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Small Spaces This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By Anonymous, Charlotte, NC

I absolutely cannot stand closed-in spaces. I discovered this fact when I was just five years old and got trapped in a bathroom stall. The stall door reached from the floor to the ceiling, and I remember feeling as though the walls were closing in on me and the stall was becoming smaller and smaller. I started to hyperventilate. I remembered screaming and crying hysterically, and when I was finally able to open the door, I knew I would never be able to think of small, crowded spaces the same way again.

Some say that claustrophobia is not a real thing, but it is for me. As I grew up, some activities caused me so much anxiety that I could not enjoy them. I learned to avoid situations that could make me freak out and make my phobia noticeable. I became ashamed of it, always wanting to hide it. If I was not able to avoid a small space, I did what I could to keep my anxiety in check and mostly unnoticed.

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