Proposal Acrophobia is the scientific term for a fear of heights. Having this particular fear can lead to circumstances that can cause problems in simple things in one’s life such as changing a light bulb or going to a shopping mall. I have personally had this fear for over ten years. Although attempts have been made to rid of this fear, not once has it grown out of me. Therefore, I am going to make this project based on it, seeking high places within numerous weeks to see whether this fear can finally be rid. I will plan on finding places or areas in or possibly out of London that contain an element of height. With this I will record the experiences through film, photography, note taking or drawing. This will help highlight my feelings and thoughts felt at the time of the event, and my reactions towards it. Examples of places I may visit are: The Shard, Lloyd’s Building glass lift, Emirates cable car and bridges in London. I will expect times of panic during the events, and possibly feelings of relief or achievement having done such tasks.
For second-hand research I will plan on looking into other peoples’ experiences of facing acrophobia and how they felt at the time of the event, and whether or not the fear was conquered. My specialist focus is illustration, especially children’s illustration. Therefore, this project might contain a light-hearted feel to it although it will still focus on the fear of heights. For resources, I will plan on finding places that are cheap/free, although I will also pay for some events, with a budget possibly lying between £100-200. As for time, I will possibly do multiple tasks on the same day, which would perhaps explore whether my fear will decline as I go to areas that are high in consecutive turns. With this project, I would like to communicate as many things as I can based on this fear. The elements I want to communicate are my experiences during the event, how I felt at the time and what happens at the time of the event.
Started 1999. I was 9 years old. I was in a P.E. lesson at the time. We had our lesson indoors, with the different apparatus set up. Going on the apparatus, climbing up it. Everything seemed fine. Until it came to climbing the rope. I looked up, up to where it hung. It was high. It was an odd thought, but my mind came to a plane, crashing and in flames. I felt scared, I felt dread. I didn’t want to fall down. I didn’t want to be hurt. I didn’t want to lose my grip. I didn’t want to lose my life. I panicked. I did not want to climb the rope.
Millennium Bridge I felt nervous walking towards the bridge, towards the edges of the bridge, with the feeling of it shaking when people were walking across it. The sound and vibrations of loud thumping from the footsteps, one by one, the fear increased. Complete panic flowed through. Dizziness was set. The strength of the wind pushing against me, pulling me more towards the edge. The feeling of falling, the feeling of someone pushing me off the bridge. Walking up near to the grill section of the bridge floor, looking downwards between the squares you could see the height below. Unbalance kicked in, I could not stand steadily.
The reluctance of taking photos, trying to pull my arm further from me for a simple task, doing so felt like I would lose my grip, that again I would fall. Walking across the bridge and looking down, my heart began to race. My first try getting across was accompanied by my partner. It was not bad. The next two attempts I hesitantly tried it by myself. It took longer to get across than I thought. But as the bridge got quieter with less people on it, I became more calmer. It did not feel so bad.
Tower Bridge Approaching the bridge, queasiness from looking down began. With the pattern areas, whilst attempting to try and take a picture, failed as I felt I was going to lose my grip from trembling. The gap between the two bridge halves, although small, had me thinking of the stability of the bridge. With it being so high up above water after all this time, it continuosuly takes on the weight of the constant moving vehicles and people walking across it. Would it collapse? Will the gap become wider? Will the bridge open whilst I am standing on this spot? Will I trip and get stuck? Those were what my mind was going through.
Peeking slightly down from the edge, I felt like someone will come behind me and push me over. I had to hold on to my glasses so that they did not fall. I felt vulnerable. If I lost them right here, I would not be able to see. After both experiences, I still felt nervous, my chest was still tightening and voice shaking.
This is based on the observations from my partner who told me that whilst walking across the bridges, especially the Millennium Bridge, my face changed colour. My face changed from a normal skin tone, to pale then a flushed pink.
Experiences Second-hand research on how other people’s acrophobia started, and any experiences they have had.
http://www.experienceproject.com/groups/ Am-Scared-Of-Heights/7784 Never Use To Be. By: stillgrieving Written on December 10th, 2009 “My husband was killed in a fall from height work accident 3yrs ago and now I can’t even bring myself to stand on a chair. I have turned into a scared little rabbit over heights and because of this now I either put up with a blown light bulb or have to make myself ask a friend to do it for me.” Scared To Death Of Heights By: deleted Written on July 24th, 2012 “Even stilettos make me nervous.” You Won’t Get Me Up There By: gelroller Written on July 30th, 2012 “I have always had this fear as far back as I
can remember if I climb a ladder for instance I know immediately if I have gone to high because I just freeze and find that I can not move at all. And then if I make the mistake of looking down that’s it the dizziness start’s. So I try my best at all costs to keep away from high places because the last time I got stuck the fire service had to get me down and that was very embarrassing.” http://www.learningmethods.com/heights.htm “She began to walk toward the edge, one step after the other. Quite soon she said she felt a little sick. David asked her to stop walking right away. He asked her what exactly she was feeling (she said a tightening fear) and where precisely she was feeling it (in her chest and gut). He then asked her if this was what she normally felt in these situations. She thought for a moment and then said, yes it was, but normally she just ignored it and kept going because it was her ‘fear of heights’ feeling and she felt that she shouldn’t be feeling this and didn’t want to be feeling this.”
Experiences Primary research asking another person I know who also suffers from acrophobia and their experiences of it. Below is a section taken from the questionairre: What symptoms do you show when going to a place involving heights? At my worst I have panic attacks, start crying and shaking, cling to something, get really hot, and I also kind of shut down and become unresponsive and stop talking. Other times it’s just that fear that is like a weight or a grip in your chest, and I have to hold on to something like a wall or a person and become intent on getting closer to the ground as soon as possible. If I can’t actually get down from where I am then I’ll sit on the floor or something.
For me personally, I am afraid to go on escalators due to their height. When I was seven I tried to go on the escalator, but I missed my footing and got stuck. I panicked and had to wait for my father to come back up and rescue me. During that time, I noticed the height of the escalator. It felt like forever when that happened. No matter the size of the escalator, or which direction it goes in, I always have to count a certain number of steps going through before I feel safe going on the escalator.
The Monument Approaching The Monument, I started dreading going up it just by looking at its height.
it held, my only words could be that of saying: â€œOh fuck!â€?
Starting to walk up the spiral staircase, it was visible to see how small the steps were, getting smaller as you went further up; creating a sense of being trapped as people are wallking past coming down the other direction.
Outside, I had to hold myself onto the stone pillar. Through the fencing I saw how small everyone below us was. They were all small enough to become miniature figures, even the buses going by. It was like viewing a miniature village.
Through these mushroom-shaped sections, the hand rails kept stopping me, stopping my way of holding onto something that is keeping me safe, Tugging at my coat at every expense to make me get a glimpse of looking down.
I tried to go near the edge of the balcony, but ended up backing off from it. I had to sit down. I had to hold onto the fencing. I felt much safer. I wanted to stay on that spot and not walk anywhere else.
My heart was racing.
But I had to go down. I looked white. People were staring at me because I turned so pale. My lips were shaking. My legs and hands were shaking. I was going to pass out at any moment. It felt longer, but I was only up there for five minutes.
Looking above, seeing how long I have left to go, the feeling of falling kicked in, causing me to nearly fall backwards. Looking down was a more so dizzy feeling. Nearly there. Almost to the top, I could see light approaching. One glimpse of that light and what
I was relieved to hear the voices coming closer as I went down and finally reached the bottom of The Monument.
Emirates Cable Car Looking at the cable cars from afar, it reminded me of a time when I was on the London Eye and how I reacted. That time, I felt scared to go near the edge of the car capsule with the glass surrounding it, and mainly kept myself in the middle. I believed that this would end in the same result. Getting on, and watching it move slowly, I was feeling nervous about it. When the cable car started going above ground, I was not scared. There was the rocking, the creaking, and the smell of the cables moving. It did make me feel uneasy, but I still felt safe. Perhaps it was due to only being allowed to sit down in the car. The wind added more uneasiness, moving the cable cars from side to side, nauseous setting in. But nothing else happened.
The landscape from above was a joy to see. Even picking the smallest things like how tiny a seagull looked on the water, I was not phased by it at all. I enjoyed it. It was definitely a surprise.
Attempt #1: First look at the ride and I was scared. I did not want to go on it. Whilst in the queue I was getting more and more nervous, panicking, my heart beating ever so fast as the designated ride approached.
The ride did not last for long, but it felt too long to bear any more. When we finished, I was so happy to be back on the ground and safe.
Strapped in, I really did not want to do this, but it was too late to back out from it now.
Once I did, I wanted to try it again, see if it would make any difference to my experience. I did not want to be defeated by it.
The chilling male voice telling us to keep our head back and to hold on tight, I did not know what I was prepared for. “You must escape” -- I wanted to escape now and not experience what was to come. Just sitting here made the waiting time for it to be over much more worse. “GO! GO! GO!” The speed, the intensity of the ride. I hated it. I was screaming. I was worried for my life. I was bursting in tears.
It took a while for my self to be fully composed.
Attempt #2: I did not cry this time. I was able to conquer the ride with nothing but screams. But my fear for both the height and the speed it went was still present. I tried to rid myself of the mindset of how bad the ride was during that time, but to no avail.
Nemesis Before Nemesis: I wanted to see what the ride was going to be like before going on, whether it was going to be a ride I would like. The music did not help. It felt like the ride would result in the end of your life. Standing there, but not too close to the fence, I looked down to see how high it was going to be. My reaction was of hesitance and a long sigh. “This is going to be scary”. I looked at the drop below the part of the rails I saw. It was quite deep, and I was not too keen on the way it curved. It was close to the ground but still did not faze the fact the ride is overall high. Waiting for any signs of the roller coaster, I could hear the roaring of it. Each millisecond it was coming closer and closer, and becoming louder and louder. It suddenly shot past in front of me. With its speed and the wind from it pushing against me, the shock of Nemesis caused me to step back and freeze. I eventually looked back to my partner and ran towards him: “No, just no! I can’t go on it!”. But I had to. Walking slowly along the fast track lane, I kept replaying that moment I saw.
On the Nemesis: I sat at the back row of seats. I did not want to face such torture. It climbed upwards, with the sounds of whirring and clicking as it goes. The sound did not feel safe, like as if it would break at any moment. Then it slowly came to a downwards position, and released on full blown speed. The sound of the air blowing through my ears, and the ground ever so close to my feet, I felt like I would hit against something. “Fuck! Fuck! Oh my god fuck!” was what I remember from going upside down and through the loops. It was scary, yet exhilarating. The ride came to an end. I got off. I could not help but laugh. I went into a hysterical laughter. I was wobbling, shaking and walking into people. “I gotta sit down! I gotta sit!” My mind was not focusing properly. But I snapped out of it soon after. I wanted to go on it again. And I did. This time, I was at the front. I absolutely loved the thrill, the excitement. The height was at the back of my mind.
Oblivion I saw what this ride involved earlier in the day so I had to try and prepare myself throughout that time for it. But I really was not prepared when the time for it came.
We approached the edge. And the coaster slanted. You could see the sign of Don’t Look Down pointing to the state of unknown. I kept opening and closing my eyes.
The sign “Don’t Look Down” kept cropping up around the area of this ride. It was something that I kept it my mind and hanged onto. On Oblivion, I was on the front row. Climbing upwards, the creaking of the ride was uneasy.
A massive height and all I can see is a hole of darkness filled with smoke, not knowing where it led to after.
I felt my heart beating fast, unsteady. I did not know where to look. It came to the top, but carried on going forwards to the ultimatum. I thought that was it, but it continued. “Why has it not finished? I want it to be over!” My mind was in this constant thought. The height progressing did not bode well with my state of mind. I wanted to get off.
The clutch released. I closed my eyes tight. I held my breath. We went down in extreme speed. I could not open my eyes properly, I could not open my mouth to breathe nor scream. My chest became painful. When we came through the hole filled with never-ending darkness, I managed to open my eyes again and breathe once more. The end finally came and I was ecstatic to be safe again, though the pain still lingered. It was terrifying. I hated the ride. I did not want to go on it again. Ever.
Before Air: I was told that we would be looking into the sky during the ride. I thought to myself that it should not be that bad as the height won’t be as visible as the others, and possibly more enjoyable. When it came to queuing, I thought about filming it whilst I waited to go on. By this time every thought process of what I imagined it to be vanished. You could see the construction of it twisting and facing downwards. How wrong and silly was I to believe the ride was facing upwards into the sky. Now approaching the end of the queue, soon to be our turn, I saw how the riders started. Being pushed upwards, heads facing downwards, watching everything on the ground. On Air: Front row. As we got on, my first reaction was how I felt my legs were trapped, I could not move them and panicked. I constantly asked staff members if this was meant to happen, and although they said yes, I still felt insecure. I constantly requested them to check the belt and harness to make sure it was locked in, with
them making sure it was tight enough each time. It made me feel worse. It was time. We set our position of being upright, with the harness pushing against my stomach, making me feel sick. The flooring was about to drop, but nothing seemed to be happening. We stayed in that position for a while, not advancing even an inch forward of the ride. We were then told that there were some technical difficulties and for us riders to be patient until they resolved the issue. I started to panic. I wanted to get out of there.The longer we stayed on there the more I wanted to get off. I kept repeating “I don’t like this idea” many times. The thought of something on the ride failing midflight had me worked up. Luckily, we were let out of the ride whilst they fixed the technical fault. I felt thankful for that to happen.In all honesty I wanted to avoid going on it. But I was not allowed. I had to wait. Whilst the fret and panic was brimming inside me, I started having to take deep breaths whilst resting my head on my partner’s arm.
We stood for about ten minutes. The constant worry made me twist the cords of his hoodie so much I almost made him choke. I was reassured by him that everything would be alright, that they are now checking if it comes back safely on a test run. I was hoping in some ways it did not come back at all. But it did come back, all in one piece.
see everything from the ground, spectators disappearing by the second as you carry on. My hands were sweating, my heart going mental.
That meant the ride was fine. We could go on it. Deep down I did not want to go on it, but I was here now, there is no going back. I canâ€™t chicken out at this stage after everything.
We approached its peak and went down. I was grabbing on to the handle bars for dear life, overcome with fear. My chest kept hurting, my screams fading in and out from the pressure of the wind. I kept my eyes closed. Every time I opened them I quickly closed them again. The twisting and turnings of the ride, we were so close to the ground at times I felt like we were going to crash.
So I went on and prepared myself for what was to come. My breathing became more rapid and my chest about to burst. Nerves were swelling in my stomach. The position took place and the ride began. The ride crept along a tunnel that led to the outside. You could not look upwards, the only way to look was down. I started thinking how bad this ride was going to be. We then approached the outside lifting up and climbing steadily upwards. You can
I constantly felt like I was going to fall out of the seat, though I was very secure. The harness and belt was holding me back from the many times I lunged forward.
I just could not take it. I had to keep my eyes shut so to withstand the terror of this ride and the height it pulled me into. Eventually it came to an end. How happy I was to see it finally over. Air was Hell.
The Monument Revisit
From the outside looking up to The Monument, my reaction was of no hesitance. I was prepared to go up and face the height of the 311 steps.
were staying by the walls. I had to stand by the railings and wait for them to go pass, carrying on up the steps and stopping every now and then.
I was left to walk it on my own this time. Climbing up, I knew what to expect with the hand rails, I was aware of when to move my hand so it did not get stuck with the mushroom-shaped sections. There was at times those moments, but not as many as before.
The cramped feeling of it had me holding on tight to the railings, and I was relieved when there were no more people climbing the other way as I carried on.
I was taking it slow, soaking up the height, looking down and up, and seeing how far I got each time. Taking photographs whilst on there increased, but was still hesitant on bringing my hand out for so long on an open area. At one point I did feel slightly unbalanced. I did not feel the need to slide myself across the wall whilst I held on. But walking further up, a group of school children were coming down, who
I knew I was near the top as the steps were getting smaller, so I tried to mentally prepare myself for it. The entrance to the balcony approached. As I reached there, I stood still for a small time, taking in the view before lunging in. Unlike before, where I reacted badly, I did not this time. But as soon as I walked onto the balcony, the wind so strong pushed me making it harder to stand. I started walking around the balcony,
looking over the fencing and seeing the height down below. I recalled that the time before I was not able to walk all the way around, I could not spend long up there. This time, it felt different. Perhaps it was because I knew what to expect, but I was able to take in the views, both old and new, at such an exceeding height. â€œIt does not feel so bad reallyâ€?. I was able to get close to the fencing without trembling, without panicking. I did not need to sit down in fear, but the wind became so strong suddenly I had to hold myself onto the pillar wall for a length of time before I felt safe to walk around again. It pushed with much force that it felt like it was going to take me away. The wind eventually made me want to go back down. It started making me feel uncomfortable, though I felt that I would not have minded staying
up there longer if I could. But it started making my legs feel wobbly so walking down the staircase I had to go near the wall more so to keep steady and feel safer. Walking back down, I was taking it easy, and not rushing to be on the ground again. The time it took to go up or down did not feel as long, unlike before, it felt longer. I felt that the overall experience of Alton Towers helped. I felt calmer, more happier with myself. Proud of myself. It is wonderful to feel this way.
Development of Final
Redstone Press is a company that produces books and boxsets containing activities and illustrations based upon what the productâ€™s subject is about. Most of it is based upon the viewerâ€™s interaction and feelings played throughout it. This is what I would like to focus on as part of my final so to get the viewer to understand the feelings portrayed when having acrophobia.
2D Finals: 3x Posters 1x Containing word ‘FEAR’ & 10 most common phobias, indicated by own colour. 2x Images most powerful in relation to acrophobia.
Acrophobia - Fear of heights.
Yellow = Warning.
Claustrophobia - Fear of enclosed spaces.
Brown = Ground.
Nyctophobia - Fear of the dark.
Midnight Blue = Darkness.
Ophidiophobia - Fear of snakes.
Green = Reptiles.
Arachnophobia - Fear of spiders.
Black = Spiders.
Trypanophobia - Fear of injection or medical needles.
Turquoise = Medical/Hygiene.
Astraphobia - Fear of thunder and lightning.
Purple = Night.
Nosophobia - Fear of having a disease.
Orange = Health.
Mysophobia - Fear of germs.
Grey = ‘Transparent’/Unseen.
Trikaidekaphobia - Fear of the number 13.
Red = Danger.
Making of Final
Printed the cards onto satin photo paper, then cutting the cards as individual pieces, setting the bleed/cropped lines to the desired size so to align cards together. Glued onto 200gsm card. Previous experiments involved using different card thicknesses and glue until I got the desired result as mentioned above.
Before & After card image, altered into an anaglyph.
Process of making anaglyph: http://www.scec.org/geowall/ makeanaglyph.html
Making of Final
3D Glasses With card, cut out the glasses template, and glue the acetate sheets to one side. Glue card template onto mount board and cut shape around it also. Paint the glasses black and in white write out ‘R’ and ‘L’ on either side as shown.
Glasses template found here: paperproject.org/PDF_files/3dglasses.pdf
Making of Final
Cut out rectangle shapes to the size of the objects. Glue and place acetate onto the tray with the larger hole cut out. On one end of the tray which will hold the cards, slit a hole in the middle and glue an elastic into it.
Making of Final
Create an inner and outer lining for both boxes. Attach using double-sided tape. Glue pieces together using strong glue and clamp to keep flaps stuck to designated areas.
Reflection As someone who has suffered from acrophobia, this project was a major breakthrough for me as having to face heights at such a pace caused good and bad occurrences to happen. It allowed for me to go to places I never wished to visit and to revisit areas I was not keen on.
Before the events of the project I constantly dreaded the thought of going somewhere so high, and listing places to visit made me incredibly nervous at the thought of it and become even more reluctant to do the tasks. Now, however, I felt I done the right thing in staying by this project and facing such an ordeal. I now feel that my fear of heights has decreased, but it still crops up in certain events. I learnt from it though that revisiting places I went to beforehand helped, and eased off the worry more since I knew what to expect. I felt that one of the most significant experiences in this project was going to the theme park, as it was a place where I always refused to go. There were moments of achievement and thrill (Nemesis) yet still there were times of panic and not wanting to be there (Air). I believed this to be due to the different rides, as every one of them, though as a group are all rides specifically for a theme park, are different, creating different reactions from them, whether they were of fright or excitement. Another achievement I felt was the Monument. When I first went there, I showed the classic
signs of acrophobia: clinging onto a surface, unbalance, and dizziness. That time I was not able to fully enjoy it and wanted to get out of there quickly. The second time in going however, I was able to stand on the balcony for a considerable amount of time and take in the views surrounding me, minus the strong wind pushing me. This was possibly due to me knowing what I was expecting from the first time going there; therefore I was able to think it through whilst going up the Monument. In doing things differently, I would try to psychologically incorporate a more positive perspective of the tasks I had done, and not think of the worse of them as I had done so before even starting the tasks (i.e. Air and its technical fault before experiencing the ride). If I was able to do that for the events I may have had an even more positive experience and possibly overcome the fear fully. I would also liked to have visited more places involving heights but due to money restraints and outside factors such as contacting companies to access their buildings, I was not able to fully do so. There was also the factor of having my partner accompanying me to most of the events that happened. This was mainly for safety reasons for me in case I reacted badly to certain things, such as the case where I looked like I would faint after turning so pale at the Monument. However there were times when he was still there but not
accompanying me such as the second time at particular ones; especially the main ones like the Monument and Alton Towers, as I was mainly feeling dizzy and sweating, and portray them in a secluded to my own personal space. visual form. As blurriness and dizziness occurs a lot as a symptom, and previous visuals I created From my second hand research I found it used that same effect, I felt using anaglyphs interesting to read other people’s feelings and would be most appropriate as you would not be reactions to their own acrophobia, as well as able to see the picture properly unless you view how it started for them. Though we mostly all it from anaglyph glasses. reflect the same symptoms, each story behind the fear was different. However, I was not able I also felt that with some of the symptoms, such to see if any of them tried to overcome the fear, as the restriction of breath, would be better to and when I asked those through a questionnaire, try and get the user more involved as it would I noticed the reluctance to try and face the fear, help them to feel it rather than just see a visual of mainly refusals in abundance. belts surrounding an upper torso. Although some of the tasks seem to be in an unserious manner Since this event my fear of heights has improved. such as using the wall climber, the message I am able to go on escalators without having to behind it was to get the user to understand count a lot of the time, and the experience of how a person with acrophobia will want to hold Alton Towers allowed for me to think I will be able and cling onto something or another person for to go there again or another similar destination. safety, whilst constantly feeling like they are or Although there was still a bit of hesitancy I was about to fall. able to walk up a staircase that contained gaps between each step, but my nervousness and Creating the actual box to be able to give the sweaty hands still came through when walking right effect of the height increasing as it is being across translucent flooring on higher levels of pulled up surfaced a few problems. One of them buildings. was the incorrect measurements (too small or too big) from the prototype due to the thickness With developing ideas, I noted how the majority of the material used for the final and the folding of my research contained reactions and feelings that needed to be done, as well as doubling felt when doing the tasks as well as viewing other up the materials used (board, outer paper and people’s opinions on how they also felt. I wanted inner paper lining). Because of this the box was this portrayed within my final work as when I harder to fold, therefore making something like spoke to people, some did not realise I had the this again I would need to account the board fear after so many years of knowing them. From thickness with materials added alongside it also. personal and previous experiences I recalled how it felt like my fear was not taken seriously I first worked from the outside to in, which did and certain events were forced upon me though I not work out, as it was not able to fit together. was in clear view of fright and distress. Therefore Therefore I reflected on it and decided to work I wanted to take it upon myself to let those who from inward (from tray) to out (outer box). If do not have this fear experience what I, and creating boxes again, it would need to take on others, experience in some form. this route so to be able to have room for each piece to fit in together. Looking into Redstone Press I was able to see how they portrayed a particular subject through With the poster collection, I felt that the most activities and illustrations that allowed for the striking images would work and give a more user to interact with the product. This allowed me visual impact that would affect the viewer in some to focus fully on what I waned to do as a final, as way, whether it was through feeling a certain it would help combine both user and acrophobia symptom of acrophobia or the uncomfortable to gain a better understanding of it. viewing of a face close up. The ‘FEAR’ poster reflects on the different phobias, linking itself to Looking through the feelings, I had to singularize that one word through the colours used within it,
therefore becoming a collection as a whole. Overall this experience has been a big learning curve, from being able to analyse how to portray something that is abstract into physical forms and creating and measuring packaging to its correct size, I was able to finalise aspects that would reflect on the impact of height, which would in turn affect those viewing the product.