I seem to have developed some claustrophobia. When I first said that to my wife, my 8 year old daughter asked “you’re afraid of Santa Claus?”. Well…I wish that were the case.
I’ve never really enjoyed being in small or confined spaces but I’d never felt scared of it, just didn’t like it. In the last few months I’ve had a couple experiences when I felt that if I didn’t get out of a small space, I was either going to die or I was going to kill somebody. (I probably shouldn’t have written that, I’ll wake up tomorrow and find G-men on my front lawn).
So here’s what happened. Last October when I was flying back from a conference in San Antonio, I couldn’t get an aisle seat. Or, maybe I had an aisle seat and the airline switched my reservation. Whatever, as soon as I sat down in my seat next to the window, I started to feel like the world had closed in on me. It wasn’t a small place, a DC-9 or something of that sort.
I guess it was the fact the fuselage was so close to my head and the flight was full but when I looked from the back of the plane to the front…I got really nervous and claustrophobic. I closed my eyes and tried to get my mind off of it, but even with my eyes closed all I could see was me sitting in this very closed and tight space. I really started to panic. I knew there was no way on earth I was going to be able to sit there for the nearly 2 hour flight.
I was close to telling the flight attendant that I would have to get off the plane and take a later flight when the lady next to me offered to switch seats. Those two feet closer to the aisle made the difference and after a few minutes I was fine.
Then a week or two ago, I was scheduled for an MRI on my head. My doctor treating my migraines wants the pictures. Now I’ve had an MRI on my head before so I knew what to expect. I was never anxious about the tests at all, but when I first got on the machine and they put the cloth over my eyes and the plugs for my ears…I freaked out. We tried several times to do it but I finally had to give up. I was such a basket case that even after I sat in the hospital for a few minutes and walked to my truck, I got a little claustrophobic again in the parking deck. I drove back to work with the windows rolled down even though it was raining. All day long I never felt like I caught my breath.
I’m going back tomorrow morning to try again, this time they’ll sedate me.
I wonder if maybe instead of migraines causing these spells of light headedness, that maybe it’s a product of being claustrophobic. I mean, if I react so strongly in an airplane and other tight spaces, that maybe some of that comes out when I’m in traffic or a small room? Looking on a medical website I see that even looking at a closed door can make some people feel anxious.
I wonder what caused me to be claustrophobic. Have I always had it and it wasn’t that bad or is it something new?
Whatever…I’m already a little anxious about going back for the MRI tomorrow morning.