Stairs – My Arch Nemesis

15 Nov

I have posted about fears before, and I touched briefly on my stupid fear.

Yep, your eyes don’t deceive you, you aren’t bleary eyed. I, Miss Tinker, am pretty terrified of steps.

Stairs in a house don’t bother me. A few steps in the street cause me no concern. But stairs on mass give me a fuzzy feeling in my spine and make my teeth feel fluffy. I feel myself shudder and swallow more times than necessary. It’s the fear. I know it sounds utterly ridiculous and there is no way I can rationalise my phobia, but it’s not the stairs themselves, but rather the fear of falling down them.

I don’t think I’m calling on a past experience here, but walking down a massive flight of stairs makes me panic and want to cry. I especially don’t like spiral staircases or steps with gaps between them, and I freak out if I have to walk down a flight of stairs and I can’t see my feet, like in a crowd situation.

People think I’m crazy.

At the start of the year Adam and I went to Baden Baden. The hotel we stayed at was at the top of a massive windy hill, reached by a long walk up a windy road or a shorter walk up (or down) a massive flight of really old stairs that were crumbling and to be honest, downright horrible. It brought about a conversation with him being completely incredulous about my fear, and honestly thinking I was pulling his leg. This happens a lot.

In March, Emma and I went to Portugal. We visited the lovely castle in Tavira with a stunning view over the town. It’s fun to climb up and down the ruins of the castle, up flights of stairs to get the best view and to see the town in all its glory. For everyone but me. These steps and I have come up against each other before!

(Another encounter with the stairs of doom. Ex boyfriend pottered about up there, marvelling at how great the view was and how the steps really weren’t that bad. I knew better. Experience had taught me well!!)

Growing up I spent my summers in that town, playing in those castle ruins and watching my sister and my dad climb to the top. What fun! So I tried it. It resulted in my father having to stand behind me and my grandfather in front while they gently coaxed me down the old stone steps, complete with sheer drop to one side. And my poor Daddy has encountered me with staircases before having to carry me down the staircase in one particular castle after I got to the top. After all, the climb to the top isn’t too bad, is it? You’re looking up and so it seems fun, but faced with the view down the seemingly never ending spiral, I was hoisted into a fireman’s lift and carried to safety, bawling my eyes out the whole way. Just so you know, the fear becomes worse when thrown over someone’s shoulder. At that point you are still going down the stairs, but aren’t even in control of the feet taking you there!

As a child my Mum’s sister had a house with those wooden steps with the gaps in. they’re a really eighties concept, but I would always carefully remove my socks before going up or down them. I am guilty of an overactive imagination, but in my head there was a chance that I would slip and get lodged between the steps, maybe even slipping right through and plunging to my death, and the chances of this were greatly reduced by removing my socks. Like I said, overactive imagination. I was a podgy child and would never have fit between the steps for a start….

What irrational fear do you have? Please take your time to get over giggles at my stupid fear before replying, of course. I’m good to you all, aren’t I?!


36 Responses to “Stairs – My Arch Nemesis”

  1. nicole November 15, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    fear of breaking my teeth!
    during bulimia, i’d dream about food all night. now, a recurring dream depicts the falling out of my teeth!
    and wow! the steps in portugal are beautiful but i agree, oh-so-scary! x

    • tinkerbelle86 November 17, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

      I once had a dream that all my teeth fell out. Not nice!

  2. Reggie November 15, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    Nope, you’re not crazy, and you’re not alone. I was nodding through much of your post. I can completely relate – going *UP* stairs is usually fine, but going down, I also prefer to hold onto a wall or a railing or someone’s hand, and to watch my feet. Oh, when I was little, I also had that irrational fear of slipping through the gaps between the steps!

    I didn’t use to be so anxious of heights – but after having a panic attack on a mountain ledge, with a precipice on the one side, and a sheer wall of rock on the other, I have a new-found respect for high places and those people who fearlessly clamber up and down without a care in the world. How I long to be like them!

  3. prenin November 15, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    For me the biggie is heights!

    Aneesa has a video on her page at the moment and the actor and actress who are at the centre of the song were stood – and dancing – on a ledge on the wrong side of the safety rail so I was in some pain at the thought of them falling!!!

    Even thinking of it is giving me cramps in my legs and feet!!!

    My second fear is of crowds – demophobia – which means I have to go shopping in the early morning when it is (relatively) quiet!

    I agree about those stone steps though – they look nasty!!!

    Love and hugs!


  4. duncanr November 15, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    Fear is too strong a word – but I ‘mistrust’ elevators and will almost always take the stairs if I can

    P.S. does fear of ‘work’ count as a phobia ? 😆

  5. thesofaortheroad November 15, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    I used to have an ‘irrational’ fear of cockroaches, (the small orange european ones) after I found one sitting on my toothbrush, just underneath the bristles…

  6. poetprodigy7 November 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    I’m afraid of sitting on the end at themepark boat rides, because I’m afraid I will fall out and get crushed beneath the boat. nearly 30 years of safely riding “It’s a small world” at Disney has failed to convince me that this is not going to happen, nor that the dolls will suddenly rebel against singing that stupid song morning and night and decide to attack the closest passenger within reach.

  7. mrsbongle November 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    I thought it was just me! I’m terrified of stairs as well. Going up is fine, I can climb stairs all day but down; oh no! And escalators, again ones going up are fine but I’m scared of down escalators. I think I must have fallen down some stairs and broken my neck in another life; or that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it!

  8. mrsbongle November 15, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    And the really good news is… after much post reading I have decided to award the title of most versatile blogger for November to…(drum roll) You! Well done Tinkerbelle! You richly deserve the honour! The only condition is you have to pick the most versatile blooger for December and whoever you pick gets to pick for January and so on.

    You have made me laugh many times but it’s not just the silly stuff, you can do serious stuff too. I loved your Rembrance Sunday post, for example. So really well done Tink! Keep up the good work!

  9. Just A Smidgen November 15, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    I used to rock climb and going up was ever so much easier… going down meant looking at the distance between myself and a safe landing. I think I had dreams of my leg going through and getting wedged in a broken wooden staircase as well.

  10. Marvin the Martian November 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Sounds like climacophobia, on its face, but really I think it’s just an aspect of acrophobia. Then again, some of those stairs, especially the ones on the wall, are definitely worthy of phobia. Systematic desensitization via cognitive therapy should help. Have you taken therapy? A good therapist can help you, and you won’t have to suffer anymore.

  11. LittleMissVix November 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    I’m scared of fireworks and I also get uneasy about balloons in case they pop and party poppers. I’ve learnt to manage crackers just 🙂

  12. nelle November 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Fear is real in its consequences, or… perception is reality in many cases. SUch fear is not to be taken lightly by others.

    Quebec City has two lengthy stair runs near the Hotel Frontenac, and given your fear I’d not recommend a visit during Carnivale!

  13. sojournwithstacey November 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Balloons. I am PETRIFIED of balloons. Again, no apparent reason.
    I definitely feel for you having a fear of stairs because of how many there are in this world!

    • tinkerbelle86 November 17, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

      there was a boy in my a level photography class scared of balloons. why?!

  14. sheilatalbitzer November 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    For some reason I am not afraid of stairs even though I should be. I once fractured my lower back falling down a set of stairs AND I once broke my hand falling down a different set of stairs. I did make a neat photograph using the results from the second fall:
    That big swollen and bruised hand is totally real. I figured if I had something that gross looking I should make some art out of it.

    My fear: masks. I especially dislike those big ones that cover a person’s whole head and are meant to be cute. I am not a fan of Halloween, Easter (those damn big Easter bunny costumes freak me out), or most amusement parks with “characters” that walk around to greet children. I think I am freaked out by not being able to see somebody’s face. I imagine the person all sweaty and pissed and giving me the evil-eye inside that big brightly colored head.

  15. Fox@n November 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    I dont like steps either especially those that are opened. I just wich there was an elevator.

  16. susielindau November 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    I have a claustrophobia fear. When I look at those crazy people who put on 1000 t-shirts for charity and can’t move I feel claustrophobic for them! Hahaha!
    My daughter wouldn’t walk up the Eiffel Tower when we were in Paris 10 years ago~

  17. Tori Nelson November 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    I don’t fear stairs so much as my butt cramps just thinking about climbing them!

  18. winsomebella November 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Those stairs in Portugal are pretty scary!

  19. Loud Mind November 15, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    I’m not afraid of stairs but ridiculously narrow stairs as well as the spiral ones make nervous.

  20. alamericaine November 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Is that second photo from Aigues Mortes? I swear I’ve been there before!

  21. underwhelmer November 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    Wife is terrified of heights. She decided to inform me of this fear when we were halfway up a mountain. She was like a cat in a tree; she could climb up but not back down. She ended up alternating between letting me carry her and working up the courage to “scoot” slowly down the mountain on her own. We haven’t been on a mountain since. 🙂

  22. Leanne T November 16, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    I’m deathly afraid of birds. The “flap-flap” sound of their wings send me running like a crazy person!

  23. barkinginthedark November 16, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    all my fears are rational. continue…

  24. goddessofglitter November 16, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    I have a phobia, not as debilitating as your stairs, but I do have an irrational fear of public transportation by myself. I actually wrote a post on my blog about how I am as fearful of Twitter as I am of public buses. Lol.
    I hope to face my fear one day. . . But not yet.
    And some stairs can be very vertigo-inducing in my opinion. I don’t blame you for having issues with some of them.

  25. tiallarising November 16, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    I have the EXACT SAME fear of stairs!! I’m extremely stair-challenged, and I’m fortunate IF I don’t fall when going up or down even a flight of stairs in a home. I’ve fallen down sooo many staircases, it’s not even funny. I fall going up the stairs. I’m constantly tripping. And when it comes to any kind of stairs besides carpeted, I freak out. the stairs with gaps in between are ESPECIALLY horrible, and I can never get over them. I always have to go *really* slow.

    so glad to know someone can actually relate to me with this! 🙂


  26. tiallarising November 16, 2011 at 4:58 am #

    But some of my other fears are clowns (they would be so much funnier if they weren’t so darn scary!), people on stilts, and basically anyone in a costume that completely covers their head, therefore preventing anyone from seeing who they are. Idk why, but anytime I come around mascots or someone similar, I become extremely nervous…


  27. kathryningrid November 16, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    The sound of a phone ringing gives me a nasty adrenaline response: I hate talking on the phone. Mostly I’d rather email, even with my darling sisters!

    But I can understand that terrible feeling of standing atop seemingly bottomless stairs and looking down and feeling your legs turn to jelly and your heart to ice. Good thing you’re so fearless in other ways that you manage to keep that wonderful sense of humor!

  28. Chica Andaluza November 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Oh I´m with you there – but I think it´s linked to heights. Don´t like spiral stairs, those ones up to Montmartre and last year we were in Tavira too and I wouldn´t go up those stairs…no handrail…you´d have to be crazy right?!

    • tinkerbelle86 November 17, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

      i know right!! i was. twice. and now i just smile from the bottom as people head up there and comment about how lovely it is. sod that!

  29. fortyoneplease November 17, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    Spiders! Sure they are small and I am much bigger but urgh so nasty and mean-looking…

  30. therealsharon November 20, 2011 at 2:19 am #

    I am also afraid of stairs, but mine is because I had a fall down just two steps that led to a broken fibula and detached deltoid ligament causing me to have surgery and stay off my foot for 3 months…..I had nightmares in the hospital where I was falling and breaking it again. I don’t mind stairs that have railings that are strong and sturdy but steps without them, forget it! As for those stairs next to the wall…there is no way! One wrong step and OUCHIE!


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