Standing High And Yelling: Description Paper On Acrophobia Essay Samples
A group of youngsters were enjoying a ride on a giant Ferris wheel, sitting on the edge of their seats and marveling at the moving traffic and people far below, as someone from the group standing on the ground was watching with panicky the giant wheel rotating, and wondering at what was happening to his friends who boarded a cabin on the wheel just a while ago. The mere thought of sitting in a cabin with his friends and ascend up to see a panoramic view of the city itself crippled the youngster watching the Ferris wheel rotate from below. The unfortunate person who could not enjoy an interesting ride on the wheel with his friends could be a victim of acrophobia like me. I too have a fear of high places since my childhood. I still remember a trip to a hill station with my parents as a child. It was a tourist place though not crowded much. We climbed a hilltop to see a panoramic view of the valley below when the untoward thing happened. A toddler chasing a ball by a precipice fell into a gorge, and I was the first one to notice it. Without realizing that the gorge was that deep I ran after her as my mother came after me yelling frantically. Even as I heard the little girl crying from a bush down below my head began to spin and mom held me tightly before I lost consciousness. Later I learned that the little girl was saved. However the incident made me fear high places forever. Being in a high place still frightens me since it brings to my mind the helpless cry of the child who fell down from the hilltop many years ago.
The very thought of standing on a cliff or a ladder gives me Goosebumps. The fear of falling and getting injured or losing life is the reason behind the bodily response, I later understood. Acrophobia is an irrational and intense fear of heights. It is a motion and space discomfort one feels when going upwards from the ground. A person having acrophobia fears to be in places far away from the ground; climbing a ladder or standing on a rooftop edge gives the person a feeling of a hundred butterflies flying in his or her tummy. Acrophobia is ingrained in human beings and other animals as a basic survival mechanism, some people feel nervous and over react at the fear of falling. Extreme fear of heights may negatively influence someone’s day to day activities since people with acrophobia are afraid of doing ordinary things like walking up a slope or standing on a stool.
I later happened to have a friend who too had acrophobia. Her story was little different from mine. One day, while standing on the top rung of a ladder to clean an old portrait hanging on the front wall of the study with her dad she suddenly swooned when her little brother pretended to shake the ladder from down. Later on, her parents realized that Clare had a fear of falling; she would shiver while looking below, standing on the rooftop edge of their house. She too shied away like me from climbing short sturdy trees around our neighborhood even as most of the children loved to climb treetops while playing in the evenings. One day I saw her yelling through the window of another friend’s flat in a multi-storey building. We thought she was in some kind of trouble. When I reached the apartment with some friends, she was sitting on a chair sweating profusely; even I felt her palms chill and sweating. It was then she revealed to us her whole story. When I craned through the same window to look down at the lawn below, my head started to spin too, as she had felt. We became very close friends from that day onwards.
Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie Vertigo is centered on acrophobia. James Stewart, playing the role of detective Scottie, has got an abnormal fear of heights. Scottie makes a close encounter with death while chasing a suspect on roof tops by falling on a rain gutter. A colleague, while trying to save him falls to death, which makes Scottie an acrophobic. The scene in which Midge helps Scottie to stand on stools of various heights, which also reminded me of Clare, portrays how a person suffering from acrophobia fears staying even at a little height from the ground. Scottie’s acrophobia also prevents him from saving Madeline, who falls to death from a church tower toward the end of the movie. The movie also discusses the possibility of another similar traumatic experience curing Scottie’s condition.
Statistics show that worldwide 2 to 5 percent of the population suffers from acrophobia, and most of them are women (“What is Acrophobia or fear of heights”). Around 60 percent of the affected victims are women. Acrophobia is mostly attributed to fearful and traumatic experiences during one’s childhood. Persons suffering from acrophobia experience panic and fear while climbing a hill or a staircase. They also tend to lose their balance and hold on to a tree or a rock for support. Sometimes they crawl on their knees and hands. Profuse sweating, heart palpitations, crying and yelling while on a high places are also symptoms of acrophobia. Scientists explain that the rate at which our brain processes visual images rises abruptly as one’s body arrives to an elevated location, say a skyscraper or a mountain peak. The visual cortex of a person with acrophobia gets weighed down as a consequence thus leading to side effects like dizziness and nausea. The result of the negative emotions associated with acrophobia unfavorably disrupts the body’s energy flow. The thoughts, beliefs, habits and strategies of a person having acrophobia branch off driven by the negative energy. Hence self help is the primary source of remedy for his condition. Acrophobia has a lot to do with pre-meditated traumatic encounters involving heights. Though acrophobia may not be fully curable, it can certainly be controlled through psychological remediation. For example, while standing on the edge of a hilltop the fear of losing balance makes one anxious about his life, which in turn manifests in the body as sweating palms and abnormal heartbeat. Obviously, repeatedly processing the unpleasant thoughts in the mind tends to make the situation still worse. Hence the key to overcome acrophobia or other fears is replacing fearful thoughts with pleasant and soothing ones. The second important thing is confidence or belief in others. Disbelief about the safety of an aircraft or a skyscraper deters one from travelling by air or living in a sky scrapper. Mental relaxation and doing the things one fears like trekking and exploring high landscapes also helps a lot to gradually overcome the condition of acrophobia. We, a group of people suffering from acrophobia too practice meditation to get rid of the fear.
Fears can be overcome only by doing the things one fears. This applies to acrophobia as well. Trying to forget past unpleasant things that could have caused one’s acrophobia and filling the mind with positive and encouraging thoughts would help in fighting the condition of acrophobia. Avoiding going alone to high places and often visiting such places with friends also helps in reducing acrophobia.
"What Is Acrophobia or Fear of Heights?" NoBullying.com. 14 Feb. 2015. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. <http:// nobullying.com/acrophobia/>.