Monday, August 10, 2009

I have a Confession...

I have been in denial but I can no longer deny that I am claustrophobic.

My first experience was when I was in High School and I was snorkeling out in the Florida Keys as part of a Marine Biology Field Trip. The first time I put on my snorkel mask I freaked out and did not snorkel. (My teacher thought I couldn't swim so he made me wear a kids swim inner tube around my waist any time I got into the water. How embarrassing for a senior in HS!! I finally talked to him and told him I could swim it was the mask that freaked me out.) After the first time I got better and ended up snorkeling just fine.

My second experience was during college. My roommates and I went caving south of Provo. We had to descend about 10ft on a rope into the ground and then immediately get down on our bellies and scoot across the floor of the cave with the ceiling about two inches from our back for about 5 ft before the cave opened up. Needless to say, I freaked out again. I was pretty much a basket case the whole time we were in the cave and my roommates vowed they would never take me caving again.

Like I said I was in denial that I was claustrophobic. I chalked both of these experiences up to fear of the unknown. (PS I hate crowds. Too many people in one place makes me a little crazy.) Anyways the last part of the research study that I participated in was to have a MRI done. I talked to my parents and my Dad thought I would have no problem. So when I was answering the questionnaire and it asked if I was claustrophobic I said NO! Uh wrong answer. Because this was a MRI of my brain my head had to be strapped down and then I had a wonderful little mask put over my face. The mask looks similar to the one in the picture below but mine was more open with bars going vertically and horizontally. There was a little mirror attached to it so I could see a computer screen and complete some small tasks that they had for me. After having my head strapped down and put in the mask they rolled me into the MRI and I panicked. I couldn't breath and my heart started racing out of control. I asked them if I could come out and go to the bathroom. So they took me out and allowed me to go to the restroom. While in the RR, I took a lot of calming breaths and said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to help me do this. After all I was going to be in the machine for a little less than 2 hours. I got myself composed and went back into the room to try again. I was able to complete the MRI scan. I was still nervous but I noticed I could control some of it by closing my eyes and ignoring the fact that I was in a tube with a mask on my face. The task part where I had to open my eyes and respond by clicking some buttons was a little harder but I did okay. I did have to take a break between the two portions of my test but I survived. Now confessing that I am claustrophic is not a big deal. And for the most part I know what situations give me problems and I can avoid them. However one of my big dreams is to be certified to scuba dive. I love the water and all aquatic life. (Hence why I teach Aquatic Science.) And being able to scuba dive has been a dream of mine forever. But now that I know I have problems with claustrophobia especially with things over my face, I wonder if I will ever be able to scuba dive.


Stephanie Braithwaite said...

You might be able to do it if you work on it somehow (not sure how you would overcome claustrophobia). Scuba diving is really fun, though. I had to get used to only being able to breathe through a little air tube, though. When I first started diving, it took some adjusting when I went under because I was breathing faster anyway since I was nervous. :)

Stephanie Braithwaite said...

By the way, your new background is really cute.