Free Essay

Fear of Heights


Submitted By logancreed
Words 992
Pages 4
The Climb
I have this fear. It causes my legs to shake. I break out in a cold sweat. My heart starts beating a thousand miles an hour, and louder than a snare drum. I imagine my own funeral, then shrink back at the implications of where my thoughts are taking me. My stomach feels tight. My palms are clammy.
I am terrified of heights.
Of course, it’s not really a fear of being in a high place. Rather, it is the view of a long way to fall, of rocks far below me and no firm wall between me and the edge. Despite my fear, two months ago I somehow found myself climbing to a high place, while quaking inside and out. The ninth and tenth grade class had come along on a week long trip to Washington D.C. A place filled with so much history and culture. Our first stop on the trip was Gettysburg Pennsylvania. We were on the site looking at the battlefield where thousands of soldiers died in the most deadly battle of the Civil War.
It was a chilling experience, standing in the place where so many deaths occured. We took the van around the battlefield, stopping every once in awhile, getting out, and checking out some of the main attractions of the battlefield.
After eating our sack lunches within sight and sound of the spring, many of us wanted to make the climb up to a view tower that showed almost the entire battlefield from one spot. We knew others had done so on the previous trips, we had heard the stories. The first group said that it was the most amazing part of the Gettysburg trip. A few guys went first to test it out. It was 125 steps to the top. Each step creaked as the boys ascended the once grey stairs, now rusted in places from many years of exposure to the elements.
The climb ascended steeply above us. My sense of security is screamingly absent. There are guardrails, flimsy though I picture them. I can rely only on my own surefootedness—or lack thereof. Looming high to the sky, the creaky steel tower rose in a tiered manner.
My thoughts were interrupted by the shouting from my friend Selena. Peering up, I realize that my friends were already beginning to climb! My anxiety sky-rocketed as I watched them. Do I turn back? My whole being shouted, “Yes!” Will I regret it later? I really want to get to the top, but…
Questioning my own sanity, I decided at least to attempt the climb.
Consoling myself that my friend Meg would be right behind me, I shakily began the climb. Meg pushed me forward, and those above sent down words of encouragement.
The difficulties only increased from that point on, with scary spots and creaky steps. Though I knew I should not look down, I could not possibly ignore the long drop to the ground below. Just the thought of the drop made me panic. My heart pounded even faster than before, growing loud in my ears.
My friends kept right on climbing. But they did not forget me, offering more encouraging words.
The song “Amazing Grace” ran through my head as we began the third flight of stairs, Melody going first. I kept up a steady stream of chatter with Meg, my trembling voice betraying my fear. I was trying anything and everything to distract myself.
My group made it safely. I hesitated, unsure of my footing because I refused to look down. Picturing myself at the bottom of the stairs, bones broken and pain wracking my body, if I still lived from tumbling down.
“You can do it! I'm right here,” Meg called. She waited patiently, not pressuring me to hurry. She understood my fear of heights, as she had overcome her claustrophobia on the sixteen hour drive in to D.C.
As I took the next step of the stairs, I could see in the corner of my eye the concrete below. My foot slipped, and my heart jumped into my throat as the terror I had held in overcame me. I’m gonna fall! I inwardly shrieked.
It had been only a small slip. It took a few calming breaths, and some reassuring words from Meg to make my heart reposition itself where it belonged.
With no further mishaps, we eventually came to the last flight of stairs. I could see the top of my friends heads. Everyone was up there except Meg and I.
Around thirty more steps and I would be at the top, looking out on the battlefield that was described to me time, after time again. My legs were shaking underneath me, and I could hear how loud I was breathing.
“I’m coming down,” I warned, my voice unsteady. “I can’t do it.”
“Yes you can” answered Meg. “I got you.”
I knew I had to finish this.
Her assurances gave me the strength to go on. I trusted her wholeheartedly. She placed her hand on my back and inched me forward. I took those last steps with ease, and when my feet made contact with the solid concrete slab at the top, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. I could feel the fear draining out of me. I was dirty and sweaty, out of breath and tired. But none of it mattered. I was at the top.
“Yaaaaaaahhhh!” I yelled. I never felt so alive, and so thankful for that life.
The view at the top was pretty, but it wasn’t what I remembered most, it was the climb to the top, that made it the most beautiful. I wasn’t able to look straight down, for I was afraid that I might throw up. But I made it to the top, and it was something I had never imagined of doing. I was more proud of myself than ever before.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Fear of Heights

...Fear of Heights Essentials of Psychology University of Phoenix December 15, 2012 Robert Strausser Fear of Heights Several individuals suffer from a phobia a natural fear of something or a situation. Acrophobia is the most common phobia identified with the society (Fritscher, 2011). This type of phobia known as the fear of heights and is unlike aerophobia the fear of flying and other phobias, acrophobia can cause a person to fear numerous things related to fear of heights (Fritscher, 2011). Acrophobic may cause a person to have fear on an elevator of a building or flying on a plane. People associated with acrophobic will sudden go into a panic mode when at certain heights. They automatically begin to search for something to hold on to. Some may begin to shake, sweat, and even cry, or yell out for help (Fritscher, 2011). Their unconditioned response kicks in immediately and may even cause them to crawl on all fours, kneel, or lower they body (Fritscher, 2011). One reason for these actions is that people with acrophobic find it, difficult to trust their own sense of balance. These people believe and find it hard to think when dealing with this phobia (Fritscher, 2011). Unconditioned Stimulus is the system that alerts people (Ruden, 2012). Example, If individuals never seen a plane crash or imagine a plane falling out of the sky or crashing into a building he or she would not have the fear of heights. They are in a metal plane thousands of feet above the ground traveling...

Words: 800 - Pages: 4

Free Essay


...Acrophobia Many people suffer from a fear of heights. If you are one of them there is no reason to feel all alone. Acrophobia is a phobia that is more common than people would like to admit. Some people are not even aware of their phobia for heights until they are faced with a situation that brings the fear to light. One of the reasons that people would deny their fear of heights phobia is that they are deathly afraid of fear itself. These people move on in spite of their acrophobia, and for good reason. They fear the fear of heights. Exchanging your phobia of heights for this kind of fear just might be the solution you need. Here are five reasons why you should be afraid of acrophobia When you suffer from height fear there are many things that you are never going to be able to do. You may feel safe and sound on the ground, but acrophobia is really doing you some damage. The fear of heights does not serve to keep people safe. There have been many instances in those with no fear of heights were the only ones to survive a disaster. There are some people who serve their acrophobia to the point that when faced with the choice of being at a great height or death they chose the latter. You should be horribly fearful of having a fear of heights because of the way it limits you. The fear of heights is a phobia that not only limits your physical ability, but is also can limit your social skills. Those who suffer from phobia of heights cannot participate in related group activities....

Words: 680 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Informal Learning

...Informal Learning The fear of heights or acrophobia seems to be a normal fear for those afflicted with it. It would seem that this fear is a basic way to protect ourselves from falls that could do serious harm. This fear is not universal, and luckily so. We would have many unclean windows on skyscrapers and our electric lines would be out of repair or nonexistent. This paper will look at the informal learning experience that can bring about acrophobia. Informal learning is an undirected form of learning that does not take place under an instructor or in a class room. It is generally unconscious and difficult to quantify. Focusing on acrophobia, the idea that heights are dangerous is all-around us. There are signs around us telling us to avoid the top of the ladder or gates to keep people from the roof. Looking at these examples a natural deduction would be that it is dangerous and should be avoided. Heights themselves are not dangerous but the potential to fall off them are. So a fear of heights is not as rational as a fear of falling. I was told not to climb in the tree out back but a friend, and I did anyway. We continued to climb until it began to get difficult and I watched him fall from the tree and break his arm badly. I clambered down the tree and after confirming with him that he was alright. I ran for help. We were not punished for our actions but told that these are the results of climbing in the trees. This informal education was an eye opener...

Words: 912 - Pages: 4

Free Essay


...looked down, I was too afraid to climb back down. What I was experiencing was a fear of heights know as acrophobia. Acrophobia (n.d.) according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is an abnormal dread of being in a high place: fear of heights. I believe that most people become a little scared when it comes to heights. There is nothing wrong with having acrophobia to an extent. It is a defense mechanism our bodies use to stop us from walking off cliffs. The problem is when a natural instinct becomes paranoia. For example, someone who has acrophobia would be scared, nervous, and or panic inside a safe environment like a skyscraper. Symptoms There are many symptoms of the fear of heights (acrophobia) that may occur when up on a tall building or high place. Many people with acrophobia can become dizzy, excessive sweating, nausea, sick to their stomachs, shaking, dry mouth, and unable to speak. One of the main symptoms of acrophobia is fear of dying. Some of these symptoms can then turn into a full blown anxiety attack. “Discomfort anxiety tends to be specific to certain uncomfortable or dangerous situations- and consequently shows up in such phobias as fear of heights” (Ellis, 2003, p.83). It is only believed that between 2 and 5 percent of the world’s population actually suffers from acrophobia, and that twice as many woman are affected by acrophobia then men. A common misconception with the fear of heights is people calling it vertigo. Vertigo happens to people when they are on a tall...

Words: 887 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Learning Experience Paper being or speaking in public, snakes, spiders, dogs, clowns, or open spaces. Acrophobia is an informal learning experience of being afraid of heights. This type of phobia belongs to a specific classification of phobias known as space and motion discomfort. Acrophobia can be dangerous, as victims can suffer an anxiety attack in a high place and become too anxious to get down cautiously. I suffer from a severe degree of acrophobia that prevents me from renting an apartment on any floor other than the ground floor. When I did live on the second floor of an apartment complex, I had to keep my window blinds closed causing my claustrophobia to kick in, which in turn, caused a severe anxiety attack. People with acrophobia may also experience other phobias or types of anxiety. I suffer from several phobias like being in public, spiders, closed spaces, and heights but was also diagnosed with bipolar II, PTSD, and anxiety disorder. Acrophobia can have a negative effect on a person’s life by restricting their job possibilities or where to go for vacation and one’s regular day-to-day situations such as changing a light bulb in a ceiling fan or hanging new window curtains. One might ask, how could someone become afraid of heights? Some psychologists debate the cause of phobias claiming that they are instigated by early traumatic experiences. Fear in itself is an emotion known as anxiety that is produced by the brain when there is the presence of danger or to keep us away from a possible...

Words: 876 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

What Is Fear

...The Fears of Life: Conquering Them Can Be Difficult What is Fear? Fear is an emotion that one feels when they feel threatened or in danger. As for what is fear biologically speaking, when a person experiences fear, certain areas in their brain are immediately activated and appear to control the first physical response to fear. Adrenaline is released into the blood stream causing certain physical reactions such as: rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, tightening of muscles, sharpened or redirected senses, dilation of the pupils, and increased sweating. When fear gets out of control, or when we fear something that cannot actually harm us, it can escalate to a point where it effects our daily functioning. Fear is no longer adaptive if we find we are constantly afraid of events that haven’t happened yet. Some of the most known cases of fear are: the fear of heights (Acrophobia), fear of spiders (Arachnophobia), fear of death (Thanatophobia), fear of the dark, fear of failure, and many more. Whether it is a fearful event you have experienced or the fear of an event or encounter in the future, there are ways to conquer and overcome these fears. The fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias today. The fear of spiders is known as Arachnophobia. As it may seem impossible to overcome these little, furry creatures, there are ways to do so. Though most arachnids are harmless, a person with arachnophobia may still panic or feel uneasy around one. Sometimes, even an object...

Words: 1115 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Definition Essay On Fear

...Skin turns ghost pale, sweat beads down your face, the hair on your neck stands up and your heart begins to beat like a drum. Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, scary, or undesirable. It is an unavoidable emotion experienced by all living creatures. What makes a person afraid? What is it that decides what someone does and doesn’t fear? The amount of anxiety a person experiences in a given time depends on several factors such as culture, past experiences, and upbringing. Natural born fears are also present, and very hard to understand. Fear is a diverse emotion that has been a commonality throughout humanity since humans first walked the planet. Personally, two grave fears I have are the fear of heights and the fear of failure. Acrophobia, the fear of heights, is one of the most common fears on the earth. In fact, nearly five percent of the world’s...

Words: 737 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Strong Dislike of Heights

...My Strong Dislike of Heights My Strong Dislike of Heights Warren L Golston Strayer University PHY105 Professor Stephanie Hawkins I dislike heights I have a very strong dislike of heights. My dislike of heights is really a fear of heights. Some wonder how is it that at 6’ 5” in height that I am afraid of heights. Well my response for the most part is kind of comical in a way, but serious for me. I would tell them that I add another 6 and a half feet to the height. My fear is what has led to my dislike. From the behavioral perspective I get nervous and wonder if anyone is looking at me and laughing. I don’t like going into tall building, eventhough I know I am inside the building, I can still since the fact that I am not ground level. The cognitive perspective in my case causes me to focus on the fear and dislike of heights and what resolutions or other ways to get around the problem. Then there are times that I can be up and not even have a moment of panic, fear or dislike. The biological factors or third perspective play a huge role in my situation, for example my dislike of heights have technically been overcome, because I have flown to many countries, and have as a courier made many deliveries to many high rise buildings and had no problems what so ever. As a part of my route, I would make daily deliveries to on specific building in downtown Atlanta. 35th floor. There are days that I have...

Words: 385 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Personal Narrative Analysis

...Fear, an affliction that plagues all animal species. Just as an ant will fear a boot, the wolf will fear the fire, and a cat will fear water. Evolution creates a wariness of dangers that members of the species died of; falling from high places, burning to death, poisonous snakes, and beasts we couldn’t see in the dark. Our own minds have even evolved fear from our own experiences and for some, it can be a crippling that prevents one from being able to move. And yet, all my life people have told me to conquer my fears despite the rationality of what is said to fear. Regardless of this advice, I believe that being afraid is okay and that you are allowed to be afraid. Conquering my fears never made it onto my bucket list, it was never something I strived to do. I was afraid of heights before but it was something that could be ignored. I,for example, leaned off the top of the ladder to hammer a nail in for my Auntie. I was afraid, but it never seemed like it was this great obstacle to be overcome. However that was before we went on our trip to Banff....

Words: 963 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Hca 240 Week 8 Mental Illness Paper ( a+Material )

... ) Feel Free to Search your Class through Our Product Categories or From Our Search Bar ( ) Mental Illness Paper Anorexia nervosa is not really about food. It is an unhealthy way of trying to cope with emotional problems. Anorexia nervosa is a mental illness that causes people to obsess about their weight and the food they eat. The individual diagnosed with anorexia nervosa does not want to maintain even the minimal weight considered normal for his or her age and height. The disorder is recognized by insufficient weight along with an intense fear of gaining weight and often-misunderstood awareness of his or her body weight and shape (Anorexia Nervosa, 2011). Anorexia nervosa is diagnosed by four different criteria. These criteria consist of the refusal to uphold a normal weight evidenced by failure to maintain a weight equal to 85% of that expected for his or her height and age. Criteria B include the extreme fear of weight gain or of becoming fat although the individual is obviously underweight. Criteria C is met when the individual exhibits denial about their condition, has troubled perceptions about his or her weight or look or has an obsession with regard to their appearance as related to weight. The final criteria is met if the individual is female and of menstrual age and has experienced the absence of three menstrual cycles because of their illness (Gentile, 2010) Additionally there are two sub-types of the illness....

Words: 7267 - Pages: 30

Free Essay


...FEAR OF ALTOPHOBIA Veronica Taylor ENG121: ENGLISH COMPOSITION 1(AXC1420C) Instructor: Erin Nelson May 16, 2014 Fear of Alto phobia The fear I need to conquer is my fear of heights. Heights are one of my biggest fears that I have tried numerous of times to get over. This fear causes me to have real bad anxiety attacks to where I sweat, shake, have blurred vision, and have trouble breathing to where I have an asthma attack. One day my sister tried to help me conquer my fears by making me ride on roller coaster and that day is the day that I will never forget because she made my fears worst. The bad thing about my fear is when I go to sleep I picture myself up high in the air somewhere falling and wake up instantly nervous in a cold sweat, scared and emotional. Every time I go to an amusement park I promise every one that I am going to ride on all the rides. When I get there, I freeze up and back out. My sister always forces me to get on the biggest ride which is called The Beast. The beast is concerned to be the longest and biggest rollercoaster and it’s made out of wood. They tell me that I can do it and that it’s not that bad, but they lied. I wanted to get on so bad but, my fear just took over and wouldn’t let me just like always. What really causes me to have a fear of heights was the movie called Final Destination. In the movie all kinds of disturbing and crazy things happen. In one of the sense there were people up on the rollercoaster riding when...

Words: 859 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Jackson Phobias

...classified a phobia as having fear that is too large in comparison to the danger it poses by the feared object or situation ( Menzies, Harris, & Jones, 1998). Fear is a common emotion to have, but it is when the fear is irrational that it poses a problem. For Jackson, this irrational fear has become an awareness of danger. Jackson is convinced that heights, germs, and spiders are potential dangers to keep awareness on. Jackson is a ten-year-old male that is having difficulty living his life due to his phobias. Jackson has mysophibia (fear of germs), acrophobia (fear of heights), and arachnophobia (fear of spiders). Jackson’s parents are not sure how he developed his fears, but they know that his fears have been going on for the past couple of years. Jackson’s fears are gradually getting worse and...

Words: 1814 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Personal Narrative: My First Roller Coaster

...The day before Halloween was a special day for me. It wasn't only my first time riding a roller coaster, but it was also the day I overcame my fear of them. I will never forget the moment when I also overcame my fear of heights . I lost this fear on my first time ever on a roller coaster which was named the Goliath at 6 flags Great America . Most people think roller coasters are really scary and I always hear both bad and good stuff about them, but I’ve never actually been on one becuase of my fear of heights. So I thought it was time to get some friends to go with me. When I was in line waiting to ride my first rollercoaster with my friend Skyelar, her boyfriend Eric and his sister Melissa. I got really nervous and scared because I...

Words: 574 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Childhood Fears

...Childhood fears have always haunted our minds as kids. From the more classical boogie man in the closet, to the more present day Hollywood horror movies. My childhood fear at the time unfortunately was scary movies, heights, and being afraid of the dark. As a young child, mainly around the age of 4 to 7 years old, screams and loud stressful noises wasn’t generally my favorite amusement. I rather settle my small completive mind to action figures and video games than being scared so bad I would piss me pants. Everyday my older sisters would come home from high school, mouths over whelmed with gossip and in a not so gentle mood, would snatch the remote from my hand as if my age held no authority to them. Young and very much helpless, I sat aside curious to what sixteen year old drama queens particularly watch. My oldest sister Melissa, channel surfs and stops on a dreadful theme song followed, by the title of the show in greenish texture. I remained seated wondering what would happen next. The show started off normal and eventually became more clear and horrifying. Having watched the show, sleeping wasn’t so easy, but as months pasted, I conquered my fear of horror films and progressed on. Growing up at the age of 8 had its own fashionable trend, when it came to who was your favorite super hero. In my custom made all blue pajamas and a red towel tied around my neck, I’d extended my arms and ran through the house with not a care in the world. Paranoid at the motor boat sounds...

Words: 724 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Understanding Fear and Phobias

...Understanding Fear and Phobias For something that can cause as much suffering as a phobia, as remarkable how many people lay claim to having one and how many of them are wrong. Experts say, a true phobic reaction is a whole different category of terror, a central nervous system wildfire that's impossible to mistake. In the face of the thing that triggers fear, phobics experience sweating, racing heart, difficult breathing and even a fear of imminent death -- all accompanied by an overwhelming need to flee. For every phobia, the infinitely inventive and infinitely fearful human mind can create, there is a word that has been coined to describe it. There's nephophobia or fear of clouds and coulrophobia, the fear of clowns. It's one thing to invent a word like arachibutyrophobia, another to find someone who's really afraid of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth. Other phobias, however like acrophobia (fear of heights) and agoraphobia (a crushing paralysing terror of anything outside of the safety of the home) can be deadly serious business. Researchers are making enormous progress in determining what phobias are, and what kinds of neurochemical storms they trigger in the brain. Most psychologists now assign phobias to one of the three broad categories: Social phobias, in which the sufferer feels paralyzing fear at the prospect of social or professional encounters; Panic disorders, in which the person is periodically blinded by an overwhelming fear for no apparent...

Words: 353 - Pages: 2