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shaky


Aug 19, 2002, 12:43 PM
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fear issues
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Alright, looking for some assistance here, as I'm sure I'm not alone in this...

Several years back, I had a climbing accident, took a grounder from what was essentially death-fall height.

Since then, I essentially shake on lead to some extent. This fear response can then affect me mentally, thus shutting me down with a cascadng effect of bad visions, defeatest thoughts, anger/frustration. Not to say that I have good days - I've still climbed hard, and often. It's too much a part of me, I've been climbing over 15 years, and I ain't walking away. I love so much of the sport - the challenge, the camaraderie, the places, the stories we generate. But this fear and the accompanying lack of self confidence keeps me from setting big goals, seriously hurt my consistency as a climber, makes me hesitate to ask partners to do long routes, as I may not be able to swing leads, and generally keeps me feeling like I may be a burden on my partners (a somewhat false image, but let's go with it for now.)

The issue here is either how do I suppress that fear response, or replace it with another response that allows me to keep moving without the concern of the fall as a consequence? I've read a bit, had some professional help, including a bit of EMDR therapy, which has shown success with PTSD sufferers - I had some small breakthroughs with it, but the effectiveness seems to have worn off a bit. So, who else has done work on this, and how do you cope with the fear inherant with the sport?

Dammit, I want to do hard slab again.

Anyway, any sincere advice, referrals, or experiences are greatly appreciated.


gunkjunkie


Aug 19, 2002, 1:45 PM
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Hi -

You must be very brave to keep climbing in the face of your fear.

Maybe you could find a partner you really trust and who is aware of your fears and would be able to handle leading all/most of the pitches. Then you could go do a climb that you climbed and enjoyed when you were starting out. Maybe as you climb such easier climbs you can build your confidence. Try and concentrate on having fun and not on pushing yourself.

I just took a grounder myself a few weeks ago - (though not as serious as yours) and I'm having trouble trusting my decisions regarding choosing climbs. The root cause of my fall was the result of trying skip levels - so I am going back to try to climb easier routes as a way of making sure I have all of the skills which I should have to progress to the level I was trying when I fell.

Deirdre

[ This Message was edited by: gunkjunkie on 2002-08-19 13:58 ]


fieldmouse


Aug 20, 2002, 3:39 PM
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the best way to overcome this fear is to stare it straight in the eyes and jump. (on purpose) I am recovering from an 80 foot ground fall and I still feel the effects, mentally and physically. every now and then I can feel that my climbing performance is somewhat compromised by this mental block and I have found that by simply skipping a bolt or running it out a little and then pitching off on purpose erases this fear for a little while at least. I hope you arent afraid of run-on sentences.


acrophobic


Sep 6, 2002, 11:00 AM
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the most effective tool i have found is turning fear into anger... instead of getting scared, get pissed off and you forget about falling and gets your adrenaline going of course keep it in check, don't go ranting at your belayer or spewing off strings of curses. works for me Get angry at the rock and yourself and it pushes you up.. and get happy when you do the move so you will be beeming by the time you get down.



imamonkey


Sep 19, 2002, 2:05 PM
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The answer to your disabling fear depends on how or if you can inwardly answer the question - why did I fall? Was it a climbing hold unexpectedly pulling off - did you test it before commiting OR was it that last shred of energy fleeting from your grip, the peril and impending fall expected OR was it poor judgment reading, burning up precious energy with gear placement, pre-sequencing - routefinding skills??? You get my point eh - coming to grips as to why it all happened will get you back on the path of separating rational from irrational fear (one of these being a good thing


Partner drector


Sep 19, 2002, 2:17 PM
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fieldmouse had a good suggestion but I don't know how it would work for your situation. I've never gotten hurt climbing (yet).

I do know that sometimes I get hesitant to make a hard move even on top rope. I'll then pitch off to get a feel for the rope. I'm then more confident at making the tough move since I KNOW that the protection is there.

Again, I have no idea how this would work after a serious fall. Good job! getting back into the sport. I too often read of someone who gets hurt at a sport then never goes back. It's impressive that you are doing it. Be proud.

I did have a near-crash experience piloting a small plane. After that, I had no problems while flying but on the ground, I had to think seriously about if I was good enough to keep doing it. I decided to stop because I just couldn't put in the time to stay proficient. I also would rather be climbing. So if you can put in the time, maybe that's all it will take.

Dave


krustyklimber


Sep 19, 2002, 2:28 PM
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When you figure it out let me know, I am living your life!!!

My problem in all three of the big falls that trip my mind, is all three were bad judgement calls by me. Spread out over 25yrs that isn't very many big mistakes but...

And now I don't trust myself.

I hope you overcome it soon, the beast grows stronger with each passing day!

Jeff


wyoclimber


Sep 19, 2002, 2:32 PM
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I think theres some good advice above, i would add relaxation techniques... such as breathing, mantras, meditation, etc... before and during the climb...
just a thought,
wyo


sagarmatha


Sep 19, 2002, 3:53 PM
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Shaky
you could try systematic desensitisation (plenty of info on the Net). It is a process used in counselling and psychology to reduce anxiety and fear. With SD, you establish a hierarchy of your fears, say 1 to 5, 1 being the greatest and 5 the weakest, then select the item on your list that has the lowest intensity (eg. No 5).
Relax, begin thinking of the selected thought. This will cause you to tense up somewhat. Begin immediately to regain your deeply relaxed state while thinking of the thought. When you can think about this fear without any discomfort go on to the next highest on your hierarchy. Then do the same with with this fear and then continue up the hierarchy in the same way.
In your case you may want to apply the technique directly to you fear when climbing rather then working through a list.
Good luck!


maiorlive


Sep 19, 2002, 4:10 PM
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I have not seriously hurt myself climbing but I broke my collar bone mountain biking. It took a few years for the memory of the pain to settle down enough that I could get back to my old reckless riding self. I found the memory would rise up at bad times and make me hesitate, especially in situations that resembled my accident. So I just refuse to remember: I focus my entire attention on being aware of the immediate instant and that way my mind has no chance to distract me or hesitate me. The more times I rode without hesitation, the easier it got. It's still there of course, both the memory and the break in my collar bone - It didn't heal quite straight. I don't ignore the memory (I couldn't if I wanted to), but it doesn't prevent me from riding, it just motivates me to ride more carefully and pay closer attention.

Meditation really helped me to control my mind and get it to stop wasting resources on bad memories at awkward times. It's not a quick fix though. It took practice and
perseverance before my mind gave up on trying to make me avoid some cycling situations. On the plus side though, this sort of mental self-discipline applies itself to almost everything you do, including climbing. Most of my partners have commented on the strength of my concentration out on the sharp end of the rope.

Lots of ways to practice meditation, including some psychotherapy techniques/shortcuts. Pick one that works with your life style and that won't bore you silly and get to work.

W

[ This Message was edited by: maiorlive on 2002-09-19 16:11 ]


oldandintheway


Sep 19, 2002, 4:16 PM
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Shaky,

Don't know if you will find this to be beneficial, but I was in a similar circumstance. A couple of things have helped me get a grip (pun intended) and one is to use humor. Laughing at myself and the absurdity of this pursuit of defying gravity eventually got me through a deep set personal funk.

Another help was to let go of the thought that I had wasted all of the time I was "off". Never easy to do, granted, but for me it was an like an epiphany. I learned to see I had a value beyond what I had assigned myself.

Lastly was taking my time getting back into the game. I had to accept that I may or may not climb at the my prior levels. To do this I partnered with people that didn't drive themselves as I use to. Instead of "the climb" itself, I learned to climb for a greater broader experience. Pretty esoteric. Taking in little moments, little accomplishments, little joys.

Good luck to you.

Eric


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