CCC challenge: Claustrophobic

This week’s C challenge was not too difficult to compile because with a looming MRI scan appointment, the fear of being confined in a confined space has gripped me for a while…collage of claustrophobic tunnel entrances For yes, I’m a confirmed claustrophobic whereby any small enclosed space prompts panic, especially if I cannot leave of my own volition at any given moment. Aside from stifling conditions and crowded corridors, lifts, tube trains and tunnels, submarines and diving bells are obvious panic inducers but other  closed-in containment that I shun are light aircraft, cars with central locking, car washes, revolving doors, and lavatories with automatic closing doors! It all means that I do a lot of walking, climbing, and cunning circumvention, including avoiding voiding on journeys. In short, I travel across the network as continent as a camel.

“But you’re a psychotherapist” my doctor smirked, when I pointed out that I doubted I could cope with the supine tunnel posture of an MRI scan. “What do you tell your patients if they are afraid”

“Help them live with their fears” I lamely suggested.

We can of course delve into the unconscious to come up with a birth or pre-linguistic trauma or even a conscious loss of control, like being shut in a cupboard. Claustrophobia increases in incidence with ageing so arguably consciousness of mortality and fear of death is relevant here. Someday I may try cognitive re-wiring but still I can’t help wondering if claustrophobia should be classified as an irrational fear. After all, any animal shut in a box will try to claw its way out.

In the end I opted for a chemical cosh of Valium, the close company of my husband and keeping eyes tightly closed throughout the MRI scan – it was still a challenge!

Facts: approximately 10% of people are claustrophobic in PET and MRI scanners – so much so that newer models tend to be wide-bore or even open sit-up versions…
…That only leaves the rest of the claustrophobic conveyances to contend with!


15 thoughts on “CCC challenge: Claustrophobic

  1. I too had a hard time going through a MRI – closing my eyes before they even moved the table into “the tube” did help along with calming music that was playing during the exam. As a nurse, I advocate the use of medication prescribed to decrease anxiety as it seems to really help most people. My issues with enclosed places has definitely “increased with age” and I really think the chemical imbalances of perimenopause has added to it! Good luck with your circumvention in your travels and with the test results!


          1. At 52 I can relate to that!! I write about multiple losses that occur in life, if you get to live long enough many of them are related to ageing!! Peace on your journey.


  2. hahaha … sounds like me when I have to have an MRI – take valium and go home and sleep/ ~~~~~ : – )
    I am very claustrophobic and extremely fearful of heights. It produces the same sensation.
    This was a great approach to the challenge Frizz has given us. ~~~~ : – )


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