. This is still progress and I am glad that I have made it this far. It is a daily struggle, one simply cannot just "get" over.

My monophobia I believe is caused by several traumas that affected me as a child but didn't present issues until early adult hood. I was placed in an orphanage at 2 and met my now "parents" shortly after. My brother came with me but in the process of the the adoption proceedings I lost my father, the state felt that a single mother could not raise 2 children so my brother was taken by the state and placed back with my biological mother, so again I lost a sibling. This has been a deep seeded fear of mine for many years which manifested itself at about 27, when I had my first panic attack.

As with most monophobics, I also suffer from mild agoraphobia, I say mild because I am able to leave my house, but it will be for very short periods of time, and the entire time I am anxious. Going to a grocery store is a nightmare, I do not attend family functions, nor school functions. I will be happy when my therapy starts to pay off, I find the right med/meditation combination and can live a some-what "societal norm" of a life. My goal this year is to attend my daughter Christmas chorus concert, I will keep you all updated!

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Hiya Breathing

Welcome to the forum and nice to meet you :)

Reading your post i can sympathize with you, i to suffer monophobia along with agorophobia so know how distressing and petrifying it is,my condolences to you on the loss of your father and your sibling

my mono started after the loss of my father and four close friends in space of only six months leading to me also having severe health anxiety and fear of death

Anyway sorry i wont ramble on here about me , just wanted to say your not alone and i wish you every success in getting to your daughter's Christmas chorus concert

I also hope you get to start your therapy soon and find meds that help , wishing you all the very best

love dino

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Hey Breathing, I'm sorry to hear about your rough childhood. I come from the opposite side of life compared to you when it comes to parents, so I can't imagine the difficulty of being an orphan and your brother leaving you. I'm glad to hear that you are in therapy though and I hope that you will be able to make it to your daughter's Christmas chorus concert as well. Good luck, keep us posted. Take care- Allen

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Hello there. I am new to these forums, but I believe I have at least a mild form of monophobia. Being divorced/single is difficult for me. I have a tendency to become too emotionally invested too quickly whenever a woman shows me any signs at all of being interested because so many have been uninterested before. I hate sleeping alone. I have stayed in bad relationships much longer than I should have (my marriage had some pretty egregious and shocking problems, but it took me a long time to throw in the towel). I have also been told that I exhibit a tremendous lack of self confidence.

I currently see a therapist for depression/anxiety/ADHD and also take medication. But I don't feel like I am getting much resolution to my issues after an extended time in therapy.

I certainly can be alone for some time, but I am afraid of spending the future without a partner. I do not have (nor do I want to have) children. I share a house with two roommates. They are good friends, but they cannot replace my deep -- dare I say toxic -- need to have a romantic companion. Even now I have been seeing someone, but when she doesn't show the same level of enthusiasm for me that I do for her, I worry that she is not really interested in me...and it's only a matter of time before she leaves me too.

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I just realized I have this. I had never heard of it.  But I knew I could do anything with certain people and did not know why. This blows me away.

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Hi Teresa

Firstly a huge welcome to phobia support

Secondly i am so sorry to read of your monophobia - I also have this and know what a terrible and frightening phobia it is  

Can i ask do you see any counselors are are you on medications ..i was but none seemed to work

I  also hope you pop into the chat room where hopefully others there can also help you ..

Again a huge welcome-2.gif

love dino

xXx

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Dino, thanks so much for the sweet welcome. I can' wait or talk to other people that have this. My first appoiment is tomorrow. Not really nervous, kind of excited. 

 

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Hi my name is Carol and welcome I suffer with agoraphobia,however I dont know if this will classify this as monophobia  or not but I fear of being alone too,well to be honest I am alone.I am so afraid that something bad may happen and nobody will be here to help me.My husband passed away 12 years ago needless to say this fear of being left alone started before that. The worse part is he died right in front of me and I saw him take his last breath.My kids don't bother so I feel like I was left alone to fend to myself. Excuse my spelling sometimes I can't see to well. I am suppose to have surgery on my left eye due to cataracts but I just cannot right now.Actually a couple of years ago I was completely blind because I had it in both eyes I did have my right eye done but get this one it was so bad my land lady threatened to evict me because I was dropping pills all over the floors and i would miss the trash can.So I had to deal with temporary blindness and believe me it was much worse at night.Right now the nighttime just scares me the most.I mean just last night it sounded like someone was trying to get inside my apt.Lucky for me I have a nice friend who will come and sit with me just about everyday except for the weekends,sometimes she can't stay because she has to work and I hate it but i do understand it is her job,however she has a way of making me smile and she is the only one I feel comfortable with ... I can't understand how I hate being alone yet I don't want to be around anyone. Gosh this living alone just kills me. When my husband was alive I had to take care of him but he was always there for me and since he passed away I  was left to do everything,and believe me that is so hard.Years ago I had this really bad fall and landed in a nursing home never again. I was there for almost four months.However when I got home the cycle of being afraid because I was alone started up all over again.I hit my head pretty bad. I dont know maybe this is part the reason I am the way I am,sorry to talk so much but when you are alone you just need some kind of support , i hope you come back here,carol with Hugs

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Carol, I am so sorry to hear about your husband passing.  Also hate to hear about your eyesight.  I think everyone is afraid to be alone or are afraid they will be left alone. Some people seem to be worse than others. You are very lucky in that you have a nice friend that will come and spend time with you.  That show that you have someone that maybe is just a phone call away. Always glad to listen. Take care of yourself my friend.  

                                                                 

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Yes she is so nice she is my meals on wheels lady we met over a year ago,I liked her the minute I saw her so  I invited her in to stay for awhile she came in sat down and we hit it off I can tell her anything she doesn't have any mental illnesses but she understands somewhat. She told me she felt bad because she could see I had nobody here to visit me,gosh I don't know what I would ever do without her.I feel lost when she cannot stay.That is so unusual  because I don' t really like someone coming in my apt but she just seemed so nice.One thing  I  know she is wonderful.I love it when she brings me  a dunkin donuts coffee..  I have been having a hard time since my dad passed away on July 30 of this year ya I got depression,bipolar anxieties mood disorders  and anger attacks ,I know hitting my head didn't help any well that is what my shrink told me.I fell and hit the glass in my entertainment center,it was like 3 am, I also have this terrible fear of falling I wonder if there is a name for that.I have already fallen bad here once in my new apt. I just got a bruise.so I was okay,well nice talking to you.I am always going to be here if you need to talk more,here is a hug ..Gosh I wish I could get a hug,,, 

Hugs to everyone

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