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Claustrophobia

Discussion in 'Phobias' started by solana, Aug 4, 2016.

  1. solana

    solana Junior Member

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    I've lived most of my life in wide, open spaces. I never thought about it much, as that's what I'm used to since I can remember. I never liked visiting cities or crowded places very much, but I could tolerate them for short periods of time. However, everything changed for me when I moved to another country three years ago. My journey and life circumstances led me into a densely populated city where I, in the beginning, thought that I was going crazy. The place was suffocating me, and I had to seek out places like urban football fields and stand in the middle of them, in order to feel some relief. Due to some difficulties that I was having, I didn't have many opportunities to get outside the city, and to be honest, I thought I was going to die from misery. Thankfully, things have improved a lot since then, but I definitely have my limits.


    I get breathing problems and heart palpitations in hot, closed in spaces with no natural light or air flow.


    Do any of you here suffer from similar problems? And how do you deal with them?
     
  2. MVLaHearse

    MVLaHearse Junior Member

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    I have claustrophobia too. Tight areas, small narrow staircases and halls along with crowds cause me massive panic attacks. I get sweaty, my heart pounds, and I start feeling sick. It was way worse when I had a way to avoid it and I was doing what you do. I would find an open space and stretch out just to make sure I really had room to breathe.


    I moved to smaller places and was working in a crowded bar so I had no choice but to cope. It was hard at first but I noticed I felt some relief when I distracted myself by working, talking to someone, or slipping outside when it got really bad. By being exposed to it consistently I found my own way of dealing with it. Everyone has their own way of doing this. My roommate and I both had issues with it and he would look at empty spaces or look up instead of at the crowded or confined areas. We both layed out escape routes so we knew the best ways to get away and out to open spaces. The trick is to breathe and realize you won't die from being in a confined or crowded space unless you just randomly happen to beat statistics and end up in a very rare situation that more than likely will never happen. It takes some time and it may not leave you completely but over time you will find your own techniques that may come from other people's coping mechanisms.
     
  3. Panic57

    Panic57 Junior Member

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    I don't have claustrophobia but my mom does. She has to go beach or park at least once a week to feel relieved from the pressure and presence of urban life. Lucky we live near some great walking paths for her to go. When she can't get away, she likes to pretend that the buildings are huge trees that block out the sun and that makes her feel better. She's working on saving up to buy a farm that is close to a city so she can get away from the busy city because it stresses her out so much.
     
  4. solana

    solana Junior Member

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    Thank you very much for sharing your insights and very useful link. I never consciously thought about formulating escape routes or staring into empty spaces. I've been doing it automatically since I was a child. In fact, I used to get scolded for staring at the sky too much. And as for laying out escape routes, I am a real master at that. :)


    I read in your link that deep breathing makes things only worse. I never think about breathing too much when I have an acute attack of claustrophobia. It would only make things worse as I would panic over not being able to absorb enough air which might lead to my suffocation.
     
  5. Corzhens

    Corzhens Senior Member

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    We are frequent flyers since we travel abroad at least 3 times in a year. For the plane seat of our favorite airline, there is a premium for the first row seats which costs $10 each. We always get 2 seats in the first row because it has ample legroom unlike the ordinary seat which is cramped. Last year when we went to Beijing, we were not able to get the premium seat. The cramped space gave my husband a hard time. He was burping as if he had indigestion. That burping is a clear symptom of anxiety attack that I was glad he was able to control with the help of the phone which provided him a computer game (the wifi in the plane is very expensive so we always settle for a stand-alone game app). At the end of this month we have a plane trip to the province and we are okay because I already had reserved 2 seats in the first row.
     
  6. Sue

    Sue Junior Member

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    I have Claustrophobia too. I feel smothered when I am in close places. Even if I am in a room with the door closed I fear trapped and my heart starts to race and I start to sweat. It is a terrible feeling. I also get the same way when I wear sunglasses for some reason. The glasses against my face makes me feel like I am smothering. It is really wierd. As soon as I put them on I can't breath. I can't get in elevates without feeling anxious. I always got to have to see a clean way out or I start to panic. Another thing I hate is being in bed and having the bedding tucked in around me. I have to have one foot out of the blankets so I will start panicking. I know I was in the hospital a few times and they always tuck all your sheets in. I would immediately untuck them all.
     
  7. Laneorexorcist

    Laneorexorcist Member

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    I think that I just have this problem when I'm conscious that I am in a closed space and I'm really able to get out there, really soon, and itoften happens to elevators, buses and sometimes even in my classroom, even if my campus is kind of big. But I think that I am okay when I'm on open spaces and there's a big quantity of people there.


    But I had this classmate about a year ago who cannot be in the classroom with the windows closed because she used to have really bad breathing problems due to claustrophobia.


    I guess that the symptoms can be kind of similar but really different at the same time for some people.
     
  8. rz3300

    rz3300 Senior Member

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    Well this is certainly one of the fears that I come into contact with fairly often, but I do know that I do not have it as bad as some other people out there. It seems that anyone with social anxiety issues would really find these situations to be uncomfortable, and that is probably why you see people always with their head down and in the corner in the elevators and places like that. The elevator is where I think I get this the most often, and I am not sure if that will ever change.
     
  9. kgord

    kgord Junior Member

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    I think claustrophobia is really a pretty common fear. I am not wild about small spaces, but I don't consider myself claustrophobic. I even went spelunking once. I don't think I have ever been nervous in an elevator, but being trapped in one, would probably get my alarm bells going off. However, I am not sure that is any different than anyone else really. I think if the anxiety is diabling, professional help should be sought, but most cases, can probably get better with exposure. Like most phobias doing the thing you fear often enough, it becomes less scary.
     
  10. ErinPaige

    ErinPaige Junior Member

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    Claustrophobia is one of my main fears and I believe it's fairly common. I never used to have it; in fact, when I was younger, I preferred small spaces (like those cute little hidden rooms under stairs, those were my favorite), and large spaces actually made me anxious...but now that I'm older, I'm finding it very hard to prevent panicking when I find myself in a small area. Being in an elevator for too long makes me panic, as does being in a car too. I dream of wide open spaces now. I'm not sure if it's connected to my claustrophobia, but when I'm in large wide open spaces, I feel great.


    Also, my friend has recently decided that it's absolutely hilarious to keep me inside his car when I want to get out. I really wish more people were understanding of phobias.
     
  11. Icart1212

    Icart1212 New Member

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    I’m extremely claustrophobic but after some recent research I’ve realized much of it is centered around fear of being trapped (can’t recall the exact term). Small spaces are horrifying but so is anything that has to do with feeling trapped- having my arms or legs stuck in blankets or by someone or something (clothes stuck, for example)...something covering my whole face like a costume is bad- the thought of being in a completely covering costume like a space helmet...even if I’m cuddling with my husband and my arm or leg or even gets pinned. I’m TERRIFIED of the thought of being arrested and handcuffed and/or locked in the back of a police car or cell. I go through the scenario of being kidnapped and put in a car trunk...way...too...often....ughhhh....horrifying. Or being buried alive. I want to be cremated because as awful as being burned sounds it can’t possibly be as bad as being in a coffin for eternity- i know I’ll be dead. I’m terrified of having to one day get an MRI or similar- because of having to go in that small place and also being out of control. Being out of control is a big trigger- if I’m on the inside of a bench seat...if it’s someone I know “trapping” me there I’m usually ok- but if I don’t know them as well I start to feel claustrophobic or the trapped phobia? If I feel
    Like I can climb out easily or have an exit plan than I can talk mysel down too. The last time I went to Disneyland, a few months ago, I decided to be brave and go on the submarine ride with my kids/hubby...as soon as the door closed- it was one of the worst experiences of my life. That totally irrational but so real feeling. Ugh. I’m usually ok on planes (go figure)...there may be a moment of panic but I can calm myself down on a plane. Elevators are ok, usually, too...but the thought of getting stuck on one is terrifying and if I am too closed in on a crowded elevator...especially in an extra long ride...I really lose my cool. I hate it.
     
  12. janemariesayed
    Goofy

    janemariesayed Moderator Staff Member

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    I am not claustrophobic but I don't like to be in an enclosed space that I have no chance to get out of if I need to. Like a plane for example. If I got stuck in a lift I would probably freak out.
     
  13. _Lukas

    _Lukas Active Member

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    I'm scared of planes and elevators too. I don't know if it really has much to do with claustrophobia- I don't like being in small, enclosed spaces, but my phobia is more of plane crashes or the elevator breaking than it is of just being in a plane or an elevator, if that makes sense. I'm fine with boats but I'm a little nervous in cars, trains, and buses. But my phobia is of accidents more than it is of being in a small space.
     
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  14. janemariesayed
    Goofy

    janemariesayed Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh my God! Yeah! I can't even watch a plane crash film in case I remember it and bring that energy to my flight while I'm in it. I'm nervous at bus stations and events for fear of today's problems the world is having. I'm scared of the OWO so much as well. Lately, I've gotten a bit scared of many things as I'm seeing the danger in everything.
     
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  15. _Lukas

    _Lukas Active Member

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    I can't watch movies with plane crashes in them either! I would be hiding in the closet or under the bed for the rest of the night, afraid that a plane would fall on the house.
    I'm very nervous out in public and especially in crowded places too because you never know who could be lurking around the corner with a gun or a knife or something, especially nowadays with everything that's going on in the world. I used to love going to raves and concerts but now I'm terrified and I mostly stay in the house unless I'm going to work or school.
    I totally understand and sympathize with you seeing the danger in everything because I'm like that too and I'm scared silly of pretty much everything nowadays. I think it's a PTSD thing.
     
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  16. janemariesayed
    Goofy

    janemariesayed Moderator Staff Member

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    It might be a PTSD thing but I don't know. Some of my social anxieties are emotional, but after going through the Arab uprising first hand, it's kinda freaked me out! lol I think the world will get worse before it gets better. Especially if the Good Book's predictions are anything to go by.
     
  17. _Lukas

    _Lukas Active Member

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    I'm sorry you've been through that, and I agree, the world is going to get worse before it gets better. I'm still trying to locate a fallout shelter in my town! :/
     
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  18. janemariesayed
    Goofy

    janemariesayed Moderator Staff Member

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    Dig one in your backyard! and yep! The Arab uprising was the closest thing I've been through that would resemble a war.
     
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  19. _Lukas

    _Lukas Active Member

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    Time to get the shovel out! Lol.
    Apparently there's a fallout shelter under one of the churches in our town. I hope that's true.
    That must have been so scary, I'm so sorry you witnessed that :( Nuclear war is one of my biggest fears and the current political climate in America and abroad isn't helping with that fear!
     
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  20. janemariesayed
    Goofy

    janemariesayed Moderator Staff Member

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    I am too scared to go out in case of something happening. Bus stations are the worst for me. I see it on the news and wonder where there is going to be a catastrophe next. I am just so grateful to not be living in London right now and instead in a small countryside village.
     

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