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Journal Chacham's Journal: Fear of heights, and hurting when looking up 5

I know i have a fear of heights, or Acrophobia as it seems to be called. That is, if i am in a high place, and i recognize this height, i become afraid. Afraid of what? Seems to be the fear of falling. It is somewhat irrational though, glass elevators do it to me, but not closed elevators. I think i have gotten over most of the fear. I recognize them, and sometimes challenge them. As time goes on, it bothers me less and less.

However, i have a different "fear". I have a problem looking up. This seems to be called Anablephobia, though i am not sure it is the same thing. Basically, if i am standing next to a high object, and look at that object straight up, my ankles hurt, and i begin to become overwhelmed, and almost fall over. If i hold on to something it hurts and i become dazed.

It is strange because:

I can look up at the sky.
I cannot look at a ball thrown directly upwards.

I can look at the top of a radio tower when at a distance.
I cannot look at the same tower (or even a smaller one) when standing right next to it.

I can look down from a fire escape to what is below me.
I cannot look up from a firescape to the level above me.

I remember trying to look up at the gateway arch in St. Louis. I nearly fell over. I tried again and again, and i just could not look up without it hurting.

So, this is a physical reaction to a "fear", or something. I am trying to overcome it, yet i haven't an idea how. It just seems so silly, i can hardly believe it affects me. Does anyone else have such issues?

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Fear of heights, and hurting when looking up

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  • Do you get the same sensation of falling when you're standing on top of a tall bridge - say, an overhead pedestrian crossing - and you look up to the sky?

    I got over most of my fears by doing rock climbing for a while and then skydiving twice, though. Then again I haev not been on a pedestrian crossing recently...

    • Do you get the same sensation of falling when you're standing on top of a tall bridge - say, an overhead pedestrian crossing - and you look up to the sky?

      Not sure. Don't think i've ever done that. :)
  • I do too but only in video games [slashdot.org]. Weird, huh?

    • Like GoRK, I too get weird sensations, especially with games like HALO or Grand Theft Auto. I inherently *know* that the character can survive the fall, and if it dies, I'll reload or respawn, however, that feeling of looking over the edge gives me the creeps.

      I feel your pain man. Its a interesting problem. I like your definition of 'Videogame Vertigo'
  • I thought I was the only one. I too, have a fear of being next to tall things and looking up at them. I didn't realize it had a real name. I used to be freaked out by large coluseums/stadiums, but not anymore. I remember being freaked out as a kid looking up at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I imagined myself swimming next to it.

    The "thing" has to be extremely tall. Just looking up at a ball throwing high, won't bother me. And I've noticed has I have gotten older, my fear has subsided greatly. L

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.