Gephyrophobia is an anxiety disorder brought about by the fear of bridges. As a result, sufferers of gephyrophobia may avoid routes that will take them over bridges.
Dr. Liebowitz, founder of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute says: "It's not an isolated phobia, but usually part of a larger constellation ... It's people who get panic attacks. You get light-headed, dizzy; your heart races. You become afraid that you'll feel trapped."
I've always had anxiety and panic issues, ever since I was in my teens. When I was younger I had no idea that's what was going on, I just thought I was dying or something. I even saw doctors about it and for some reason they were all idiots and never told me what the deal was. Fucking idiots.
About 10 years ago I was living in Berkeley and working in San Francisco, at an office nowhere near public transportation, and I had a commute that would take me over the Bay Bridge every day. Initially I was fine with my commute; I was young and invincible! Who gives a shit about a stupid bridge, right?
Eventually I started having anxiety issues while driving across the bridge. I don't know what started it, because I wasn't living in the Bay Area when the "bridge incident" happened during the earthquake in 1989 where the whole fucking thing collapsed in on itself, so it's not like I was traumatized by that, but I would be driving along and suddenly would feel like the road in front of me was actually rising up and over my head and I was going to fall backwards, of course, into the Bay. And when that happened I would totally freak out and start hyperventilating and panicking and oftentimes would slam on the brakes. I'd have to move all the way over to the right and go about 40 mph just to make it off the goddamn thing.
It sucked. But it didn't happen all the time and by that time I was a (relative) grownup and had been introduced to the wonderful, magical Prince Xanax.
But then I got pregnant and could no longer take the magical pill that made everything better. Things got worse.
THEN 9/11 happened, and from there? There was no way. No fucking way could I drive over that goddamned thing anymore. I would have to crawl along the far right lane at 30 mph and I'd still be fucking freaking out the entire time. I actually changed my job requirements so that I would only work from home and ever since then I've driven over the bridge only a handful of times and then only if I'm well stocked with little pink pills. Little, beautiful pink pills of heaven.
This morning I had to drive into the city for a client who just moved their offices there. I refuse to take clients in the city for just this reason otherwise I would never subject myself to that on a regular basis, but today I had no choice.
The drive over there was fine because for some reason that route doesn't scare me as much, but for the drive back I was, as usual, fucking white knuckling it the whole time. There was traffic, and I was happy, because I couldn't go faster than about 45 and that made it better.
Anyway, I realized that I totally psych myself out because I started panicking about it before I even got anywhere near the damn thing, and then the fear of panic just increases the eventual panic and makes everything so much worse. So, I tried to distract myself by writing this post in my head and goddammit it actually worked! I was distracted enough to not be freaking out for at least the second half of the drive.
Sorry this one wasn't funny but since writing this in my head was so helpful to me earlier I didn't really have a choice but to post it, right? Right.