Tuesday, 24 July 2007


When I told the people I work with that I was going on a parachute jump, they were surprised. When I told them I suffer from a pretty serious fear of heights, they were stunned. Naturally the conversation turned to the different phobias people suffer from. A Nigerian guy in our group once went on a bungee jump. What scared him wasn't the fall but the fact that the bungee cord was suspended over a lake - he has a fear of large bodies of water. A lady of Pakistani extraction who is also a member of our team has a general fear of animals - she puts this down to the fact that her culture discourages the keeping of pets in the house (they're thought to be unhygenic) together with the fact that a neighbour's dog used to chase her when she was a kid. This particular lady also recently gained a degree in psychology, so she knows a fair amount about this kind of thing - it seems people are scared of all kinds of weird things, including metal - I wonder how someone with such a fear would cope? Other more common phobias inclued fear of crowds, fear of being alone, fear of the dark, fear of time passing, fear of specific animals like spiders, snakes etc.

According to my brainy colleague, and the University of Cambridge counselling page on phobias, the way to overcome a phobia is to confront it in a controlled way, starting off with something that only scares you a bit (eg standing on a chair) and gradually building up to the main event (3,000 feet straight down with only a bit of silk to slow your fall). Makes sense to me. So far I've got to the point where I can stand on a chair and balance on one foot without any major problems - of course I'll have to accelerate the programme a bit if I'm going to be able to make that jump in less than eight weeks. Maybe I'll take a trip to Blackpool next week - all those roller coaster rides, not to mention Blackpool Tower...

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