What happened, anxious or crazy?

Firstly, I will tell you that I have been somewhat claustrophobic since a child. Since being an adult and learning to drive I have managed to handle this situation in vehicles and most of my life. Over the last couple of years though I am finding quite regularly,that on extended trips, it feels like I can't swallow properly, we always travel with water, have told my husband it is because my throat gets itchy, but I have it to distract from the choking sensation. Anyway, yesterday we decided we would take our car to car wash, was covered in bugs from a long road trip. It is a drive in car wash, you know where the car sits still and the machines work around it. Signs everywhere say, "do not get out of your car". The wash had no sooner started and I got very anxious, I don't know why, but it came on very quickly. I tried to act casual and talk to my husband but then I said, "I have to get out of here!" He said, "what do you mean, you can't get out!" I told him, "There is a door, I am getting out," and I jumped out and ran to the door just missing the sprayer, that door led to another and then I was outside. I honestly felt that I was going to start screaming if I didn't get out of there. Waiting the 5 minutes for him to get out of wash gave me time to catch my breath and my heart rate slowed down a bit but then I was quite embarrassed. I got back in the car and we came home, changed vehicles and went for a short drive to checkout some fishing spots. I was not anxious anymore and felt OK in vehicle, but was not myself. I don't know what happened or why, my husband couldn't believe I had done it and is still trying to figure out what triggered it. So loopies, anyone ever done that before? Still feeling disturbed by it.

11 Replies

  • Hi Chapter, sorry you had such a horrible experience. Do you think it's possible that although you have managed to control your symptoms over the years that it's possible you are suffering with anxiety about something at the mo or just feeling really rough with Lupus?

    Our minds and bodies are connected. It takes a lot of conscious effort to have control over our anxieties...and if you're not at your best due to fatigue etc then old issues can raise their pesky heads again. Also Lupus can effect the central nervous system including the brain. Hormones have also been linked to Lupus (possibly why affects more women). Any slight imbalance in hormones can throw the body off, or increase stress hormones in the body. Just ill health itself can increase stress hormones. This may be why you find you are struggling with old problems.

    Can you think of any changes recently that may be causing you some anxiety?...Is Lupus just really getting you down?

    It might help to open up to your husband, was he aware of the extent of your claustiphobia?...Is this something you've found difficult to share with him and perhaps the fact that you havn't been able to tell him causes you anxiety? Do you feel embarrassed discussing it with him maybe?

    If you can try and open up the subject with him, if nothing else it will relieve some tension that may have built there.

    Sometimes stress and anxiety is a build up of many different life stresses which build like a pressure cooker until the lid shoots off...possibly what happened in the carwash.

    I really hope that you find some calm and that this isn't causing you too much worry, I 'm sure day by day you will be able to work through this and start to feel back to your old self soon.

    Take care and keep in touch


  • Thank you for your quick response, I appreciate your comments. My husband has always been aware of my claustrophobic issues, but I have not had reason to have to deal with it for some time. We have been together for over 40 years, the last time he saw a bad reaction was years ago. I don't even know if I was claustrophobic, I hardly had time to think about where I was before it hit. I will do as you say though and try think reasonably what could have brought it on. Thanks again.

  • I really hope you are able to put your finger on it and start feeling better soon

    Take care


  • In the spirit of being honest and open..I used to suffer pretty bad with OCD rituals as a kid. As an adult I have been able to deal with the anxiety as I felt powerless as a child and understand what OCD is now. Nevertheless, sometimes I find myself getting caught in strange little rituals again and it highlights to me I have an issue to address. It usually takes a while for me to work it out as it's often something as 'small' as something someone said to me days earlier that affected me. And I have strugged it off thinking 'it's not important' but clearly it's bothered me, so not so small....these are the things that always get buried because we tell ourselves we shouldn't let it bother us....And we do that because sometimes it's things we can't change so we bury it....But just by acknowledging that it bothered me and allowing myself to admit it usually stops my weird little ticks!! :)xx

  • Lupus does affect the nervous system. I become very agoraphobic when I am in a bad flare. Having said that, you have said that you have had this problem since childhood. When we have childhood issues they don't go away, we just burry them. (speaking from experience) They tend to resurface during times of stress because we have not dealt with the initial trauma that caused the problem in the first place.

    Perhaps the stress of dealing with lupus and at the same time trying not to be burden to others has elevated your stress levels, causing your claustrophobia to resurface. Our bodies will find ways of telling us we are stressed, especially when we are not listening and sometimes, it will go to dramatic lengths to get our attention. I found counselling very beneficial.

    all the best xx

  • Since I was diagnosed a year ago, I have serious issues with claustrophobia. Also, panic attacks if I'm a passenger in a car.

    I can't go in lifts (not good with mobility problems!), I don't enjoy the cinema anymore.

    I thought that maybe my coping mechanism has altered since having lupus. Xx

  • Thank you everyone for your comments. My husband and I went fishing this morning, was great - I caught more than him, heehee. Weather was sunny, I looked very cute in my long pants tucked in my socks, hoodie sun proof jacket, a big wide brim hat and my big sunglasses. Couldn't really tell who I was but it was a fun time. Now I have a headache and my face is feeling pretty hot, but I will be fine in the morning. Have a good day!

  • Oh these posts fit me perfectly! I have experienced many situations when 'I have just had to get out'! I do think when you are suffering from balance/nervous system issues it often triggers a panic attack in confined or public places. I'm going through a really bad phase at the moment. Can't even sit at computer screen without feeling like the room is moving and my body is not doing anything I want it to do! So now I am choosing not to leave house and when I do it's such a battle.. So anxiety must enhance these sensations. I am not diagnosed with lupus but have PNH undergoing further tests.. But I am pretty sure that I am not always experiencing panic attacks like I have been told. Reading these posts and being able to relate to what others are experiencing is convincing me now that 'I'm not going mad'! Hope you are alright now and the question I guess is whether you will go in another car wash again soon? I get the can't swallow properly too.. It can't all be anxiety?!!!

  • Thanks trueman, I sure hope I will be able to go in car wash again, but to tell you the truth I get weird just thinking about it. It was crazy because we go in car wash all the time. What I am a little worried about is we are booked to take an hour and a half long flight tomorrow, there won't be any getting out of that one. I have never had any trouble in planes before - but I hadn't had trouble in the car either. Will see I guess!

  • I think what can help is if you say to yourself 'this will pass' and hopefully it will.. And you should be fine on plane. Pretend the toilet cabin is your refuge for 5 mind if need be! I know what you feel like and the worst thing is thinking it might happen again so don't! If you do.. Make sure to have a plan to distract yourself. That's what I try anyway. Oh and loads of water.. Hope you going somewhere nice!

  • We are going to meet all of our children and their families (18 of us) to participate in Walk to raise funds for Type 1 Diabetes. This will be our 8th Walk since our granddaughter was diagnosed when she was 5 years old. To bad we have to get hit at home before it becomes important to us. I will take lots of water - thank you and I will think only positive thoughts.

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