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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


We all want to be fearless. I don’t want to cringe whenever I step into an elevator, and I don’t want to start sobbing if I ever lay in a tanning bed again. Recently, I stopped breathing when I realized how small my car actually was. Yes, you guessed it. I’m claustrophobic.

Many people say that claustrophobia is in the eye of the spectator—that it’s all in my head. Unfortunately, this has never stopped me from hating crowded places, or from holding my breath when random people touch me. Maybe it stems from the fact that Germans like their space: we talk to people with at least a meter distance between us, and our houses are spaced far apart. Still, this stereotype does not explain how I felt the walls of my car shrink closer together, and how I needed to open all windows in order for me to even make it to my destination.

Claustrophobia is defined as “extreme of irrational fear of confined places.” Irrational? While I have no idea why I am scared of confined places, I don’t think any fear is irrational. We all fear something because we fear it, and we don’t really need an explanation for it. People fear the unknown without knowing why, while others fear snakes because they just do.

While I’ve been claustrophobic for as long as I can remember, it has gotten progressively worse over the years. I can recall the time when I needed to get an MRI scan, and started profusely crying as soon as my head popped into the long tube. Even thinking about it makes my heart beat to the pace of an extremely fast hard-rock song. Even closing my eyes did not shadow the fact that I was in the smallest of all places. Another time, I had to leave a Tiesto concert because sweaty men were constantly falling onto me, and I found myself crying in the middle of a roman street. Tiesto is a house music DJ, so naturally people take hard drugs and drink till things get crazy. Any claustrophobic would’ve felt miserable there. But even extremely small showers will make me feel like I’m being strangled. Sharing a bed? It’s hard.

I promise I am not overreacting. You might not think that claustrophobia is a real thing, but it’s as much of a fear as yours is. I can promise you that whenever I am in a small place, my heart starts beating out of my chest, my legs start to shake and I get cold sweats.
So you could say I’m not fearless. 

- Beatrice


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