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Acrophobia

Re: Acrophobia

Postby Gemma » 18 Feb 2015 06:13

I wonder whether a phobia and irrational fear are the same thing. A close friend refuses to say she has a phobia. When we go any where high up, she automatically checks out the railings/walls etc. If she feels they are not high enough, not only wouldn't she go any where near the edge but she doesn't let me . We were recently walking on a path on some hills over looking the sea. There wasn't a sheer drop , in fact there were paths were you could walk down to the sea. All of a sudden she froze because she felt that if one of us tripped we might roll down
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Acrophobia

Postby lovetraveling » 24 Feb 2015 23:43

Oh God, phobias are awful
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Re: Acrophobia

Postby keith6400 » 26 Feb 2015 12:10

Gemma wrote:I wonder whether a phobia and irrational fear are the same thing. A close friend refuses to say she has a phobia. When we go any where high up, she automatically checks out the railings/walls etc. If she feels they are not high enough, not only wouldn't she go any where near the edge but she doesn't let me . We were recently walking on a path on some hills over looking the sea. There wasn't a sheer drop , in fact there were paths were you could walk down to the sea. All of a sudden she froze because she felt that if one of us tripped we might roll down


In my opinion a phobia is simply an irrational fear. If you went into a supermarket and a man was firing a gun randomly it would be reasonable to be frightened and prudent to leave the shop immediately and indeed the area. Most people would understand if you avoided that shop in the future before returning to your previous shopping habits after a few days, weeks or months. Many would be checking the local press to see if the man had been caught and whether it is an isolated case or has the whole area gone downhill. However some might react differently and never leave the house ever again. What is normal?

Friends and relatives try to help but do not know what to do. What is interesting in your example is your friend has a fear; which to most is irrational to some extent. Your friend has weighed up the increased danger of being at a height and slipping or falling would then have a significantly greater consequence as a result of these circumstances. The safeguards, hand rails, barriers etc. are therefore assessed and factored in. At this point she then extends protection to you by not allowing you to expose yourself to the perceived serious risks. By complying you would be reinforcing her belief and reassuring her she is right. I think you should be trying to erode each element of the problem, consequence, likelihood etc.

I have a friend who does not like driving over major bridges above water. Her rationale is that if the bridge collapses you could drown in the river. I have tried to explain that if you are on a high bridge over an electrified railway consequences would be worse but she has no fear of this. This is because for some reason she thinks bridges over anything except rivers will almost never ever collapse. It is very hard to understand things that simply have no logical basis. In your scenario I can see a modicum of sense; albeit excessively cautious.

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Re: Acrophobia

Postby Gemma » 27 Feb 2015 06:51

My mother used to be terrified of lifts and would choose to walk up flights of stairs in preference. But she'd willingly go in those glass lifts - even if only one wall was glass. When I was trying to choose a care home I was worried how she'd cope as most of them necessitate using lifts. By the time she actually went into a home she had dementia and forgot that she was afraid of lifts and never gave them a second thought.
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