Crossing the Bridge: Fear of Tumbling

I’m not scared of crossing bridges as such. Just footbridges, and especially this one. It’s at my local railway station and I need to go over it to get to London.

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There’s a specific anxiety disorder concerned with crossing bridges. Many people suffer badly from gephyrophobia. They fear the bridge may collapse. This can be severe and is quite common, so it turns out some bridges in the world offer a service to drive your car across for you (although I was puzzled how you then cross yourself).

My fear is different and more trivial altogether. I’m anxious that it may be me that collapses. Loses grip, tumbles down the steps, ends up a limp bag of bones at the bottom. It’s very unlikely to happen, but this vision makes me feel a bit dizzy on the bridge.

My sense of balance has always been below par and I think I’ve relied a lot on vision to stop me falling over. This has probably contributed the fear of heights I have, because in high places your sense of balance becomes more important relative to vision, when it comes to maintaining equilibrium.

I’ve several times had panic attacks in high places. Once I had to be helped down from a mountain because I completely froze. I can recall the feeling. I just wanted God or a helicopter to lift me off.

My bridge is not a mountain but with age and stroke my balance has declined (and so has my vision). So I don’t like it. But I need to conquer the anxiety if I can

As you can see the bridge would be impassable for anyone in a wheelchair. This is an issue the local rail users group have been pursuing.

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About partialinsight

One evening I had a stroke. Half my sight vanished overnight. Adapting made me grasp how amazing the visual system and brain are. It also taught me to understand disability completely differently and I'm grateful for the lesson.
This entry was posted in Blindness and visual impairment, Disability, Old age, Stroke and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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