Phobia of huge objects, and large rooms with large ceiling?

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Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Posts: 10

09 May 2011, 8:28 am

Hi all. I've always had some kind of phobia for huge closed rooms with large ceilings that are high up. A good example would be most churches - I remember visiting a church once where the lights had gone out, so it was mostly dark, and it had this big-ass ceiling with a huge chandelier or something like that, and gigantic crosses and paintings and stuff. I can still freak out when I think about it 8O . I also remember the toilet at my old public swimming pool had some huge generator mounted in the ceiling, with huge pipes attached to it, and stuff. I always, ALWAYS dreaded going in there - and I still do.

Most recently, though, this phobia has been highlighted while playing the computer game Portal 2. In case you don't know it, the game features HUGE sealed off rooms, and really makes you feel, well, small.
There was especially one certain point in the game where I pushed a button, and suddenly the lights went out in the entire room, while the gargantuan hatch in the ceiling slowly started opening. I was literally moments away from quitting the game out of sheer fear, and I had to look the other way through the whole scene. Someone captured the moment on this video: (skip to around 5:20).

Anyway, do any of you suffer from the same strange phobia? I really have no idea what it is - I've heard the word "cenophobia" thrown around, but I'm not really sure you can label it a "fear of empty spaces". Fear of large rooms? Fear of large objects? Maybe two separate phobias? I'm no psychiatrist so I have no idea.


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Joined: 6 Apr 2007
Age: 54
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Location: Cascadia

09 May 2011, 10:15 am

I love being in such huge buildings with very high ceilings, or in wide open spaces out in the country. Conversely I have a strong aversion, sometimes bordering the phobic, toward being in small spaces and tiny things like buttons on shirts. I can retroactively measure things I've seen with measuring instruments I've seen somewhere else. Maybe autistic brains tend to experience space & size in a particularly direct, intimate way?

There is nothing that is uniquely and invariably human.


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Joined: 31 Aug 2012
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Location: In the heart of the dust bowl

03 Nov 2017, 11:39 am

One woman I've known since high school told me a couple of years ago that large buildings are very scary to her. She doesn't like to get around things like large buildings at all.

I wonder if mountains bother her, too.


Joined: 3 Nov 2017
Age: 25
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Location: United States

05 Nov 2017, 4:23 am

I don't mind big spaces in general, but I do find smaller rooms more relaxing. I like things like big, decorated churches and castles. They're pretty and impressive to look at.

I hate sleeping if I'm not in a small, enclosed space, though. Doors closed, no large empty spaces. When I was younger and slept in a bunk bed, I'd sleep on the bottom and hang up blankets from the top. Made a nice dark and cozy nest! :D I don't have a bunk bed anymore, so sadly that would be harder for me to do now, haha.

This site here calls altocelarophobia the fear of high ceilings, or large enclosed spaces. It can also be triggered by looking up at a tall building.

Typical Symptoms
As with any phobia each individual's symptoms and triggers will vary.
Triggers: Large covered spaces such as malls, cathedrals, rail termini etc. Typically any area with a ceiling/roof substantially higher than a domestic ceiling, though this can be as little as 50% higher in extreme cases. Polished floors are known to exacerbate the problem, as can irregular shaped (arched/domed), textured and transparent (glass) ceilings.
Symptoms: Often includes a feeling of dread, of being sucked into the open space towards the ceiling where gravity will reverse and drop the sufferer back to the ground. Also feelings of dizziness, nausea and increased stress.

Does this sound like your phobia?

Only slightly related, but I can't play portal for more than half an hour or so. It gives me motion sickness. :( Chewing gum helps, oddly enough.

EDIT: Oh, I just realized how long ago the original post was made. Oops! Don't think OP is still going to be looking at this thread.


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Joined: 30 Oct 2011
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Posts: 265
Location: UK

05 Nov 2017, 12:08 pm

Old apartments with high ceilings used to scare me as a kid. It was because furniture couldn't reach the top of the room and there was that large empty space with no pictures on the walls, no shelves, just whiteness and I used to imagine some kind of invisible, cloud-shaped thinking things hovering there, above people :D
Add to that poor or sickly-coloured lighting (I'm so sensitive to light colour, it's crazy. I paint my LED lightbulbs with orange and yellow paint to get the right shade of warm orangey yellow) and old furniture... horrible mix.

I don't think I'd like really low ceilings either. There seems to be a certain range of ceiling height I consider optimal :)

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

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Joined: 27 Oct 2017
Age: 30
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Location: Iowa

07 Nov 2017, 7:58 am

Big buildings and rooms don't bother me, but the "huge objects" in your post title resonated with me. I strongly dislike very large things, like when I could see the cruise ship we were going to be getting on before we boarded it, with it's huge propellers and soaring sides. Being on it was fine, but seeing it from the ports we visited really bothered me.