The Beach House – Chapter 10

I woke before Mia. I felt much better than I did when I crawled into bed. Mia was still there, and she had slept all night. I carefully pulled my tingling arm from under her neck. She smiled in her sleep, but the even breathing continued. I rose slowly, quietly donned some boxers, and left the room. What I needed was some coffee and space to think. Mia thought her secrets were going to come between us. She could have raped and murdered the pope for all I cared, but it was her thoughts that counted, not mine. The only way past this was to find out what her secrets were and prove to her that I didn’t give a shit. It was past eight so I grabbed my phone and headed outside out of earshot.

“Hi this is Dale Tomlinson. I would like to talk with whoever handles my account.” The receptionist sounded pleasant enough.

“No, I am sure Monica is fine. I just need to know who handles my account.” I guess letting Monica handle everything was a bit extreme.

“Then Bob Farring is who I need to speak with please.” This type of conversation used to piss me off. Today I empathized with the receptionist’s confusion.

“Hi Bob, this is Dale Tomlinson.” Finally I had the right person.

“No, Monica is just fine.” I guess Monica was pretty ingrained into my business.

“You guys use investigators, right?” Now we were moving in the right direction.

“Good! I want you to do a discreet background check on someone for me. Her name is Mia Perez, and I believe she lives somewhere in downtown Capersfield. I know she used to be an RN.” I waited for Bob to write it all down.

“No, not a whole life history. Just her current address, employment, what she’s done for the last few years, etc.” Her long past was probably cleaner than mine. I just needed the more current data.

“Bob, no one but you and the investigator will know about this. Bill it any way you want, but keep it private.” I wasn’t shocked by his next question.

“No, Monica doesn’t need to know about this either. Send me a text when you have what I need, and I will call when I can.” Bob was still a little surprised to deal with me directly.

“Thanks, Bob! You have a good day too.” I wasn’t sure why I felt the need to be pleasant. I went back in the house and started to make some coffee. I knew I had to keep this from Mia. I was betraying her trust and digging into what she wanted hidden. Love makes you do some really fucked-up things.

Mia followed the smell of the coffee into the kitchen. She was again wearing my robe. I was beginning to hate that robe. “Would you like a cup of coffee?” I asked as I sipped from my cup. She thought about it for a moment, then shook her head no.

“I don’t think I’m ready for java just yet. Maybe tomorrow.” She pulled up a stool and sat across the counter from me.

“You slept the whole night. Got to be a good sign.” I gave her a small smile. I was still a little nervous that I might have pushed the envelope too far last night.

“I do feel better.” She smiled back. “Do we have any cereal?” I almost jumped out of my skin. I didn’t think she even knew she used the word “we.” I started looking through the cabinets, trying not to look too ecstatic, not wanting a replay of last night.

“Here! I found Raisin Bran and Cinnamon Chex.” I felt like I had found gold.

“Oh, Chex please.” I went to the fridge, praying that Monica had stocked milk. I found 2%, well under the expiration date. I placed milk and Chex in front of Mia and fished out a bowl and spoon. Why had cereal suddenly become so exciting? Dr. Williams’s conversation came back to me, and I grabbed the vitamins from behind me and placed them in front of Mia.

“Doctor’s orders.” I think I sounded a little motherly. She just smiled and popped the cap and dumped one into her hand. It was the size of a VW. She frowned a bit.

“I’m going to need some water.” She rolled it around in her hand. I quickly retrieved a glass and filled it with water. It struck me that the last person I had ever served anything too was my Grandma. Here I was, grabbing items on command for Mia. I kept the revelation to myself as I watched Mia struggle to swallow the horse pill. She made a horrendous face.

“Do they dip those is shit before they bottle them?” She gagged a couple of times before she took another sip of the water. I laughed at her reaction, which I quickly realized was the wrong thing to do. She pushed the bottle toward me smiling.

“You need your vitamins too, Dale.” It was an obvious challenge. I had no intention of wimping out in front of Mia. I grabbed the bottle with bravado and spilled a pill into my hand. I tossed it to the back of my throat where it immediately got stuck. The flavor began to spread from the back of my tongue to the front. “Shit” was a kind description of the flavor. I guess my expression told the story because Mia burst into laughter. I grabbed her glass of water and drank with gusto. Anything to get that rancid flavor out of my mouth.

“That was horrible!” I exclaimed as Mia covered her mouth trying to hide more laughter. I loved her laughter. It brightened the whole room. I had to find a less disgusting way to generate more. “You have some breakfast. I’m going to clean up and shave so we can go shopping.” I walked around the counter and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. It felt good to share a bit of affection on a whim.

“Aren’t you going to eat?” She seemed a little concerned.

“Naw, never been a breakfast person.” I kept going toward the bathroom. It took about 20 minutes to clean up and locate some sweats that might not make Mia look like a complete fool. I had some T-shirts that had shrunk a while ago. I had no idea why I didn’t throw them away years ago. Good thing I didn’t. They might be the only things that would come close to fitting Mia.

My nose grabbed hold of pleasant scent. I was suddenly hungry, and I smiled my way back to the kitchen. Mia was stirring a pot of SpaghettiOs and heard me walking up behind her. “I have no idea why you and Adrian like this stuff.” I could feel her smile through the back of her head. I sat at the counter.

“It’s packed with memories. I grew up on the stuff.” I waited patiently why Mia filled a bowl and served me.

“Your mom make it for you too?” She leaned on her elbows as I ate the first spoonful. It was as good as ever.

“My grandmother raised me actually.” I smiled, remembering coming home from school with the same scent lofting through the air.

“Tell me about her.” Mia settled on a stool and waited for me to respond. I did. I told her about the most special woman I had ever known. I had never really talked to anyone about my Grandma. Mia listened intently to my words. I left out some of the reasons why I thought of my Grandma’s place as sanctuary. They seemed trivial now. It was so important a week ago, but today, right now, they were just history.

“Is that her on the wall?” Mia was pointing to the small picture hanging above the credenza in the hall.

“Yes, that’s her.” I felt proud pointing it out to someone. She was such a wonderful woman. Mia walked up to the picture and looked at it more closely. It pleased me that someone else would notice the picture.

“I love the butterfly broach she’s wearing.” Mia was touching it with her finger like it was real.

“It was her favorite.” I realized I kind of missed that broach. “Whenever she wore it, I knew she was happy. I think my Grandpa gave it to her.” I wondered where it was now. “I bet it’s in storage somewhere, Monica would know. She is the one who set up the hospice and the funeral and took care of everything.” I had forgotten about that. “That’s when I first met Monica.”

“Your Grandma must have loved you a lot.” Mia stated the obvious as she returned to the kitchen.

“And I her.” I added as I spooned another bit of heaven in my mouth. “It was hard when I lost her.” I didn’t know why I added the last part. I never really shared my feelings about her death with anyone.

“I hope our memories never die.” Mia was staring off into space.

“They never will as long as SpaghettiOs exist.” I smiled and took another spoonful. I could see that Mia liked that thought, stupid as it was. She reached out and caressed my cheek.

“I like the sound of that.” She smiled and started toward the bedroom. “I going to get cleaned up.” I finished my SpaghettiOs.

Mia returned wearing sweat pants obviously too big for her, cinched tight at the waist. She was wearing a pair of my flip flops, the only footwear that even came close to fitting. The T-shirt would never work. It was quite evident that she wasn’t wearing a bra. She went back and returned with two T-shirts on. That was much better. At least her nipples weren’t advertising. Mia thought my concern was silly, but she humored me with the additional shirt.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly   Twitter: @phicklephilly

The Beach House – Chapter 4

“Mia Perez?” I couldn’t place the name.

“Mia was the women who performed CPR on you for over fifteen minutes. They found her naked and quite high on heroin pumping away on you. They tell me it is the only reason you survived.” She almost seemed angry about my survival.

“Should I give her some money or something?” I again wasn’t sure of the protocol in these matters.

“You would give a junkie money? Might as well put a gun to her head.” Monica seemed pissed for some reason. I was a little shocked at her tone. “It cost a lot, but she is currently recuperating in your house. It took a long time to convince the police not to book her for grand theft and heroin use.” Why did Monica’s eyes seem to be so strained? “You are buying a replacement boat to make sure she avoids grand theft.”

“I didn’t steal the damn boat. I’m not buying a new one.” Who does Monica think she is? “What do you mean I have a junkie in my house?” Now I was getting pissed. Monica wasn’t deterred.

“Look asshole, you screwed up my tenth anniversary trip to outfit the house.” Her hands were becoming animated. “I was literally dragged out of bed when I was making it up to my husband when your heart stopped. We weren’t sleeping if you know what I mean.” She was being a bit louder than usual. I didn’t even know she was married. “If Charlie leaves me, or Ms. Perez ends up in jail or back on the street,” she ticked off her points on her fingers, “I will never answer your call again.” She ended up with her hands on her hips.

I was shocked by her tirade. She worked for me didn’t she? I almost told her to fuck off, but the thought of life without Monica was a depressing one. I calmed down. Money was always easy to get. “Okay, okay, I’ll buy the boat and pay for rehab.” That should take care of it. I quickly had a finger wagging in my face.

“No, no, Mister Selfish. You will be solely responsible for her rehabilitation. No hiring your way out of it.” She had a very determined look on her face. “She saved your life, God only knows why, and you owe her more than a brush-off.” She was trying to screw up my life. “You were lucky enough to be handed a junkkie who knew CPR when you needed it. Now you have deal with it.”

“What the hell do I know about handling a heroin addict?” I was confused why she thought this would even work.

“There is a Dr. Williams taking care of her right now. He’s a detox specialist that you are paying a lot of money for. Ask him.” Her hands were back on her hips.

“This has gone far enough.” It was time to put my foot down. “I don’t want a junkie or anyone else in my house, and I am certainly not going to play social worker.” Let’s see if she is willing to give up on my paychecks. She called my bluff.

“Fine! Then this is the last conversation we will ever have.” Her voice was quiet and her expression had lost the anger. She turned and walked toward the door. I was about to let her go when visions of the hundreds of people I would need to deal with flashed before my eyes. Monica was irreplaceable as far as I knew. Life would begin to really suck.

Before her hand hit the door knob I relented. “Monica…” She turned toward me. “I’ll do it!” I felt like I was ten years old finally conceding to clean my room.

“Yes, Mr. Tomlinson.” She smiled and headed out the door. No need for goodbyes.

I returned home the next day with an armload of pamphlets on cardiac health. I had an appointment with a recommended cardiologist in two weeks. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I feared he would tell me SpaghettiOs were off limits. Of course, if I died, I couldn’t eat them either. Maybe I just needed to stay away from jellyfish.

A young man exited the hall bathroom rolling down his sleeves. “Hi, you must be Mr. Tomlinson. I’m Wally Williams.” He held out his hand. He looked a bit too young to be a doctor. I took his hand and shook it.

“Monica says you’re a detox specialist?” I wanted to verify that I wasn’t going to be doing this without professional help.

“Yep, kind of evolved into the job. I started a clinic in a pretty bad neighborhood. You can say it was on-the-job training.” He seemed pleased with his chosen direction. I sensed he was a do-gooder who was in it for the satisfaction. “I usually don’t do house calls, but I must say, your generous donation to the clinic made me rethink that position.” He chuckled. I tried to not let on that I had no idea how generous I was.

“I’m glad you’re here Doc. I’m kind of committed to seeing that Ms. Perez gets through this.” I tried to sound grateful. I was hoping he would handle the heavy lifting. “I’ve really never done anything like this before.”

“You missed the easy day. Today and tomorrow will most likely be the worst.” His expression became more serious. “It’s like a bad flu with a bunch of very ugly side effects thrown in. Just make sure she doesn’t try to sleep on her back to avoid aspiration of any discharge. It helps to make sure she stays hydrated, especially if diarrhea kicks in.” He was sounding like he wasn’t staying. “I put some Epsom salts next to the tub. If she complains of itchy or crawly skin, put her in a hot bath with the salts.” He was reaching for his suit jacket that was lying over the back of the chair.

“You’re leaving?” I felt like I was being thrown into the deep end of the pool.

“I’ll stop back in tomorrow morning. I left my card on the table.” He pointed to the end table. “Call me if you run into something unexpected.” Obviously, I wasn’t generous enough with my donation.

“I’m really not qualified to handle this, Doc.” I am sure it sounded like I was pleading. I meant it to be more instructive to illicit a guilt reaction. He just chuckled.

“Mia doesn’t need a doctor now. She just needs someone who cares. In a couple of days we can start the real work.” He was heading for the door. I considered tackling him, but discounted it due to recent heart issues. It was just two days he said. I can suffer through it to keep Monica on board.

“Where’s Mia now?” I wasn’t even sure where to start.

“In the master suite. It had the closest bathroom.” He opened the front door. “See you around nine tomorrow.” Just like that, he was gone. It was the first person in many years that I didn’t want to leave.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly   Twitter: @phicklephilly

 

Phicklephilly Special Report: A CURE FOR CANCER? ISRAELI SCIENTISTS SAY THEY THINK THEY FOUND ONE!

https://www.jpost.com/HEALTH-SCIENCE/A-cure-for-cancer-Israeli-scientists-say-they-think-they-found-one-578939

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly   Twitter: @phicklephilly

Phicklephilly – 2019 – 1000 Posts! – We Did It!!!

“If you live a life that is without the elements of who you really are you will never be happy.”

I’ve just been notified by WordPress that after 2 1/2 years of writing this blog I’ve written a 1000 posts!!!

It’s been an incredible journey to finally be writing again. I started out in this life as an artist. Then a musician, and then a writer.

But life, marriage, a child, and a career removed me from all of that. Other people needed me and the bills had to be paid.

But after 10 years I decided to write again.

I created Phicklephilly in the spring of 2016 and then did nothing.

By the fall I asked myself, is this something you’re going to talk about in bars with your friends and never do? I had discussed the notion of writing a blog about my life with many of my friends. One who is a better and more visceral writer than myself.

But I started to write.

I published a post about a waitress I had been infatuated with for some time on a Monday.

I worried no one would read it or like it. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to come up with content every Monday.

But I did.

Then I started writing updates for a Wednesday release.

Once the wheel started to roll, I did what needed to be done.

I wrote.

Writing is a hard lonely existence.

It’s something that you have to push yourself to do. Especially in the beginning. But like anything you really want you push yourself to do.

You begin a fitness program and you stick with it. The muscles grow and the fat disappears. You keep at it and then it gets easier.

I started to write like mad. Cranking out content until I had something happening  few times a week.

 

Then I found other things I liked and started to write about them. The Tanning salon, Tales of Rock, Crazy dates I’d been on in the past. Celebrities I’d met, and most of all, past relationships.

Some beautiful. Some bittersweet.

I’m not a great writer, but I kept at it. Like a pilot, I put in a certain number of hours until the plane called Phicklephilly soared.

And now here I am with all of you my loyal followers and readers after two and a half  years of writing.

1000 posts and over 50,000 views!

I couldn’t be happier.

 

If you want to do something, don’t talk about it. Like Nike says: Just do it.

Write everyday.

Push yourself. Who cares who reads it. Just create and express yourself.

 

I GUARANTEE  you that if you start writing and keep at it, the rewards will be like pieces of gold falling into your lap.

When you write from the heart and tell the truth about everything in your life, (Not everything. Keep some of yourself for yourself. That belong to you.)  You will find this liberating weight lifted from your shoulders.

Get it all out. The good, the bad and the ugly. Don’t be afraid. It’s just words. But it will lighten the load you’ve been carrying around your whole life.

Once you write it down and publish it… It’s gone but not invisible. But it’s out of you for the first time in your life. It’s now safely on the paper. You can understand what you’ve experienced so much better once you write about it.

You can look back on your work and your life and it’ so much easier to process, forgive and understand.

 

Writing Phicklephilly has been the most singular liberating experience of my adult life.

 

And there is so much more to tell.

I have so much more to say.

Knowing that these stories are now out on the internet forever. Even after I’m dead it is comforting.

Because they are no longer my responsibility. WordPress carries the weight for me now.

But by writing all of these stories guarantees my immortality.

 

I don’t need that, but it’s so much to live a simple, happy, and uncluttered life once you write.

I love most of what I’ve written. Everybody knows I hate writing dating and relationship advice but I found a way to keep it going for my readers who enjoy it.

I think my followers now know that I write Phicklephilly because of my simple love of creating. I’ve always been that way since I was a child. Drawing a picture. Sculpting something out of clay. Writing a song. Writing a book and a screenplay. Creating a comic strip.

I am an entity that apparently must always be creating and am happiest when I’m doing that very thing.

“If you live a life that is without the elements of who you really are you will not be happy.”

I feel happier than I have ever felt in my entire life.

I’ve lived a big exciting life. I’ve done a lot and experienced much. But it really comes down to a few simple components for me and please take heed if you wish.

  1. Your health is essential. You have that. you’re already winning.
  2. Surround yourself with good people. Whether they are friends, family or even some wonderful pet companions.
  3. Have something to do every day that you like to do. If you hate your job, find a better one that suits your life needs. It’s a third of your life, work. Why spend your day being miserable? Do something you don’t hate every day. It’s a short life. Enjoy yourself!
  4. To love and be loved. This is a tough one. Most people need this one. Love yourself and find someone else to love. If they love you back… Awesome!
  5. Have something to look FORWARD to. I don’t care what it is. Just have something. Brunch with a friend, a red envelope arriving from Netflix, a party, a day off, something you want to do that you made time to do. 

 

That’s it.

The rest is just stuff and bullshit.

Focus on the top 5.

 

Thank you one and all for taking the time out of your busy lives to take the time to read my little blog about dating, relationships and a bunch of stuff from my life.

I wish I could throw a big party and invite each and every one of you and we could all hang out and really get to know one another.

I’ve had the joy to become friends with some of the other talented writers on WordPress and it has been an absolute delight.

So many great people on here.

I also really appreciate my friends who have read and have subscribed to Phicklephilly. I love knowing they are here with me on this journey of self discovery and I hope some of this will inspire them to push forward on their lives.

Two and a half years ago there was nothing. I decided to start to write and now this is here.

You can create anything you want. You just have to do it and do it every day.

Look what can happen if you put your mind to something.

I’m still going to try in 2019 to get a couple of books published on Amazon Kindle this year!

 

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

 

Anything can be done, and you can do it too.

Please reach out to me for anything. I’ll always get back to as fast as I can.

 

My heart is full of love.

 

Life is good and my daughter Lorelei is healthy and happy, so that’s all I need.

 

Thank you one and all. This means the world to me and I hope you continue to enjoy the content I provide in 2019 and beyond!

 

There’s so much more to the story!!!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly   Twitter: @phicklephilly

 

Sun Stories: Aishah – The Wages of Fear – Chapter 3

One study indicates that anywhere from 5–7% of the world population is affected by severe claustrophobia, but only a small percentage of these people receive some kind of treatment for the disorder.

Our girl Aishah has severe claustrophobia. Let’s look at the science behind this disorder.

Claustrophobia is the fear of being enclosed in a small space or room and unable to escape. It can be triggered by many situations or stimuli, including elevators crowded to capacity, windowless rooms, small cars and even tight-necked clothing. It is typically classified as an anxiety disorder, which often results in panic attacks. The onset of claustrophobia has been attributed to many factors, including a reduction in the size of the amygdala, classical conditioning, or a genetic predisposition to fear small spaces.

One study indicates that anywhere from 5–7% of the world population is affected by severe claustrophobia, but only a small percentage of these people receive some kind of treatment for the disorder.

The term claustrophobia comes from Latin claustrum “a shut in place” and Greek φόβος, phóbos, “fear”.

Claustrophobia is typically thought to have two key symptoms: fear of restriction and fear of suffocation. A typical claustrophobic will fear restriction in at least one, if not several, of the following areas: small rooms, locked rooms, MRI or CAT scan apparatus, cars, airplanes, trains, tunnels, underwater caves, cellars, elevators and caves. Additionally, the fear of restriction can cause some claustrophobia to fear trivial matters such as sitting in a haircutter’s chair or waiting in line at a grocery store simply out of a fear of confinement to a single space. Another possible site for claustrophobic attacks is a dentist’s chair, particularly during dental surgery; in that scenario, the fear is not of pain, but of being confined.

Often, when confined to an area, claustrophobics begin to fear suffocation, believing that there may be a lack of air in the area to which they are confined.

Claustrophobia is the fear of having no escape, and being closed into a small space. It is typically classified as an anxiety disorder and often times results in a rather severe panic attack. It is also confused sometimes with Cleithrophobia (the fear of being trapped).

The fears of enclosed spaces is an irrational fear. Most claustrophobic people who find themselves in a room without windows consciously know that they aren’t in danger, yet these same people will be afraid, possibly terrified to the point of incapacitation, and many do not know why.

The amygdala is one of the smallest structures in the brain, but also one of the most powerful. The amygdala is needed for the conditioning of fear, or the creation of a fight-or-flight response. A fight-or-flight response is created when a stimulus is associated with a grievous situation. Cheng believes that a phobia’s roots are in this fight-or-flight response.

In generating a fight-or-flight response, the amygdala acts in the following way: The amygdala’s anterior nuclei associated with fear each other. Nuclei send out impulses to other nuclei, which influence respiratory rate, physical arousal, the release of adrenaline, blood pressure, heart rate, behavioral fear response, and defensive responses, which may include freezing up. These reactions constitute an ‘autonomic failure’ in a panic attack.

Amygdala
A study done by Fumi Hayano found that the right amygdala was smaller in patients who suffered from panic disorders. The reduction of size occurred in a structure known as the corticomedial nuclear group which the CE nucleus belongs to. This causes interference, which in turn causes abnormal reactions to aversive stimuli in those with panic disorders. In claustrophobic people, this translates as panicking or overreacting to a situation in which the person finds themselves physically confined.

Classical conditioning

Claustrophobia results as the mind comes to connect confinement with danger. It often comes as a consequence of a traumatic childhood experience, although the onset can come at any point in an individual’s life. Such an experience can occur multiple times, or only once, to make a permanent impression on the mind.[6] The majority of claustrophobic participants in an experiment done by Lars-Göran Öst reported that their phobia had been “acquired as a result of a conditioning experience.” In most cases, claustrophobia seems to be the result of past experiences.

Conditioning experiences

A few examples of common experiences that could result in the onset of claustrophobia in children (or adults) are as follows:

(All equally terrifying)
A child (or, less commonly, an adult) is shut into a pitch-black room and cannot find the door or the light-switch.
A child gets shut into a box.
A child is locked in a closet.
A child falls into a deep pool and cannot swim.
A child gets separated from their parents in a large crowd and gets lost.
A child sticks their head between the bars of a fence and then cannot get back out.
A child crawls into a hole and gets stuck, or cannot find their way back.
A child is left in their parent’s car, truck, or van.
A child is in a crowded area with no windows (a classroom, basement, etc.) and has run-ins with other people, or is put there as a means of punishment.

The term ‘past experiences’, according to one author, can extend to the moment of birth. In John A. Speyrer’s “Claustrophobia and the Fear of Death and Dying”, the reader is brought to the conclusion that claustrophobia’s high frequency is due to birth trauma, about which he says is “one of the most horrendous experiences we can have during our lifetime,” and it is in this helpless moment that the infant develops claustrophobia.

In an MRI, the patient is inserted into the tube.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can trigger claustrophobia. An MRI scan entails lying still for some time in a narrow tube. In a study involving claustrophobia and MRI, it was reported that 13% of patients experienced a panic attack during the procedure. The procedure has been linked not only to the triggering of ‘preexisting’ claustrophobia, but also to the onset of the condition in some people. Panic attacks experienced during the procedure can stop the person from adjusting to the situation, thereby perpetuating the fear.

Miners in small spaces

The conditions inside a mine
S.J. Rachman tells of an extreme example, citing the experience of 21 miners. These miners were trapped underground for 14 days, during which six of the miners died of suffocation. After their rescue, ten of the miners were studied for ten years. All but one were greatly affected by the experience, and six developed phobias to “confining or limiting situations.” The only miner who did not develop any noticeable symptoms was the one who acted as leader.[11]

Another factor that could cause the onset of claustrophobia is “information received.[7]” As Aureau Walding states in “Causes of Claustrophobia”, many people, especially children, learn who and what to fear by watching parents or peers. This method does not only apply to observing a teacher, but also observing victims. Vicarious classical conditioning also includes when a person sees another person exposed directly to an especially unpleasant situation.[12] This would be analogous to observing someone getting stuck in a tight space, suffocated, or any of the other examples that were listed above.

Prepared phobia

There is research that suggests that claustrophobia isn’t entirely a classically conditioned or learned phobia. It is not necessarily an inborn fear, but it is very likely what is called a prepared phobia. As Erin Gersley says in “Phobias: Causes and Treatments,” humans are genetically predisposed to become afraid of things that are dangerous to them. Claustrophobia may fall under this category because of its “wide distribution… early onset and seeming easy acquisition, and its non-cognitive features.[13]” The acquisition of claustrophobia may be part of a vestigial evolutionary survival mechanism,[5] a dormant fear of entrapment and/or suffocation that was once important for the survival of humanity and could be easily awakened at any time.[14] Hostile environments in the past would have made this kind of pre-programmed fear necessary, and so the human mind developed the capacity for “efficient fear conditioning to certain classes of dangerous stimuli”.

Rachman provides an argument for this theory in his article: “Phobias”. He agrees with the statement that phobias generally concern objects that constitute a direct threat to human survival, and that many of these phobias are quickly acquired because of an “inherited biological preparedness”.[15] This brings about a prepared phobia, which is not quite innate, but is widely and easily learned. As Rachman explains in the article: “The main features of prepared phobias are that they are very easily acquired, selective, stable, biologically significant, and probably [non-cognitive].” ‘Selective’ and ‘biologically significant’ mean that they only relate to things that directly threaten the health, safety, or survival of an individual. ‘Non-cognitive’ suggests that these fears are acquired unconsciously. Both factors point to the theory that claustrophobia is a prepared phobia that is already pre-programmed into the mind of a human being.

Separating the fear of restriction and fear of suffocation[edit]

Many experts who have studied claustrophobia claim that it consists of two separable components: fear of suffocation and fear of restriction. In an effort to fully prove this assertion, a study was conducted by three experts in order to clearly prove a difference. The study was conducted by issuing a questionnaire to 78 patients who received MRIs.

The data was compiled into a “fear scale” of sorts with separate subscales for suffocation and confinement. Theoretically, these subscales would be different if the contributing factors are indeed separate. The study was successful in proving that the symptoms are separate. Therefore, according to this study, in order to effectively combat claustrophobia, it is necessary to attack both of these underlying causes.

However, because this study only applied to people who were able to finish their MRI, those who were unable to complete the MRI were not included in the study. It is likely that many of these people dropped out because of a severe case of claustrophobia. Therefore, the absence of those who suffer the most from claustrophobia could have skewed these statistics.

A group of students attending the University of Texas at Austin were first given an initial diagnostic and then given a score between 1 and 5 based on their potential to have claustrophobia. Those who scored a 3 or higher were used in the study. The students were then asked how well they felt they could cope if forced to stay in a small chamber for an extended period of time. Concerns expressed in the questions asked were separated into suffocation concerns and entrapment concerns in order to distinguish between the two perceived causes of claustrophobia. The results of this study showed that the majority of students feared entrapment far more than suffocation. Because of this difference in type of fear, it can yet again be asserted that there is a clear difference in these two symptoms.

Cognitive therapy

Cognitive therapy is a widely accepted form of treatment for most anxiety disorders.[16] It is also thought to be particularly effective in combating disorders where the patient doesn’t actually fear a situation but, rather, fears what could result from being in such a situation.[16] The ultimate goal of cognitive therapy is to modify distorted thoughts or misconceptions associated with whatever is being feared; the theory is that modifying these thoughts will decrease anxiety and avoidance of certain situations.[16] For example, cognitive therapy would attempt to convince a claustrophobic patient that elevators are not dangerous but are, in fact, very useful in getting you where you would like to go faster. A study conducted by S.J. Rachman shows that cognitive therapy decreased fear and negative thoughts/connotations by an average of around 30% in claustrophobic patients tested, proving it to be a reasonably effective method.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am &12pm  EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly                                 Facebook: phicklephilly

Ambria – Chapter 8 – Wednesday Encounter

Ambria and I had a lovely little meetup on Monday, we decided to meet on Tuesday at noon for lunch. I figured Taco Tuesday at Drinkers Pub was in order.

She was down.

Tuesday morning I got a text from her to confirm. All good. Then I get a call from Achilles. He says Jill was supposed to open the salon today and she was a no-show.

“We just fucking hired her!”

“I know. Can you go over there and work?”

“Fuck. Okay.”

He’s my business partner. I can’t let him down. We’re having a crisis, and the clients need to served.

I call Ambria and explain my dilemma. I can tell she’s not only disappointed, but seems suspicious. That worries me. It’s early in the relationship. But this is a legit last-minute cancellation. I feel bad about it, but we can do tacos next week. That’s why I called her and didn’t text her. That would have been lame.

So the next day, I decide to get a haircut from Jimmy, the old guy I met at 1518 Bar and Grill. He’s been cutting hair for 40 years in the same location on Sansom Street. His barber shop is on the 2nd floor over Oscar’s. (Dive bar) I like Jimmy, so I figured get the guy who has a great history, and once cut singer Eddie Fisher’s hair.

After my haircut, which looks fabulous, I go down to 1518 for a glass of wine. I text my friend Jillian, to confirm that we’re meeting for happy hour. Of course Jillian bails saying her boss gave her a bunch more work to do. Lame.

So I text Sarika. I’m good with having a drink with the hottest girl I know. Sarika texts back that she’s in Boston all week.

I text my buddy Robert. He says I can meet him to go pick up his baby son at day care and then we can walk back to Fairmount, and have a drink at McCrossin’s by his house. That sounds lame, and I pass on that.

Then I get a text from Ambria that she has a drug dinner at Ocean Prime at 7pm, and can I meet up around 4pm to hang before. (drug dinner?) One of the pharmaceutical firms that works with the hospital where she works is throwing the staff a dinner.

I tell her I’d love to see her. After the taco Tuesday fail, I felt this would be my opportunity to reconnect with her and explain the whole situation to her.

She comes in to the bar and I’m there sipping my chardonnay with a side of ice. She looks great. Her hair is looking chic and she has a lovely light blue dress on. She gives me a hug and a peck, then takes a seat next to me. This is better than any happy hour I would have had with anyone else.

I tell her the whole tragic tale of why Jill bailed at the salon and how we had to fire her. (See: Sun Stories – Jill – 2016 to Present – Fired)

We hang out and chat and there is more hand holding, eye gazing and giggling. I ask her if we can slide over to Dan Dan so I can get something to eat. She’s fine with it. We get there and my boy Chet is behind the stick. He asks her what she’d like to drink as he sets down a chardonnay with a side of ice down on the bar in front of me.

My boy’s on point.

She orders a glass of rose’. I get some chicken pot stickers and dry rub wings. We’re chatting and munching the food. She only eats one of the wings because she’s about to go to a nice sit down dinner around the corner. I’m happy I got to see her, and express to her again how grateful I am that she was understanding about me bailing on our taco lunch an hour before we were supposed to meet. She is very understanding and just said that I sounded a little weird on the phone, but it’s probably because I was stressed about the situation. I agree with her and I’m glad every thing is hunky dory with us now.

I ask her if she’d like to try again for the movies on Monday. She says she automatically believed that was going to happen and is already planning on it. That makes me happy. I love going to a matinee in the afternoon on a workday in the summer. I always feel like I’m playing hooky. Hot and sunny outside. Nice and cool in the dark theater while the story unfolds larger than life before you. The buttery popcorn, crunchy candy and ice-cold fountain soda make for the perfect date. (Plus for you guys with little game, you don’t have to talk for two hours!)

We wrap it up at Dan Dan, and I walk her over to Ocean Prime. I tell her to have fun and I’ll be thinking about her. She gives me some sweet kisses and in she goes. I walk down to the corner and light a cig. I see I have a text from my friend Church. That’s odd. He knows I was supposed to meet Jillian for happy hour. The text came in at 5:30. It’s 6:45 now. I text him that I’m on my way. He texts back that he got bored and left.

Strange.

Well, that saves me spending any more money tonight. I’ll go home and write some more. Ambria is great.

Well, until Movie Matinee Monday, I’ll see you all later!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

Facebook: phicklephilly                              Instagram: @phicklephilly