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Fear of Falling

Posted Aug 14 2011 8:57am
I've noticed that the idea of falling has been on my mind a lot in the last couple of days.  Most of the time when I'm walking I am conscious of every foot placement, though there have been a few times in the last couple of days that I have found myself somewhere else and a not completely conscious of the journey.  Every time that I walk past the top of a staircase I have an irrational fear of falling down the stairs.

I don't know what would happen if I did fall.  I'm still a few months out of the 'danger zone' for my healing femurs.  It still wouldn't be too good to fall too hard after that but it wouldn't be as bad.  I wonder if the feeling that my body is going to uncontrollably launch itself off the top of the stairs as I walk past will go away at that point.  I don't know where it has come from but I have these horrible pictures of falling on a reasonably regular basis.  I guess it's keeping me from doing anything too stupid too soon, so it isn't entirely a bad thing.

I've always had a fear of falling.  If I felt safe, I'm fine.  Things like floor to ceiling windows in a high-rise without ledges, couldn't stand near them.  Mental images of me tripping and pushing the window out with me following closely behind.  Balconies and verandahs without balustrades, I'd hug the wall meters away in case I accidentally threw myself over the edge.  I lived on the tenth floor of a building for 5 years and was fine as I had ledges.  The balcony had concrete walls.  There was no accidental falling happening and no mental images of falling either.

It's not exactly a fear of heights.  I can go on roller coasters and to the top of tall buildings.  Just last summer we went to the lookout on the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and had no problems.  It is an almost rational response to my surroundings.  I guess in a way the situation is the same, it's just that I've changed and I'm no longer as confident in my footing at the moment so the risks around me seem greater.  The damage done in a fall could also be a lot greater, thus increasing the perceived risk.

It will be interesting to see how quickly things go back to my normal and how I will feel trying new things as my strength grows.  I think that I'll always keep the touch of cautiousness - or crazy, depending on how you look at it.


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