It is estimated that about 1 in 9 people suffer from claustrophobia, which is the fear of being in tight places, or the overwhelming feeling of being trapped. Symptoms can range from mild anxiety to full-blown panic attacks. While many phobias are irrational fears of unlikely events or benign objects, claustrophobia is generally triggered by childhood events or traumatic experiences.
Now if you don’t recognize the connection between claustrophobia and RVs, let me explain. RVs are generally small compared to houses. The larger RVs are only about a fifth the size of the average American house. RV manufacturers have to design everything so that it’s all packed tightly together, leaving the occupants to also be packed together. So, for claustrophobic people, RV living (or “tiny house” living) can compress their life into a little tight ball of anxiety.
Anxiety attacks from claustrophobia can be triggered by being in enclosed spaces like elevators, revolving doors, or bathroom stalls. But, I have never in my life seen a bathroom stall as small as my RV bathroom.
There are ways to make an RV feel less claustrophobic. You can get an RV with lots of windows and keep the curtains open a lot. Get an RV with slideouts. Having lots of mirrors will make it look larger. Having light blue interiors is supposed to calm you. Avoid RVs with a short narrow corner bed, or those coffins-on-the-wall bunk beds.
Everyone has a fear of something, or has many fears of somethings. Even the most self-confident and fearless men have a fear of helplessness, or maybe a fear that their fearlessness and self-confidence will fail them. Or, I think, maybe they just have a fear of fear.
There are basically four ways to overcome claustrophobia.
1. MEDICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP-
This can include medication, hypnosis, and psychiatric help.
2. ANXIETY REDUCTION TECHNIQUES-
Relax- If you could relax, you wouldn’t be having a panic attack. Right?
Breathe deep- If claustrophobia makes you feel like you can’t breathe, then breathe deep. Now, that’s rocket science.
Realize that your brain is playing tricks on you- Because obviously this thought has never occurred to you.
Visualize tour happy place- Payback time. Play tricks on your brain, by imagining you are somewhere else.
3. EXPOSURE THERAPY
This is generally called “facing your fears”. Supposedly, with enough exposure to tight places, you will overcome your fears. Or die trying.
When I was four-years-old, our dad built us kids a little tree house. It was extremely high above the ground (almost four feet), and I was terrified of falling off. My dad wanted me to overcome my fear, so he left me in the tree house to get down by myself (it didn’t work). With a great deal of help from my older brothers, I got down alive, but grew up with a great (and irrational) fear of heights. Years later, as an adult, I decided to build a two-story house, overlooking both my fear of heights and the fact that I would have to build a roof on it. When it came time to roof the house, I actually chained myself to the roof and fearfully began the work. After about an hour of roofing, I discarded the chain. And, by the time I had finished the roof, I was able so sit on the edge of the two-story roof with my feet dangling and felt no fear. But, believe me, it was very hard to face my fear (my hands are sweating, even now, as I remember how I felt).
To overcome your claustrophobia, just crawl into that coffin-bed and die, because you already know you will.