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Is gephyrophobia a common ailment?

Category Everything Else

Yes, I had to look it up to figure out what the technical term is for fear of bridges.  

In Portland, we have a river that runs through the middle of the city separating the east from the west side.  The bus I take to work crosses the Burnside bridge, which is a couple blocks long, a drawbridge, and pretty open.  It looks like a city street with water underneath it.  Now, on a number of occasions, I've seen people board the bus two blocks before the bridge, pay their fare, ride across the bridge, and get off at the first stop after the bridge.  

They probably walked more than three blocks to get to the bus stop to begin with.  I've seen people cuss out the driver because he wouldn't let them ride over the bridge without paying.  Granted, some of these people looked more along the lines of street people than office workers, but still...

I've never quite understood why people would pay $1.25 to go four blocks.  Is the fear of bridges a common ailment that I'm not aware of?

Comments

Gravatar Image1 - Love conquers all... :)

Gravatar Image2 - Given the number of comments since you posted this, it must be relatively rare. I distrust bridges and ferris wheels, and I'm a programmer with a regular job, a girlfriend, a car, and a wide-screen TV. My fear depends on how ground-like the object is. Most wide bridges I can drive or walk over no problem, but I had an embarassing time at a museum exhibit in CZ where they had an expanded metal walkway over an archeological dig. Even though the ground was just a meter below the walkway it took some muster to walk it. This had happened to me before at SFMOMA, but being expanded metal 4 floors up, the fear was more justified.

Gravatar Image3 - Interesting comment... Thanks!

Gravatar Image4 - i looked this up just to see if i was the only one... when i cross an expantion bridge in my car i "know" i am going to die. there are two bridges in florida i am really afraid of. i can't see the water below only the rocky edges that the bridge hangs over.
about a month ago i unknowingly crossed this one on a trip i had never been on before. a very foggy morning i didn't realize how rough the rock edge was or how deep the river was below me. on the return trip however, i saw it coming. i was sick to my stomach and could not focus on the road. i had to hold one hand by my right eye so i couldn't see over. i know it wasn't more than 100 yards across, but it seemed like miles.
the man i love lives on the other side of this bridge...what would i do.

Gravatar Image5 - I'm terrified of bridges particularly in cars. It's my only phobia and I feel it's justified. Normally if you veer off the road for some reason, you end up in a ditch. On a bridge there is the possibility that you could careen of into the air and then plow into something wet/hard a long way down. I wonder how many people with other phobias have pseudo-logical explanations for their afflicitons. My least favorite bridges are:
1) Mackinaw (Mackinac?) Bridge between the UP and Michigan proper. It's long, high, and wicked windy.
2) Hurricane Gulch bridge just south of Healy Alaska (guess what? it's windy)
3) This stupid little wood bridge that crosses the outwash of the Matanuska glacier (glacial rivers are gnarly)
4) The quick left right face slap driving into Newport, RI. First the Jamestown bridge, then the Newport Bridge. Both narrow, both high.
Typically when i cross bridges like these I either let out a low, constant "ahhhhhhh" until i'm over it or try to put myself in a semi-meditative state kindof like when you're getting something unpleasant done to you by a doctor. Either way i end up feeling my stomach in my throat as I white-knuckle the steering wheel.
On a side note, I'm planning a cross-country road trip from Alaska (where I live) to Connecticut and I will be detouring through Ontario, Canada simply to avoid the Mackinaw Bridge.
Cheers,
Alfred

Gravatar Image6 - After 17 years of driving bridges with no problems, I recently developed this fear. Some internet searching let me know it is NOT a rare phobia. Check out all the entries on this forum:
http://www.tannock.net/archives/2001/10/fear_of_bridges.php

I am using the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook (Bourne) and it is effective already. Unless you have felt the panic a phobia can bring, you cannot understand why people board that bus just to get across the bridge.

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