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Old 10-07-2009, 07:47 PM
Love Rhombus Love Rhombus is offline
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Is a temptation to jump off high buildings normal?

Not in a suicidal sense. I've just always found that when I'm on the edge of something high (a building, the Grand Canyon) I feel a kind of curiosity about what would happen. I mean, I know I'd die, but still. It draws me. I'm in no danger of doing it, no fear, but it's an odd sensation.
  #2  
Old 10-07-2009, 07:50 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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That's why I don't like high places without railings - I'm not afraid I'll fall, I'm afraid I'll jump. I've heard other people say the same thing. (My boyfriend is afraid of high places in the more "normal" sense - it's completely different.)
  #3  
Old 10-07-2009, 07:50 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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It's the Imp of the Perverse.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:36 PM
Magicicada Magicicada is offline
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It's the fastest way down.
  #5  
Old 10-07-2009, 10:00 PM
Indistinguishable Indistinguishable is offline
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Yes. I suspect it's damn near universal.
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Old 10-07-2009, 10:14 PM
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I thought this was just me.

I'm far more afraid of my brain misfiring and causing me to jump than I am of accidentally falling.

I'm currently doing a road trip visiting the Grand Canyon and other canyons in Utah, so I have experienced this very sensation on numerous occasions over the last few days. It is quite disconcerting.
  #7  
Old 10-07-2009, 10:17 PM
Stealth Potato Stealth Potato is offline
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Yep, I get that feeling whenever I'm in a high place, be it a skyscraper or a mountain cliff. Even sometimes just on fairly steep hills; it almost feels like I should be able to glide down if I really wanted to. There's this little voice inside that seems to be urging me to make the leap, spread my wings, and take to the air. I have to remind it that I don't, in fact, have any wings.

And I'm not buying any of that awful Red Bull stuff either so that's right out.
  #8  
Old 10-07-2009, 10:38 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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It's common, but I've never experienced it.
  #9  
Old 10-07-2009, 10:51 PM
ToeJam ToeJam is offline
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Interesting, for me it's a total fear of the edge- I'm afraid I might get dizzy and lose my balance and tumble over. So i try to avoid getting close to edges, even windows that go from floor to ceilings kinda freak me out.

So, I don't think it's a "universal" feeling to want to jump, but i'm sure it's more common one that expected.
  #10  
Old 10-07-2009, 10:56 PM
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I'm moving this from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

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  #11  
Old 10-07-2009, 11:19 PM
AuntiePam AuntiePam is offline
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There aren't many tall buildings or high places around here, so my urge has been to drive my car off the road and into rivers or snowbanks.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:20 PM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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Yep
  #13  
Old 10-07-2009, 11:24 PM
Poysyn Poysyn is offline
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Interesting, for me it's a total fear of the edge- I'm afraid I might get dizzy and lose my balance and tumble over. So i try to avoid getting close to edges, even windows that go from floor to ceilings kinda freak me out.

So, I don't think it's a "universal" feeling to want to jump, but i'm sure it's more common one that expected.

I have this too, it freaks me out...
  #14  
Old 10-07-2009, 11:34 PM
Alex Osaki Alex Osaki is offline
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There aren't many tall buildings or high places around here, so my urge has been to drive my car off the road and into rivers or snowbanks.
This.

It's definitely not a suicidal thing, and I cannot for the life of me conceive of a single reason why I would possibly want to do it. But I distinctly recall wanting to drive into the Alsea River. Given that a) it was a rental car and b) that's incredibly stupid I never did, obviously. But I was curious about the experience.
  #15  
Old 10-07-2009, 11:44 PM
Love Rhombus Love Rhombus is offline
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Whew, glad I'm not alone. What's odder is since I moved into my 10th floor apartment a few years back, I'll get the same urge as I lie in bed. Just pop through the screen on the window and go right down...
  #16  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:02 AM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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I've had this fear most of my life, or at least as long as I can remember. I was told once that a fear of height correlates somehow with a fear of sex or sexuality----if I'm a freak, I'm glad I've got so much good company.
  #17  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:05 AM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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Why not take up Base Jumping or abseiling?

Then you can jump off and hopefully live.
  #18  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:18 AM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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There was a fascinating article about a pair of brothers with Lesch-Nyhan syndrome by Richard Preston in the New Yorker. People with this condition cannot stop harming themselves, biting off their lips, tongue and fingers. Here's a link to the abstract - access to the full article requires a subscription.
  #19  
Old 10-08-2009, 01:28 AM
Happy Lendervedder Happy Lendervedder is offline
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Originally Posted by Love Rhombus View Post
Whew, glad I'm not alone. What's odder is since I moved into my 10th floor apartment a few years back, I'll get the same urge as I lie in bed. Just pop through the screen on the window and go right down...
I had something similar to this. I was staying in corporate housing for work on the 20th floor of an apartment building a few years ago. There were no screens in any of the windows, so it was just big sliding windows and...a really far drop down. I would sometimes open it late at night and lean out and watch the drunk kids leave the bars. And I always had that urge/fear that I might just jump/tumble out. The whole time I was living there, I refused to drink, fearing I might give in to the urge if I had enough booze in me.

Freaks me out just remembering that feeling.

What's weird is that I have an open air balcony on the second floor of my house now, and I have no urge to jump/tumble off of that; this "urge" seems to just be associated with REALLY high buildings.
  #20  
Old 10-08-2009, 06:46 AM
BleizDu BleizDu is offline
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Originally Posted by Alex Osaki View Post
This.

It's definitely not a suicidal thing, and I cannot for the life of me conceive of a single reason why I would possibly want to do it. But I distinctly recall wanting to drive into the Alsea River. Given that a) it was a rental car and b) that's incredibly stupid I never did, obviously. But I was curious about the experience.
Heh, I get this too. Sometimes while driving I'll think: "mmh...I could just not turn the wheel, or not slow down...I would crash...why not"
And then my hands turn the wheel automatically to follow the curb.

I knew many people were wondering how it would feel to jump from, say, a high building, when at the top, and I also experience this, but I thought the car thing was one of my oddities
  #21  
Old 10-08-2009, 10:17 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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If you're prone to this sensation, you might really enjoy standing on a freeway overpass. Something about the rapid flow below carrying you away really amplifies the effect for me.

Even from behind the tall cyclone fence, the attaction is almost magnetic.

It's a very weird sensation. And not one I'd actually want to act on.
  #22  
Old 10-08-2009, 10:20 AM
gigi gigi is offline
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Yep, I occasionally think about turning my car into the other lane, or crashing into a guard rail or bicyclist on purpose. It's a control thing--I know I'll crash my car by accident at some point, and God forbid may actually hurt someone, so I'd like to choose to get it over with.

But I don't.

A co-worker used to make the sickest jokes about bad things happening to his toddler--I think maybe it was to diffuse his own real fears about what could go wrong.
  #23  
Old 10-08-2009, 10:29 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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I get the urge to leap from the cliff to tall trees that are a few feet out. I know I might make it, but it would be fatal when you fail in the jump and catch. It's one of those things you might try if your life was in danger.
  #24  
Old 10-08-2009, 10:38 AM
Lanzy Lanzy is offline
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I love heights. I loved lying on the glass panes at the top of the St. Louis Arch, I'm looking forward to doing the same on some of the the other glass panes being constructed at the top of buildings, and the grand canyon.
I like to sit at the top of cliffs with as much view below and above as I can get.
And I do feel a pulling to let go and jump/fly/fall, but I have it under control and just enjoy the feeling.
  #25  
Old 10-08-2009, 10:44 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
It's common, but I've never experienced it.
I'd never experienced it until a couple of years ago, walking round the city walls of Dubrovnik (photo). Something about the sheer drop and the deep blue of the water just triggered my brain to start thinking "Hey, what if...?"

I almost had to cling on to the masonry, the feeling was so strong.

Last edited by Colophon; 10-08-2009 at 10:45 AM.
  #26  
Old 10-08-2009, 10:55 AM
carlb carlb is offline
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My wife and I both get that feeling, and I get the why-not-just-slam-into-that-abutment feeling occasionally as well.

Last edited by carlb; 10-08-2009 at 10:55 AM.
  #27  
Old 10-08-2009, 11:18 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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My wife and I both get that feeling, and I get the why-not-just-slam-into-that-abutment feeling occasionally as well.
There's a long straight stretch of single-lane road I drive along quite often - it has a 60mph limit, and it's quite narrow. As I'm approaching oncoming cars at a combined speed of 120mph, I do sometimes think, one yank of the wheel and that would be a biiiig crash. I don't have any desire to kill myself, it's just a scientific curiosity I guess.

I'm glad it's not just me.
  #28  
Old 10-08-2009, 11:18 AM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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I've experienced this in a couple of situations:

1. A hotel with an eight-story-high atrium in the middle. On each floor, walkways run around the perimeter of the atrium. On the top floor, the ceiling is right above the walkway, and it's one of those industrial-type ceilings with I-beams. So if you were so inclined, you could just reach up and hang by your hands, like you were on monkey bars, out over the atrium. Just imagining doing that made my stomach do flips.

2. I went to Niagara Falls about 20 years ago. There was a place where you could stand insanely close to the river bank right at the exact point where it drops off the edge. It was quite an amazing spot -- turn your head one way, you see a big, wide river; turn the other way, nothing. It was hard not to imagine yourself just stepping into that river.

Last edited by cjepson; 10-08-2009 at 11:19 AM.
  #29  
Old 10-08-2009, 11:22 AM
rainy rainy is offline
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First time I got that feeling was at the top of a ladder coming off a friend's house when I was about ten years old. I paused for so long, my friend's Dad asked what was going on. I still have a vivid memory of grasping the top of the ladder, looking down at their upturned faces and the very soft and cushiony looking green lawn and just wanting to jump. I agree it is an odd feeling.

-rainy
  #30  
Old 10-08-2009, 11:22 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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2. I went to Niagara Falls about 20 years ago. There was a place where you could stand insanely close to the river bank right at the exact point where it drops off the edge. It was quite an amazing spot -- turn your head one way, you see a big, wide river; turn the other way, nothing. It was hard not to imagine yourself just stepping into that river.
You'd love the Devil's Pool at Victoria Falls. More pics here, for context. (Vic Falls is twice as high as Niagara.)

I do have to wonder how long that "natural rock ledge" is going to hold out, though. Wouldn't want to be there when it goes...

Last edited by Colophon; 10-08-2009 at 11:25 AM.
  #31  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:00 PM
G0sp3l G0sp3l is offline
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I thought this was just me.

I'm far more afraid of my brain misfiring and causing me to jump than I am of accidentally falling.
Thank you. Thank you. I'm so happy not to be alone. There's a Calvin and Hobbes script where Calvin laments that his brain is trying to kill him. I can so sympathize.
  #32  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:12 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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That's why I don't like high places without railings - I'm not afraid I'll fall, I'm afraid I'll jump.
I thought I was the only one who didn't like high places without railings for this reason.
  #33  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:20 PM
hellpaso hellpaso is offline
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Wow--I thought it was just me. I've also had the urge to jump into deep water (from bridges, boats, etc.).
  #34  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:24 PM
bri1600bv bri1600bv is offline
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I don't have the "urge". I feel like I'll be put into a trance and kind of be "sucked" over the side.

It's terrifying.
  #35  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:33 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Sure, I think it's very common.

Now that I'm a parent, drop-offs terrify me because I'm afraid the kids will get too close. It gets better as they get older, but whenever we go hiking I clutch the 6yo's hand in terror near any cliff. And last summer, we hiked on to an old covered bridge, and the 2-foot gap between the floor and the walls completely freaked me out. Everyone laughed at me, but I know that if my 6yo had gotten anywhere near that, she would promptly have slipped and been sucked out and fallen 20' into the river. So there.
  #36  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:34 PM
Heart of Dorkness Heart of Dorkness is offline
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My mom experienced this. Unfortunately, she chose to tell me about it when I was just a kid, on a visit to the Grand Canyon. She wouldn't go to the edge with me, and I asked if she was afraid of falling. She said, "No, I just want to jump off." Well, that freaked me the fuck out. I spent the rest of the visit terrified, watching her like a hawk, ready to tackle her if she made a run for the edge.

I've never had that feeling, although I have stood on subway platforms and imagined stepping into the path of the train just as it arrives. I imagine that, rather than falling and being immediately crushed under the wheels and electrocuted on the third rail, I might be pinned to the front of the train for a few seconds by the train's momentum. And I have a good idea of what the initial impact might actually feel like, since I was once hit by a semi (while driving, so it's not a perfect corollary, but still).

But as vividly as I've imagined it, I never once felt a desire to do it, or the need to restrain myself from it.
  #37  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:34 PM
Kamino Neko Kamino Neko is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
That's why I don't like high places without railings - I'm not afraid I'll fall, I'm afraid I'll jump. I've heard other people say the same thing.
I experience the same thing...I don't like knives or razors for the same reason - I'm afraid of cutting myself, not by accident, but deliberately.
  #38  
Old 10-08-2009, 01:02 PM
janeslogin janeslogin is offline
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I've no experiences with high buildings but as a kid on the farm we often amused ourselves by jumping out of a hay loft.

Jumping from bridges is a fairly widespread amusement, isn't it?
  #39  
Old 10-08-2009, 02:40 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Originally Posted by Lust4Life View Post
Why not take up Base Jumping or abseiling?

Then you can jump off and hopefully live.
I have to abseil (in North America it's more common to say "rappel") a lot when I rock climb. No matter how zippy it looks in movies, it's actually a relatively slow decent and does not at all feel like falling.

Sky diving, bungee jumping, or wingsuit base jumping would be the more like falling/flying.

ETA: And yes, I've had the jump-off-the-edge impulse too.

Last edited by Swallowed My Cellphone; 10-08-2009 at 02:40 PM.
  #40  
Old 10-08-2009, 03:11 PM
WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is online now
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You'd love the Devil's Pool at Victoria Falls. More pics here, for context. (Vic Falls is twice as high as Niagara.)

I do have to wonder how long that "natural rock ledge" is going to hold out, though. Wouldn't want to be there when it goes...
Aggggggghhh!Just looking at those pictures gives me the vertigo. I'm not afraid of heights, per se, but the picture of the woman leaning back on her arms with her head over the edge makes me very anxious
  #41  
Old 10-08-2009, 03:15 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Aggggggghhh!Just looking at those pictures gives me the vertigo. I'm not afraid of heights, per se, but the picture of the woman leaning back on her arms with her head over the edge makes me very anxious
Most of those pictures made me queasy.
  #42  
Old 10-08-2009, 03:24 PM
Telcontar Telcontar is offline
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Dear Og, what a collection of self destructive weirdos. Insurance executives everywhere must be frantic.

I get the same kind of feeling. It's something about being one body motion away from death.
  #43  
Old 10-08-2009, 03:37 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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I get the same urge as mentioned here by so many others but have to wonder if anyone ever acts on this urge?
Does it happen but it's just reported as suicide or accident?
I imagine it would be hard to put for cause of death: spontaneous urge to jump
  #44  
Old 10-08-2009, 05:06 PM
Alan Bird Alan Bird is offline
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I experience the same thing...I don't like knives or razors for the same reason - I'm afraid of cutting myself, not by accident, but deliberately.

Holy crap. I never knew this feeling was so apparently wide-spread. For me, it's like there's a loaded gun on a table within reach.
  #45  
Old 10-08-2009, 05:12 PM
Never Say Dice Never Say Dice is offline
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I know the day I stopped looking over precipices. July 4, 1957. My brother and I were running all around the top rim of Badlands National Park and jumped over the rail to peek over the edge. They looked like really steep fluffy sand dunes, but they were steep because they were hard sand stone. Well Dad called us back. He was trying to be calm but I knew he was worried. When we got back to the car we could look back at the cliff, with chunks dropping off as we watched and I saw how close to death I had come.
  #46  
Old 10-08-2009, 05:30 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Holy crap. I never knew this feeling was so apparently wide-spread. For me, it's like there's a loaded gun on a table within reach.
Combine my irrational fear of puncturing an eyeball with my obsessive quilting and I am on edge* during a hobby that's supposed to be relaxing.


I almost said "on pins and needles" but that's bad even for me.
  #47  
Old 10-08-2009, 05:40 PM
Heart of Dorkness Heart of Dorkness is offline
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Combine my irrational fear of puncturing an eyeball with my obsessive quilting
?

How... how would that... what do you fear would happen?
  #48  
Old 10-08-2009, 06:27 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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I am somebody who also has to deal with the jump urge. I was pretty certain that I wasn't alone with the urge, but I never had any idea how common the thought was.

I also find that the urge to jump is not just regulated to cliffs and high buildings, but also includes large open interior spaces...buildings with large atrium (and atria in general), theaters with a balcony, and arenas with an upper level...all make me want to realize a dream.

Now, I am sure that I have had numerous dreams where I was able to fly...I just don't know how it relates to the urge to jump, but I really think it does.

Last edited by Ike Witt; 10-08-2009 at 06:27 PM.
  #49  
Old 10-08-2009, 07:01 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Is a temptation to jump off high buildings normal?
Only if you are a native of the planet Krypton.
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  #50  
Old 10-08-2009, 07:09 PM
Love Rhombus Love Rhombus is offline
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Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor View Post
Only if you are a native of the planet Krypton.
That's OVER buildings. Though I'll admit, if I ever got superpowers that would let me survive long drops and fly or superjump, I'd be off rooftops all day. Boing, boing, boing!
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