Tuesday, August 4, 2009

heights


Yesterday, Lori and I came out to do a little yard work and this is what we found.
Mac and Daltyn sitting on the roof...just for fun.

Most of my friends know about my fear of heights (especially my camping friends).


I never really understood phobias before I realized I had one of heights. I would see these people on TV freaking out over a spider or public speaking or the color chartreuse and think "Oh come on! just get over it!"


Then Hubby and I took the kids to the Grand Canyon one year. I didn't feel quite right the entire time we were anywhere near that big hole. We were staying in a campground in Sedona and drove over to the Canyon a couple of times. On the last day of our visit, we were warned by the park rangers that a big snow storm was coming and we should head out. I don't remember exactly why but, we decided to take a short cut home. It looked like a perfectly respectable road on the map....


We turned off the highway onto a side road. We were enjoying the views, the kids were in the back of our full sized van watching a movie. Pretty soon the highway type road gradually turns into a not so nice two laned paved road then into a non paved road. Hubby and I agree that we have been on this road for what seems like a long time, it can't be that much further so we decide to continue. After a few more miles, the road starts to get even worse and we pass a small sign that says "authorized vehicles only". By now it's dark, the wind is starting to blow hard enough to feel it sway our mammoth van, and a sleety icy rain has started to fall. Now we are thinking that if we turn around it will take too long to get back and then we will be in trouble from the storm, besides, we've got to be getting close.


Then everything seemed to change suddenly. It must have been a combination of the snow that started coming down so heavily we could hardly see and it being pitch black outside. The next thing I realize is something doesn't look right outside. I tell Hubby to slow down (not that we were going all that fast because of the ruts in the road) and I look out my passenger side window. Through the swirling snow, I see that we are right next to the tops of some giant pine trees. When I smash my forehead against my car door window and look down I can't see the bottoms of these trees. I also can't see the road under our van. We are on the edge of a cliff. We are driving on a road that is winding down the side of a mountain and it has no guardrails!


I scream for Hubby to stop. With the heavy snow we can only see a few feet in front of us. The road is now more like a two track. Hubby and I roll down our windows to see if we could possibly back up. With the road being so narrow, the wind blowing so hard and barely being able to see the back side of our long van we decide we can only keep moving forward. We inch along the "road" and my heart is now pounding. The road continues to narrow to the point of Hubby having to roll down his window and pull in the side mirror so it doesn't scrape on the canyon wall. I still cannot see the road under our van when I look out my window. Then a sign appears ahead. The first sign we've seen in what seems like forever. My hopes skyrocket. But as it comes into view we read "Danger wash out area ahead". We can see that parts of the road are missing and the angle of the road slants toward the canyon below. Now I'm sweating and I can't breathe. I'm starting to shake all over and there is a rushing in my ears that matches the pounding of my heart. I start to cry...or actually I start to scream..."We are gonna die!" "We are going to roll off the side of this mountain crash into those trees below! No one knows where we are {the days before cell phones}. It will be weeks before they even realize we are missing. Even if we survive the crash we will freeze to death!" I'm hyperventilating. Mike tries to calm me down. He says something about scaring the kids, who up until this point, were clueless. They now look up from their movie and take off their headphones. I don't care. I'm out of control and I can't stop it.


Hubby talks calmly to the kids, telling them that everything is okay and keep watching their movie. He is telling me to breathe and take it easy while he slowly eases the van over the wash out area. It seems to take forever.


Eventually the road levels out and grows wider, and changes back again into a paved road. Once the road switches into two lanes we see a campfire. We stopped and after I finished kissing the asphalt, we ask the campers if there were anymore treacherous roads ahead. I am picturing myself snuggling up to one of the grizzly looking guys in his sleeping bags if there are. A trip that should have taken a little over 2 hours (if we had gone on normal roads) lasted twice as long.


My body has never reacted the same to heights after that. Anything having to do with heights sends my body into the same reaction. My heart starts pounding, my hands sweat, I start to hyperventilate, my body shakes, if I don't remove myself, I will cry uncontrollably. I can do nothing to stop these reactions.


I've discovered it doesn't even have to be me being up high. I get the same reaction seeing other people up high. It can be strangers. Even looking at pictures can make my body begin reaction.


My family seems to find entertainment in my misery.

here's my oldest tormenting me.....climbing trees on the campus on U of M...my heart is starting to pound now....







and here's a little boy in Sudan that Nae took a picture of. Don't know him or anything about him but it still makes my palms sweat.


some random guy mountain climbing out in Colorado. I felt nauseous the whole time I watched him.







Nae again, rock climbing. She either likes heights or like to take years off her dear mothers life.....


This will do it too...Tony on the trampoline


Oh! look at this one! Wait, that's my other phobia....watching my teenagers drive....excuse me while I hurl.

4 comments:

Crazy 'bout Him said...

I would be terrified too! Once a friend and I each took our youngest kid on the ferris wheel. It stopped at the top and the kids started playing with the little half doors and seeing how far they could get the chair to swing. I thought I was going to die, it was all I could do not to scream my head off!!!

A "cheery" disposition said...

I am afriad of heights too but that climbing the tree looks fun. Don't know about the roof though.

mommyto3kiddos said...

Okay, I was feel nervous and anxious just reading about your trip down the canyon!

Ed Adams said...

Thanks for the comments and stopping by.