The fear of falling

I trust that none of you are going to find out my name and address and come and push me off a building. If you are planning such a thing; please go and turn yourself in.

Assuming though that you aren’t; here is my biggest fear.

I used to think I’m afraid of heights. I couldn’t climb over those endless ladders in the obstacle course in sport, because I was so afraid. There was always a problem when I had to climb over the top of the ladder and go down again. I just couldn’t do it.

But then I was at a park where they had this climbing wall, where they fasten you first before you go up. That was fine. And also on rollercoasters I have no problem whatsoever – well, except for that kick of adrenaline, but I think rollercoasters are supposed to have that effect on people.

Unfortunately, amusement parks don’t only have rollercoasters and food stands – they have free-fall towers. The one I was convinced to try was not really that high (according to my friend, who laughed at me).

You know on rollercoasters you have the ground of the cart you’re sitting in – but on a free-fall tower your feet are just dangling in the air. I looked down – that was okay. We started to move down and I just screamed like a maniac, even if we just moved a tiny bit – even if we weren’t moving at all! My good friend laughed at me throughout my panic attack (okay, wasn’t a panic attack, but close). They teased us by dropping a bit, then going back up again, before they let us fall fully. It was terrible! It wasn’t an adrenaline kick anymore. It was pure panic. I was f***ing falling out of the sky and there was nothing I could do about it. I wanted to get out, but we were sent back up and they repeated the torture all over again to make it worth our money. One time was more than enough. I will never go on a free-fall tower again!

At least my friend had fun -.-

That’s when I first started to think that maybe it wasn’t fear of heights, but fear of falling uncontrollably. Maybe that’s why I’m not so keen on flying either, because the plain is not fastened anywhere and has the potential to fall out of the sky.

I told you about the next experience a while back: The rope course.
Where’s the fun in that?

It was supposed to be a fun afternoon with my friends. The two of them had loads of fun it seemed. I, myself; not so much. I was okay at first, because the first few stations weren’t high at all. But there was always that moment when I had to unclip myself from the rope to get the next rope, even if it was just for a second, it was terrifying. And I had to unclip – and reclip myself a lot. At one point my gear got all tangled up and I fell behind, because I’d told the other two to go ahead. So there were various trees around and on every big tree there was a platform where you do the clipping and unclipping. And to get to the next platform I had to walk from one dangling piece of wood to the next. They weren’t connected. The all hung separately like a swing – and they swung like that too. It was probably the scariest moment in my life so far. In the middle I simply froze on the stop, unable to move either way, scared my safety gear might rip or get tangled, scared those wobbly pieces of wood with rip and have me falling endlessly, scared I would never get back to the ground, scared I wouldn’t make it to the other side.
When I caught myself I made haste (a lot of haste) to get the next platform. But the next ladder was another platform away. So I had to walk on a dangly rope to get to that one. I told my friends, who were miles ahead of me, to go on without me. I’d had enough for the – forever. I got down and ungeared and just sat down, feeling dizzy. A woman offered me some chocolate.

Apparently this fear doesn’t have a name. The internet is telling me it’s also the fear of walking – and I walk a lot and I’m not a masochist. Or it shows me what it’s like for the elderly to be afraid of falling or it automatically assumes I’m afraid of falling in love.

Apparently teenaged girls aren’t supposed to be afraid of falling, according to mr. internet. Alas, I can’t find any information. But like most fears, it probably comes from not wanting to lose control in some way. With me, I think, it is that I need some form of solid ground under my feet to feel safe, not one that wobbles like mad once you step on it. I found a list of phobias on the internet, but I wonder if it might be made up since they’ve listed everything anyone could ever be afraid of (There’s even bogyphobia, the fear of bogeys or the bogeyman, whoever that is). But it’s quite interesting.



One thought on “The fear of falling

  1. the fear of falling is very common, and linked to our inner ear or something, and the brain processing signals that the eye has nothing to focus on. I used to be scared of heights too, but more it wsa the fear of falling off and hurting myself – it is our self preservation instinct, whcih gets stronger as you get older, unless you are Felix Baumgartner however 😉

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