I’ve got it, and just recently, this year. The Delaware Memorial Bridge was the impetus.
I understand this is irrational, but there’s something about the immense anti-gravity that makes me think I could lose control, like I’m floating in my seat. Gripping the wheel is an Olympic event, slippery hands preventing purchase. Every bump in the road launches me into orbit. Heart racing, unending waves of pure fear. Disconcerting, to be sure.
I spoke with a Psychologist, of course, because, I mean, this is a little crazy. She “comforted” me by stating that phobia development often occurs later in life. Oh, good. Something to look forward to. So, I shared this good news and my cutting-edge malady with friends, the result of which made me realize I’m not alone. And it gets better (worse). The CDCs Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report suggests that nearly half of all U.S. adults will experience some form of mental illness. At least I’m keeping up with the Joneses.
Fear of fear, that’s the sweaty recipe. How to survive, how to ford a bridge? My co-interacting solutions:
- Simply focus: remain between the dotted lines and let the car drive itself.
- Breath deeply, I mean deep, the entire time.
- Fixate on the license plate of the car in front of you.
- Distract yourself by dialing in your fav station (do this before you get on the bridge).
- Use alpha-waves – train your brain to relax.
In conjunction, the above techniques “allowed” me to cross the Driscoll Bridge at 65 mph, 2am on a Sunday (no drivers on the road, so the license plate trick failed).
Halfway over I was home free. I felt like Patrick Bateman realizing he does in fact have a great table, “…relief washes over me in an awesome wave.”
Now, get this. Gephyrophobiacs can call traffic authorities and have someone drive them over a bridge. This service is offered by the NY Thruway for the Tappan Zee Bridge, as well as by Maryland for the monstrous, 20 mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. And that’s the thing, it’s no problem if someone else drives. Whacky.
So, what’s your phobia?