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To be afraid of heights?

(15 Posts)
ChickenPoop Thu 10-Nov-16 00:55:00

I'm currently supposed to be ziplining but instead I'm in the car waiting hours for DH to return.

We are on holiday at the moment and were booked for ziplining this afternoon but I couldn't do it. I'm scared of open heights - I'm ok flying, in helicoptors, have been in a hot air balloon but don't do well with edges, ledges or apparently dangling from a line. I hoped I'd be able to get over it once there but we crossed the wobbly bridge to the platform and I was quite seriously struggling not to cry. I had to stand on a stool on the platform while they hooked me in, was told to "sit down" on thin air my imaginary harness chair and I was then supposed to lift my legs and go... but I didn't. I tried twice and had to return to base camp. I probably could've pushed off but I was shaking, my hands were sweaty, I wouldn't have been able to remove a hand to brake and i definitely wouldn't have been able to do the "spin yourself around haul yourself back in" manouevre for when you stopped short of the next platform. Chances are I would've let go completely in panic and tripled the embarrassment I currently feel.

DH will probably moan at me when he gets back as he doesn't really understand fear of heights.

Make me feel less useless please?

ChickenPoop Thu 10-Nov-16 01:45:47

Anybody...?! sad

runawaysimba Thu 10-Nov-16 01:55:41

Couldn't leave this unanswered - YANBU! Fear is a completely rational response to leaping off a high ledge, even if you are strapped in! I have terrible claustrophobia, and I've found only people who also have it or a fear of heights really understand. People who don't have a phobia think you just can't hack the nerves, when in fact the panic reaction that comes with a phobia is so much worse. Hope your H isn't too arsey.

ItShouldHaveBeenJess Thu 10-Nov-16 02:16:15

God, I hate them! I'm impressed you did the hot air balloon, and helicopters scare me when they're buzzing around in the sky, let alone riding in one (as you can see, I'm a bit of a wuss!). I always wish I could try things like this but I know I'd be the same as you, or possibly worse. It's also tough if someone thinks you're spoiling the fun by not joining in. Don't worry, it's perfectly natural. Hopefully you'll get a few more posts you can show DH to back you up!

AcrossthePond55 Thu 10-Nov-16 02:19:30

My DH hates tall buildings. You can't get him out on an observation deck to save his soul. He will not fly on a commercial airliner. Yet he'll happily and fearlessly jump off a cliff with a Dacron and aluminium hang glider strapped to his back. He says it's not a fear of heights, it's a fear of falling. I'm fine with tall buildings and ledges and love observation decks, because my feet are on solid ground. But I will not climb a ladder more than 4 feet. It sends me into a panic.

Our fears are what they are. As long as they don't stop us living a normal life it's OK. I know that if my child were trapped in a burning building I'd be able to climb a 50 ft ladder to get to him. And if your child was stuck across a canyon and the only way to rescue him/her was for you to ride that zip line, you'd do it in a heartbeat.

Fortnum Thu 10-Nov-16 08:13:20

I used to question my wife's seemingly irrational fear of heights until we had kids. My son is similarly scared of heights, whereas my daughter like me is fine with them. Is it genetic ? I don't know but watching my lad growing up I can see it has affected him from an early age and the fear is real !

Alwayschanging1 Thu 10-Nov-16 08:16:37

Completely understand the fear of edges, not heights. My legs go weak watching other people near edges, I don't even have to be close to one myself. I was also in the car park whilst DH and DC ziplined; a good book, a cuppa and I was fine. Console your DH with the money you saved by not doing it.

herbwife Thu 10-Nov-16 09:23:41

I don't like open heights either, but I think it's less an irrational fear of heights and more a primal fear of falling a long way.

Most of us are hardwired to avoid things that could kill us.

bookwormnerd Thu 10-Nov-16 10:04:07

I hate heights, I didn't choose to fear them but totally rational in my mind. There is some scientists who believe could be genetic, as in written in DNA as a response to something ancestor went through in order to increase chances of survival. I had no trigger for my dear, just always had it. Your husband shouldn't be annoyed, you were brave to try

swimmerforlife Thu 10-Nov-16 10:27:33

I am absolutely loathe heights and like you especially at ledges.

I remember I was about 16 and we were in the New Zealand High Country doing this road trip with friends up a huge mountain to a Horse Station (that our friends were desperate to see), driving up, the distance to the bottom got bigger and bigger and at the highest point there was a drop of about 400-500m to the bottom and there was no fence along the side of the gravel road.

The drive was only about an hour there and back, I cried all the way up and all the down I was that scared and when we got to the bottom I burst into tears and had uncontrollable crying for about an hour.

I have never been so petrified in all my life and to this day (almost 20 years later) I cannot handle anything related to ledges and huge drops.

I am fine in Helicopters and Planes, however anything related to Paragliding, huge mountains, big ledges etc, anything that doesnt have the safety protection I just cannot handle.

GiddyOnZackHunt Thu 10-Nov-16 10:36:32

Yes I'm horribly frightened of heights, ledges etc. It impacts my life in all sorts of ways and I hate it. No trigger and it's getting worse.
DH did something 'high' on holiday too and I literally hid in bed under the duvet feeling sick until he got back safe.

ProfYaffle Thu 10-Nov-16 10:42:36

Sympathy op, I'm similar. Have been in a hot air balloon and jumped out of a plane but edges, ledges, open stairs, ladders etc I just can't do. It seems to have got worse as I've got older and I've now reached the stage where I no longer force myself to do stuff (like Cathedral tower tours) that I don't really want to. Dh doesn't understand, can't seem to grasp that it's not fun for me and I don't see why I should put myself through it if there's no real need.

bigbluebus Thu 10-Nov-16 10:45:32

You can't help the fear. I am also scared of heights and I think O have got worse as I have got older (although I have always been afraid to some extent). My DF was also scared of heights - my DS is not. I remember once when DS was small he was walking on a glass roof and heading towards the edge of the building - which had railings around it but which a small person could have actually climbed on/through and there was nothing I could do to go after him and prevent him from getting into danger - I just froze. Fortunately DH was there (who isn't afraid of heights) and was able to grab DS.

I am fine in an aeroplane, have been up to the Top Of the Rock in NY and stood next to the glass screens but cannot go anywhere near other drops or walk on wooden slatted bridges.piers without going into complete panic. I once froze on the stairs inside the glasshouse in Kew gardens and it took all my strength to actually turn around and walk back to the ground.

There is no logic in fear - my other fear is now driving on dual carriageways/motorways. This is something which came on suddenly and for no logical reason after 32 year unblemished driving record on roads of all types. But now I go into a complete panic if I even think I have to drive on a dual carriageway.

I do not think you are being unreasonable in any way. But if it bothers you that much you could try CBT.

YokoUhOh Thu 10-Nov-16 10:48:18

Same here. DS1 looks like he's inherited it - he doesn't like climbing frames etc (which is interesting as he's 4 and goes to the park every day). He often gets stuck about a foot off the ground and wails...

ohdearme1958 Thu 10-Nov-16 11:19:14

OP I had a dreadful fear of heights. In fact even being on an escalator with open drops on either side would make me dizzy. Things around me would tilt and I'd be hanging onto the side or whoever I was with for dear life. And rollercoasters etc? Absolutely no way!

Anyway about 3 years ago I had to face life changing circumstances. My then 36 year marriage broke down and it made me think a lot, about loads of things. One of those things was my fear of so many things and I asked myself am I really afraid or am I just used to saying I am/thinking I am even though I get very real physical symptoms of fear.

Anyway to cut a long story short I decided I was going to try and experience as many of my 'scary things' as I could and this was one of them.

Was I scared? Yes. And because I was traveling alone I had no one to keep me company on the ride. Did I falter? Yes. I was scared when being strapped into the line but I just concentrated on telling myself - don't let this terror win. It really was a fight with my mind but somehow I managed to conquer my fears and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

I've quietly done loads of other scary things since then including going on roller coasters. I've also gone snorkeling in seas notorious for their inhabitants - and no, I didn't get eaten even though I was convinced I would be.

To be honest I think sometimes we can just get into the habit of being scared. It becomes a frame of mind. And it really is a shame to do that to ourselves because there is so much we can miss out on.

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