Writers’ Workshop: Afraid of Heights

I was a shy, timid, anxious kid.

Not surprisingly, as I have recently clarified, I am an anxious adult. I am also an introvert.

Not much has changed in what I’m afraid of, because of said personality traits.

I was afraid of heights.

Well, it’s not so much heights I’m afraid of (I worked on the 92nd floor of the Sears Tower for a while).

It’s the fear of falling. Basophobia.

I read that it is common in nearly all people and animals, so I guess my fear is BIGGER than most.

For example:

On a family vacation one year, we went to New York and visited the Statue of Liberty – it would have been around 1983, because I remember it was closed for renovation shortly after we visited it. (Unrelated.) We started to climb the spiral staircase, and the steps were tight and steep, and it was hot.

The higher we climbed, the more anxious I got and panic began to set in. Before we got too far, my mother realized what was happening, and told me I could go back down, taking with me my younger brother because it was a big climb for him at seven or eight years old. (Nice face save, Mom.)

The best view I had of the crown was looking up at it. We hung out at the base until they made the climb and came back down. It probably took that long for me to calm down.

Fast forward 17 year or so and you’d find me in Ireland with my friend Michelle, standing at the edge of the Cliffs of Moher. I have always loved traveling and a trip to Ireland to see the iconic Cliffs of Moher had been on my ‘to do’ list for such a long time.


Well, SHE was at the edge. I walked clinging onto the edge of the stone “fence”. Or I laid on my stomach, scooting towards the edge to peer over, figuring if I threw up from angst, it would be over the edge, instead of on the ground where I could slip in it and fall to my death.

Ten years on from that trip you would find me in the Welsh countryside, exploring castles with my kids.



Because those old castles had stone staircases, steep spiral staircases, crumbly in some bits, and no handrail. Pity the person who was coming down the stairs behind me. I had visions of tumbling head over tail, rolling down the stairs like a sack of potatoes. Mostly terrified I’d knock my two front teeth out (which was a bigger issue now that I was living in the UK because I certainly didn’t want to get crowns there. No offense, NHS, but it felt like light-years difference in dentistry.)

Needless to say, even the kids knew how much I disliked stairs, and high places with low or questionable railings. They tended to go ahead with Dad, because they knew Mummy needed extra time.

Not much has changed in that fear. I’m not much over it.

Despite the irony of the fact that the last time I broke a bone, it was after sitting on the floor, folding laundry.

And I’m pretty sure my activity can’t get more docile – or grounded – than that.


Mama’s Losin’ It
This Writer’s Workshop post inspired by prompt# 1. Something that scared you when you were young…are you still afraid?



  1. Oh I am right there with you! I would have been crawling my way back to the vehicle in each of those scenarios. I can’t begin to imagine how you broke a bone folding laundry, but I wouldn’t put it past myself to do something wacky like that too. lol!

    • You know, I broke a bone folding laundry, you would think I wouldn’t be allowed to do it again.
      I don’t think I should, for safety’s sake.
      But instead, my husband just yells at me when I’m kneeling on the floor folding laundry.
      Because your feet can fall asleep if you are sitting back on them.

      Dangerous stuff.

  2. Oh, I can SO relate to this. I’m frozen in those types of situations, and I’m even a bit freaked just reading about them here – no handrail you say? Yet I live in Colorado and love to climb mountains. That doesn’t always work out so well.

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