Fear of heights has long been an overwhelming nemesis of mine, a fear that I have challenged for years trying to understand the illogical way my brain reacts when confronted with being up off the ground. High cliffs and suspension bridges have long been the places I feel the most overcome.
So climbing has been a hobby that I took on with the intent of challenging my fear of heights and that it has.
I havent really climbed higher than 50 ft. Thats been the tallest wall I have been up, that being said that was on a belay system where I am working with a partner on the ground who is controlling the rope and at any time I can drop and the belay system will break my fall. At that point I can just sit there and rest or be lowered. This system I am quite comfortable with, I still struggle some days with irrational fear but I find if I just get up there I trust the system and can calm down.
Now there is another system at the gym that I have not yet been able to conquer, and that system is called the auto-belay. This system does not require a partner, it is a resistance pulley system that you clip into and climb and when you let go it lowers you to the ground. I have yet to be able to let go, my fingers just wont. I come to tears, shake and panic and climb back down. I have felt embarrassed and weak and just.....gah why!!
So I did some thinking, how can I fight this rationally...knowing that I am likely battling a deeply rooted fear that I may never really know the origin of.
Logically what I came up with is this: I will jump with no rope at all.
There is a line called the boulder line from which it is determined safe to fall from without a harness.
So I am currently working myself up to that line, jumping from lower spots. And once I have jumped from the boulder line a few times and successfully done it calmly I will hook myself back in and auto-belay from the boulder line.
And after that I will climb a little higher, and a little higher until I can auto-belay from the top.
Releasing the pressure of the full act immediately but putting in a clear plan of action to eventually complete the action has settled me some. Instead of beating myself up for not being able to do it, I now see hope in achieving it.
This is what logical breakdown can do.
Now I have a plan.
And successful execution of this plan will give me confidence to apply such actions to other fears as they come up.
Isnt that something.