Mary walked into my office with a bright smile and quickly sat in a chair. But as soon as she started talking about her fear of enclosed spaces, her facial expression became tense and pained. She told me that she had been suffering from claustrophobia for many years.
Mary was afraid of any small and closed space. This included a fear of riding in elevators, buses and subway trains. She had been struggling with her fear for several years. However, recently a terrible experience in a health clinic had really scared her.
“I have chronic back pain”, Mary explained, “My doctor sent me to get a full body MRI scan. I avoided it for a long time, but last month I forced myself and went to get it done. One hour before the MRI scan I took some pills to calm myself. At the clinic the nurses were very nice and explained the procedure to me in detail. I told them I had claustrophobia and they gave me a sleep mask to cover my eyes so that I wouldn’t see the inside of the MRI machine.”