For as long as I can remember I have been claustrophobic. I need doors open and the rooms uncluttered, only my closet doors always had to be closed. I would have panic attacks when I’d have to go through tunnels. So bad so that once when in the Mobile tunnel we got stuck in traffic, my hand was on the handle to get out and walk out and meet my family on the other side when the cars started to move. I can’t be in total darkness, there must at least be a glimmer of light for me. This fear has kept me from crawling into spaces… going through caverns… this fear has kept me from a lot.
This has been going on in my life for at least 25 years… I could never remember what triggered this phobia and had become so used to that I had quit questioning it. This week my best friend came to visit for a couple of days and while we were talking I say, “Ya know, I’m claustrophobic and don’t have a clue why!” We were talking about things of the past and such. Her reply, “I can believe it. Your mom used to lock you in the closet!” It was like a revelation and veil lifted. I could only reply, “Really? Wow, that’d make sense… I have literally blocked out years of my life then… I didn’t realize it was that much.”
So much of my youth I dealt with many things…bad and good. But to be reminded of something I had obviously blocked was like opening my eyes for the first time. She recalled times of when she’d sit on my bed and wait for it all to pass. My mother would put me in the closet when either her or her husband and I were fighting. This was her way of getting me out of the way till things smoothed over. My punishment.
Can you imagine being that little kid… that teen? What is sad is it happened in front of more than one of my friends. I don’t feel hurt for me… it is them I grieve for. They had to sit and witness my abuse, they could do nothing – it scared them. What is worse… after a time – they grew to expect and understand that this is what happened.
So for all the reasons I had become that claustrophobic young woman who had to have all the doors open and uncluttered rooms…. I had blocked.