October 4, 2011

What Are Your Fears?

I have quite a few fears. Some of them have even gone to the stage where they are almost pathological, such as my fear of falling, being a passenger in a car, and balloons. While some people might find other people's fears funny, to the person who has the fear, it's quite real and not the least bit funny.

Yes, I have a fear of falling, not of heights, but falling. I actually quite enjoy a view from heights, as long as I am not near the edge. I also cannot stand it when others get too close to the edge of things if there is no railing, such as cliffs or ladders. I get this intense feeling like my whole body just clenched up,  my heart goes into my throat, and I want to just grab them and pull them back. So, needless to say, I do not enjoy it when people play like they are going to fall or other such silliness. It is also hard for me to watch people on television get close to the edge of things, such as ledges on buildings, bridges, and skyscrapers. I do not like watching bungee jumping or those bungee rides at amusement parks.  However, as odd as it seems, it does not bother me to watch people sky dive or base jump.

I think my fear has more to do with the actual possibility of falling than the act itself, which I find odd. I can't stand it when people are standing on the edge of a building in a movie and someone talks them down from jumping, especially if they almost fall but manage to hang on. If they just went ahead and fell it wouldn't bother me as much.  Strange, huh?

Where does this fear come from, you might ask? Well, I think it has to do with a certain trip to pick blueberries when I was younger. We, and by we I mean me and a couple members of my family, were out in the woods near my grandmothers picking blueberries at the top of a cliff. The cliff in question was maybe about 50 feet up or so, maybe less, maybe more. Along the top of the "ridge," as we called it, and it being the top of a foothill of the Appalachian Mountain Range on the edge of the Daniel Boone National Forrest, were tons of wild blueberries, and was a favorite spot of ours to go picking. Okay, so, there I was picking blueberries and I was about 8 or 9 years old at the time. I  went to the edge to pick some blueberries along the top of the cliff. I was standing there looking down at the bottom of the cliff when my aunt grabbed the back of my shirt and did that play thing where someone pretends to shove you off the cliff. Well, I saw completely to the bottom of the cliff and, ever since then, I have been scared of falling.

Since then, I have tried to get over this fear by exposing myself to my fear. I try to get close to edges and I ride the drop rides where they take you up about 30 stories or so and once at the top, they drop you straight down. It didn't work the last 5 times I did that, so I stopped scaring myself so badly.
I just deal with my fear and try to not let it bother me.

I do not like balloons; I am terrified that they will pop. If my kids play with balloons, I make them play in the other room with them. They are now old enough to know better than to try to eat them. For someone to sit there and bounce a balloon in the air over and over drives me crazy. Heaven forbid, a pet tries to play with one, or it's outside where trees, sticks,  or even the ground can pop them. I do not mind Mylar balloons, at all. I do not think there is a way to get over this fear.

My fear of being a passenger in a car arises from the fact that I have been the passenger in three minor car accidents. When riding with others, I find myself grabbing the ceiling or bracing for a wreck. It's mainly while driving through traffic or on curvy roads. I do not have this fear if I am driving.  My mother told me on several occasions when the constant throwing up of my hands or bracing myself annoyed her, that I can either get out and walk or drive myself. This reaction is totally involuntary and occurs often, unless, of course, I totally ignore the person's driving by watching the scenery go by, or by reading a book, then the reaction doesn't happen quite as often.

Oh, well, life goes on. I just hope my other minor fears do not turn into pathological ones such as these.

What are your fears and what have you done to try to overcome them? Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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