Claustrophobia is no joke; it’s a real and terrifying phobia that is said to distress between 2-10% of the population globally. Even erring on the smaller side, that’s a significant amount of people who carry this type of fear.
What is claustrophobia?
Simply put, claustrophobia is the fear of small spaces – including rooms, passenger lifts and cupboards. At worst, it can prevent sufferers from being able to breathe and can induce fear, anxiety, and cause them to be susceptible to a panic attack. Typically, this also includes experiencing feelings of suffocation, which is not a pleasant thought for anyone.
In most cases, those who suffer from this condition often feel the fear when they find they need to enter a lift. And due to living in a world where many buildings are now equipped with these, it’s important for those living with claustrophobia to have some way to managing and overcoming this debilitating fear. So how exactly can that be done?
What steps can you take?
Luckily there are some convenient steps you can opt for if you’re suffering from feelings of claustrophobia. It can take time, however, so it’s always recommended that you have a supportive friend on hand while you deal with these emotions and instances.
Some helpful first steps include:
- Visualising a calming scene and focus on slowly breathing in and out. This will at least lower your feelings of anxiety, though it may not be a cure-all.
- Observe the comings and goings of a lift. People are entering and exiting the lift all the time, so acknowledge the pace at which it moves from floor to floor, and how quickly the doors open and close.
- Hypnosis and NLP can with alleviating fear and allowing your to desensitise yourself to the anxiety caused by travelling in these. It is important that you visit a trained professional for these services, however, as they will provide thorough care and empathetic, knowledgeable support.
- Observe different types of lifts; consider which ones feel more confronting than others and what makes a difference.
- Use a step-by-step recipe to ascertain which part of travelling in a lift causes you the most fear. You can write out the steps, breaking down each one as you go – from walking to the door, the doors opening and pressing buttons. Then, number each step required from least frightening to most intimidating. This can take time but will help you to build a solid foundation for overcoming distress.
More than anything, you must want to overcome your fear. Having people telling you you’re silly, or there’s nothing to be afraid of is little help. Your own decision to want to overcome the problem is the choice that will intensify your desire to make positive changes overall – so equip yourself with a positive support system.
Having a phobia can be very incapacitating. It can leave you stuck and directly cause anxiety that has no place in your life. Taking simple steps to deal with any issues you might have is a productive, brave and life-changing decision that will help you long-term.