Saturday, July 13, 2013

Top of the arch? No fear!

Last week we visited St. Louis and had the opportunity to go downtown with family.  Everyone (almost) had plans to go up to the top of the arch to enjoy the view.  Now, the last time we did that, I had one major panic attack.  It was a horrible, embarrassing experience and the idea of repeating it was not something I wanted to consider.

On the other hand almost everyone, including our granddaughter Dusti, was going up and I wanted to share the fun.  What to do? What to do?   Well, for starters offer to stand in line while everyone else goes about the business of looking around, visiting the museum and so on.  

That gave me some time to  decide whether I could face my fear of heights.  I decided to get enough tickets so that I could go up with everyone else, should I really decide to go.  I believe in open options when possible.

Eventually we did go up, myself included.  No, I did not end up sobbing on the stairwell while waiting for the tram.  

Thank goodness because it occurred to me later that Richard was the one who kept me from climbing down the stairwell, which is off-limits to visitors.  

During that panic attack I very much wanted OUT. now. by any means. forget the rules.  let me GO.  Of course, I said all that and perhaps a few other things between sobs and snot and sick feelings that I was going to fall to my death.  

That the arch is completely enclosed made no difference.  Logic and reality are not part of the solution.  They aren't even part of the problem.  So don't try to talk logically to a panic attack.  Panic attacks don't listen; they are tornadoes of action and reaction until they finally spin themselves out.  Logic, indeed.  Throw logic at a tornado and see what happens!

This time Richard chose to watch the air show, leaving me to my own devices.  No panic attack for me or anyone who happened to be at the top with me.  Can you imagine being that lucky person?  See, you just never know what kind of kooks are standing right beside you.

  So, how did I avoid the breakdown?  I'd love to say I just maintained control and kept myself busy snapping pictures and chatting.  The truth is, though, I haven't a clue.  There was some arch movement and I felt a twinge of vertigo, but it just didn't happen.  

Of course, that means I'm capable of complete and total tornado meltdown (snotty sobs, clawing, gnashing of teeth and dragon-like hissing) anytime I find myself vulnerably high off the ground.

So be warned, if you ever see this kook chick in high places, step aside and let her by.  She may seem perfectly find, but don't let the smile fool you.

She's capable of some pretty ugly whirlwinds and cannot be trusted with high society.  Well, you know, that being society up high, off the ground and in the path of high winds.

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