Conquering Claustrophobia

They say having wild imagination is a gift. Although sometimes I regret having it as I feel that it is to blame for my numerous types of fears. One of which are enclosed spaces. Make the place pitch dark and I know I will die from hyperventilation. I don’t understand why… It just seems that I’m being engulfed by an unseen, inescapable force.

Many times I come grasping for breath. Some days are worse as the “drowning” feeling comes with a terrible headache. When I sought for medical help way back, I was told that these are all just a state of mind. This is something that I agreed to eventually, as all the tests that I underwent showed that there really was nothing wrong with my heart or lungs.

It took me some time to ride elevators, as going to and from the office will require me to endure so. Being on the night shift is a blessing as I do not have to ride the subways or the overly crowded transportation and meet heavy traffics anytime. One time at a crowded church, everything around me went black and I almost fainted. Good thing I was able to hold on to something.

Because of these occurrences, I try hard to avoid getting myself in such situations. If it can’t be helped, I make sure I have someone with me- 1, to help me in case I faint or hyperventilate or 2- to help me divert my mind from my fears.

Despite this, however, my adventurous spirit will not waver. September of 2014, my partner and I went to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam wherein I had a chance to experience the Cu Chi Tunnels.

Cu Chi Tunnels are underground tunnels that were used in the U.S. Vietnam War back in the 1960’s. We had a good tour around the place and I was so impressed on how smart these military bases were made. I also sort of imagined how their lives could have felt back then. Several scenes from the movie “The Deer Hunter” was playing in my mind. I tried to stay positive so as not to ruin a nice travel, I silently thanked God that those days of war were over.

I concentrated my energies on the challenge ahead. My partner said that the last time they went here, they were only able to finish Level 1. I was determined to go through the very last stage, although a part of me is worried what might happen to me underneath. I was thinking ‘what if I collapse?’. I did not want to make a commotion and be a nuisance to my fellow travelers.

Fast forward to the end of the story, albeit all fears, I made it out of the tunnels alive. So how did I survive? Since I was the first on the line, I kept telling myself that I had to move on as there are people behind me. A voice on my head was urging me to go on as there is a sure way of getting out. Nothing could ever go wrong.

And true enough, our minds are stronger than all our fears combined together. My claustrophobia might strike again in another time or place, but nevertheless, I am sure there is a way to conquer it. And so I say to claustrophobia and to all the other things I am afraid of, bring it on. ☺♥


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