fear of falling

Put your hand up if you lack natural balance. In yoga, I am the one who continually puts my toe on the floor to keep from toppling over. How I am able to ride a bike is beyond me. Is it the constant motion that keeps me upright?

high anxiety

Until recently I never hiked. Panic attacks are a given while trekking through boulders, gravel or anything else I find scary. It’s not the rocks that frighten me, but a fear of falling.

not afraid to bike
not afraid to bike

Is it falling, height, getting injured or something else entirely that drives this fear? Is there a remedy that does not include meds? In reality, what is the worst that could happen? Might I get crushed under a loose boulder and die a horribly agonizing and painful death? Perhaps a stubbed toe or broken fingernail would be the only damage done.

Standing in the midst of a dry creek bed wearing flip flops, I don’t care about possibilities of injury. I am way past that. Heart racing, breath becoming ragged, face muscles tightening into a grimace; stress abounds. It’s freak out time!

perfectly reasonable avoidance behaviors

I’m not sure how, but one of my friends finally convinced me to attempt hiking. Geez! How many excuses could I come up with to avoid this perilous task? There had to be a way out. Breathe…

  1. I have to work that day. Because I’m in retail, hours include weekends when most others find time for hiking. Even if it’s not true, no one would be the wiser (insert evil laugh here).
  2. I’m allergic to nature. Well probably not everything in nature but there are certainly things that might make me sneeze.
  3. I have other plans. Maybe these plans include me sitting on my rear reading my Facebook feed. Hmmm…
  4. I lack the proper hiking gear. Doesn’t it require special clothes or shoes or something to hike? The closest thing I have is a pair of tennis shoes I wear to the gym and will not chance ruining from outside wear.

Is there any other avoidance behavior can I think of? As the excuse list shortens and becomes more pathetic, the more I realize I must give in and suck it up.

some new gear

With a brand new pair of hiking shoes on, I drove hesitantly to my first hike ever. Yes! At 46 years old, I had thus far wriggled out of hiking. Keep breathing. Nature is my friend. Serenity NOW!

As I made the first step onto somewhat shaky and rocky ground, I winced. Falling was imminent. With the second step (you read correctly) I moved forward. No falling? No bruises or bumps or missing limbs? How could this be?

next steps

Two hours later, I felt like skipping, which can lead to falling. Never mind. I didn’t slip even once. A couple of times, the grimace was formed but it could have also been a case of BRF.  Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference.

The point here is that with the right tools, I was able to successfully conquer the trail.  A pair of stabilizing hiking shoes gave me the confidence I sorely needed. Now, I am looking forward to my next hike.

What activity intimidates you to the point of mush? It could be something truly scary like hiking or something I consider easy like talking to complete strangers while wearing a mermaid tail. What tools would make a difference in the outcome? Share your thoughts and stories.



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