Phobias can be a tricky thing. Don’t know how or where I got them from but I have two that really seem to sometimes dictate my life. I am the victim of claustrophobia and acrophobia. Doesn’t seem to be a problem until I get into large crowds or I’m on top of a very high building. It is hard to describe the feeling when the phobia takes hold of you. Your mind tells you to relax and focus on your breath. But your body tells you that you are trapped or you need to jump to dispel the fear.I recently had a bout with claustrophobia and not only was it incredibly uncomfortable but also made me angry that I wasn’t able to control the fear. A panic attack set in and I was anxious and scared. For years I have been practicing yoga which continues to tell you to find your breath when you feel tense or not in control. So you would think after practicing yoga since 1971 I would have it down but the mind and the emotions are very powerful vehicles and they can win over even the best intentions.
Don’t put me in the back of a van filled with people or on top a building next to the ledge. Working on many sets I have been in both of those situations. I see it coming and I figure out a way to go around it. To somehow avoid the uncomfortable. To not have to face it head on and deal with an undesirable outcome. With the fear of heights it’s not the height that is the problem. It’s wanting to jump that is what paralyzes me. I know to someone who doesn’t suffer from this phobia it sounds ridiculous. But to someone that does it is all too real.
Which brings me to how life can unfold. How fear can be paralyzing even when every intention is to be strong and brave. I’ve read where people overcome some of the worst situations and live to tell. And although the phobias are no where near as painful or as dangerous they still can strip you of any attempt to control your emotional strife.
Do I have a solution for how I can control myself when it starts to take hold of me? No. But I can figure out a way to take care of myself in order to bring my heart rate back to normal. And with things in life that can be overwhelming or fearful I have to go back to the breath and find a way to take care of myself as well. I need to have the integrity to stop and listen to what my heart is telling me. To know that I can escape any situation if I put my mind to it. And to know that other people have the same fears as I do. Doesn’t matter where they come from or how old they are or whether they are a man or a woman.
I may not like being caught in the middle of a huge crowd but I do like being among people. I may not like being on top of that high building but I sure do like the view when there is a beautiful sunset to see.
So as Alexi Murdock sings, “Your life is here, no eleventh hour reprieve. Don’t forget to breathe. Keep your head above water, but don’ t forget to breath. Just breathe….breathe.”