You might not know this but I’m pretty claustrophobic.

As the NHS states,

‘Claustrophobia is the irrational fear of confined spaces. It’s normal to fear being trapped when there’s a genuine threat, but people with claustrophobia become fearful in situations where there’s no obvious or realistic danger’.

Erm yep, that’s me.

I’ve never mentioned this on the blog before I don’t think. In fact, very few of my close friends even know about it. It’s a funny form of claustrophobia because take the other day and being rammed on the train like a flipping sardine with people literally piled on top of me and I barely flinched, yet ask me to take a lift up a few floors and I need to ask someone to travel along with me (usually concierge in a hotel) and still fear being stuck once ‘in the air’.

I’m the girl that usually always takes the steps. Even at 9 months pregnant, I charged up flights and flights of stairs to get the labour ward over using the hospital lift! I know! I must share that this irrational fear has arisen in part because I’ve been stuck in lifts twice (argh) but more than that, I just don’t like to be contained in any way, or out of control.

I’m a control freak when it comes to personal space.

I ABHOR small spaces such as public toilets or those frightful electric train toilets (which my Mum has incidentally been stuck in before with an electrician having to free her) so if I must use the loo and it’s not one with space above and below the door, I’ll move bins or anything heavy rather than lock the actual toilet door for fear I might become locked in, forever more.

I’ve learnt to always opt for the furthest toilet from the door that often means less chance of someone barging in and most times I simply hold on rather than using a toilet I deem too claustrophobic.

So why am I telling you this because it’s pretty cringey? Frankly, it’s in case you too might feel the same. A problem shared and all that.

I know my anxiety has been exacerbated since having kids and while CBT helped me after a traumatic birth, I still need to crack small spaces.

Like all parents, I just want to be safe and well so I can stick around for those kids of mine but equally I don’t want to pass my fears onto them either, so know I must take action and beat these irrational worries.

So, I’ve let you in on my secret now and I’m going to be brave.

I’m committed to naturalising the ‘normal’ activities that scare me by forcing myself to do them, and often. I’m going to try and take lifts more solo and lock the flipping doors of tiny toilets. Wish me luck!
Photo by Fré Sonneveld on Unsplash

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One Response

  1. Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food

    I totally get it, girl! I can’t stand packing like sardines into public transport, though, or tight crowds in general—I devoutly avoid these situations. When I was a child a relative took me caving: not hard-core, but I did have to crawl on my belly at one point. On my stomach, wiggling along under hundreds of tons of rock, I have never felt such sheer panic. Even now I get a queasy feeling in my stomach just thinking of it. I consider my claustrophobia to be mild (i.e., I can work through it with deep breathing and other techniques for getting past anxiety). But I have no doubt that it goes back to that experience. Thank you for sharing: it’s great knowing that others feel the same way but have found ways to cope!

    Reply

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