I’m asthmatic and have claustrophobia. Does being asthmatic necessarily mean you’re going to suffer, also, from claustrophobia? Maybe. I read about this in Prevention magazine. It seems that recent studies show that there is a striking connection between asthma and psychological problems, i.e. depression and anxiety. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you have not been able to breath, it’s not hard then for the mind to extrapolate, “small place, no air.” In the last year or so I’ve, unfortunately, had some anxiety attacks brought about by asthma. For example, during our trip to Russia I acquired some bug. When we returned, I was sick for a good 6 weeks with coughing, sinus problems etc. So the coughing exacerbates the asthma. I’m going to my allergist, taking all kinds of stuff and still having trouble breathing. One night I wake up in a sweat and am gasping for air.
I tried not to panic. I was able to slow my breathing down and work my way out of it. But it was scary as hell. I can not imagine what it would be like to have a fully blown panic attack. But, back to asthma and claustrophobia. I’ve tried to overcome the phobia. A few years ago while in Rome (oh, another vacation dropper), we decided to go to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. Now, if you’ve ever been in these old churches, you can only surmise that the people who built them must have been 5’5″ and 150 pounds because all of the walkways are very narrow and low. I decided to give it a try (my mantra is that if God put it on this earth, I want to see it). It was July and peak tourist season. As we begin to ascend, you’re walking in a spiral. So, you really only see the people’s butts in front of you. There are 100’s of people in front of me and 100’s behind me.
No escape! My dear, dear husband. How I love him so. But what does he say? “This can’t be very good for your claustrophobia”. Screenplay: Wife reaches back and strangles husband. Life: “I love you too dear”. As you get closer to the top of the dome, you are now bending to the right because the staircase mimics the dome. Help!!! Luckily, every so many steps there was a small slit of a window. I would stick my head out of the window, take a deep breath, and continue. I made it to the top! Congratulations! Now to go back down… Over the years I’ve climbed into the Great Pyramid of Giza, gone underground in the Valley of the Kings, gone into caves in Borneo (big ones), and had a Cat Scan. I can fight it but I can’t defeat it.