Like most of us, I have fears that may seem irrational to others. I have a fear of falling that prevents me from doing things like changing lightbulbs, getting on to escalators without panicking and going up or down a steep flight of steps. As I have grown older it has become worse. I can’t even ride on the top deck of a bus now because I’m afraid of going down steep steps backwards.
Things like going to the doctor or to visit a government department also make me feel fearful but in a different way. I feel like there is a big stone in my chest. I do what I have to do but really I just want to run away.
I am lucky though that I don’t have to experience the fears that many people have to face every day. The fear of being hungry, of having nowhere to sleep at night. I do think about this one a lot because I know that it can happen to anyone. A bit of bad luck, illness or debt and suddenly you are out on the street.
Imagine what that would feel like, losing your home. Suddenly all you have in the world is what you can carry with you. The night is coming and you don’t have enough money to rent even the cheapest room for the night. How do you sleep out in the open? How will you keep warm? How will you prevent your stuff from being stolen if you do manage to sleep? How do you protect your family when there is nowhere to go? How do you live with that fear every day maybe for years?
I wrote my first post for this blog on 30 May 2013. It feels like I’ve come a long way since then.
I wrote my first post for this blog on 30 May 2013. It feels like I’ve come a long way since then. The post below is one of the first ones I wrote. I talked about my habit of procrastinating. I still do that I’m afraid but usually not about blogging.
The last month or two I have cut back on my writing on both blogs. Not intentionally, I’ve been a bit distracted. I had a week off from the Op Shop after Easter and thought I would have time to write more but I didn’t. We had a busy month after we came back and I spent a lot of time reading and writing about the upcoming election. After the results came out last week I didn’t really feel like reading or writing anything for a few days.
I think that I am one of the bloggers who relies a lot on photographs to help tell my stories and lately I have not been out and about with my camera. I’ve learned to take a lot of photos of things around the home but I was getting tired of that too.
Usually with me, the longer I leave something the harder it is to get back to it so it was good to reread this early post and remind myself of what I was trying to do in the beginning. I haven’t changed anything in it just corrected some typos. I think that only three or four people actually read it, my first months as a blogger were not stellar so it will be new to most of you.
After writing this piece I went on and wrote four more in the next month and have now passed 1,300 posts of my own. Quite a few of them have been ranty ones and I expect there will be more in the future.
Procrastinating is something I am very good at. Like most of us, I procrastinate about things I don’t want to do, going to the doctor or dentist, unpleasant household chores, making phone calls to name a few. However, I have a bad habit of procrastinating about things that I do want to do. Maybe I’m just lazy. I want to finish scrapbooking projects, do other craftwork, go for walks more often but I get distracted by small things and then I think “It’s too late, I’ll do it tomorrow.” Sometimes I even find myself doing busywork to justify not starting something I meant to do.
When I started this blog it was because I thought that I’d like to write more often and about more subjects than my doll collection. Since then I’ve looked at some of the writing challenges, been interested in some but not actually written anything because I didn’t know how to start or because I didn’t feel that I could write as well as others on the same subject. I’ve got mad at the television on umpteen occasions when I’ve seen trailers of programs that annoy me or when my husband watches the fourth episode of “Pawn Stars” in a day (Rick Harrison really annoys me.) I had meant to write about all these reality programs and why they annoy me so much. Why have I not done that? (Note: I have done that. Frequently I think.)
It is because it worries me that people will disagree with what I say and might criticise me. I know I would find that hurtful even though I also know that I’m not alone in feeling that way. It shouldn’t really matter to me if people I don’t know and will never meet think that I am ignorant or that I write badly. It would worry me more if people I know thought that about me, even though they would probably be nice and not tell me. I can’t deny that I’m lacking in self-confidence and don’t like confrontation but I’ve decided that as far as blogging goes I’m going to try.
If I don’t write anything I won’t get any better so I’ll just put down what comes to mind and maybe as I go on it will get easier. I will write about the things that annoy me and why. No doubt there will be negative comments sometimes but I will try to deal with them. I expect it will be good for me and help me get out of my comfort zone.
If I have to do something stressful I usually prefer to do it alone. When I’m nervous and my stomach is tying itself in knots and I feel sick inside I need to be by myself. Hubby is very supportive but I don’t want to talk to him at those times. I don’t want to be touched when I’m trying to get my fear under control. I just need to deal with what’s going on in my head so I go into my shell.
If I have to stand up and speak in public I wouldn’t find it comforting to see familiar faces in the front row. I would rather they were further back where I couldn’t see them or I would just worry more about falling over my words or tripping over my feet.
If I am sick I don’t really like people to see me. I’ve never been in hospital to stay (touch wood) but I think that if I had to go I would not want a lot of visitors. I’m not even sure if I would want Hubby or my sister to see me in hospital. I would not really want friends to come and certainly not acquaintances. I don’t know this for sure but that is how I think I would feel. I’m very fearful about the idea of being in hospital and I feel that I would be able to cope better if people I know didn’t see me. So any friends that might be reading this post please take note, just send a card. I’ll let you know when I feel ready for visitors.
Why am I like this? I don’t know, I ‘ve always felt this way. Maybe I don’t want the people who are important to me to see me when I’m less than my best. I feel more in control of a situation if I know that I have to deal with it because nobody else will. On the other hand perhaps it’s easier to run away and hide from something scary if nobody is watching.
I used to think that I had a fear of heights but what I really have is a fear of falling. I am not worried about flying, well not much, and I can enjoy the view from the top of a tall building providing there is a comforting wall all around me but ask me to climb a ladder and I turn into a quivering mass.
I don’t think that I was always afraid but certainly by the time I went to school I was. At my first school in England we had to do gym. One of the things they would make us do was to walk on a plank suspended between two large stools. I don’t suppose they were very high but they seemed so to a five year old. I was terrified to do it but too shy to tell my teacher. I’d just try to make myself invisible and keep going to the back of the line. In those days they would probably have made me do it even if I had said something.
If we went to the playground I wouldn’t go on the big slide because I didn’t want to climb up the ladder. I do wonder if I had an early experience that made me afraid. Mum did tell me that once when I was very small my father brought me home from the playground covered in blood after a fall. I don’t remember this incident at all but maybe that was the start of it.
Fear of falling has continued to be a nuisance all my life. Occasionally on outings I’ve missed out on doing things because they involved ladders. Last summer at the Maritime Museum in Sydney I found that I could not tour most of the ships on display because doing so would have involved climbing down ladders.I would love to sail on a tall ship but even before I became too unfit to be much use I would not have been able to pull my weight because there was no way I was ever going to climb the rigging. I’ve never been to the top of a lighthouse for the same reason even though I would love to do that too.
When I was younger I could sometimes overcome my fears if the motivation to do so was great enough. When I was a Steamranger volunteer I was for a short time able to climb onto the roof of a train carriage. My greatest achievement I think was to climb Ayers Rock. It’s not the done thing to climb the rock these days, it’s considered disrespectful to the indigenous people who consider Uluru to be a sacred site. However, in the 1980s a lot of people did it. Hubby and I were there with an American pen friend of mine and although she and I were both a bit anxious we decided that we would try it. Hubby elected to remain on the ground. I really expected that I would be too scared to go on once we got past the first section where there was a chain link railing to hold. Surprisingly I wasn’t; it felt firm underfoot, not slippery and although we resorted to some undignified sliding on our bottoms on the way down we both made it to the top. I could never do that now.
English: Ayers Rock, Uluru, Australia Deutsch: Ayers Rock, Uluru, Australien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The worst thing about this fear though is that it means that I am unable to do certain jobs around the house. I can’t wash or paint my ceiling unless I employ a long-handled brush but the most aggravating thing is trying to change lightbulbs. I’m fine if I am near the wall, I can just about manage on a step-ladder but if it’s in the centre of the room I to into a state of near panic even if Hubby is standing by to catch me. As I get older it seems to be affecting me more. In the car steep driveways and ramps worry me. I sometimes resort to closing my eyes when we have to use them. Luckily I’m not the driver!
I have to admit that I’ve never sought treatment for this problem. It’s never really been a priority for me. I’ve just learned to live with it.