T Nation

Fear of Heights


Alright, here's the deal. I was at an industrial site the other day for a tour. At one point, we were up about 150 feet on a platform with waste-high railings. These were horizontal tubular steel railings that were similar to what you find as handrails on concrete steps. I was fine at first, but after about a minute, I started feeling very uneasy - like I wanted to jump. I had to step away from the railing. I don't have this problem looking out of windows, only when there is open space, like a balcony or platform.

I'm 37 years old. When I was 26, I started having health problems that lasted for about 2.5 years, at the end of which I emerged with hypothyroidism. Why is this relevant? I don't know, but I'll get to why I bring it up.

Prior to the above-menitioned infirmed period of my life, I had no problems with heights. In fact, I used to drive my mother crazy by swinging out over cliffs or leaning over balconies, etc.

Anyone have similar problems or might know what brought on this condition???? I'm stumped and I don't like it.



I once read a wonderful rationale for the fear of heights:

The limbic system (our lizard brains) "remembers" all the things we used to be through evolution: slugs, birds, reptiles, monkeys, etc.

It doesn't know we lost our wings millions and millions of years ago.

Te "fear of heights" is really cognitive dissonance between your neo-cortex saying "Hold on to something, dummy!" and your limbic system saying, "What are we waiting for? Let's flap our wings and go!"

True? Maybe, maybe not. Probably not. But, more poetic than most reasons I've heard.


you have no idea what horrors you might have released with this statement.


I have a similar feeling. Whenever, I go climbing and I am high up I have an urge to just jump - "just to see what would happen". I am not afraid of the height so much, but I am afriad that when I am up there I will just jump in a moment of impulsive stupidity.

I also have a similar feeling when ever I see trains, part of me just wants to jump in front of them, just so that I know what it feels like. I normally take a few steps backwards when I see a train approaching a platform, to be safe.

I think I am crazy...


I hear Nate is afraid of heights.


I was terrified of flying so I went skydiving. Still HATE flying. Oh well


When I was a kid I was on a ferry going to Martha's Vinyard and looking over the rail at the very tip of the bow of the ship. I was watching the water be sliced by the sharp angle of the ship's front. My older brother(by 11 years) grabbed me by my waist and lifted me up like he was going to throw me over. I had a recurring nightmare for years of going over and having the ship rip me to pieces. The propellers came into the nightmare too. After that I had quite a fear of heights.

In high school and college I conquered my fear of heights because I wanted to rock climb, hike mountains, and ride my bike up Mt. Washington. I fully conquered my fear and haven't had any trouble since.

I was just in San Francisco last week and walked over the Golden Gate Bridge. I looked over the 3.5-4 ft. railing and my balls hurt every time I looked over. It wasn't like a kick to the nuts, but was a very strong ache. It was pretty weird. I told my wife who was with me, "Every time I look over the edge my balls hurt." So she says, "Quit looking over the edge dumb ass."

Before anyone starts breaking my balls over my ability to differentiate between dull ache and kick to the nuts, I developed a gauge for ball bag pain through being a hockey goalie for about 12 years.


I'm not the only one? Thats a relief! lol For me its anything very massive and powerful. Heights, very deep water(ocean), rock crushers, etc. i get the urge to freaking jump in or off or whatever...not sure abou the whole prehistoric i stiil think im a bird view but its definantly something deep in the human psyche...


There is no such thing as the "fear of heights". It's the fear of falling and injuring or killing yourself.

Another fuck up in language manipulation.

Here is one more.

The term "shell shock" has been renamed so many times. By manipulating the language so it comes off less than it really is.

...shell shock...
...battle fatigue...
...traumatic stress syndrome...
...post tramatic stress disorder...
...PTSD...Iraq.....Whats next? "confrontation discomfort" or CD.....

Call this fuckin' shit what it really is.....When you see someone labeled as PTSD, say to them "Oh, did you sacrafice your life to protect your country. Meanwhile, you got your best friends guts blown all over your uniform when you were there."

He'll say, " Yeah I lost both my fuckin' legs, my balls are gone, and I can't hear see a fuckin' thing. All I got for my efforts when I came home was 4 FUCKIN'LETTTERS that explain my condition.

Rant over

Semper Fi


I am not scared of heights when there is some sort of balcony there,but dont lean me over the edge of a building, but funny I also went skydiving and felt absolutely no fear jumping out of that plane.



This is the worst type of pseudoscience there is. I mean, if you just want an explanation without caring whether it's backed up by facts or not, why not just say wizards did it?

But I have the same thing with km, like I'm afraid I'm going to do something stupid for no reason, like jump when I'm really high up, or throw something valuable out of a window for no reason. It's very odd.


My sister in law had a problem with heights. This lasted for many years before she decided to seek help. She went to a behavioral psychologist and went through exposure therapy.

She went there three times per week for about three months and that did the trick!

I think the exposure consisted of taking her to higher places on a gradual basis.


I never had a fear of heights. Still don't. The fear I have is only related to ladders. Lsst year I climbed on to my roof and cleaned the gutters. Went to climb back down and did an "oh shit". For some reason the part where you have to turn around and go down the ladder sent shivers down my spine. Took me about 15 minutes before I could muster up the nerve to climb back down. Haven't been on the roof since. I'm 43 and that's the first time I ever had a fear of heights or climbing.


I said it wasn't, in all likelihood, true. The reason I like the explanation is because of its poetry, the modern battling the primitive.

And, at least it was some sort of explantion, unlike your, "Duhhh, I dunno why I a-feared of heights, but I is!"


HAHAHA soo true that part about ur balls hurting.. I get that...loool


You could at least spell it correctly, dumb ass.





Do you have an inferiority complex?


never bothered to take a typing class, i have alot of typos, i admit. But that will never downfall me as much as your attitude problem is your downfall.


Oh gosh, I sure would hate to be your downfall.

On second thought, by all means, let me be your downfall. If I could only be that lucky...


How do you manage to get everyone to hate you?