I fear tight places. I also fear crowds; if I am hemmed in the back somewhere, with no route for escape, then I might as well hang it up.
I am claustrophobic. Severely claustrophobic. Guess it is my older brother's fault: he used to shut me in the closet and stand against the door, so I couldn't get out. I can remember pounding on the door, yelling for him to let me out, and then falling to the floor, covered in sweat, and weeping in fear, until mom or dad rescued me from the confines of the closet.
Since that happened, I have had repeated nightmares of being in a crowded elevator (and the elevator gets stuck), or dreams of caught in a stampede of panic-stricken people as they try to escape a terrorist attack or nuclear bomb ... and I would be one of those who didn't make it. I would die a horrible death.
Whenever I go anywhere, I have to have as much open space around me as possible, or else I can get so worked up, I can go into panic mode (or even get so frightened, I eventually pass out or have heart palpitations).
It is really bad.
I cannot work because if I get caught in smaller than normal spaces, my claustrophobic self threatens to overtake my performance, and then I'm no good for the rest of the day. I have had to go on government assistance (disability) because of ongoing emotional trauma or panic attacks when the situation presents itself.
Sometimes people make fun of my fear of tight spaces, but if they had to live with the brother I did growing up, maybe then they would somehow understand. I find nothing funny about gasping for air because I feel so trapped, a fast, pounding heartbeat, copious perspiration, shaky knees, a feeling of weakness that overwhelms my physical body, or elevated blood pressure.
I wish somehow that people could experience what I do when I go into a full-blown panic attack or claustrophobic moment. Maybe then they wouldn't tease me or call me demented. I didn't ask to be left this way; it is all my brother's fault! If my parents could have put a stop to his tormenting me like he did, maybe then I wouldn't be in the shape that I am currently in!!
Claustrophobia isn't anything I would wish on anybody, especially such an extreme case like mine! It is the worst!!