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Author Topic: Fear of wide open spaces  (Read 200 times)

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Offline Mr.PP

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Fear of wide open spaces
« on: April 20, 2014, 01:19:18 PM »
Hi forum,

Since a about a year I have a strange fear of wide open spaces. It kinda feels like the nothingness around me causes me to have the feeling that I be sucked- or falling up to the sky(or a high ceiling) or the nothingness around me, and other times I have the feeling the nothingness around me crushes me. I know it is totally not possible because there is gravity and such, but whenever I am in such a situation my body starts to tense up and I start to have panicky feelings and thoughts. The thoughts go mostly about the wide open nothingness around me (although i really don't know where I am scared for, I know logically very well that nothing can happen). I also have a lot of trouble crossing bridges on foot (no problem in a car or train) or standing on a dike etc... Though as long as there are things around me like a lot of trees or when I am looking at things through a window, I don't really have a problem.
I also have a lot of fear of heights and I used to have panick attacks too (Hypochondria) but it resolved itself.

I have found a couple of posts of people with exactly the same phobia as me on this and other fora, and it seems we all share one common fear, namely fear of heights and panic attacks.
I think that what I and a couple of other people have is that somehow the fear of heights got overdeveloped. Somehow instead of heights, the fear spread over to the nothingness between the heighty point of view and the ground, plus the nothingness around the person that normally comes with heights. Therefore, a substantial amount of 'nothingness' between the person and something else (or infinite space) got conditioned with fear stemming from the fear of heights phobia.
So somehow the fear of falling got messed up with the developed fear of a large amount of or distance of 'nothingness' between yourself and your surrounding. Therefore you can have the fear of falling to the the sky or an object that is 100 metres away on the same level while standing on the ground. 

But my main question is... Is there a way to get rid of this fear? I tried to force or expose myself to my fear, but it doesn't really help and makes me panicky and agoraphobic...
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Offline LuLu82

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Re: Fear of wide open spaces
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2014, 01:51:40 AM »
exposure therapy I think is the only real way.
You can maybe get help with anti anxiety meds while you are trying, I don't know if that defeats the purpose according to a doctor.
You have to stay in the exposure long enough to feel the symptoms and they subside.  maybe look into some tools to distract  or ground yourself while you are feeling the symptoms.
Its difficult but maybe you can start of slowly in a smaller area of open space with someone you trust with you.
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Offline Cuchculan

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Re: Fear of wide open spaces
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2014, 06:39:36 AM »
Exposure therapy is not meant to make you feel great to begin. It does work. But when first tried you will want to run back to your house. Because all the worst feelings are flooding you. But that is why it is called exposure therapy. You let those bad feelings come on. What is the worst thing they can do to you? Make you feel like crap for a few hours. I always bring an MP3 player with me. No matter where I go. I was housebound for 10 years. I simply began with my front garden. That was as far as I went for the first while. Until I felt safe there. There is no mad rush. Baby steps are what you take. I then moved to the road I lived on. Taking small walks. I could still see my house. You simply build it over time. Nobody is saying it will be easy. It won't be. It will be a nightmare for a while. But over time your body gets used to the feelings that come on. Trust me when I tell you that they do get weaker. The more you stay out it is like you are giving them less power. But start off small. Build it up slowly over time. You just have to believe in yourself. That you can do this. No matter how bad things may seem, there is always a road back. We just have to want it badly. Be ready to fight for it. It will be worth it come the end of the day. When you find you can go places again and feel relaxed.
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The Lovable Irish Rogue

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