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Old 01-13-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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I could not find a mental health section so thought I would post here. I've never had a fear of flying or being in tall buildings, but recently I found myself panicking when standing on a ladder only 5 feet high. The first time I found myself panicking like this was last year when in an outdoor glass elevator in Hawaii. Even when my husband is on a ladder I panic. I feel faint and get really hot and sometimes even start to cry. So is this a fear of heights even though I have no problem being on a balcony, in a tall building, up in the Seattle Space Needle or Chicago Sears tower, or in an air plane? It seams tied to ladders?
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:54 AM
 
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Well.. its certainly seems like some sort of fear/anxiety. Though people who are truly afraid of heights generally wouldn't be able to be in those balconies, Sears Tower Observation deck, space needle observation deck, etc...

I'd treat it like a specific type of anxiety (you seem to have a good idea of what triggers it) and then work through it. You know - stand on one step of a step stool. Work through it, calm yourself. A week later after mastering step one - try step two...

I am not really phobic of heights, but we have a 12ft step ladder, and I was kind of suprised to find myself "concerned" when I was standing near the top trying to work on a light fixture. When I was a kid, I'd of shimmied up it no question. Now I find myself recognizing the possibility for danger a lot more than I used to. But it doesn't make me phobic (I stayed on the ladder and fixed the light fixture) - just self aware.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
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Sounds like the outdoor glass elevator triggered a latent fear of heights. You must have felt very exposed and had a panic attack, and now similar situations are also causing you to panic. Have you actually been to these observation areas since this event to be sure that you are still OK with it?

Follow the advice above to de-sensitize yourself, and once you are comfortable with ladders and such again you might want to seek out a similar exposed elevator for further work. Whatever you do, don't avoid what makes you anxious lest your anxieties grow to consume your life. You have to confront it head-on.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:25 AM
 
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It's fear of heights. Your fear will progress to other things, like balconies with railings, throughout the years.

Dont' avoid the things that make you uncomfortable. You have to JUST DO IT. Avoiding will make the fear worse and paralyze you with fear.
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Old 01-14-2010, 03:54 PM
 
140 posts, read 711,523 times
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Thank you for all the info. I feel much better now! I have not been to the Space Needle or Sears Tower since being in Hawaii, but I have flown. We do have a porch off our 2nd level and I don't have a problem with that. The experience in Hawaii was quite traumatic although I did my best to keep my composure, but I had to take a frate elevator back down after dinner. Today I did climb a latter to each a window 9 feel high. It was very hard to do but had my husband hold on to me legs so I was better. On the way back down I just closed my eyes. Strange thing is I love rollercoasters. It must be more of the fear of falling the the height itself. Watching my husband on a tall ladder also causes me to panic. Thank you all again for your help, with your advice I'm just going to keep pushing myself. :-)
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesGirl View Post
Strange thing is I love rollercoasters. It must be more of the fear of falling the the height itself.
I'm afraid of heights but love roller coasters too! I cry on ferris wheels and ski lifts, but that doesn't stop me from skiing. I know I can't avoid these things or it will just get progressively worse. Speaking of which, I actually get scared when I'm watching TV and there's a scene with a person standing on the edge of a rooftop or other high edges. I get a funny feeling in my feet when I fear heights. I don't get the fast heart rate, etc.
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,434 posts, read 41,608,566 times
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I'm so afraid of heights I can't even stand on my tippy toes!

escalators, step stools, ladders, glass elevators etc are all out of the question. My father had the same phobias too. Are phobias inherited? i sincerely think my problems are balance issues and they get worse with age. I can barely close my eyes in the shower and have to have one hand on the wall at all times.
I also suffer from claustrophobia extremely. MRI's require IV valium and one time I had a panic attack while in my car in one of those drive on the track car washes. I tried to open my car door while the water was pouring in and the big rollers were barrelling down on us. That was my first indication of my claustrophobia. But elevators don't bother me- go figure.
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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no kudzu, I'm also extremely claustrophobic. I have to undergo MRI's every year and they were always a pain because of valium and the requirement that I have a driver. But now I have open MRI's with no problems. Almost all insurance companies will pay for open MRI's if your doctor writes that on the order.
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesGirl View Post
It seams tied to ladders?
That makes sense. Ladders are unsteady so you don't feel like you have secure footing like you do at the Sears Tower or in a plane.

We have one ladder that is very sturdy. It's an a-frame that doesn't close. I can stand on that all day without feeling nervous, but a regular ladder freaks me out.
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:38 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 88,940,518 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I'm so afraid of heights I can't even stand on my tippy toes!

escalators, step stools, ladders, glass elevators etc are all out of the question. My father had the same phobias too. Are phobias inherited? i sincerely think my problems are balance issues and they get worse with age. I can barely close my eyes in the shower and have to have one hand on the wall at all times.
I also suffer from claustrophobia extremely. MRI's require IV valium and one time I had a panic attack while in my car in one of those drive on the track car washes. I tried to open my car door while the water was pouring in and the big rollers were barrelling down on us. That was my first indication of my claustrophobia. But elevators don't bother me- go figure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by texasfirewheel View Post
no kudzu, I'm also extremely claustrophobic. I have to undergo MRI's every year and they were always a pain because of valium and the requirement that I have a driver. But now I have open MRI's with no problems. Almost all insurance companies will pay for open MRI's if your doctor writes that on the order.
I probably have claustrophobia, but I manage by closing my eyes when I'm stuck in a small space.

I can handle heights that way too (when it's safe --- like being in a glass elevator.)

When I close my eyes, I can imagine I'm somewhere else until the event is over.
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