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August 11th, 2008

Conquering My Fears

So the Washington Post has an article up today about phobias.  Given they put a photo of a honking big spider on the article, you have to wonder if they’re trying to scare off their target audience before they have a chance to read it.  But never mind. 

I am not in favor of spiders.  But I have a much bigger phobia then those little eight legged dickens.  My phobia involves high bridges over water.  No kidding, I am scared to death when driving over those things, let alone trying to walk across them.  I was in Portland Oregon a few weeks ago and tried to walk across the Steel Bridge there and I could not do it for the life of me.  There is a really nice pedestrian-bicycle lane going across that bridge and I tried to do it and I could only get about a fifth of the way across before my legs simply would not take me any further.

So when these discussions of phobias come up every now and then they pique my interest.  Especially because, as it so happens, we have a really good fear inspiring bridge right here in Maryland.  It’s called The Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Almost four and a half miles of white knuckle cold pit in the stomach heart pounding trembling breath goodness.  I will drive up to Delaware and back down the Delmarva to avoid having to cross that damn bridge…

Fear Factors
Understand Your Phobias (Rational or Otherwise).

There are plenty of people who coast across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge without even a flicker of anxiety, never giving a thought to any greater calamity than whether they forgot the sunscreen or made an error in judgment in packing the Speedo.

You don’t say… 

But for some people, the 4.3-mile span sparks feelings from mild consternation to outright panic. What if the bridge sways or collapses? What if an erratic driver forces them out of their lane and into the drink? Or worse still, what if they completely freak out and in a state of panic accidentally drive themselves into the bay?

Uh, hummm… 

Some can’t even express exactly what it is that terrifies them; they just know how they feel: heart racing, back of the neck on fire, irresistible urge to flee at the mere mention of the b-r-i-d-g-e.

You don’t say…

Generally speaking, people with intense fears or phobias know their reactions aren’t rational. They’re well aware that the plane probably won’t crash, the dog won’t bite, the elevator won’t get stuck. But throwing statistics at them won’t help. "They say, ‘I don’t understand why, but I feel like if I do it, I’ll die,’ " Ross says.

You don’t say…

Just what’s behind those feelings isn’t always clear, either, but phobias often are not rooted in reality, says Bethany Teachman, assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Virginia…

You don’t say…  Oh…look what’s in the Metro section today…

Truck Driver Dies In Bay Bridge Crash

Beachgoers and other motorists spent several frustrating hours stuck in traffic backups of more than 10 miles on both sides of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge yesterday in the aftermath of a deadly crash that sent a tractor-trailer hurtling through a concrete Jersey wall and into the water below, killing the truck driver.

I’m Never crossing that bridge again.  Ever.


2 Responses to “Conquering My Fears”

  1. Mo Says:

    i just picked up that article tonight from a stack of unread Sunday paper sections. can’t BELIEVE the (hideous) coincidence! What did the Post have to say about that article once the news broke about the truck driver?

  2. Angelia Sparrow Says:

    *shudder!* So glad I run locally.

    I am a truck driver.  I HATE bridges, esp. high ones. I nearly got blown off the Arkansas River bridge at Little Rock because my load was too light in a cross wind.

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