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passing on your anxiety?


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i discovered something weird a few weeks ago.  i have never told anyone of my constant fear of falling down.  stairs are like, awful to me, even worse if there is no rail i can hold.  i can picture myself tripping and breaking my face or a bone or something.  i do it every time i have to walk down stairs, or when i'm walking on an icy sidewalk, or walking on the beach (our beach isn't sand, it's all rocks).  the fear is really unreasonable.

 

so my daughter mentions this a few weeks ago, we were talking about being scared of the stupidest things sometimes.  so she mentions this exact fear - the stairs, the icy sidewalks, all of it.  we were both shocked to know that we shared this fear.

 

then i tell my mother "hey isn't this weird how we both have fall-o-phobia?".  lo and behold, she has it too.  i had no idea.  she's always been that way.

 

anybody else have anxieties that seem to run in your family, even though there was no learning-from-your-parents involved?  my mother is terrified of bears.  she's vocal about it, and i never inherited her fear.  i'm afraid of dogs, i'm vocal about it, and my daughter loves them.  but secret fears?  can they be genetic or something?

 

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My almost 11-year-old son has my flavor of OCD. The counting and compulsive behaviors, worrying about things that aren't going to happen. He told me just the other day how bad it's getting. He was seeing a therapist for other problems and has just been discharged. I don't think he mentioned the OCD to her, though, so he may need to go back.

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i discovered something weird a few weeks ago.  i have never told anyone of my constant fear of falling down.  stairs are like, awful to me, even worse if there is no rail i can hold.  i can picture myself tripping and breaking my face or a bone or something.  i do it every time i have to walk down stairs, or when i'm walking on an icy sidewalk, or walking on the beach (our beach isn't sand, it's all rocks).  the fear is really unreasonable.

 

I have the same unreasonable fear of falling.  I have great balance, very strong legs.  But when I am at a precipice, whether top of a mountain, bridge, balcony, my knees turn completely to water and I can visualize myself falling right down, usually to my death.  

 

In my twenties, many moons ago, my fear was so strong I actually directed myself straight into trouble.  An icy mountain with nothing in sight below but one tree, all by it's lonesome off to the far right.  I skied down the slope praying to just go sorta straight but then smack!  Right into the tree. Fell over in heap.  Luckily no broken ribs.  

 

I am not afraid of stairs for some reason.  But ladders, standing on chairs, the smallest little height my knees turn to jelly.  It is a completely illogical fear. 

 

I have no idea if anyone else in my family has this fear but I will ask.  My brother did have one of my other strange fears. I am claustrophobic but not in the normal sense.  For instance, if I am in a public bathroom  which is empty I like to keep the stall door open. I hate being in bathroom stalls.  At home I always leave the bathroom door open if alone.   I love the beach because there is nothing in sight over the ocean.  I feel like I can see forever and finally breathe freely.   Rooms with no windows cause high anxiety.  When I sit in a restaurant I cannot face the wall, need to look out over the room.

 

One day I must have spoken about this to my brother because I remember being stunned that he had the same issue with bathroom doors.  

 

There is more to both of these fears but at the moment my brain has gone into hiding.  I think I left it outside in the rain along with the shovel.

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When I was little every night before bed my mom would check the door was locked and the stove was off.

 

I know have OCD-lite behaviours around this at bedtime or leaving the house.  I check multiple times (which can really irritate my partner, he's always 'YOU CHECKED ALREADY!  YOU HAVEN'T EVEN USED THE STOVE TODAY!').

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Oh my gosh; this rings such a bell with me.  My husband has pointed out that I "inherited" some anxiety behaviors from my dad, who had severe but untreated (until he was in in late seventies) anxiety his entire life, at least his life after I was born.  So at least I understand that I observed his behaviors.  

 

However.... I tried so hard not to pass along my fears and anxiety to my children, but my daughter has many of the same triggers for panic attacks, etc. as I do.  I feel really bad about that.    I was careful not to vocalize these fears, etc. but she still has them, and I have to think there is some sort of "genetic memory" for this stuff.

 

Interesting topic. 

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We joke about having a "worry" gene (along with the "recessive grace" gene) between my mom and I.

 

We worry about things. My grandma (mom's mom) was a worrier too.

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When I was younger I had a fear of falling through the open slots on some stairs. Its not so bad anymore. 

 

When using an escaltor - up or down - I always feel like gravity is trying to somehow get me on the floor. I have to ride it by myself. I have to get on/off in a special sequence.

 

As for my kid - the escaltor wasn't an issue for awhile because she was in a stroller and we had to use the elevator. I don't know if she got used to the elevator. But she will not go on an escaltor for anything. And I cannot hold her (now I physically can't do that). So, elevator we go. 

 

I have to hold a rail or the wall on any stairs for like the past 5 years my balance is off.

 

db

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We joke about having a "worry" gene (along with the "recessive grace" gene) between my mom and I.

 

We worry about things. My grandma (mom's mom) was a worrier too.

 

I must have that same worry gene.  So does my mom.  Always blamed her for my incessant worrying tho my grandma also was a worry wort.  hmmm.....

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My mother deals with her anxiety by planning every moment down to the micro-second. She doesn't think she is anxious. Watch me as I roll on the floor chortling.

 

But I picked up the planning gene. I'm not as obnoxious as she is about it, or as constant, but I'm still obnoxious. DH says whenever we plan vacation, once we have decided on the location, he leaves everything to me. I will already have read two travel-guides, and planned what sites we were going to see on each particular day for multiple locations at once. So like for the Grand Canyon, plus Hawaii, plus Yellowstone. Plus New Orleans. I only trust myself to make hotel reservations, for absolutely no reason. By the time we go, I'm am wound pretty tightly, and the first day usually does not go well.

 

I get very worried if I don't do this. I get panicky, and freaked that I don't know what to do.

 

My mother does this for every vacation, AND in Pittsburgh (my hometown), for going out to a restaurant, or going to the mall. Except in more detail.  My youngest sister literally likes to point and laugh at us, because it is just so obvious.

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My sister was lucky... she got the "packing" gene from my dad... she can tetris anything into anywhere.

 

I just thought of this too ... it is all like a jigsaw puzzle to me, and the challenge is to put everything in so it all fits in a solid place (not random).  My father taught me this.

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DecB - open slots are the WORST stairs ever!

 

Flameless, i have passed on some anxiety triggers to my daughter, too.  i feel really guilty about it.  but there's really no way to know for sure if she has those anxieties because of me, or that she has them because they are common for anxious people (the things like talking on the phone).  the stair fear was a surprise!

 

crtclms, i'm hiring you next time i go on vacation (that should take about ten years to save the money!)

 

Woo, i need your sister - i'm moving on the weekend and having someone to tetris the moving truck would be awesome!

 

 

thanks everyone, now i know our family isn't the only one "charmed" with passing along useless fears :)

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