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Escalaphobia: My Anxiety and fear of escalators

A travel blogger’s Quarantine Story

I am one of the few people on earth that has been suffering from Escalaphobia (for 4 years now)Ironic for someone who travels a lot and have been to and from various countries for almost 23 years now. Billions of human beings have been using escalators all over the world everyday, yet for some reason these machines are indeed a scary form of transportation for some people, that includes me.

In this blog post you will read some facts about ‘Escalaphobia’ and how it became part of my reality.

TIMELINE

2013. I have experienced one traumatic event for which I am not allowed to discuss nor do I find it safe to share in public. It was really traumatizing that in my case, I suspect this may have caused my anxiety which eventually lead to my fear of using escalators.

2017 was the year I found out that I have Escalaphobia. My family and I were happily on vacation in Hong Kong. I remember I was wearing heals when all of a sudden, it was my turn to use the escalator, I felt my legs went totally numb. I froze in the middle and started tearing up.

I tried searching for my case and it lead me to discover that what I’m experiencing is an anxiety attack which have caused Escalaphobia to be part of my reality.

Overcoming and facing my fear

Solo trip in Hong Kong, aboard Aqua Luna Junk Ship

Solo trip in Hong Kong, aboard Aqua Luna Junk Ship (circa 2018)

2018. I went on a solo travel. Asked my parents to let go of me for the first time, told them I needed that break as I felt like I am definitely in need of aiding myself. It took months before they allowed me to fly on my own.

I went on a solo travel to Hong Kong (I frequently come here with family for business, sometimes for vacation and alike). It was indeed a liberating experience. I discovered a lot about myself.

Hong Kong is a very busy place on earth. I had no family member with me, I avoided meeting Hongkonger friends during that trip as I focused on healing first. I restricted myself from taking the taxi so I took the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) a major public transport network serving Hong Kong and used various sets of public transportation most of the time. I have to admit it was really scary at first, yet I eventually got the hang of it.

I lived in Tsing Yi, Hong Kong for 2 weeks and traveled to Central, Hong Kong everyday, you see these are end-to-end stations of the MTR. Doing this exposed me to a lot of escalators. I really thought of exposing myself that much so I can test my ability. I was frustrated, I wanted to free myself from anxiety badly. Safe to say, I did face my fear that time. The solo trip played a huge part to my healing process. I can’t thank my parents enough for letting me go that time, I needed it. I needed it so bad and I’m beyond grateful that they allowed me.

 

SYMPTOMS: How would you know if you have Escalaphobia?

Based on my personal experiences plus on some reliable medical sources, below are the symptoms:

  • Shivering, shaking or trembling
  • Feeling sick or dizzy
  • Shortness of breath or heart palpitations
  • Crying or screaming if forced to use one (Well in my case, I cried several times out of frustration.)

In the worst cases, escalaphobia could even cause a panic attack.

 

TREATMENT : How did I cope up?

I never took any medications, although for some people and some cases they maybe prescribed to take medicine(s).

In my case, I had a support system. I kept my friends closer, I tried to make them understand my situation and they did. I have been vocal about it to my family and to my boyfriend. I allowed these important people to guide me through it. However, I was embarrassed to share this to other people, I was scared that they may judge me. It was just recently when I felt the need to share my story.

Also according to thesun.co.uk , escalaphobia can be treated using the same methods as any other phobia. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a type of counselling, is a common medical treatment. While some seek help from hypnotherapy, or take medication for the side effects of anxiety.

I have also been quite honest enough about this part of my life on my recent Vlog posted on YouTube. If you still have time you may watch it below. If you like my content please don’t forget to subscribe, enjoy watching!

Hoping this B(V)log will also help other people who are currently feeling anxiety brought by the pandemic and caused by the extended stress of confinement. Please stay safe everyone, so we can continue hugging horizons together again someday. I will see you all on the road soon.

 

Love,

Levy Amosin

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