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Anxiety - Panic Attacks : Is this condition curable

Community Member

Hi my name is Heather and I am new to the site.  I have suffered with anxiety and had a number of Panic attacks during the past seven years - and prior to Fridays attack, it was a year and a half ago since my last attack, and I thought I was doing so well.  I managed to control this recent attack but today I am feeling severe weakness and experiencing strong chest pain and jitters... I really hate this. 

It has affected my life... my marriage - it has controlled me... I am claustrophobic, afraid of lifts and at the moment planes etc etc.

Over the years I have attended a mindfulness course and counselling which has supported me and has taught me how my mind works and how to deal, how to meditate and how to recover.  I am so happy to find this site - thank you Beyondblue -  I am not alone.

I am desperately seeking a way to overcome these attacks and to live a normal life again.  

I really look forward to sharing experiences and achievements.


3 Replies 3

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

dear Heather, feeling claustrophobic is a scary illness, I am just wondering whether or not you have other OCD tendencies, and these mindfulness courses can try and control these thoughts.

Anxiety does cause this OCD, but not everybody develops this illness from it, and I would be very interested in these courses if you do have this illness. L Geoff. x

Community Member

Thank you for your feedback Geoff,

Its kind of strange, I have had claustrophobia all of my life - I encountered this initial fear when I was a young child after being locked in cupboard by the babysitter, followed by a another event of being locked behind the main school entry door a few years later. 

I have done lots of researching and reading over the weekend, and on reflection, I do now believe that I suffer from anxiety and that I am at times highly strung, so to speak - instead of having the 'odd panic attack'.  I kind of found it impossible to accept, until now that I have suffered from anxiety for most of my life.  I felt that my life has been closing in on me over the past seven years due to a frozen shoulder that took over four years to heal, caused by a traumatic experience where I had to fight to get out, this is when the fear really developed and my OCD has taken over.  I never realized that claustrophobia was an OCD.

I realize now that this has just brought everything to the surface and I now have to learn how to overcome it and become in control of it.

Thank you for your support regarding mindfulness, I do know that it is very effective - you just have to be persistent and aware of what is happening and have an action plan in place.  I have gone through life believing that nothing can ever cure my claustrophobia... I am now starting to believe that there is hope.

My husband wants us to sell up everything and travel Australia by motor-home within the next 12 to 18 months for an unlimited period of time, but I get butterflies when I think about it in detail, leaving everything behind and taking risks.  I mean - what a wonderful way to experience Life - and I am so scared of it!  I am embarrassed to tell him right now because I dont want to affect his life.

Thank you

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

dear Heather, there is a possible way to overcome claustrophobia, which would be good for you, because not every part of OCD can be cured, it may improve if you do courses, the problem is once this course stops we just go back to our old ways, it's like a magnetic.

The way to overcome claustrophobia is by using the word I love, desensitization, and if you google it it will explain on methods of how to do it, but I think that you would the assistance from a psychologist to achieve this.

I have seen 'friends' who have been terrified of spiders, couldn't go into the house if they knew one was in there, now they have have no problem, out with the mortein can and spray away.

The fear of leaving home and leaving everything behind in your case is another OCD trait, because I have exactly the same feeling.

There are other people who have the same fear, and they don't have OCD, but in your case as well as mine it's related to this illness, doesn't seem to make sense does it, but I know myself it's my OCD. L Geoff. x