The photo prompt for this week disturbs me a bit. A deep, semi-dark cave with many unknown quantities. Although it is beautiful, I find it rather difficult to breathe in such enclosed spaces. Show me the caves where I can see the exit at all times and breathe fresh air and I am there to enjoy them. I love geology and caves especially are fascinating, stunningly beautiful places.
Sadly, it took one visit to the spectacular Cango Caves to cure me of spelunking for life. We went in too deep and I panicked. The others pushed, made fun of me. It brought to mind the phrase ‘You are in so deep, you can just as well push through’ which I tried, and then found myself lost beyond any rescue or a way out except going back through a space called ‘The devils chimney’ or through ‘The coffin’… Nowadays they have warnings posted for people like me. I won’t fit through the chimney anymore anyway 😉
Caves are rightly the subject of quite a few horror movies, enhanced with a few demonic creatures which to me are unnecessary. It’s plenty scary enough to be trapped without air. Lilia, my main character in my first book, has this same uncontrollable fear. Her relationship is almost ruined because of it.
Now scary as the phobia sounds, it is actually weird that I feel this way as I have no fear of death at all, I will welcome it. I can’t wait to start my next life. My fear rather, I believe, is the how. The slowly succumbing to a lack of oxygen. The feeling of not being able to breathe is incredibly powerful – I know, I have had asthma for a long time. Claustrophobia is almost too easy a term to describe what I feel. It feels like something is squashing me from all sides and I am unable to draw breath. I feel like this in big crowds of people too.
Deep sea diving? As much as I love the ocean and would love to explore underwater and spend time with all the magnificent creatures in the octopus’s garden, I have never had the guts to try scuba – to me it blocks off my airways when I even contemplate putting that thing (breather) in my mouth. I almost drowned myself when I tried to use a snorkel so no go there either. Sad. I am missing so much but I can’t help my reaction. Glass bottom boats for me and my main character in my second book who shares my fear.
A fear that is almost as strong as the narrow enclosed spaces one, is that of narrow ledges in high places, they make my legs all woolly and I feel like a jellyfish. I have a recurring dream of being made to stay in high rise buildings without railings on their narrow ‘balconies’ or staircases, which are the only way to enter these buildings. On researching this I have found places in Amsterdam which look almost exactly like those in my dreams. Especially those leaning or listing towards the river/canal below. Now I have never visited Amsterdam nor have I ever wanted to, so I could not have seen these places. But I have German and Dutch ancestors so…
In my dreams there are narrow steep staircases running up the fronts of these buildings with narrow ledges where you enter and exit the doors. It may have been like this in the days when first built, I will never know. But I know that I have been there and to this day a great paralysis overcomes me when faced with places like these…I did not ask for it, I only know what I feel.
Do you really think that I can manufacture this cold, lame,shivery feeling in my legs and chest when even just looking at pictures like these? I can’t explain it, I only know it is real. It is acrophobia plus. Squared.
Steep stairs like these? No Way! No railings!
Looks like I had better stay on the ground then, even though I am not afraid of flying at all – I actually like it. My single flight in a micro light was one of the best experiences I have ever had.
It is just closed in, high, unprotected and narrow structures which freak me out. The funniest (for other people) of my vertigo/acrophobia experiences ever was when I had to scream and shout at the big wheel operator at a small local fair to stop the ride so that my daughter and I could get off…after two rotations…we were both crying…and it was not even a big big-wheel.
Lucky for me then that I live in a place where the highest building is two stories.
I live on a hill in a converted stable and love it.
High up above the ocean.