Overcoming My Fear of Escalators

8 comments

Here's something most people laugh at, I'm scared of escalators




Or atleast, I was. Okay maybe I still am a little bit, but I'm over it I swear. There's still that litttttle teeny tiny part of my mind that is like WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING YOU ARE SCARED OF THIS EXPERIENCE but I push her down and remind her it's just some moving blummin stairs.

I've been scared my entire life, possibly in part due to the fact there is one single escalator in my home town in Lincolnshire, which is an 'up' one - and no down. I must've been 8 or 9 before I finally experienced a 'down', with a family member who was not cool with my hesitation and thought the fear was funny, I remember being scared out of my skin the entire time and cried when I got home. 

I never decided to denounce them from my life or anything, I didn't state: FROM TODAY FORTH I SHALL NOT USE AN ESCALATOR. I always wanted to get over it, but living where I grew up, how was I meant to?

I saw the odd escalator on my infrequent trips out, I knew there were escalators in the shopping centre in Lincoln, which I went to a couple of times a year, but every time I opted to use the lift or stairs instead. any time someone forced me to go on one, I was overcome with fear, started crying, panicking, sometimes screaming. It was extremely embarrassing for myself and for anyone who was with me, I always felt ashamed that I was scared of something that some people think is an every day occurrence. People who use public transport for example might use 4 escalators a day and not bat an eyelid.

I didn't experience my first London underground tube until I was about 15, of which I thought was the most distressing experience of my life, I had no idea they were so large, so busy, there were rules about which side to stand on. It was too much. I remember feeling trapped in a tube station with the escalator being the only way back out and having to ask a security guard for help. They ended up stopping the escalator completely, cordoning it off, and letting me walk up it like stairs (which by the way, was still friggin scary). 

My boyfriend has always been super supportive in helping me overcome it, he knows I want more than anything just to be able to travel and use shopping centres without having a melt down, we've practiced so many, starting from small ones in shops, to slightly bigger ones in shopping centres, to some in airports, I only recently conquered the ones in the Birmingham Bull Ring after living here for almost three years. I learnt a lot about exposure therapy on a CBT course I undertook after being referred by my GP, as my anxiety about leaving the house increased following my diagnosis with IBS.  

And last weekend came the biggie. My boyfriend booked us a lovely trip to London. and I cried and cried the week before we went, I knew I needed to get over it, and I knew I wanted to enjoy the trip he'd booked us, but I was shaking with fear at the thought of it. 

But I did it. yeah, I was scared, but the biggest thing I\ve learned about anxiety recently is to FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY.

My heart was racing, my head was buzzing, my palms were sweating. and here's what I did:

I used one of my favourite breathing exercises, you breath in through your nose for 4 counts, then hold the breath for 4 counts, then breathe out through your mouth for 6 counts. 
(I'd always dismissed breathing exercises as a load of rubbish but listen, try it)

I remembered that I control my own thoughts, so I tried to replace all the horrible thoughts with other stuff, like about the pizza I was on my way to get. 

I noticed what was going on in my body. I took note of what was going on, I noted my sweaty palms and short breath. And I thought 'yeah, that's okay'. 

And instead of giving in to the physical symptoms, I concentrated on my mind, and my breathing, and before you knew it, I was at the bottom of the escalator. Completely harm and panic free.

And I can't even count how many I did this weekend, because eventually I stopped getting the physical symptoms, and just started going with the experience. And by Monday, I'd forgotten why I was ever scared.

lizzie x 

Follow

8 comments

  1. I'm so glad you have been able to overcome your fear!! It does take baby steps but it is always doable. I always freak out when my hands a full and I have to get onto an escalator, because I panic that I can't hold onto the sides and so I really have to think about it before I step onto it. My mum is the same actually, not sure if I've picked that up through her!

    Chloe xx
    www.chloechats.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so glad you have been able to overcome your fear. You should feel so proud! I completely get where you're coming from because I'm terrified of getting in a lift.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well done! A lot of people don't like lifts (myself included), so it totally makes sense. I'm glad you've managed to do it though! xx

    https://www.chloexlizabeth.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really love the message here- I'm quite an anxious driver but it's definitely gotten easier with practise so I agree that if you can fight the fear and do it anyway you should!

    Soph - https://sophhearts.com x

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, well done you on overcoming your fear of escalators Lizzie! The breathing technique you describe is so good, I've tried it myself when I've felt anxious and it really calms me down. I love that you replaced horrible thoughts with positive things, like pizza! I'm glad you had a lovely trip to London and you got over a fear too, you should be so proud! <3 xx

    Bexa | www.hellobexa.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well done! I wouldn't say I have a full blown fear of escalators but I really don't like them. I feel like my stomach drops the second I stand on one. I always take the stairs so I can appreciate how big of a deal this is!

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're so brave for conquering your fear and did so well! You go girl! To overcome a major fear like that is no mean feat and shows just how courageous and strong you are ♥︎ I wish people could be more understanding of fears, let's face it we all have them and it's so cruel when others laugh. You've showed 'em all now! That you went to London and nailed it is amazing, those escalators are horrible and never fail to make me feel dizzy. You're a superstar and should be proud! ♥︎

    Sophie | soinspo xo

    ReplyDelete