My mother-in-law did not drive and when she moved in with us at 93 she went everywhere I needed to go. That was limited to medical appointments, aquatic therapy and grocery store. Many people have phobias
and mother-in-law had many.
She lost her phobia quickly when she couldn’t tolerate enclosed spaces. These spaces included parking garages. She was with me when going to one of my appointments.
The only place to park was in the parking garage. She wanted me to let her off outside the garage and meet her. Hey, I didn’t mind doing that. The problem is this: there are many entrances to the garages. How would I remember exactly where I left her off?
Even if I remembered where I left her off, I didn’t have energy to walk around looking for her. She definitely knew both these things were significant issues for me.
This was a woman whose entire family drove hundreds of miles out of their way to avoid tunnels! She never entered an elevator! Now I was expecting her to go into a parking garage? I never thought of it until we arrived at my appointment destination and she began to panic. I felt horrible but there wasn’t much I could do.
When I told her I’m not sure I’ll remember where to pick her up or able to walk around she immediately said she’d rather go on with me parking in the garage. She never asked for me to leave her off again! She laughed and survived! Sad, she wondered what she feared all her life.
I knew she would be okay. I was relaxed in spite of her panic and I spoke slowly, calmly, and she trusted me … I think that was the key to her phobia. She certainly didn’t want me to lose her, and that would definitely be more frightening in a strange city, and a strange place! Lose the phobia or lose person!
- The Fundamentals of Phobias (everydayhealth.com)
- Trauma and Anxiety Disorders (casapalmera.com)
- When Panic takes over the body (drses.wordpress.com)
- How to Overcome Phobia (letstressgo.com)
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