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Thread: Vertigo & Heights Issues
05-17-2006, 10:00 PM #1Registered User
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- Apr 2006
Vertigo & Heights Issues
Please help. I need some advice. I had a bout with viral encephalytus back in 2002. After a hospital stay and three additional grand mal seizures I was labeled epileptic. Just from a mosquito in Costa Rica. No more seizures since August of 2002. Still on Anit-Convulscents.
Since this time My problem with vertigo and heights has gotten worse. For example, I have a problem on Mt. Shasta with the surrounding peaks. If I stare at them too long I start to get a little dizzy and quezy and have to I sit down. I can't get over 10,000 feet.
Also Kt22 chair at Squaw gives me serious problems where I find I enjoy the backcountry much more than stressing out about the lifts. If I ride my bike across the Golden Gate Bride I am OK just as long as I don't have to stop. I know I am a serious wuss but how do climbers deal with the heights issue?
This winter I took up indoor rock climbing which seemed to help a bit. Outdoor climbing is out of the question.
Any input in overcoming heights issues would be appreciated.
Thank You Very Much
05-17-2006, 10:25 PM #2
i think you may be making it a bigger deal than it is -- you're just afraid of heights, nothing more... i've known people who can't stop shaking in the elevator, or can't step on the rio grande gorge bridge because they're completely overcome with fear.
my advice: take it easy and increase your comfort zone step-by-step without pushing it too much. it's much better than trying to "overcome" your fear and doing a stupid thing
i myself have a reasonable fear of heights (european-style gondolas freak me out, slightly) but i've learned to deal with it by just doing it and knowing the numbers: chances are, nothing bad's going to happen.
most humans are afraid of heights. if you had to have a phobia you could've done much worse take it step by step and make sure you're not far out beyond your comfort level (remembering that it will increase each time).
05-18-2006, 06:30 AM #3Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
Vertigo and fear of heights seems to be very situation-specific to me, and to get better with continual exposure. For example, I climb a fair bit, and never get vertigo on face climbs or cracks or roofs...but do the first couple times I climb friction slabs, every year. The difference in environment on a slab -- low-angle, but smooth, without the usual reference points, and relying on friction -- seems to be enough to stress my brain out.
Closing my eyes, then reopening them and looking for nearby rock features to use as visual "anchors" seems to help me in this case. Making myself smile also helps -- basically, trying to get back to my "happy place."
Other places I've gotten it: getting ready to drop in at a skatepark (fine beforehand, but dropping in can be vertigo-inducing in some cases) a not-steep headwall ibnbounds, and in the standard whiteout conditions that can give many people trouble.
Rather than telling myself I'm a serious wuss, I find it also helps me to know that my body's equilibrium system is having a natural reaction to a different environment. In your case, it sounds like you're continuing to do activities you enjoy in spite of the vertigo issues, which would be one definition of bravery.
It sounds like your balance system may have been affected somewhat by the encephalytis, but that you're getting it all back over time. If you like indoor climbing and would in the abstract like to try climbing outdoors, maybe look for a crag with some easy routes with low exposure and positive holds. Corral a mellow partner, and stay on second/toprope. On chairlifts, consider singing some Bachman-Turner Overdrive for your chairlift companions to distract yourself from the surroundings...or perhaps looking for visual frames of reference to "anchor" in on may help, too.
05-26-2006, 11:26 AM #4
By vertigo do you mean spinning sensation or fear of heights?
I had a head injury in 2000 which gave me a problem with balance and vertigo (spinning) and headaches for several months.
After this I had problems with fear of heights maybe because of being aware subconsciosly that I had had trouble walking on flat pavement recently so heights were something to avoid?
The vertigo (spinning/percieved shifts in vertical) slowly got better over 6 months or so. It will reoccur for me for a short time with lack of sleep or sickness.
I did a lot (9 months) of balance rehab like standing on wobble boards and balancing on balls which improved my balance and my confidence around hieghts.
Getting more comfortable around heights was slow and I had to take it in little steps. I would go and sit somewhere like to top of a tall building until I was relaxed and try to eat something up there (tells your body you are relaxed.)
Give your body enough rest (the brain need a lot to recover) and good food.
If you find something difficult break it down into little steps and take them one at a time, if you make a note of the steps then when you look back in a few months you will see how far you have progressed and feel better than if your goal is 'not to be scared of heights' which few people will ever acheive!
And avoid head injuries!'I dare to dream and differ from the hollow lies'
02-27-2007, 09:21 AM #5Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2005
I don't know what's going on but I seem to have developed a case of the chairlift acro-phobia. Never had any problems with a chairlift until a year or so ago and it seems to be getting worse with time.
I already feel kind of light headed a lot of times but when I ride a lift and get over some magical height it hits me pretty good - like I could just pour out of the chair.
I've been taking some blood pressure meds for close to the same time - maybe that has something to do with it.
I always had some acrophobia but was always able to deal with it even 4 pitches up the side of some cliff. And as long as there was snow on the ground below me I never had any problems (not so when it's all rock, dirt & vegitation). And it did bug me when I used to do construction when I was exposed to heights while hanging off some wobbley scaffolding.
Acro is a weird one, that's for sure.
02-27-2007, 02:05 PM #6Funky but chic
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
- Left Field
Acrophobia is a weird one, it often gets worse with age. I have it a little bit at times when chairs go very high, but it's manageable for me. On the other hand my wife had it really bad years ago - couldn't walk out on the Queechee Gorge bridge to save her life for example, couldn't drive across high bridges without basically panicking, but now that she's gotten into skiing she's basically fine.
So, I dunno.
02-27-2007, 05:16 PM #7don't tell me no...
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
- ut, happily
dear abby had a couple of letters on this very topic recently - especially when it came to fear of heights and aging.
some suggested inner ear problems as an underlying cause, or a few other physical issues.
03-04-2007, 07:37 AM #8
Spend an afternoon here...
... at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, west of Taos on 64. When you're on the bridge it sways when the trucks pass. Anything else after that short of air travel will be cake....I do like a BIT of Gorgonzola!