Saturday, July 14, 2012

Things you may not know about me #1

Definiton of claustrophobia: fear of small enclosed places that will cause spontaneous combustion into dignity defying panic attacks.  Can be created by older siblings holding the affected patient under blankets for periods of time as a child.

Interestingly enough, when I was a small child the Sister used to torment me by both a: holding me down trapped under blankets, doonas, or anything, and b: pinning me to the ground by her knees then ticking me in what she lovingly called "The Typewriter".  Net result was movement severely impaired and general freakout resulted.

So as I have got older and especially after 3 pregnancies, this condition of mine seems to be getting a little worse.  My eldest will always be scarred by the sight and sound of his mother losing her dignity while trapped, I repeat TRAPPED on a roller coaster at Universal Studios, for at least 10 minutes.  The murmurings of "what's going on", "hey shouldn't we be moving?" by the rest of the roller coaster riders was loudly surpassed by my "Get me OFF here", and "HELP" screams.  By the time we started finally moving, I had one arm untrapped and one son crying.  The rest of our holiday and theme park visits to the States was shadowed by memories of my freakout, and as the Husband doesn't like those hair-raising rides and I do, it was up to me to escort our eldest, who did his gleeful duty as the son who'd experienced a claustrophobic freakout by his normally controlled mum, to ask me every time "are you ok mum?  Don't freakout".  Which always reminded me that I was trapped and perhaps I should be freaking out.
Planes are another place that are rapidly descending into a high risk status.  Thinking economy class, middle seat, bags under feet, person reclining in front, and I'm sucking in the breath deeply, stretching my arms into the air (seems to help) and generally huffing and puffing and trying to go to a spacious place in my head.  Problem is I like flying and I love going places.
So The Husband and I have just got back from a work conference to Fiji, and before you start wishing bad stuff on me, the weather was a bit grotty, so not much sun baking, although it was nice to discover that pina coladas are just as enjoyable in cold weather as they are in the sun.
On our return flight, we were trapped in the back row, and as a passenger needed to get off the plane because they weren't well, and then the baggage handlers needed to find the bag (think Fiji time), it was an hour sitting squished up on board before we even moved.  And then they told us that the flight would be an hour more than normal because of strong head winds.

My arms started randomly stretching in the air, I started sucking in air, I ignored the husband and went to a vast empty beach in my head.  And then it happened...

The.... seat.... in... front ... reclined.

I hung in by a thread. Just.  And every time the panic started to flood over, I thought to myself, "not here, not now, I don't want to have the plane land on some random island because I'd turned into a screaming banshee.  Hold it in, breathe, wave arms, just don't lose it."  It helped to kick the seat in front of me a bit too.

The Sister has a lot to answer for.

What makes you freak out.  And I mean a total-don't-care-what-I-look-like freakout?


  1. I had a plane freak-out on my first trip overseas. I was leaving behind my two young sons with their Dad and his parents and the umbilical cord was pulling hard. I started feeling queasy when we landed in Sydney airport and promptly threw up. Then I threw up in the domestic toilets. Made it to the International toilets before throwing up multiple times. My sisters (and travelling companions) had to find a nurse and a wheelchair but I DID make it onto our flight AND we were upgraded to business.

    1. Nice freak out Char. And niiiiice upgrade. Bet your sisters were happy!

  2. Oh my god - I cannot do back row of plane middle seat. The day they started letting us choose our seats while booking was the greatest day ever for me as it eliminated that gut wrenching anxiety I used to feel standing in the check in line waiting to see what seat I had been given. Oh god I am starting to hyperventilate just thinking about it now!

    1. You too Kel? Another horror story was stuck beside a Plus Size (ok friggin ginormous) man on a nighttime 5 hour flight in the US, I generously gave up half of my seat for one of his buttocks. My eldest on the other side, had to tolerate his mother crowding his space. He'd already experienced the consequences if he didn't. Gawd, I'm breathing deeply now too!