I’ve been terrified of heights my entire life. Not just great heights like looking down from a bridge, but like even like rock climbing or standing on the top of a pool slide. I’ve always found myself thinking about slipping or falling off and tumbling down to my inevitable death. I researched it to see how common this was and strangely enough found this paper that described an interesting but slightly different experience.
The article defines “high place phenomenon” or hpp, to be a misinterpreted safety signal (i.e. survival instinct). Someone experiencing hpp will have a sudden urge to jump when in a high place. I think I’ve felt that before, but only in a safe environment like looking over the railing on the second floor of a mall. I feel like in any more dangerous environment and my mind is already preoccupied with not dying.
Anyways I thought that was interesting, but back to the skydiving. I went to Skydive Pepperell and elected to have the experience video taped. The above photo is a picture a few seconds into the jump, after I began enjoying the fall and was instructed to uncross my arms. As someone who claims to be terrified of heights, I remember the relief the first weekend I went to jump, as a thunder storm rolled in an cancelled all jumps for the day. The following weekend I was nervous the whole ride there and even told my tandem jumper that I don’t wish to jump moments before he leaped out with me attached.
Overall, I think it was a fantastic experience and I’m glad I did it. I think everyone should try it at least once. Especially those who are scared of heights. I think those individuals have the most to gain.