Uncomfortable Victories


I’m claustrophobic, not a little but terrifying so. The thought of being trapped, confined, stuck in any place invokes a real fear and has induced several panic attacks. I usually get along fine by simply avoiding situations in which not being able to escape could occur.

However, the past few days there has been a horrendous odor emanating from somewhere around the house and it’s driving me crazy! On Wednesday I began to seriously consider going under our home to see if something beneath might be the source of the stench. After spending most of Friday morning convincing myself I could handle it, I put on a set of work clothes and decided to try.

I haven’t been into our crawl space since we’ve moved in for obvious reasons. I had no idea how tiny and cramped it actually was and when I stuck my head in I came close to changing my mind.

However, after a little self motivation and saying out loud; “You don’t have to go any further than you want. You can turn around anytime.” I ventured into a truly terrifying and uncomfortable place. Deep breathing, repeating the mantra, I inched further into the darkness.

Unfortunately I could not get to every spot under the house nor locate the source of stink. Even though I was only beneath the building a short time it seemed forever and when I emerged I quickly shed my confining work clothes, settled down and stayed outside for several hours enjoying the wide open space.

I’ve reflected upon the episode several times since yesterday and in a way I’m thankful to at least have tried. There have been moments in my life where claustrophobia has almost crippled me so even a few fleeting minutes seems a triumph.

Life isn’t always about permanently overcoming. Sometimes it’s the small victories that remind us fear hasn’t won.



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Posted on August 1, 2015, in Mindfulness and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. You have my empathy and sympathy because, I,too, am claustrophobic. I will avoid elevators if possible, but that is difficult to do in tall buildings. For years I was okay with airplanes, but I have no desire to get in one again. Small spaces are taboo to me, so I applaud your venture under the house. I could never do that. I find deep breathing and repeating a mantra helps when I find myself in a “tight” spot.


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