I have cleithrophobia.

by Renee

Cleithrophobia is commonly associated with or even mistaken for claustrophobia. It's the fear of being trapped including, but not limited to, small spaces.

My cleithrophobia, while it doesn't generally affect my daily life, does affect me in a variety of ways sometimes and has given me a few scary episodes.

The first time I can remember having an episode was trying on a ring. The ring went on my finger fine, but didn't come off quite as easily. I was in a downright panic and almost crying until I managed to slip the ring off my finger. I've been extremely careful putting on rings since then.

The second time was both a cleithrophobia experience and the beginning of a new phobia: apiphobia (fear of bees). A bee got stuck between the heel of my foot and my sandal. The terror of being unable to get away or even put my foot back on the ground is one of my most vivid memories and still causes me to feel distressed thinking about it now.

The third and most extreme experience was when I visited the restroom in a restaurant. When I tried to leave the cubicle, the lock jammed. After a few dazed seconds of jiggling the lock to try and un-stick it, fear and dread truly began setting in. I started shaking the door and walls of the cubicle, trying to break it down. Physical symptoms included tears running down my face, my heart rate accelerating and excessive panic. The door actually started pulling off its hinges. Luckily, before I could damage the door, the lock untwisted and I was able to get out.

My cleithrophobia also affects me in social circumstances as well. If I feel trapped in a situation, like an oral presentation for university or in an argument, I will begin to have a panic attack or severe emotional distress.

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