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Phobia- irrational fear

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Its seems like everyone has some form of Phobia in one form or another. I have the Phobia of fear of hights that shows up when I am on my own two feet but doesnt' show up at all when I am on skis or flying.

Last weekend train the ski trainers went rock climbing and I know that I have a fear of heights with that activity. I basically told them to combine Norfolk railroad with Way Trucking as in "Norfolk & Way". I know my legs would be noodles.

This summer I was up on top of Crested Butte looking down at the Pardise lift. Now I know that I have skied off of those cliffs above the lift without much thought but, I couldn't get close enough to look over them on my own two feet. My knees were justa shaking when I got within 3 feet of looking down. If I hadn't known where I was at and what I had skied, I would have sworn there was no way I could have skied that. Why no problem on skis but big problems on two feet.

Same with flying. I have done aerobatics without much thought to the dangers but look out the windows of the observation platform of the John Hancock building in Chicago, behind glass, on solid ground and I shake.

I have yet to take someone up on their offers of rock climbing. Anyone else have this problem?
post #2 of 27
Pierre, my own "height sensitivity" isn't as pronounced as yours seems to be (and I, too, have never experienced this while skiing; the tops of peaks or swaying gondolas do not affect me)and my guess is that it has to do, at least in my case, with a slightly out of whack equilibrium chip somewhere in my inner ear.
If I am walking along and look straight up, things get a little shaky, quick. The "anxiety" of, say, looking out an office window way up has nothing to do with any "fear" of heights; it's more that some balancing gizmo is a little off. My knees don't shake, it's my gut that gets queasy. Also, I can think it away; but it's always there at the start.
BTW, I love roller coasters and those free-fall rides.
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Ryan said:
>>BTW, I love roller coasters and those free-fall rides. <<

I forgot those two things. Roller coasters and free fall rides are absolute total panic for me.
post #4 of 27
Pierre eh! I too have a terrible fear of heights. My plams are sweating just thinking about it! It's rare that it bothers me flying unless the plane pitches to the side. There is no way that I can walk to an edge of anything more than a few feet over the ground. I cannot even get close to windows in high rises. But the worst is bridges high above the ground.

That said I have jumped out of a plane and did an illegal bunjee jump off a very high bridge. :

Funny it rarely bothers my on a lift, unless it is windy. I do not have the skills to ski off a cliff but like you somehow I can look over the edge if I am on skis.
post #5 of 27
that's really interesting that you hate rollercoasters yet love high g skiing turns, not to mention aerobatic manuevers where I'm sure you must be pulling a few g's no?

At what age did you start skiing and did something happen before or after that to give you fear of heights or has it always been there? It seems like with skis on your feet your mind thinks of heights in a different way.

Rock climbing to me, I've only done it a few days once, was about fear. Even with that belay rope on I'm stuck there on the side of this cliff trying to figure out how to move my feet. Heart pounding, sometimes it got to the point where you just have to do something. I don't know how those people climb with no safety.

Pierre, btw, could you take a look at this movement analysis? I'm curious to see what you think.
second video to MA
post #6 of 27
WOW! Its astonishing that people who ski are afraid of heights. Me too! I got into skiing to get over it. This is going to make no sense whatsoever, but then again, half of what I say rarely does, but sometimes I have fear of the fear. In other words, I'm afraid that I will get up to a point that I think I will be confident at, but suddenly have a panic attack.

Other fears... Falling! Totally irrational, since I almost never fall, even when hit.

Not as dramatic but far more insidious.. The fear of skiing badly. It irks me that I have no NATURAL talent at skiing. EVery move has to be carefully planned, to the point that I give myself analysis paralysis. For every badly performed turn, I give myself about 10 verbal lashings, calling myself names I would never dream of calling any of my students!
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Lisamarie said:
>>Other fears... Falling! Totally irrational, since I almost never fall, even when hit.

Not as dramatic but far more insidious.. The fear of skiing badly. It irks me that I have no NATURAL talent at skiing. EVery move has to be carefully planned, to the point that I give myself analysis paralysis. For every badly performed turn, I give myself about 10 verbal lashings, calling myself names I would never dream of calling any of my students!<<

Lisa, I have no fear whatsoever of falling.

The only time I have a fear of skiing badly is in front of examiners and fellow bears heee hee. When I ski for myself I can be critical and beat myself up but when skiing with other people I quickly fall into just plain fun skiing. Famous last words of Pierre "HEY GUYS WATCH THIS". :
post #8 of 27
Pierre - I have the opposite of your phobia!

I am terrified of MOVING at heights - hate having skis near edges of things(I might slide). I will happily walk to the edge of most things & look down - if I think the ground may be treacherous (loose rocks etc) I'll crawl or sit my butt down & shuffle etc. The height itself is no problem.

My only rockclimbing experience I sooked around for my friend on the lower/easier bits that required me to trust hand/foot holds & leverage myself up - but happily climbed the exposed top section that was a 90degree angle of rock sticking out - so my core was AGAINST something the whole way. She thought this amusing because she expected height fear to take hold up there.

This makes perfect sense from my perspective - hands/arms/legs/feet are untrustworthy companions - so I think they may betray me & I may FALL BADLY off something. However as long as I can CONTROL the interaction with the edge I'm happy.
I've learnt from long years of experience that with my butt on ground my feet can't betray me!
post #9 of 27
I too have a fear of heights. I can't stand looking down the mountain when in a gondola or cable car, and chair lifts over big drops make me a bit nervous too. To get around it, I tend to grab hold of the best looking femail near me, or take something for it. I find having a skinful of Guinness the night before helps.

post #10 of 27
I'm another person with a fear of heights. I used to rock climb and Mt. climb and doing those two things helped quite a bit. Ferris wheel...terrifying. I don't mind height situations where I have control. I have more of a problem when I have to depend on mechanical devices, ropes, cables, etc.

I love speed and will take some risks maybe because I think that if something goes wrong I have a chance of surviving. If I fall and it's 30 feet or more I'm most likely toast.

[ November 08, 2002, 02:30 PM: Message edited by: Lucky ]
post #11 of 27
...and how bout' the infamous ferris wheel Pierre, you know...
at the top where you're above everything else...and nothin' but that "*#+@*$&" bar for safety..the seat's swinging a bit....
and you're headed Forward! :
Here's a guess-timate....a ferris wheel TriP the day before a ski day...and we'd probably see up to ~30% better stance on the steeps...

[ November 08, 2002, 07:14 PM: Message edited by: HaveSkisWillClimb ]
post #12 of 27
Oh, heights!

I can feel the panic changing a light bulb in the middle of the room on a step stool!

The chair to The Peak at Whistler is also a problem for me, up just before the top.

But roller coasters don't bother me.

For me, it is whether I can see daylight below me or a solid surface. On a step stool or a lift, I can daylight and it bothers me. But, on a roller coaster, the floor of the roller coaster car prevents me from seeing daylight and it doesn't bother me at all.

My solution on lifts is to hang on tight and think of the great run that is coming up.

post #13 of 27
Pierre eh, you are not alone. Everyone has some type of phobia.

My wife has serious issues walking to the edge of any high places even if a solid window is in place. But she has no problems flying or being on a ski lift of any kind.

I have no problems with heights if I am on solid ground (bridge, building with protective railing or window, etc). But hang me up on a chir lift or get me in a plane and my comfort level drops significantly. There was a time when I could not get on a chair alone! Obviously I had to squash that fear early on.

Skiing steep runs is also a challenge for me. I have to make an effort to keep my "field of vision" restricted to the area around me and concentrate on my turns. If I stop and look around too much I become uncomfortable.
post #14 of 27
My biggest problem with high spots is not a fear of my falling off them, but rather a fear of the support giving way AND THEN taking the fall. So I would have difficulty walking to the edge of an overhanging rock cliff. A rounded rock that didn't overhang probably would raise the concern that I couldn't maintain a grip. Cover that with snow and give me some skis to grip with and it's a different matter. I don't LIKE heights, but I've been able to work out of a bucket on the end of a 60-foot boom and/or off the top of a 30-foot ladder. The worst part of a ladder for me is climbing it.
post #15 of 27
I too am afraid of heights. Flying dosn't bother me, neither does most chairlifts. However, I have to be looking uphill when I'm on a Gondola and I stand in the middle of trams so I can't see out. Pictures of skiing Europe totally freak me out! I struggle with every steep run that exists. First I start to feel uncomfortable, I begin to tremble, then I totally freeze. I can't move. I usually ski myself to the edge of the run then can't turn. At this point I'm usually crying and wanting to get as close to the ground as I can or to the bottom to safety. If I can get lower and back in my "comfort zone" then I can ski. I've learned not to look at the view, focus on what I doing and never stop moving, even if it means side stepping. Even when I'm focused sometimes the fear overwhelms me, I can't control it and I'm so overcome I can't ski.
I've yet to ski "The Plunge" at Telluride without shaking. I have curled up in a ball and cried on that run. When I come around the curve and see the town of Telluride in the Valley I'm gone. I've also cried in the back bowls at Vail, on Mary Jane at Winter Park, at Copper (several times) S-Boat, the list goes on and on. I swear my SO isn't happy unless he's gotten me to cry on a ski trip.
I also have this problem mtn.biking and hiking. I hate climbing ladders. I don't remember having this problem as a kid, I loved roller coasters, climbing trees and remember going up on the roof of our house as a kid. So where did this come from? I didn't even know I had this problem until I started skiing.
I am improving, more and more I can ski runs that used to terrify me but I don't think the fear will ever go away.
post #16 of 27
I think I'm afraid of falling, but not of heights. Being near a drop-off is scary. Being high in a tree is scary if I think about it too much. Being at the top of a Ferris wheel while it's loading is terrifying. But once that Ferris wheel starts moving, I'm fine. I'm not afraid in a plane, either. I think as long as there doesn't feel like there's a danger of falling or I'm in motion, I'm safe. Don't know why. In any case, falling itself is awful. I absolutely hate the feeling of a fall. My most terrifying dreams involve me falling from a high height, with a big part of what's so terrible about it being that feeling in your stomach as you fall. And yet, I love rollercoasters. Huh.

My other big fear is injury. Specifically, I'm afraid of knee injury. I twisted my knee very badly in a fall last season, and I'm frightened of it happening again to the point of a phobia. I've tried someone's tele gear before, but it scares me too much because I know it won't release when I go down. Fear makes me ski worse, making the risk of a fall and injury higher. Nasty little cycle.
post #17 of 27
Hey ole buddy! I ditched the glasses long ago for contact lenses, and they work a hell of alot better than glasses. I think everyone gets a little quiver uptheir backbone while looking over a precipice or off a high building. I got one this summer while at Cedar Point on the Millenium. 300 foot drop at almost 90 deegree angle, 80 plus m.p.h. I've been on roofs all my life. It seems like the older I get, the scarier it gets. It's a middle age crisis thing.
post #18 of 27
I fear FEAR. I do okay on most runs, but if I become afraid, it's all over.

I've been in situations where I was not sure I would get down at all, let alone in one piece. Taken a wrong turn, ended up in a place where it's do or die. When I was a 2nd year skier, having only skied about 6 times, I took a wrong trail at Red Mountain in Rossland, BC. I was on Granite Peak (I think that's what it's called), and on a black run. Well, I was still in the green stage of my skiing.

It took me forever to get down, but I found that if I block things out in sections, ski that section, then start on the next one, it doesn't overwhelm me. I ski that way when I have to.

Now, how do I overcome the fear of Powder? :
post #19 of 27
Things I fear:
1. Those railings in buildings that are GLASS! I HATE those.
2. Standing near any kind of cliff.
3. My public speaking teacher, but that's beside the point.
4. The snowboarders where I ski. I've been hit in the back once and had my ski tails run over countless times. Luckily, they were rentals.

Steep runs don't bother me at all. My my two bit resort, Obergatlinburg has a mogul trail 300' long with a 235' vertical drop. It didn't scare me after about the third try. I absolutely love any kind of roller coaster, but I can't stand those free fall rides. I feel like I'm being jerked right out of my body. Lifts and trams are a cinch. Phoiba is weird thing......

[ November 10, 2002, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: Zacman1987 ]
post #20 of 27
I keep having a recurring, horrifying nightmare that I am riding in a gondola in Italy at about 300 feet above the ground and all of a sudden an American fighter jet zooms by and snaps the cable causing myself and everyone to fall to their deaths. I know it couldn't possibly happen......

Please don't think I am making light of this accident, but what a strange and tragic turn of events. Truly the skiing acrophobe's worst case scenario. This same gondola was involved in another accident in 1976 that killed 42 people.

I saw a comedian the other night joking that people aren't really afraid of flying... they are afraid of flying at 30,000 feet, the wings falling off the plane and suddenly NOT flying. At that point your pretty much thinking to yourself.. "flying might be my favorite thing of all..."

I guess when it comes down to it, we aren't really afraid of heights, we're afraid of falling from high places and being seriously injured or killed. Skiing for me doesn't or hasn't yet involved high cliffs or crevasses that I might fall off. The worst I'll get from falling is a long slide and a bruised ego. Take me some place where self arrest skills are essential and the pucker factor will be way up there.
post #21 of 27
I don't like jets. I have spent hundreds of hours in small planes and helicopters, but a jet at 40,000 ft... geez, we're an awful long way up, aren't we?! Guess I can't open my window... uh, heh, heh... Dumb, but true.
post #22 of 27
Pierre, from your first two posts we could be twins!
Put me on a balcony on the third floor, and I'll stick to the wall, do you know the Pisa belltower? Well, I couldn't climb on it and make the round!
Me too, never had problems flying and skiing steeps
At the same time, I have no problem diving from a 15 feet (roughly 5 mt) platform ( but I do have problems diving from a 30 feet, whereas my kids do not).
Likewise, I used to climb trees quite easily (I'll had to retrieve the house kittens, until they were able to climb down of their own)
I think it has to do with purpouse.
To pilot an airplane is a purpouse, likewise it is to ski down a wall, to climb a tree to retrieve a kitten...and so on.
I also think that this "purpouse" its personal, we may not see it
in rock climbing, but may see it in ski diving (and another person could see the things reversed).
There is stil so much to learn about our minds.
post #23 of 27
Fear of heights is rational/irrational. One of my sisters and I share this. For me, I don't trust my footing or my balance on foot, and I just tighten up, which makes things worse. I get vertigo, a sense of being out of balance. On skis, I have confidence, and have no problem. A couple of years ago I went to Tuckermans, and found hiking up on slushy snow in ski boots over exposed cliffs was mentally very hard. Once I got skis problem at all. It was a complete relief.
I also get tense watching others in exposed situations. My daughter does a fair amount of climbing, some free, some with ropes. I am glad I am half a country a way, so I cannot watch.
I have always pushed my fear of heights, because it does get less severe when I stretch my mental limits.
post #24 of 27
Ah yes the old ACROPHOBIA. Yes I have them too, especially when on my roof, but crossing the Mackinac Bridge, no, but getting out looking over the edge, you bet.

Flying in a commerical aircraft, even looking down at the ground during a steeply banked turn , no. Flying in an ultralight, Yes.

So here is what everyone needs to do if you want to create a pit in your stomach, or cause your gonads to ache. Look down past your ski bindings as you pass a very high lift tower.

But what really unnerves me is when the lift stops, and doesn't restart with in a minute to 90 seconds. Sitting on a motionless chair for several minutes and not knowing how serious the problem is, I find very unsettling.
post #25 of 27
Arachnophobia. I'd rather parallel drop a 70 deg. chute than touch a 1" spider. Freaks me out completely.
post #26 of 27
Originally posted by Tog:

Pierre, btw, could you take a look at this movement analysis? I'm curious to see what you think.
second video to MA
My Instructor / Race days were many years ago, but here's my opinion:

A bit far back, which would help explain why his arms are so wide. He's also slip-turning using his downhill ski, not carving INTO the turn using his UPhill ski. Weight transfer & timing are decent. I'm willing to bet he'd be a lot tighter & powerful were he running gates instead of arcing on a 500' groomer..

post #27 of 27
Spiders are cool - unless they are Funnel Webs or Redbacks...

I'll take the spiders!
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