Jun 2014
Josie Bungert

Face your fear Friday: Aviophobia & Claustrophobia

Welcome back, for another edition of Face your fear Friday. This week I tackle a dual fear of mine, flying and confined spaces, or aviophobia and claustrophobia.

I was in high school the first time I went on an airplane. I was scared immediately, but couldn’t pinpoint why. I am not afraid of crashing, taking off, or landing; I am simply afraid of being on the plant. I always assumed that it would get easier as I continued to fly. However, my most recent flight almost two years ago, I was just as terrified, and, during takeoff, I figured out why: it was the confined space of the airplane.

I’ve felt pings of claustrophobia in different instances of my life. I don’t like fairs (yes, including the Minnesota State Fair), am not a huge fan of crowded malls, and don’t like grocery stores on Saturdays. But it really wasn’t until I am on an airplane until my fear of confined space really sets in.

How I face this: Every time I’m in a situation like this, I try to get over it. Recently I was in an overcrowded elevator, and told myself to breathe, that it will all be over soon. It works, seeing as it is all mental. I found that by mentally facing it, I could physically get over it by the time the elevator reached its destination. Claustrophobia is one that I really do believe I will eventually get over, since it is all in my head. And if I really cannot breathe, I can simply remove myself from the situation. The other thing about claustrophobia is, there’s the comfort that, if you were to pass out, there are a bunch of people around to help you out! Beats having something terrible happen in a wide open, lonely place, right?
The next challenge: survive an entire airplane ride without excessive sweat and hyperventilation.You can’t exactly abandon and run if you’re hyperventilating. So, I ask this of you fellow claustrophobes, what do you do when you’re thousands of feet above the land? How do you catch your limited breath? How do you survive the flight?

Help me out! Tweet at me, @jlbungert