Destigmatizing Fears Through Art

Abigail Lambert, Author and Cartoonist

Acrophobia- Fear of Heights

It’s not as easy as, “Don’t look down!” I know how far I am from the sky when I’m on ground. It’s different for everyone. Looking straight ahead works on my mom, but not on me. For example, my family and I went to Eagle Tower once. I thanked them for not taking the stairs because it’s the kind where there’s a gap and I need to look where the steps are. The way up wasn’t noticeably bad, but even just looking around made me wanna curl up in a ball. Then, we got to the top and I couldn’t enjoy the view without holding onto the bars. I even had to sit down because it felt like the tower was swaying back and forth. Then, the way down was even worse because I could see more high up I was. This fear makes me unable to do most things like climb open stairs, go on ferris wheels,  ride in an elevator, or go on an escalator.  A Lot of people say, “Tt’s not the height you’re scared of, you’re afraid of falling,” but that fear is kind of different on its own. I know when I could survive a fall or not, and it doesn’t help me feel less afraid. My bedroom is upstairs, and I love looking out the windows! I’ve lived in an apartment where I was on the second floor and it was fine. But, when I’m at school and I have to look down from the railings, I have to back off first. I can look out the window on the skywalk by the cafeteria, but not the railings. And no, it is not because of its window. I can be in an elevator with a window and I’d still be scared.


Fear of Feeling Judged

It goes a lot further when you’ve been bullied for as long as you can remember, but then when the bullying stops, it doesn’t just go away. Imagine your self consciousness about everything you say and/or do. Yet, you still say and do those things anyway. That’s the kind of situation where I can’t eat my words and take it all back, even if it’s something as simple as asking a question, then suddenly lose all confidence and apologize for everything. I often feel like I made a fool out of myself. The bullying stopped when quarantine started, yet I’m still scared of being judged by others.

It’s important to remember to be careful of what you say and/or do to someone. The future is unpredictable and you have no clue what kind of effect that’s going to have on someone.