Coll Writes

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642 Things to Write About: Week 37

Written By: Colleen - Sep• 15•13

The time you were the most terrified – your knees were knocking, your heart was racing, you could barely stand to be in your own skin. 

I know there are a lot of ways that this topic could gone.  However, when I try to pinpoint a moment of terror, I trudged through moments of dread, sadness, and anticipation (all which I think could be confused with terror) in order to really find a moment that terrified me.  I also weeded out any moments of something like being afraid of the dark, as I have always had a rational side of me kick in to try to soothe the scared side.  I tried to think of any moments I’ve had in my life that fit the description in the topic question, any moments when that rational voice never kicked in once.

I could only think of one.

stpaulscathedral-climbingthedomeThe time I climbed to the top of the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  You’re going to think that it’s silly and not worthy of feeling complete terror, but ever since then, I have been terrified of heights.  When I think of this moment even now, my heart starts to race and I can barely breathe while remembering it.  Let me set the scene for you: When you climb to the top of St. Paul’s, you’re climbing a gazillion stories on this circular staircase where the a portion of the steps have no backs (at least that’s how I remember it, haha).  I think it’s 1,000 steps total.  The railings aren’t super re-enforced.  If you look down, you can see just how high you’ve climbed.  All I could think about was stpaulscathedrallosing a shoe, getting my balance thrown off, and falling to my death.  Don’t ask me to rationalize my irrational mind at the time.  The more I worried about losing my balance and falling, the dizzier I felt.  I was terrified to the point where I was shaking and had to stop and literally cry, “Mommy, I can’t do it” to my mother.  I was 26-years-old, mind you.  There were a lot of people climbing this staircase with us, but I was the only one who was having an almost-full-on panic attack as we got higher.  My heart was racing, I couldn’t breathe, my knees were knocking, and I definitely was having issues being being in my own skin at that moment.

Here’s a tour picture of the pretty, safer part of the geometric staircase.  This is taken from looking upwards from the ground:

stpaulscathedral-spiralstaircase

Here’s a picture I took at some point during the climb.   I can’t remember when, but it would have had to be during one of the landings, when I wouldn’t have been terrified to let go of the railing…

stpaulscathedral-insidethedome

It’s beautiful and worth it to climb it.  It really is.  The view is awesome and the architecture is gorgeous.  If you’re into that sort of thing, I highly, highly recommend it.  That said, I don’t know if I would ever attempt to climb the dome at St. Paul’s again if I ever went back to London.  Part of me wants to face my fear, but the other part of me is satisfied with having done it once.  I think I may just stick to exploring the crypt instead, haha.

Here’s some pictures of the view once we finally got to the top:

stpaulscathedral-view1

stpaulscathedral-view2

stpaulscathedral-view3

What time have you been most terrified?  Leave your answers in the comments.

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  1. Michael says:

    I stepped off a trail, while hiking in WV, near Harpers Ferry, and i started sliding down a hill rapidly. The leaves were wet and I couldn’t stop as I headed for a hundred plus foot drop. It seemed like minutes but was likely seconds. Fortunately, I was able to grab a tree and stop about 20ft from the edge.

    I also tumbled down Sandia Mt in ABQ but I thought I was just going to get hurt there.

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