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Old 01-01-2009, 08:20 PM   #1
Aw Yong Yi Xiang
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How do i cure phobia of heights?

Hello guys, i've really been afraid of heights and this restrict me to roller coaster rides, rock climbing etc. I would really want to try those activities without fearing heights.

Any suggestions you guys have that i can cure my phobia of heights? Or in simple terms i'm just a wimp? If so, any tips on me not being a wimp anymore?
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:14 PM   #2
Ed Haywood
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Re: How do i cure phobia of heights?

Well, if you really have a true "phobia" that would be something to take up with a trained medical professional.

On the other hand, if you are just a little more scared and/or unwilling to overcome your fears than the average bear, I'll give you some totally unqualified, non-expert advice. Just remember, it's worth about what you paid for it. Here's my thoughts:

1. Everyone is afraid of heights. It is a natural human instinct that evolved to keep us alive. You are born with it. Studies show that when you put an infant on a glass table over 3 feet high, it scares the crap out of them.

2. Overcoming that fear is a gradual process of increasing your comfort level. It is a matter of learning to let your rational thought processes control your emotions, not the other way around. You will never stop being afraid of heights. Nobody does. However, you can become progressively more and more comfortable with the situations you put yourself in, because you KNOW you are safe, even though you FEEL you are not.

3. For me, the key is knowing and understanding exactly what is going on and why I am safer than I feel. My hobbies include rock climbing and aerobatic flight, and I've parachuted and done a lot of other dangerous things in my military career. All of those activities scared the daylights out of me when I started. But I made it a point to absorb all the details about the safety measures and procedures that were in place. Gradually I become more knowledgeable about what was going on, and learned to trust myself and my equipment. Of course all those activities are inherently dangerous and the risk could never be eliminated, but for me it was a matter of knowing what my risks were. I felt a lot better if I understood what could go wrong and what precautions I could take to prevent it, rather than the risk being some vague "s#!+ can happen" proposition. For instance, in rock climbing, scuba diving, and parachuting the equipment inspection fills an important psychological role as a ritual, as well as accomplishing the practical task of ensuring the gear is correctly rigged. In war it's the same way, you go over all your kit to make sure it's straight, and in the process you reassure yourself that you are in control of those things you can control. You don't get rid of fear, you manage it.

My suggestion for overcoming it, and again this is entirely an untrained layman's viewpoint, is to find an activity where you can gradually increase your exposure to heights in a controlled environment. I would avoid something like a roller coaster or bungee jumping where you just have to have blind faith that the engineers who set it up knew what they were doing. Look for an activity where you can clearly understand what the dangers are, and what actions YOU are taking to control that danger.

Climbing would be a good first start. Find an indoor climbing wall with a top belay and a good instructor. There is absolutely zero chance you are going to get hurt if the activity is properly run. You can gradually go higher and higher as you get comfortable. Get up on the wall and get comfortable with hanging from a height of 15 or 20 feet, both from a rope and by your own fingertips. After a few sessions, when you are confident in the equipment, find a professional guide or a very experienced friend and do some outdoor rock climbing. Again, start with top belay climbing from fixed anchors. It's really safe, and you'll gradually learn that you can function and keep your wits about you when high above the ground. Over a period of years, if you like it, you can progress to sport climbing, trad climbing, multi-pitch, alpine, ice, etc etc etc
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:55 PM   #3
Aw Yong Yi Xiang
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Re: How do i cure phobia of heights?

Thanks alot for your effort! It's really a top quality post and has helped alot.

you mentioned this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Haywood View Post
I would avoid something like a roller coaster or bungee jumping where you just have to have blind faith that the engineers who set it up knew what they were doing.
do you mean that roller coasters are dangerous and i should avoid it always? haha, this really makes me fear the theme park more...
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:04 AM   #4
Ed Haywood
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Re: How do i cure phobia of heights?

No, obviously they are very safe, probably safer than riding a bike or eating a hot dog. A simple look at the statistics (riders vs injuries) will tell you that. The problem is that unless you are an engineer, you are unable to understand exactly WHY they are safe. You should certainly not avoid them. But if you are looking for a situation to deliberately confront your fears, I would pick an activity where you are more directly in control of your own safety.
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:13 AM   #5
Aw Yong Yi Xiang
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Re: How do i cure phobia of heights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Haywood View Post
No, obviously they are very safe, probably safer than riding a bike or eating a hot dog. A simple look at the statistics (riders vs injuries) will tell you that. The problem is that unless you are an engineer, you are unable to understand exactly WHY they are safe. You should certainly not avoid them. But if you are looking for a situation to deliberately confront your fears, I would pick an activity where you are more directly in control of your own safety.
oh, alright. I exactly understand what you mean. I think you're enlighten me on the root of my problem. Thanks alot.

Last edited by Aw Yong Yi Xiang : 01-02-2009 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:06 PM   #6
Daniel Fannin
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Re: How do i cure phobia of heights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Haywood View Post
No, obviously they are very safe, probably safer than riding a bike or eating a hot dog. A simple look at the statistics (riders vs injuries) will tell you that. The problem is that unless you are an engineer, you are unable to understand exactly WHY they are safe. You should certainly not avoid them. But if you are looking for a situation to deliberately confront your fears, I would pick an activity where you are more directly in control of your own safety.
That's not always good, though. I'd rather trust a professional engineer or parachutist or climbing instructor since they have the experience and can really tell you what is 'dangerous' and what isn't.

As for me...just jump out of the airplane. It's a rush man. Totally worth the fear. (And truthfully the fear is a part of why we do it....)
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:42 AM   #7
Aw Yong Yi Xiang
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Re: How do i cure phobia of heights?

Another thing i've encounter which i wonder it's normal. Sometimes when i take roller coaster rides or anything that moves from a high place downwards in fast speed, my heart will have this feeling that it's rushing out or something. I wonder if i can just ignore this feeling and bare with it and try to get used to it?
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:17 PM   #8
Jeremy Stecker
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Re: How do i cure phobia of heights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aw Yong Yi Xiang View Post
Another thing i've encounter which i wonder it's normal. Sometimes when i take roller coaster rides or anything that moves from a high place downwards in fast speed, my heart will have this feeling that it's rushing out or something. I wonder if i can just ignore this feeling and bare with it and try to get used to it?
When I show up to a theme park, I tell my wife. Pick any 3, and then I'm done! I have no problems watching her ride for the rest of the day.

I think this feeling you describe is part of the thrill of the ride, which I do not understand.
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