I've Just Always Been Like This

I don't know exactly when my claustrophobia developed, but I distinctly remember being in sixth grade and being deathly afraid of any tight, suffocating spaces. I always had trouble telling people because my parents didn't believe and just told me I was being a hypochondriac, and every time I told someone at school, their first reaction was to back me into a corner to see if I was telling the truth. Over time it got worse, and I went to three different therapists for it. I didn't make any progress with the first two, and as I quickly realized, I couldn't even play dodge ball without having a panic attack because I was surrounded by maybe 6 people with at least 10 ft placed between each of them in a large, open room with plenty of windows. I couldn't even watch a video of a man stepping into a phone booth without getting that asphyxiated feeling. It wasn't until the third therapist that I finally found hope, and I remember thinking I could finally go into the gym for a pep rally without pressing myself against the wall to stay as far away from the crowd as possible or waiting until everyone was gone. For a long time I didn't have an attack, but when I went to that Friday 13th Halloween haunted house, I was reminded that no, it hadn't gone away. There was a section of the house where two large black cushions are held together and you're forced to squeeze through it to get to the other side. At first I thought I could make it, but as soon as I took those first few steps, the panic set in and I couldn't breathe. I was holding my sister and my aunt's hands, but even though I was screaming for help and I could feel myself suffocating, they couldn't hear me because of the music playing in the background. I knew that I wasn't completely cured, but I couldn't help but feel terrible that my family had to stand there waiting on me as I sobbed just from walking through what seemed like 30 yards of soft, fluffy pillows. I know I've gotten better to where I can stand in a crowded elevator (being alone in an elevator never bothered me much, unless it broke down), but it makes me sad that I can still have such a bad panic attack. I have hope, though, and I'm not going to give up until I'm better.
Eufemia Eufemia
18-21, F
Dec 4, 2012