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Anyone else find they wake up feeling claustrophobic/panicky in the middle of the night in a tent?

(12 Posts)
Fimbo Mon 04-Jul-11 11:14:12

Have only been camping 3 times. I keep waking up and feeling the need that I have to get out of the tent. It is freaking me out.

The only time I have ever had anything like this before was when I had a c-section after dd and was in a room on my own. I just had an overwhelming urge to run out the room and find dh.

I am scared of it happening again sad

MisSalLaneous Mon 04-Jul-11 11:28:29

Not quite so strong, but I get this nervous, pressing feeling if I'm in small, cramped spaces. I'm ok with normal tents, but have found that one with a bit of height and a feeling of openness is ideal. We've got a 4m bell tent, and it's a world apart, really. Is there any chance you could try and sit in one to see if it makes any difference? It would be such a shame to miss out on camping if you wanted to continue because of this.

If not possible, would sleeping with your head nearest to a "window" or the door (for more light), or playing some soft background noise when feeling this way (earphones if night) help?

Fimbo Mon 04-Jul-11 11:37:15

I manage to calm myself down, but now I am fear of it happening, so don't want to end up in a vicious circle. Our tent is quite high and I can stand up ok. It's just when I am in the sleeping pod bit. Perhaps maybe if I was on my own in the living area bit I would be ok. Maybe I will try that next time. I am fine in the daytime and when I go to bed, it is just when I wake up, I feel I can't breathe and have the urge to get out. Weird.


MisSalLaneous Mon 04-Jul-11 12:02:08

Hmm, can only just imagine it must be hard, as that waking up moments difficult to control. Hope it works out ok.

notwavingjustironing Mon 04-Jul-11 12:48:28

I sleep in our living area, and the DCs sleep in one of the bedroom pods. I know what you mean, I wonder if I would be claustrophobic in the other pod, but I tell myself its for the safety of my boys wink.

But a tent you can stand up in definately makes a difference. I do get slightly alarmed by those ones you have to crawl in SAS like......

Fimbo Mon 04-Jul-11 13:53:47

Oh there was a couple there in a 2 man tent, I really don't think I would be able to do it. Hats off to them as they had also come by bike, but no not for me. I would be hopeless at a festival, mind you, you probably get too drunk to care! Maybe that's the answer. Thanks both.

milkybarsrus Mon 04-Jul-11 22:03:04

poor thing fimbo! the first time i felt claustrophobic was in a tent unfortunately. I had exactly the same feeling you had (wanting to run) and I had never experienced anything like it before,I was really terrified and suprized at myself. I still go camping and thoroughly enjoy it, but I now except that I have to have space. Theres no way we could be in a row like sardines (theres 5 of us). a crawl in tent is out of the question, I have to be able to stand up easily in it, I would hate that coffin feeling.Try this (it works for me).
make sure your tent is roomy
sleep with a torch that you can turn on quickly, that way having some light when I wake in the night re - assures me that things aren't closing in on me which if you are camping where there is not much light can happen.
try to sleep near the inner tent zip exit - i have never had to escape, but i easily get back off to sleep knowing that i could if i wanted too!
I hope this helps, give it a go, don't let the fear of what happened before stop you camping, just except how you feel, tell yourself you will be ok, and enjoysmile.

Fimbo Tue 05-Jul-11 11:24:33

Thank you milkybarsrus very good tips there. Sorry you have experienced it too but thank you for sharing as I don't feel such a loony.

I had left a page open on the pc by mistake looking at claustrophobia in a tent and dh saw it, don't think he quite realised how shaken I was with it and he has been wonderfully supportive. I think I will try sleeping by the inner tent zip so I can calm myself.

needanewname Tue 05-Jul-11 13:54:13

Hi Fimbo, what tent do you have?

We used to have the Outwell Hartford, and although I never had panic attacks, I hated the pods and how enclosed I felt (though it was just me and put up with it!) I finally managed to talk DH into a bell tent and its a completely different experience, no feeling cramped, everything open, breathable and basically wonderful.

Am gutted we have no more weekends booked in til end August sad

Fimbo Tue 05-Jul-11 14:20:16

We have a Vango Icarus 600. There were tipis on the site we were on at the weekend and they looked so cool. May need to progress to a bell tent eventually. We only do weekend camping as we are within striking distance of the North Norfolk coast. It was very hot at the weekend and the light woke me up a lot too.

It is hard to trying to find campsites that will let you book just weekends for July or August a lot seem to insist on a full week or 5 days min.

needanewname Tue 05-Jul-11 22:58:36

We're weekend campers too. I can honestly say that our new tent has changed the way we camp. its so much more relaxed, less stressful (not that it was ever that bad, but taking 1hr to put up a tent in the wind/rain = not happy campers!

If you can be bothered to get to Kent, East/West Sussex / Essex there are plenty of campsites that will do weekends only.

MollieO Tue 05-Jul-11 23:39:49

I get that feeling so I sleep with the inner zip partly undone and a torch nearby. It has happened every night I go camping but the panic subsides quickly if I can switch on a light and see I can get out of the ten easily. It hasn't put me off camping. I have a bell tent in addition to more traditional tents and get panic attacks in that too.

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