Hey, that was interesting.
I took the SkyTrain into Surrey today, which means going over the Fraser River. And I always got kind of twitchy doing that because I’m afraid of heights, and there’s nothing like guard rails on that bridge. It was just too easy to imagine myself (and all the other commuters) falling down, down, down into the water and then sinking down, down, down to the bottom of the river. I’m not really sure how deep it is, but the point is: down. I’ve skytrained into Surrey a couple of times in the last few weeks, though before that I hadn’t done it in a long time. And something was different today: I didn’t get nervous going over the water, not at all. I just gazed down at the river in perfect serenity.
Here’s the secret: I’ve been gradually desensitising myself against acrophobia. My new job is on the 9th floor of a downtown high-rise building (sometimes taking me as high as the 16th); at least once a day I stand by the floor-to-ceiling windows, and just… look down. (And sometimes out. We’ve got a nice view of False Creek.) It’s a bit dizzying, and definitely disorienting to look down at other buildings and see the people walking around like ants. But it’s worth it. The little flutter in my stomach isn’t gone yet, though it’s much easier to ignore. And apparently it’s totally gone when I’m less than nine storeys above the ground (or the water). Très cool.
Now that I think about it, I never got the chance to get used to heights until I started this job. There are no high-rises out in the boonies (well, there are a few near downtown Coquitlam, but not where I live); ditto for my old job, in East Van. Ditto for school. What’s the tallest building at Simon Fraser? The AQ, with six floors? I only went there a handful of times, mainly to get cool photos of the North Shore mountains. There was the zip-lining thing, in which I stared down the fear, but it didn’t make it go away. This will, though. I’m learning that patience and perseverance is the key to fears and hangups.
Heh. Maybe I should get into the self-help industry.