Facing one’s fears can be an important part of personal growth. Many people consider skydiving to be a ‘bucket list’ item that everyone should experience at least once, and rightly so. Falling at terminal velocity from an airplane is a singular experience to which nothing else comes close. It is right to be nervous though, because as a species we have only just learned how to fly – and at a basic and natural level we are programmed to stay on the ground.
Being scared of heights is very common, as are even the more serious and fancily named Acrophobia (extreme fear of heights) and Vertigo (the sensation of everything around you spinning – often brought on by being up high). Exposure therapy can help people to learn to cope better with whatever they find scary, and what better way to face up to things than by going big, right? A significant percentage of even professional skydivers would fess up to being scared of heights and even generally afraid of skydiving if you ask. They were scared of heights before they got into skydiving and likely still are – they just understand now how awesome it is and totally worth it even if all your instincts tell you it is wrong.
A lot of the time, people’s fear of heights is wrapped up in the idea that they can fall off of or out of something. Standing next to the railing at the top of a skyscraper or close to the edge of a big cliff is terrifying – as your brain begins to create scenarios for you and your inner voice starts asking invasive little questions about how it would feel if you fell or even if you jumped.
When you skydive, you will find that you feel surprisingly secure all the way through. By the time you get in the plane you are in your harness and for take-off there are seatbelts. By the time you get anywhere near the jumping altitude of 13,000ft, you will be fully and securely attached to your instructor who will probably have been explaining everything and telling bad jokes to help you relax. When you are ‘under canopy’ you are suspended in your harness from the shoulders, which is pretty comfy and reassuring – you cannot fall off a parachute. Best of all – when you have jumped and are in freefall, you cannot fall because you are already falling. Success!
People often worry that when they skydive they will experience a sensation of falling and a feeling in their stomach similar to that of being on a rollercoaster. This plays into the overall fear of heights, but do not worry! When exiting from the door of an aircraft you do not feel anything other than all the fear immediately sliding away to be replaced with the most awesome ever, and the overriding knowledge that you can do it, you are doing it and you have absolutely already done it! Congratulations, you no longer ever have to worry about not being able to do this.
Being scared of heights is a common fear for both newbies and experienced skydivers, and is entirely respected and understood on the dropzone. Whether you are jumping tandem for the first time or aiming for a skydiving license of your own, we are here to help. Everybody understands the initial anxieties as everyone goes through those same thoughts when they were squaring up to their first jump. The little voice in your head that keeps asking you a lot of questions about if you should be doing this is the same one that keeps whispering at you to jump when you are on top of something really high up. Skydiving is about listening to those questions and answering them with preparation, training, and equipment, then listening to that little voice tells you to jump – and doing it. Are you ready? Contact us today!
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.