Here are a few more answers to the question about readers discovering that they were/are claustrophobic.
"Back in the late 1970s we were trying to get our son Wesley to do an MRI," wrote Ken Stout. "He was scared of it and I volunteered to slide in to show him how safe it was. I told them in no uncertain terms to slide me back out."
Jeffrey Neuberger never thought of himself as claustrophobic. An MRI forced him to reassess.
Ray Blowers recalled a different sort of experience. "It happened eons ago when I was just a tot, but I still shudder when the frightening episode comes back to me. It had to do with a discarded area rug on our front porch. Some neighborhood bullies decided to roll me up in it just for laughs. I was hysterical by the time my mother rescued me."
Barbara Lee was touring a network of caves in South Africa in 1970. "You were supposed to go down one part of the cave, go through a tube (a very small tube) and come back up the other side. I was certain I was stuck in the tube and would never see the light of day again. Needless to say, a great deal of panic ensued and I have NEVER been back in a cave since."
Diane Newcomer was about 11 when visiting a series of caves in Oregon. "We came to a place where the guide told us it was our last chance to leave the tour. I stayed, being too shy to leave my parents. To this day, I think I made the wrong choice."
Medical Lake's Douglas Jasmer shared this. "We were driving in Austria and entered the Arlberg tunnel. I don't know how long it was but because it had a couple of curves you could not see the other end. I had this feeling of it pressing down on us. I had to get out. The feeling left when I could see the opening coming up. We took another route back to our hotel."
Once on a camping trip, Julie Prafke was sleeping in the back of a covered pickup truck. "I was sleeping next to the cab of the truck with our daughters in the middle and my husband on the outside. Sometime during the night I awoke to find myself wedged against the wall with no clearance on either side of me and the roof right above my head. I thought I'd been buried alive."
Getting stuck by herself on an elevator in England helped Debbie Kitselman realize confined spaces were not her cup of tea.
And Bridget Freeman learned a lesson when she was a small child. "My many older siblings and I used to play a really stupid sort of tag in our basement on cement floors. We put zipped sleeping bags over our heads and proceeded to bounce off one another like bumper cars. Because I was the smallest, I always fell down first and became the bottom of the so-called dog pile. My palms are beginning to sweat and my heart rate is elevating even as I type these words!
"It was a terrible experience to be buried under five or six sleeping bag-clad bodies for what seemed like an eternity. The experience did teach me to be able to talk myself down while being stuck in enclosed spaces such as MRI tubes and airplanes. Nothing has ever been as bad as those childhood experiences and I simply remind myself of that."