Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Of Phobias and Old Friends
We spent one night on holiday recently visiting a couple who are old friends: in fact, they took our appointment at the registry office when my prospective mother-in-law vetoed our own intention. We had all cottoned on to the news that if you got married before the end of February, you got a big tax rebate and as we were poor in those days…. So we all got married on 25th February and are currently married for 33 years. Both couples have three children of similar ages so the evening was a very pleasant catch-up of everybody’s news. In a similar vein, I’m sure we all thought the same thing on arrival, “Shame, haven’t they got old!” Still there was much hilarity all round (the men comparing amounts of hair left on their heads etc.) M was telling us about his phobias, namely, fear of flying (we knew about that one), but this has worsened into a fear of escalators, lifts and general claustrophobia which can hit him in a shopping centre or anywhere. The manifestations of his fears are rapid heart beat, suffocating sensation and sometimes his legs give way under him. He has tried to at least conquer the fear of entering a lift. He and his wife went to the casino for a few days and the lift to their second floor room was glass, so he says he managed this quite a few times. But then inexplicably, one day, he just couldn’t. Twenty minutes later, another person got into the lift at the point - except that there was no lift! The door opened and he stepped into space! This man was killed. It didn’t do much to help poor M’s lift phobia.