Apr 10, 2010

the claustrophobia project, lemon curd and all the help i can get

i have been massively claustrophobic for quite some time now. it started with planes, then the tube, elevators and so on and so on.

2004 i tried a confrontational therapy.it was no fun, that much i can tell you.
lots of crying and pulling of hair, lots of desperation, lots of hyperventilating locked in elevators for 30 minutes or so. i never made it back onto a plane though.

no flying for 11 years. i told myself it didn`t matter. i could take a boat, hell, i could swim, i could take a car. no problem. but a big part of my family lives in great britain and my grandparents lived in glasgow.

the last time i went there with my son was when he was two years old. we took the car from berlin to amsterdam and embarked on the journey to hell all the way to newcastle.
the cabin we had booked was underneath the machine room of the ferry, so it was impossible for me to stay there. combine acute seasickness with claustrophobia and you`ve got yourself a real party full of song and dance. i was sick for hours and went to " sleep" on deck on two plastic chairs that i had pushed together and shoved in a corner where i could hear people singing along to karaoke. my favourite was a duet of " up where we belong ", sung quite beautifully. after a while the storm got worse though and my sleeping bag was soaked, so i decided to give it a try inside. i opened the heavy outside door and at that very moment there was a huge gush of wind and the door slammed shut. my right hand was still caught in the door and i thought i would faint if i looked as i was almost sure that the fingers had been cut off. after what seemed like ages but couldn`t have been more than a few seconds, i pulled the door open with my left hand, didn`t look at it and just dragged myself inside, knocked on the door of the disco until someone came and took care of me. it was the ship doctor who was also the ship dj, who had also sung the lovely version of " up where we belong " that i had admired earlier, which pleased him very much. he took one look and said: " that`s what broken fingers look like." i had managed to break two of my fingers in that door.
why am i telling you this? because it was one of two claustrophobia lowpoints during the last few years.


the second one is even worse. for 8 years i haven`t seen my family in Scotland and Glasgow is now only a two hour- flight away from berlin. my grandmother died two weeks ago and i couldn`t say goodbye, couldn`t go to the funeral. i have missed golden weddings, big birthdays, a wedding and two funerals. i cannot forgive myself. lowpoint.
i want my son to grow up knowing and i mean, REALLY KNOWING that Scotland is a part of him. the language, the people that belong to him, the smells, the highland cattle, the scones, the sheep, everything. everything that has made me so homesick during the last 8 years.

so i want to start a project. it starts today and ends on the 10 th of august, two days after my 40 th birthday and i need all the help i can get so bear with me, write to me, tell me about your experiences, about your fears, about your braveness. i need to know.

i`ll write about my experiences with battling claustrophobia, about my successes and my failures and about the things that help me.

my first assignements today were to write this post and to make lemon curd. yes, lemon curd.
i have always loved it and my grannie used to make it and i wanted to make some in honour of her. so i did. i read this post and then i made lemon curd and then i looked at all the yellow, shiny loveliness and wrote this post.

i am scared and humbled and have no idea what awaits me, but i want to try.
please be my companions on this road to something better.

2 comments:

emma said...

I'm so proud of you for taking this leap! You are definitely not alone in battling crippling fear, whatever ways it manifests. For me, it's romantic relationships, and a multitude of other things, though not of plane rides. In fact, I use those to escape my fears. Ironic, no? But hey, I'm right next to you on your journey, with pom-poms in hand and I'm inspired by your project! And I just recently had a bought of claustrophobia in the middle of a massive pillow fight - this is not to diminish the level of your fear or equate the two at all, but rather to say I can only imagine the height from which you are jumping in embarking on this project and I think you deserve a million kudos. xo

aimee said...

yay for you, anja! i will be here to follow you on your journey! xo