Ever since I can remember I have been afraid of heights, this fear is also known as vertigo. I have never liked heights and always had anxiety over it. But what happened in Northern Ireland was a first. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. This was my first time having a panic attack and it was a complete shock.
While walking down the green path I was thinking to myself, “Should I cross this bridge or not? I am going to see it and then decide if I should.” I thought that seeing the bridge would help me get a better picture of it and how high of the ground it was. Decision time came. The bridge was a wooden rope bridge and I knew it was safe, but my head was too distracted by how high up it was. My family were looking at me and I could feel them pressuring me to cross. I did not want to disappoint my family. So I crossed the bridge. I did this with extreme caution and vigilance. When I got across, I felt very dizzy. Things were spinning and my breathing was irregular. I lay down and waited till the feeling passed. When I got up I was surrounded by amazing scenery. The grass on the island was freshly cut and I could hear the sound of the waves and everything smelled so fresh. I looked at my family and they were so proud of me. I thought to myself that seeing this view was worth crossing the bridge.
Then came the way back and there was a line before you crossed the bridge. I thought I was going to be in this line forever. Only a certain amount of people could get on the bridge at one time. This helped me with my fear. I was waiting in line and then I saw this ignorant family crossing the bridge. The family started to jump on the bridge. I saw the bridge move up and down. It rattled and shook. The waves were crashing underneath. This immediately made me afraid and I started overthinking. I was starting to regret crossing the bridge to begin with. I started to say things in my head, “I am not going to make it across”. I knew that none of this was true but I could not get it out of my head. Once the fear started, it took control of me. I got to the bridge and I was shaking. I stood at the bridge for 15 seconds thinking and trying to get myself to cross. I was so scared I could not get myself to do it. Suddenly everything started to get louder,the waves, the people in line, everything and I could not focus. I started to get dizzy and things were starting to spin. I could feel my heart rate increase. I was having trouble breathing. I felt tears coming down my face.
My cousin started to help me regulate my breathing. She said, “Breathe in your nose and out through your mouth to get your heart rate back at a normal pace.” I started to do this and it was working. I was not dizzy and I could breathe better. My heart was starting to get back to a regular pace. It took me some time but I got up. I started to walk to the bridge. I stared at it and I was completely frightened. I decided not look down to see how high up I was. I was breathing in my nose and out through my mouth. This was really helping me zone out and not think about what was happening in the moment or the fear I was feeling. I finally got across and immediately tears started to come down my face. I could not stop myself from crying. The fear overwhelmed me and the relief that it was over made me cry.
I finally stopped and started to head back to the car. On the way back to the car my mind was blank. I was in shock. I could not believe what happened. I think I need to stop letting my family pressure me and worry less about other people’s expectations for me. To this day, when I look back on that time, I still get nervous and start to get anxious. I can't shake the feeling. I can’t shake the fear.
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