I am claustrophobic. I am absolutely not the worst case scenario... but I still deal with the extreme fear. After years of dealing with the fear, I think that I am overcoming it to some degree. I know how to deal with my fear, I will not say that I can control it, because I cannot, but I manage my fear so that I will never be at the height of my fear.
Things I fear:
*Being stuck in an elevator
*Getting stuck in a cave because of falling rocks
*Drowning because I cannot reach the surface of the water
*Being locked in a small room
*Being stuck in my car if I am in an accident
*Being stuck out in the ocean with no way back to shore
*Getting lost - completely lost with no way back to civilization
*Getting stuck in a roller coaster seat because the lap bar broke
*Being stuck in an office building
Things I have freaked out about:
*I got locked in a bathroom when I was little and screamed bloody murder
*A not so nice babysitter locked me in a room when I was little because I was crying/screaming for my parents and I started to freak out and scream even louder
((prehaps these first two items are a cause of my fear...?))
*In a car accident, the hood of my car slid over my car doors so that I could not open them and I panicked (I guess I thought the windows wouldn't work either?)
*While camping I felt like there wasn't enough air in the tent and I cried
*After watching the movie Poseidon, I bawled at the end and I felt like I couldn't breathe...
*Whenever I watch people spelunking on TV, I can't breathe...
*When my seat belt locks I get panicky and work to loosen it quickly
*When the lap bar on a roller coaster takes a little longer to release than expected, I get nervous
Actions I take to minimize my fear:
*I make sure I am close to a working exit
*I make sure that I have a clear path to an exit if I can't be right beside one
*I sit in the back of the bus so I feel like I have more room
*I take the stairs as much as possible
*I sit by fans and air vents so that I feel like I have all the air in the world
*I close my eyes and imagine myself somewhere else
*When in an office I make sure I know where all the exits are and the paths to them
I think that fears can be controlled by taking actions to prevent the fear itself - avoidance to some degree. The main thing to remember is that the fear is irrational and I think that helps. I can't completely convince myself that everything is fine, but I don't get to the point where I am freaking out totally and shoving people out of my way so that I can get out. Sometimes I feel like doing that though....
One more thought... I just want to thank whoever made the MRI machines with the hole in the top and the air that blows over your face the whole time... somehow the air makes me feel like I am completely safe.