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10 Situations People with Claustrophobia Absolutely Hate

10 Situations People with Claustrophobia Absolutely Hate

Being claustrophobic is no fun. Getting stuck in a literal tight situation could be the difference between absolute calm and absolute panic attack. While my mother has found ways to combat her claustrophobia, going out of her way to avoid situations in which she feels closed in, I remain a glutton for punishment. I often end up finding myself in some of the following terrifying claustrophobic situations:

1. We Hate Crowded Elevators

The day I was moving into my apartment with my wife, we got stuck in the service elevator with a custodian and a huge bucket of garbage. For a half hour. In the dead of summer! Not exactly the way we wanted to start our life together, but at least we have a story to tell. I just know when the doors finally opened, I literally jumped out and just sat on the ground for a few minutes in order to regain my composure. I know it was a fluke, and I have no problem using elevators now, but if if there’s more than one or two people already on, I just wait for the next one. If I’m going to freak out, I’d rather be alone – there’s more jumping room.

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2. We Hate Concerts

Don’t get me wrong, I love going to concerts and shows, but standing room only is absolute torture. You only have one of two options: Stand in the middle of the crowd, or stand pressed up against the wall. Either way, you better like the decision you made, because chances are you’re going to be stuck there for the remainder of the night. With hundreds of other people jumping, dancing, and sweating all over you, it’s almost impossible to actually enjoy the band you came to see. If I’m going to a concert, I’ll gladly pay the extra fee to sit and enjoy myself.

3. We Hate Bars

In my college days, my friends would often drag me out for a night on the town, much to my chagrin. Again, I loved being out with my friends, but they seemed to actually like being stuck in a huge crowd full of drunken idiots, not being able to understand a word we said to each other. I definitely do not miss those days. Since you’re at a bar, you want to be able to have a drink. At a crowded college bar, that means weaving through the crowd, being pressed up against the bar, shouting for the bartender’s attention, then weaving your way back to the group without spilling the beverage you just spent six bucks on. If I could go back to those days, I would have just gone home early.

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4. We Hate Crowds in General

This is a no brainer, but claustrophobic people hate crowds. This includes any place where you have to wait in line alongside more than two or three people. Even on line at the supermarket, once you get locked in from behind, you’re going to feel the walls closing in. That said, nothing compares to the herd mentality at concerts or ball games, in which people bunch up outside the gates, and then funnel in with little disregard for those around them. My thought process in these situations is: If I don’t wait until the crowd dies down, I’ll have to spend five minutes “on the inside” recuperating. If I wait five minutes now, I’ll get inside and be able to move quickly.

5. We Hate Haunted Houses and Fun Houses

Honestly, I really don’t mind haunted houses. I expect to be scared, shocked, and thrilled, so I somehow am able to let my claustrophobia go in October. Wait. Now that I think about it, the last time I was in a corn maze was an absolute nightmare. Sure, you have the flag thing to help people find you if you get stuck, but in the heat of the moment, getting lost in a corn maze makes you feel like the walls are getting closer and closer together. After your first few wrong turns, panic sets in, and you start to wonder how long it’ll take to find the exit. Maybe instead of a flag, they could give claustrophobic people hedge clippers.

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6. We Hate Subways or Trains

As long as I can find a seat, I love riding the train into the city for a day of exploration. However, when that train is crowded, it’s thirty minutes of absolute anxiety. I’ve already went over how awful it is to be pressed up against other people in a crowd, but the situation is much worse when you’re in a moving vehicle. There are so many things that could go wrong here: a sudden stop could leave you splayed out across the lap of three strangers, or an elongated stop could leave you squished in a crowd for an indeterminate amount of time. I don’t even want to think of anything worse. When faced with a crowded train, it’s best to find a pole and grab on for dear life.

7. We Hate Tunnels

This is another situation which I actually secretly love for some reason. I know other people who suffer from claustrophobia hate them. Going through tunnels can be incredibly nerve wracking. The thought of being either underwater or under a mountain can lead to so many other thoughts of the horrible possibilities that could occur in the minute or two you spend inside the tunnel. I won’t list those possibilities here, but if you suffer from claustrophobia, I’m sure you’ve thought of them before. Just remember the next time you’re charged an $8 toll, your money is going toward safeguarding you and everyone else from these possibilities!

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8. We Hate Getting Stuck On A Ride

Earlier, I spoke about how getting stuck on a train is torture, with one of the main contributing factors being the fact that you have no idea how long you’ll be stuck. Now, imagine this happening 50-100 feet in the air in a Ferris wheel gondola or a roller coaster cart. Actually, don’t imagine that. I don’t even want to think about it, but I guess I have to for the sake of this article. This is one of those moments where I think the best advice is simply this: Don’t move. Have faith that the ride technicians will be working hard to get the ride moving again, and be patient. Perhaps most importantly: Don’t look down!

9. We Hate Sitting in the Middle Seat

Okay, let’s lighten it up a bit after the last few harrowing situations. Sitting in the middle seat, especially as an adult, is incredibly uncomfortable. You have no place to put your arms, and you’re basically at the mercy of the two passengers flanking you. Unfortunately, in such a situation, the best thing to do is simply fold your hands in your lap, look straight forward, and pray the driver hits every green light on the way to your destination.

10. We Hate Porta Potties

I don’t think anyone really enjoys being in a porta potty, but these are an absolute nightmare for claustrophobic people. I don’t even know if I can talk about this one. It’s pretty obvious why these are hell on earth, especially on a hot summer day. When possible, avoid having to use these at all costs. If you absolutely have to – hold your breath and hover!

Featured photo credit: Sad woman sitting alone on the windowsill via shutterstock.com

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Matt Duczeminski

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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