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fourkids4us

"Irritational' fears? Have any?

fourkids4us
10 years ago

I used quotation marks because until this past weekend, I thought two of my fears were a bit irrational, but now, I"m not so sure and I'm hopeful I will be able to work through them.

Since I learned to drive nearly 30 years ago, every summer, I've driven across the Bay Bridge in Maryland to get to the beach and now as a parent, I drive over it all year round to take my kids to sporting events, camps, etc. It is a nearly 5 mile long bridge that at its peak, is 185 feet high. For over 20 years I drove across that bridge with never a fear in my mind. Then when I was pregnant with my youngest 9 years ago, while returning home from the beach with my other three kids in the car, I had what I assume was a panic attack just as I was reaching the peak. I have never had one in my life and haven't had one since, but only sheer will and determination got me across that day. There is no way you can stop ON the bridge, no place to pull over. My hands gripped on the wheel and staring at the license plate on the car ahead of me, heart practically in my throat and barely able to breathe, I got myself across the rest of the way. But I was TOTALLY freaked out and had no idea what had just happened to me or why. My OB later attributed it to my hormones. For a while, I could not drive across the bridge again. But, I knew I couldn't NOT drive over the bridge ever again, so finally, on a trip to the beach where dh and I were driving separate cars, MIL was with me. She knew what had happened so tried to keep my mind occupied, but I could feel my body tensing and my heart starting to pound, but I was able to get myself across. For about a year after, every time I approached the bridge, I could feel the beginnings of anxiety but was able to control it from overcoming me. THe last several years, I've been fine driving across, but I do still have "tricks" I use to prevent the anxiety.

So, I couldn't imagine exactly what the problem was. I realized that that when I became a parent, certain things I never feared were things that had become a little bit bothersome...like heights. I had developed a sense of my mortality so things that could be thought of as dangerous were suddenly a bit scary to me. I realized that the westbound span of that bridge curves as you approach the peak, and you can see just how high you are, plus the sides of the bridge have openings that allow you to see straight down to the water. That must have triggered the fear in me that day. Going eastbound, there isn't that same view so it is easier for me to drive. Until now.

Friday evening, a mere four hours after I crossed the bridge on my way across the Eastern Shore to a soccer tournament in NJ with my boys, a car was hit from behind by a tractor trailer, went airborne, flew over the jersey wall and landed in the water below. Thankfully, it happened at the start of the bridge span where it's not as high, but the car still fell 40 feet into the water below. Miraculously, the young woman survived, and was able to swim back to shore and hold onto some rocks until she was rescued. You may have seen the story on the news.

And all I could think was, OMG, that isn't supposed to be able to happen. Cars are not supposed to be able to get above the jersey wall. When an accident happened five years ago on the bridge that sent an 18-wheeler through the side of the bridge (driver died sadly), safety measures were taken to shore up the barriers. But no one has ever gone ABOVE/OVER the jersey walls! In my head, I've always talked my way over that bridge by saying to myself that it is safe, something like that CAN'T happen. And now I know it can. Oddly enough, I was supposed to be go to my daughter's camp performance that evening, which would have had me going over that bridge at roughly the same time that accident happened, or shortly thereafter, but decided to skip her performance and leave early so we wouldn't get stuck in beach traffic. Thank God I did leave early.

So now how do I get myself over that bridge next time? I'm taking my kids to camp next week right on the other side of the bridge! ACK! I may have to have dh go with me that day, at least the first time I have to go over, but really, in the next three weeks, I have to drive over that bridge no less than 3 more times (camp and trip to beach) all as a driver, not a passenger!

The other thing that freaked me out was the death of that woman on the roller coaster in TX. Just two weeks ago, I was at Hershey Park with my kids. I LOVE roller coasters. It is the one "fear" that I've been able to keep at bay, or at least, force myself to do it to prove that I can face my fears. So there was one ride that I went on alone. My one son was off with his friends, my youngest was too little, so that left my 10 y/o. He didn't want to go on it. So dh took the two youngest on a different ride while I went alone on that one. I can't really describe the way it was set up except to say that you are seated alone in a "car" that is really just a seat with no sides. Only your lap is held in - there is a t-bar that comes down across your thighs (and maybe there was a seatbelt). Upper body is totally freely moving and your arms could hold onto a bar that came up from your lap. There were two young boys on either side of me in their own little seats, separate from me. Well, it totally freaked me out. My whole upper body was getting thrown around. I did not feel safely "in" the ride with only my lower body feeling sort of snug. I have been on other rides where only the lower body is strapped in, but this was totally different. It really did feel as if you could get thrown out easily - my upper body was really getting tossed about. I remember saying to myself, "thank God Joey didn't go on that ride with me - I would have freaked out that he could have slipped out from the t-bar. But, I got off the ride and just reminded myself that large amusement parks are typically incredibly safe (unlike carnivals/boardwalk rides/etc). Then just a week later, I hear about the poor woman in TX. And I think, wow, will I be able to put myself on those kind of rides anymore? And my kids?

Just kind of freaked me out that twice in the same weekend, what I thought were somewhat irrational fears were suddenly turned into realistic fears. And now even though I know the odds are incredibly low, still, the thought will be in the back of my mind.

So, after that very long winded post, my question is, do you have any fears, irrational or not, and how do you work yourself through them, especially if you don't have much choice (like me driving over the bridge!)?

Comments (35)

  • cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have never liked driving over that bridge either and I used to do it every weekend and every vacation for a couple of years. Bridges and tunnels-ugh. I have always been tempted to use the service that will drive you across the bridge. Even though I thought it was silly, I always put down the windows-just in case we were to go over and would need to escape once in the water. So ridiculous, but there you have it. I never had a white-knuckle panic attack and I always kept a lot of distance between me and car or truck in front of me. So, bottom line, you are not the only one-far from it. I saw that there has been a 25% increase in those using the drive across service since the accident! I guess the answer is that we just do it despite the fear or we get someone else to do it for us. Personally, I prefer to be in control of my car and trust myself to get across. That is the best I can do.

  • CLBlakey
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I used to be afraid of flying, take off and landing mostly but found the more I did it the less afraid I became. I also was afraid of driving up this mountain I didn't know until I was up there. It was so bad I waled on my hubby in a freak out. I was determined not to let it control me so I attacked my fear by driving up it myself. I find the more I face my fears the less they have a hold on me. I have a bridge I don't like either it is too narrow. I focus on the center of my lane and concentrate on breathing.(Good thing it is in another town from me) Good luck.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Find out if your bridge is safe

    This post was edited by CLBlakey on Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 14:59

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  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have some, but, when life gets really hard, then they tend to dissipate and I feel like I can conquer anything. The "real" problems make the fake ones disappear. If I have to, I could kill a snake. But I sincerely hope I never have to.

  • maddielee
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have few fears, I think because If I start thinking too much about 'what might happen' I calculate the odds.

    Once I think about how many people actually DO drive over bridges, ride on rollercoasters, swim where gators or sharks swim, fly in airplanes, etc. with no accidents, the chance of it happening to me is slimmer then nil.

    I figure my time will be up when my time is up.

    Good luck, fear can cripple. I hope you can get past it. And if you can't, talk to a professional who can help you.

    ML

  • texanjana
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I had to go see a therapist for PTSD after I was t-boned in a car accident a few years ago by a red light runner. I was hit at an intersection very near my house that I literally have to go through every day if I am to get anywhere. Before that, I was never afraid of driving at all. The therapy was called EMDR (it uses eye movements), helped me immensely, and it only took a few sessions. Just something you might want to consider.

    I understand and empathize with your feelings, and don't think they are irrational at all. Good luck.

  • kellyeng
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I wouldn't say I have a fear of bridges buy every time I have to go on or under one, my pulse picks up a little bit.

    The only "fear" that I can think of is sharks. We go to the beach every year and it's becoming harder and harder to get into the water. Sharks are rare on the Texas coast but last year there was a shark attack very close to where we were staying. This year we are staying at a condo on the beach with a very nice pool.

  • iheartgiantschnauzer
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I run trails, mt bike, canoe, and back country camp frequently. So i put myself in snakes' territory all the time. But, I am absolutely terrified of snakes. We saw a few copperheads and rattlesnakes on family trips as a kid, but I always felt safe because my dad was around. As an adult despite all my outdoor shenanigans, I've never ran into another snake. That was, until yesterday. We moved into our new home. After the moving was finished, we delayed unpacking to have a BBQ and take a short swim with our friends who were kind enough to help us move. I changed, took my contacts out and headed to the garage to get a few beach towels we had left in the car. I saw a brown stick on the garage floor and thought that's funny. Then as I bent down to get it-- the sick started to slither then coil. I screamed bloody murder while I ran to the other side where I locked myself in the car (completely idiotic in hindsight). I kept honking the horn as if that would make the snake leave.... Well he finally did but slithered right under the stairs to the house! My husband eventually rescued me, while he and his friends had a good laugh. They then relocated the snake to a field nearby and assured me it was a harmless king snake. Yet today I have made my brother climb all through the atic, the basement and thoroughly check the garage to make sure mr snake has not returned. Oh and my car? In the driveway, not sure when I'll park in the garage again... And so many snake nightmares last night.

    I think we all have little irrational fears that we work around and confront... I know i usually play the odds game in my head when some quick horrible scenario pops in my head as I'm waiting to board a plane or swim in a lake that could have water moccasins. I'm sure I'll even park in the garage again soon. :)

    This post was edited by iheartgiantschnauzer on Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 15:24

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What is it about snakes that make those unafraid say "Oh, it's only a _______ snake, completely harmless"

    Who cares.

  • morz8 - Washington Coast
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Mild irrational fear: swimming in a deep river or lake where there may be fallen trees, old logs beneath me. Somewhat continued to swimming in the ocean where I don't know what might come up under me. I know the chances of being grabbed by a fish of any type are really slim, but I'm not entirely comfortable and it's not fear of water, I have no fear of water itself.

    My roller coaster fear is easy to resolve, you'd never find me on a roller coaster. Those days are over, I don't need that kind of fun :)

    You described me to a 't' with your experience on the bridge, right down to fixating on the license plate of the car in front of me. I did the same on the Tacoma Narrows bridge one time, in the middle, completely unexpected and unexplained, and I'd crossed it plenty of times. I was not pregnant.

    I refuse to let it stop me from going a few places on the other side that I truly enjoy, so I do deep breathing, talk out loud to myself, make myself drive across it. If DH is with me and at the wheel, I feel absolutely nothing at all any different from any other roadway, and I can't tell you why the semi-panic attacks when I'm driving and alone. It's not bridges in general, or even the Megler 4+ mile expanse going into Oregon across the mouth of the Columbia, it's that one grated deck (and high) bridge.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Galloping Gerite and I don't like her even though replaced

  • iheartgiantschnauzer
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bumble- right?!? Things on land should have legs! To me worms live under ground so I'm discounting those from his argument. It's just not right! It really creeps me the heck out, glad someone else understands.

  • luckygal
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What I do when confronted by fear is first respect it as perhaps a warning by a more knowledgeable part of me than my conscious mind. I then repeat as a mantra "I let go of fear". Sound kinda hokey but it has helped me enormously since my DH died as I live alone on a large acreage (in bear country) and sometimes my imagination can get carried away. I believe in positive 'self-talk' as a way to reduce stress and improve my life.

    I still don't like driving alone after dark but do so when I want or need to. I think I take all necessary precautions to stay safe without being crazy about it and always carry my cell phone and have it charged. Also carry a 'bear-banger' when walking alone on my acreage.

    Hope you can resolve those fears and find your comfort level to live in this sometimes scary world. I have a relative who never watches the news as "doesn't need all that negativity in my life". Might work for some altho I like to be informed.

  • fourkids4us
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Morz8, so funny that I do the exact same thing. If I'm alone, I talk to myself out loud and when my kids are with me, I make sure to start a rather involved conversation with them to focus on. Of course, it doesn't help that my kids will start telling me to check out all the sailboats or freighters out in the bay, etc. I haven't let on about the anxiety b/c one of my sons sometimes gets nervous about things so I don't want him to then take on my fear. And it is ONLY this one bridge. I have no problems on other bridges at all. This bridge is actually considered one of the top 10 scariest bridges in the US. Funny though how I drove across it for 20+ years with no problem, then boom, it hit me. And I have been fine for the last few years, but now this will kick up crazy thoughts in my head again. It doesn't help that in the last several years there have been some horrific accidents, which actually happened after my episode, but I've still been able to cross without issue. I actually decided to come home a different way on Sunday so I didn't have to cross the bridge, one, because the accident was fresh in my mind, and two, there were severe thunderstorms that evening. However, I can't avoid the bridge next week - the camp is right on the other side of the bridge. There is no other way, without going about 100 miles out of the way, to get there. So I'll do it and use my calming methods and hope they work!

    Snakes....they don't really do anything to me, but I learned years ago that dh is freaked out by them for some reason. We had one in a planter box on our deck. A friend pointed it out thinking it was a decoration! :) Dh could not even go near it so i had to get a neighbor to come over and remove it to the woods. thankfully, we never saw that one again. Two years ago though, there were several in the neighborhood lurking under air conditioning units. When it's very dry, they seek out the condensation that drips from the A/C units apparently.

    Thanks for sharing all your fears and your methods for dealing with them. I don't feel so silly now.

  • cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh, and fourkids, music! Your favorite tune on as you go over helps-at least for me!

  • neetsiepie
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Don`t laugh. I cannot bite into a just peeled banana. I HAVE to break it into pieces before I can eat it. The thought of peeling and biting gives me shivers. I can`t watch some one do that either.

    I can go pick up a random snake, drive across any bridge, swim in any body of water...but cannot bite a whole banana.

    Also will run from moths, grasshoppers and crickets. Shudder. But I dream of swimming with sharks.

  • Sueb20
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I guess if it's your own fear you don't see it as irrational...so I don't completely see mine as irrational, but I am scared to death of dental work of any kind. Of course, I've had more than my share of it, which is probably part of the anxiety. Crowns, fillings, root canal. My dentist has conscious sedation, which I use because otherwise I'd NEVER get the work done. I take an anti-anxiety med an hour before the appt., and by the time I get to the office, I barely know where I am. Then after the treatment, I go home and take a nice long nap. It's pathetic because I obviously need to be driven to and from the appt., and they tell you not to be alone for several hours after, so DH has to take a whole day off from work.

    I even sweat throughout my cleanings, but so far have not taken medication for that!

    I was supposed to make an appt. for a crown 6 months ago and I'm still procrastinating.

    I also have a real problem with the sight of blood. Not my own, but anyone else's, especially my kids. DH had minor surgery a few years ago and when I went into the recovery room to see him, there was a spot of blood on the bed sheet and I almost passed out. How embarrassing.

  • fourkids4us
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Sueb, my neighbor is like that with the dentist. I had to take him to/from the dentist once when he was getting some type of work done that involved sedation.

    Pesky, if we are going to mention food idiosyncrasies, I cannot stand to touch mayo or ketchup. For some reason it grosses me way out. I don't like mayo except mixed into tuna, but can't let it get on my fingers. I like the taste of ketchup on burgers and fries, but again, can't let it get on my fingers. And the SMELL of ketchup drives me nuts. Like if a used plate is sitting on the sink/counter with old ketchup on it, the smell makes me crazy, though it doesn't bother me while eating it on my food. Strange, I know.

  • dedtired
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I get very panicked if I am in a situation where getting out of where I am depends on another person. One time I toured a submarine. There were some rowdy teens ahead of me and they weren't moving.The people behind me could not see what was going on. I could not go forward or back. I really started to feel panicky and practically ran through the rest of the tour after the kids moved on. I also can feel my chest tighten when it is time to get off a plane and the people ahead of me are not moving. I am not nervous about the flying part at all.

  • blfenton
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    sueb20 - I'm with you on the dentist. I make myself go every 6 months now because at one point I didn't go for 6 years because of the fear. I have, in the past, cancelled appointments because I couldn't deal with the trauma. My dentist knows and accepts it. I think it might have something to do with the fact that my childhood dentist didn't use freezings when filling cavities. Today that would be barbaric.

    I also don't understand why, with all the current technology, they can't make soundless dental equipment. All the equipment, even for cleaning, has the incredibly high pitched whine to it. - at least at my dentists.

    As for irrational fears are concerned - I won't stop under an overpass (for eg with a traffic tie-up) and I won't park in an underground parking lot. If I am with my Dh and he insists on parking in an underground lot I will get out of the car at the entrance and meet him.I live in earthquake country and the thought of having a slab of concrete falling on top of me and trapping me is panic inducing.

    Even in open-air lots that might have an extra level to them I park on the top level and on the way to and from the top level I figure out how to lower myself in my car to give myself the best chance of survival. If necessary I I park on the edge so that people will hear me if I have to yell and so that the sniffer dogs can find me more easily.

    Irrational? - oh you bet.

  • camlan
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I can't let any part of my body hang over the edge of the bed at night.

    Bridges--little ones over the rivers in town don't bother me. But there's this big one that crosses over a large bay that does. Not a whole lot, but enough. It's very tall and there's just so much water down there. And tidal pools. I usually deal with it by moving to the "inside" lane, so that I can't see very much of the water. That makes it easier to drive over.

    Driving--I've been hit twice by drivers coming from the right. I flinch when a car is coming down a side road from the right and isn't slowing down. The habit of a lot of drivers around here is to travel at speed up to the intersection and then quickly slam on the brakes. It drives me nuts. They know they have to stop; why can't they slow down gradually so it doesn't look as if they are about to plow out into the intersection at full throttle?

  • jlj48
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have a bridge fear too! I previously did not, that is until we drove across the bridge in Virginia, I can't remember the name of it right now but you find yourself driving and driving into what seems like the middle of the ocean, then all of a sudden you are going down, under the water in a tunnel, then come up on land. I began to have a panic attack while in the passenger seat and I've had a fear of all bridges ever since.
    I also have a thing about lotion. I HAVE to put a little lotion on after scrubbing any pans or doing dishes. To feel my hands afterwards is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. It's weird, I know.

  • natesgram
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I won't drive on freeways. That's pretty hard in So. Calif. where everyone else drives on them. I can get to most places on the side roads but it takes such a long time. My panic attacks on freeways started about 30 years ago, shortly after my young daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. I had to drive a busy freeway once a month to take her to a special appointment. I think there is definitely a connection to being afraid of something happening with your children or you not being there to take care of them. At any rate, when I would get on the freeway to see if it's all clear it would look like all the cars behind me were in the same lanes, all coming at me at once. I am fine being a passenger on the freeway, just not where I am in control.

    I also am a chicken at the dentist. Years ago I got all my fillings without novocaine. Drilling right down to the nerve. Now I take medication before I go, get gassed when there, and need someone to drive for me. It's the only way I will force myself to go. Luckily, my doctor is very kind working with me.

    Texanjana, my daughter has had the EMDR therapy after her car accident and it helped a great deal. Glad it helped you too.

  • golddust
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Heights and snakes. Oh, and swimming in any kind of water where I can't see the bottom. I was raised near a crystal clear river and mucky water creeps me out. I imagine all kinds of creepy things are going to bite me.

  • hhireno
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm not a fan of snakes. I had to confront my fears last year when a snake, a copperhead no less, slithered across my path. I surprised myself and lived to tell about it. I always figured I'd die of fright if I ever saw one that close to me. So, I survived but I'm still not a fan.

    Years go there was a thread with a picture of a snake for some reason. I wrote how I was freaked out by snakes. The next time I return to the thread at least one person, but I think more than one, had posted another snake picture(s). I thought wow, WTH? How mean is that after I specifically mentioned a fear of snakes? I never opened that thread again. I did hold some ill will towards the snake people for a little while. Now I don't even remember who it was.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Interesting thread. I've long been convinced I would die on the Major Deegan, having had so many near misses on that road. I now use the west side highway to go to the city.

    I got PTSD after a near miss on the Deegan. DH was driving in the far left lane at night and the cars up ahead had come to a stop, not just slowed. When he realized, he slammed on the brakes which put our car into a sideways skid down the middle lane of the Deegan....he on the leading edge, I on the back edge, looking at a greyhound bus bearing down on us. The car came to a stop just as there was an extra lane for an exit ramp and DH immediately gunned the engine and pulled the car around into the middle lane and off we went .... I think some guy who was trying to exit blew his horn at us, but that was it. I thank god that the bus driver must've seen what was happening and left us room. Yikes!

    For years and years afterward, if he was driving on the highway, I'd be squirming and screaming and yelling things like, Leave plenty of room! (The idea of spelling me if I'd been driving too long was ridiculous as I was so panicked I couldn't get any rest.) If someone else was driving, I'd literally be squirming in my seat and my foot would be pressing on that imaginary brake. If a limo was taking me to the airport, I would bring a newspaper and literally hide behind it so as not to see what was happening on the road. I'm a much better passenger these days, but still happier when I'm driving.

    At some point, I figure our fears are not irrational when based on our experience.

    I think there are fears that just come on us naturally as we age...I'm more afraid of heights than I used to be, and I'm finding now I have some mild claustrophobia. My brother was like a monkey and had no fear of heights at all as a kid, but got a terrible fear of heights as an adult.

    My friend chalks it up to a great imagination...we're good at imagining the worst which feeds our fears.

  • allison0704
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Fourkids4us, have you looked at your diet to see if there are ways you can decrease panic attacks? Limit/avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol. Boost your Vitamin B12, Thiamin, and Niacin that maintain nervous system balance. Lactic acid can induce a panic attack in people, and lactic acid is a byproduct of cheese fermentation. I did a lot of reading on panic attacks several years ago when both of my DD's started experiencing them. I didn't book mark it but it talked about fermented foods/drink and/or smoked meats or processed foods to cut back/out on those. It also said that when you feel a panic attack coming, drink a glass of cold water non-stop and that will help.

    I don't care for bridges either. There is one on our highway that goes over a river. Neither DD2 or I want to get stopped on it and will slow down to avoid being at a complete stop on top of the bridge.

  • fourkids4us
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Joanie38, the bridge you refer to is the other Chesapeake Bay Bridge - it crosses the bay down at the bottom in VA. I've been on that one once years ago but I don't remember much about it.

    Annie, I used to drive the Deegan all the time. I went to Fordham in the Bronx, lived for a time up in Westchester as well as in Manhattan. I've driven pretty much every highway around NYC. None of them are much of a pleasure, especially in the South Bronx!

    Allison, I've only had the one panic attack. The first few times I had to use the bridge following the panic attack, I used a variety of mental/physical exercises on my approach to the bridge and was able to stave another attack off when I could feel my heart starting to beat faster. Now I just focus my mind on other things as I cross the bridge and have really just tried not to think about it at all. Interestingly, the way the bridge is designed, with separate spans, one eastbound and one westbound, I discovered that driving eastbound was fine. But westbound, the span has a different curve to it, so you can really see how high you are going and right as you near the top, the cement barriers change over to rails that allow you to see directly down below. Anyway, thanks for the advice about diet - I actually don't drink much alcohol and don't have caffeine at all, and very rarely smoked or processed meats. But I always have water with me when I'm driving, so I'll make sure to follow that advice! Unfortunately, there is no way though I could have taken my hands off the wheel during that panic attack to drink water! I didn't even realize what was happening until it happened. But now I know what the signs are so I can prepare myself in advance!

  • hhireno
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Fortunately, bridges don't bother me but last year while driving over the bridge into Savannah, I briefly thought "whoa, I can see why people might not like bridges." It was very high and felt like it didn't have any guardrails or sides. Maybe it was windy that day and that made me think more along those lines. I don't remember thinking anything about it when returning by the bridge so maybe it was like fourkids mentioned and it was the view from one side that made me feel uncomfortable.

  • Olychick
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Irrational fear? I have a 3 year old grandson and I care for him part of the week. I live in a suburban/rural area, near a smallish city. Very safe neighborhood. We have a nicely paved biking/walking path that goes for a good distance, mostly through the woods. Since I live on an unpaved road, the trail would be perfect for my grandson to ride his trike. But since the trail is unseen from the road for most of its length, I have this terrible fear that some freak is going to be hiding in the woods and attack me and steal my grandson! Or that I'll have a heart attack while on the trail and someone would snatch him when I couldn't protect him. Chances of this happening are less than zero, I'm sure. But then I hear this story of a G'ma participating in the Race for the Cure in Seattle this Spring and some guy tried to grab her grandson away from her and run away with him! I felt pretty safe taking him places where lots of people were around, until I read that.

    I just cannot bear the thought of him suffering something like this, so I can't bring myself to go on that trail with him. I go without him and have no fear for myself. I feel crazy about this.

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't think some of these fears are irrational but healthy responses to potentially dangerous situations.

    But I do have a fear of high bridges, flat ones are fine but I had a near blown panic attack years ago crossing the Tampa Bay bridge, by myself and all that swaying, the length and the height was too much. I drove about 20 mph and annoyed everyone behind me.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think fear of risk for those we love can drive us to be even more irrational. And it's especially dangerous as often those irrational fears don't reflect the actual risks we face as we may be lax about real dangers and yet self limiting for no rational reason in other areas.

    My mother used to throw us out of the house all the time. We'd be gone for hours, she never knew where we were, and never seemed to worry. I'd walk to a different bus stop sometimes to wait with other kids in the a.m. if I had time. Yet, when I was working, I'd see a mother who drove her kid to the bus stop every a.m., regardless of weather, even though the bus stop is on the corner of her property...she's on a corner lot, and it's not more than 50 yds from her front door, and the corner had lots of other parents and kids waiting there.

    It's one thing when we visit our fears on ourselves and another when we visit them on others. You can't protect your kids from everything, and you shouldn't try as it will only make them fearful of life instead of embracing it.

    A fellow I knew said he was raised by a very overly protective mother and was afraid of everything. In his early 20s he decided he needed to fix that...that he had to face his fears and get over them, or die trying. So he hired a bush pilot to drop him in the middle of Alaska for 2 weeks completely on his own. He not only survived, but has since gone on to climb mountains all over the world. Interesting that he is now an economist with a thorough understanding of risk and statistics.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Relative risks

  • gsciencechick
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't know if this is really irrational, but I do worry about getting lung cancer as a nonsmoker though with practically a lifetime of secondhand exposure at home and in smoky bars/clubs. A colleague recently died of this who was the picture of health, and that does not help my irrationality.

    The bridge accident last weekend where the woman was knocked off would probably affect a lot of people. She was very fortunate she was young, a fitness instructor, and could swim. I've only ridden on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel once all the time I lived in VA.

  • fourkids4us
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Gsciencechick, the bridge the woman went over was not the same as the bridge in VA. The bridge commonly referred to locally as the Bay Bridge, which crosses the Chesapeake just outside of Annapolis, MD, is formally known as the William Preston Lane, Jr Bridge, but I doubt anyone in MD even knows that! I wasn't sure if you realized that was the bridge her car went off and not the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel.

    And yes, since the accident, there has been an increase in people using a driving service whereby you can pull over before the bridge and have someone drive your car across.

    The fact that the woman went over right at the start of the bridge and her call "only" fell 40 feet is what enabled her to survive, as well as her good health/strength. There is a video going around now that shows her sitting on the rocks afterward while people are shouting down to her letting her know that help is on the way. It's unfortunate, that although it is wonderful to see that she made it to the rocks safely, her family was not asked if they minded if the video was posted and they are not happy about it.

    Alas, I will be facing my fears on Monday when I have to conquer the bridge myself to take my boys to camp. I just have to keep reminding myself that the odds are really stacked in my favor so I just need not worry about it!

  • lynninnewmexico
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have an extreme fear of putting myself in the hands of anyone else when driving across high bridges or in the higher elevations of the mountains out here in New Mexico, Colorado, etc. Even with my sweet DH who is an excellent and very safe driver.

    I actually had a terrible panic attack several years ago as we were driving along a "scenic drive" through a particularly high part of Rocky Mountain National Park. What worked for me was to get out and drive the rest of the way myself. Granted, I didn't get to see 99% of the sights but ~frankly~ by that time, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was to see down those cliffs!

    Driving the car myself is what works for me. I tell myself: "I can do this. I am a very safe driver and on this road /bridge (whichever it is at the time) I will be an extremely safe driver! There is no chance I will take my eyes off the road, drive too fast or tailgate and get in an accident!"

    I'm able to handle it this way. Over high bridges, I sometimes also open one window on each side, My rationalization for this is that if the almost negligible chance that someone did hit my car and it went into the water, I/we'd have a better chance of getting out of a submerged car if there was already a window open on each side. DH just smiles and shakes his head when I do this, but doesn't kid me about it . . . as the alternative of another panic attack like the one I had up in RMNP is not worth it to either of us!
    Lynn

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You might want to keep a window punch in your car. They work very well, whether under water or not.

    Here is a link that might be useful: window punch tool

  • Olychick
    10 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Recently a bridge here in WA collapsed when an over sized truck hit the girder. Several cars fell in the river, but miraculously no one was killed. I think having your windows open might be worse because your car could float for a little while with an air pocket for a minute or two if they are closed, but will sink immediately if they are open and the water reaches them. A tool like Annied suggests is a better idea to my mind.

    Yesterday, I realized another irrational fear I have is of loaded logging trucks dumping their logs on my car. I've lived in timber country for a long time and it does happen occasionally, but I am terrified of it. I won't drive on a 4 lane road next to a logging truck and I feel absolute terror when on a curvy 2 lane road and a logging truck comes around a curve headed the other direction. I can picture the load shifting and all the logs rolling off onto my car, coming through my windshield, etc. Some logging truck drivers push the speed limit or exceed it so they can get one more load in for the day.

    The other day, I was on my way someplace and a logging truck was on the inside lane, stopped at a traffic light. There was another vehicle ahead of him that I couldn't see, but it felt safe to pull up to the light in the curb lane because I'd be far ahead of the load of logs. I about panicked when I pulled around the logging truck to discover there was a second truck ahead of him at the light, so I was forced to sit at the light right next to a loaded truck. I flew out of that spot the instant the light changed so I could get ahead of them both. Whew! another close call.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Bridge collapse

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