Getting Fear Out of the Way
For the majority of my life, I’ve had a fear of enclosures of all kinds. Tight spaces like elevators and small rooms with no windows were a big no-no for me. Any time I felt “enclosed,” this is what would happen:
First I would start to sweat.
Then I would begin to feel dizzy.
And then I would feel like I couldn’t breathe.
Eventually, my adrenaline would kick in, and I would do whatever I could to leave that space, even if it meant yelling, “Let me out!” in a public setting.
I learned to immediately spot where all the exits were every time I’d enter a room. If I noticed there were no windows in the room, I’d have to choose between having a panic attack or leaving.
My fear of enclosures stemmed from an altogether different fear: a fear of being alone. When I was a kid, I always had to have my mom beside me. When she wasn’t there, I would panic. As a result, whenever I felt trapped somewhere, panic was my go-to state of mind.
I discovered that the beliefs I had about enclosed spaces – that they were lacking in oxygen and that I couldn’t get out – were totally made up. It’s impossible to run out of oxygen in most spaces, even if the doors and windows are closed. And every space has an exit, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten in there in the first place, so I don’t have to find it.
I recently got stuck in an elevator full of people for about 3 minutes. The old me would have freaked out. Instead, I reminded myself that elevators aren’t boxes that you can’t get out of; their doors open and close, and sometimes, they get stuck.
No reason to let a little thing like fear get in my way, I thought to myself.
With a clear and peaceful mind, I pushed some buttons until the doors opened. I got out and announced, “That was fun, let’s do this again sometime!” I pushed the Up button and waited to get on the next elevator.
In what parts of your life does fear get in your way? Imagine what life could be like if you felt peace and calm in the areas that currently trigger fear and anxiety! It would be our honor to help you.
Start by assessing your frame of mind.