My Battle with Claustrophobia + How I Deal with it Naturally.
So here's the deal: I get a lot of questions from you Babes asking for advice on how to be successful, how to 'look good', how to live a happy life, etc. I absolutely love having convos with my Babes but lately, I've been feeling crappy about the basis of these questions.
Why? Because we all struggle. We all have shit in our lives. We all have battles. I'm no different. And I don't want anyone to think otherwise.
SO. I've decided to come clean with something I've been struggling with for many years. And as I get older, the struggle has become more + more real. And since I always try to KEEP it real, here we go:
And yes, it sounds kind of lame. And a lot of people don't take me seriously. But the fact of the matter is, it stems from anxiety + it's debilitating when it strikes.
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Claustrophobia is a situational phobia triggered by an irrational and intense fear of tight or crowded spaces. My dad suffers from claustrophobia + that's why I have it.
So what does it feel like? A very aggressive panic attack. For me, I can't breathe, I start sweating, my chest gets super tight, it feels like it's about to explode, my heart races + most of the time, I feel like I'm going to either pass out, scream bloody murder or straight cry. I can't talk, have a conversation, or listen to anything around me. My body tells me to take flight and run. It basically feels like you just took a bad drug + can't control it. And the worst part is, I live in LA. An overcrowded city where I can't escape the millions of people + super tight spaces. So.... I've had to figure out how to deal with it.
If any of you struggle with claustrophobia or a form of anxiety that's similar, I'm hoping I can help you by not only letting you know that you're not alone, but also by giving you some natural options to cope that consistently work for me.
Even though little is actually known about claustrophobia, you CAN treat it with antidepressants + anti-anxiety medication. But since I really believe in doing things the all-natural way, here's what I do:
✖️ As soon as I become claustrophobic in a space, I get the hell out off that space + find a spot with less people that I can take a moment to concentrate on my breathing. I actually had an episode at Beautycon last weekend when Snoop Dogg was giving a speech. As I was walking through the crowd to get closer to the stage, I had an attack, which felt like a panic attack, so I immediately turned around + went for higher grounds, aka an uncrowded space.
✖️ Once you're in that safe spot, take a few minutes to concentrate on your breathing. Sit down or stand + breathe in through your nose + out through your mouth. Feel every breathe go through your body, at the same time telling yourself it's going to be ok. You can even picture a place that you love, a safe place, in your head. You can also try counting down from 10 while you're breathing slowly. All of these techniques switch your mind's focus from your claustrophobia to something else. The key is switching that focus so your attack will stop.
✖️ Now, what I've learned throughout this process is how to verbally react. When you want to retreat to a safer place to start your techniques, POLITELY say to whomever you're with, "I'm too claustrophobic for this. I'll be right over there. Please come get me when you're done." The reason I add this is because I used to get into trouble a lot because people don't understand claustrophobia unless they have it themselves. And when you're rude because you're scared + you tell them you're leaving their side, they don't even care about your attack. They'll care that you were just acting rudely. So, if you're nice about it, they'll be nice about it.
Now, OUTSIDE of the environmental triggers, here's what I do on a daily basis to try to avoid these episodes:
✖️ I take alternate routes while driving that I know will be less crowded.
✖️ I install reminders of freedom + open space into my office + home. For example, I have this huge black + white photo of a cowgirl riding a horse in the mountains. You can only see their outlines. It's beautiful + it was a gift from my parents when I was in High School. Whenever I look at this photo, I feel hope + see wide open spaces. So, I keep this photo in plain view at all times.
✖️ After many of days of being in traffic + crowded spaces, I skip the gym + work out outside, where there's WAY less people + fresh air. I love hiking for this exact reason.
✖️ I also love going to the beach or to a yard or hiking trail + taking off my shoes. This is called 'grounding' or 'earthing' + it's beneficial because when you're barefoot, your body absorbs negative electrons from the Earth through the soles of your feet. Since the Earth has a greater negative charge than your body, you end up absorbing electrons from it. Grounding gives you energy, improves your biological rhythms, heals your body + reduces stress.
✖️ And lastly, you can treat claustrophobia with psycotherapy. I just started therapy + will be addressing my claustrophobia there.
✖️ SIDE NOTE: this one isn't proven + I haven't read it anywhere, but I've noticed when I have anxiety about other issues in my life, my claustrophobia worsens. So for me, when I can reduce my other stressors, it helps my claustrophobia.
So that's that. Now you know one of my biggest battles. Honestly, I hope these natural treatments will help some of you who have struggles similar to mine. And either way, now you know we all have battles. And the more we talk about them, the better we'll be.
Please let me know if you appreciate this post. Do you like more personal posts like this? Do you struggle with anything like this? Feel free to comment below. I love talking with you Babes X
+ + When in doubt, wear a black jumpsuit! This one is from Rent the Runway (comment below for $30 off) but you can also shop the same one here:
+ + And for more ecobasics, go here