I am not exactly sure when my fear of heights first started, but I always remember having it. When I was a kindergarten student, playing on the jungle gym, I would always have to cautiously climb down the steps to get off of it because I was to scared to take the fireman’s pole, and sometimes even the slide.
Looking back on my early childhood, I can’t remember a specific incident that caused my fear of heights. I don’t think that I ever fell, and quite the contrary, my mother said I used to climb everything when I was three and four years old. I just know that once I got to school, it was hard for me to climb the stairs up to the school and look down without getting dizzy.
This continued into my teens. When we made a trip to La, I tried to go up into the state capital in Baton Rouge. I’m not sure how many stories tall it was, but it couldn’t have been more than 10, but when I tried to walk out onto a balcony and look at the city my legs were trembling and I could hardly catch my breath.
I think I finally realized that my fear of heights was out of control when I went to our local opera house when I was in my 20s. We were taking a tour of the facilities when I looked out from a second-story window and became dizzy.
I decided that I had reached a point where it was getting in the way of my everyday life, so I started to work on my fear of heights. The first thing I did was determine how high off the ground I had to be to feel uncomfortable, so I went to my elementary school and climbed up the steps again, and this time, I didn’t feel any fear.
I went over to a friend’s house who has a deck, and stood on that. I started feeling anxious and realized that this would be a good starting point to confront my fear of heights. I made myself stand on the deck and look down for 30 seconds. It was very difficult, and I found myself clutching the rails as I went back in the house.
I went back once every other day until I could walk out there without any problems, and then I found something just a bit higher to climb. It took me a little over a year to conquer my fear of heights, but I did it. My family and I made a trip to the Grand Canyon a few years ago, and I was fine.
I’d read about a type of therapy for phobias called systematic desensitization, where you gradually introduce whatever sets off your fear in small doses until you finally don’t feel any fear. I’m not sure if I went about it the right way from a clinical standpoint, but I was able to overcome my fear of heights.
Here a fear of heights audio if you’d prefer audio files. Fear Of Heights Audio