Saturday, November 5, 2011

hello. my name is kristen. and i'm a theatrophobic.

it seems odd, i know.

but in my twenty-third year of life i seem to have developed a phobia.

and no. not a phobia like normal people. you know, of heights or giant spiders. or of the color red (yeah, real thing. ereuthophobia. and no, that really isn't 'normal' but still...)

nothing ordinary for me.

instead, i have developed a fear of movie theaters. i know, right?

you think i am joking.

but wait.

let me go back.

back to the first time my theatrophobia kicked in. it was late july/early august of this year. i was sitting in the cinemark orem movie theater. seeing rise of the planet of the apes (which i don't highly recommend. see it, don't see. i don't think it will really affect your life either way--other than a complete loss of two valuable hours. but whatev.)

everything started normal.

theater was packed--sold out. probably opening weekend or something.

previews came and went. and the apes appeared (highly educational evening--because i also learned that apes make me super uncomfortable) and i started thinking, "sooooo....i am really going to spend the next two hours watching this odd looking man-monkey grow up and become the leader of an ape revolution?"

james franco, you sexy idiot.

and then the moment hit me.

i gasped for breath.

and not at franco's good looks or the fact that the ape could-in-fact speak. (super believable--by the way). but at absolutely nothing at all. yes, i was struggling for air...for no reason that i could think of.

after a moment of collecting myself. refusing to panic. i took a few deep breaths and relaxed back into my seat.

odd, i thought to myself.

i've never been claustrophobic. i don't smoke. and i've never once used an inhaler.

oh well--i figured. a little glitch in the system.

a few minutes passed. and suddenly another urge to gasp for air.

what on earth? i could not figure out what was going on.

the rest of the movie went on this way--only it became fairly constant. rather than having a few minutes of normal breathing, i was just flat out struggling. for the first time in my life, getting air in and out of my lungs was a mental chore. and a focus of survival (okay, slightly dramatic. but it was an intense moment of my life)

we left the theater and went on with evening (yes, this was a date. thank heavens i didn't collapse in the movie theater, right?)

some yogurt and a game or two later and i realized that i had completely forgotten about my struggle for oxygen during planet of the apes. then again, maybe it was caesar the ape i was truly trying to forget about.

i shrugged it off. convincing myself it was a once-ever type thing.

a week or two passed. and an opportunity for another movie came around. and i went--not even remembering the experience i had last time around.

and sure enough. it was in fact--not the apes or james franco's charm that left my body unable to inhale and exhale.

this happened again.

and again.

fine. simply fine. previews come and previews go. movies begin. and my theatrophobia kicks right on in.

it has reached a point now where i pretty much avoid theaters all together. and if i can't, i take a bottle of water, an inhaler, a brown paper bag, and a bag of swedish fish.

okay, not really.

but i do take swedish fish. cause they are my fave-fave.

and then...cross my fingers and hope for the best. my theatrophobia will dictate the rest. and unfortunately, it doesn't look like we will be curing this problem anytime soon. according to my research, theatrophobia is often caused by traumatic experiences in your early childhood.


i'm wondering if my near-death collision with the gingerbread-man during my opening performance as a taffy in the california nutcracker had anything to do with this....packed theater, ruffles itching at my neck, plastic ginger bread swarming around, blinding lights...a boom...and then darkness.

dark times, indeed.

and according to google, treatments for a phobia like mine would include counseling, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming.

and being that i don't really believe in counseling, refuse to take part of any sort of hypnosis, would rather not have some stranger pry into my psyche and have no idea what the h. neuro-linguistic programming is...

i think it's here to stay.

yes. my name is kristen. i am twenty-three years old. and i am a theatrophobic.

and folks, caesar is home.

and lastly, i wanted to share this incredibly flattering and so-well-written blog post from a face with a name.


  1. Ha ha, I love this! That is too funny!

  2. Keen,

    Thank you for the shout out. I am really bummed we never became acquainted back in the high school days. You are a good egg. Keep writing truth. Keep writing you.

  3. P.S. I went through a stage of theatrophobia when I was in my mid teens. It gets better with time and a better selection of the movies you spend 10 bucks to see. For example, I saw moneyball a while back and enjoyed every minute of it, a little while later I saw Captain America and my anxiety was spiking the whole movie (although it didn't spike too much. I saw it at the dollar theater so I wasnt expecting it to be incredible. I think the intesity of the phobia is directly related to the money you spend to see the movie. For further help, visit

  4. Haha, Aaron..Thanks for the tips!!! I am really hoping I can beat this thing ;)
    And again, thanks for the mention. It was made my day.

  5. Kristen let me pry into your psyche! You need to get over this because over Christmas Break we are going to see New Years Eve even if you have to bring your brown paper sack! Gracias

  6. I'll see it. Duh. You can't stop me from seeing desperately-star-packed-over-rated-movies. I'm in girl.


from keen.