Are your fears getting worse with age?

I’ve always had an aversion to heights, but it wasn’t one of those freeze-you-in-your-tracks type of things. Edges of buildings, mostly, and undercut embankments. Early on, if there was a railing or something between me and certain death, I was okay with it. Space Needle? No problem. Okay, minor problem, but I could deal with it.

But over the past ten years or so, I’ve noticed an increasing aversion to high (and even not-so-high spots). It started with bridges. If there is a solid surface under my feet, no sweat. If it’s a metal grate, forget about it. I don’t even like driving over that type of bridge anymore, which is just idiotic. But last evening, it came to me that I’ve become a true phobic. The wife and I decided to go Oaks Park, an amusement park not far from the house. They have the usual rides there, including a ferris wheel, a non-threatening piece of equipment that I’ve always enjoyed riding on in the past.

Holy shit! The first time around had me paralyzed in the seat, clutching the safety bar and looking for grab handles. And when it stopped at the apogee and rocked a bit, I thought I was going to lose it. Succeeding revolutions were better, although my spouse appeared to be in a panic the entire time, but we were both pretty wobbly by the time we got off. Today, I have achy muscles from doing the full body clench at the top of the rotation. Sadly, I guess my ferris wheel riding days are done. Just wipe the drool from my chin and plant my wrinkled candy ass on the carousel. :frowning:

That’s difficult to say. I don’t really have any specific phobias, but I think all my emotions including fear are … expressing themsleves far more than when I was younger. I blubber at sad and romantic movies. I think about some of the riskier things I did in my youth and shake my head and know that I would never consider doing them again.

But are these emotions getting stronger? Or is my ability to suppress them getting weaker? Or perhaps it is that I am shedding myself of a typical guy fear of expressing emotions.

They aren’t getting worse, only changing.

When I was younger I had a fear of failure, but I’ve adapted. Now I’m scared of heights when six years ago I regularly painted atop 20 ft. ladders.

I think, as we age, we become more aware of our own mortality. Things that didn’t scare us as kids/ teens, didn’t because we didn’t recognize the consequences of our actions.

I think the emotions are getting deeper.

I just watched a movie where people had certain hopes and dreams and for some it really didnt work out. As a young adult, I would have found that sad. As a much more experienced person, I can appreciate that particular sadness in a much more sophisticated, deeper, and more complex level.

To the OP. Most of “my fears” haven’t gotten worse. But they have in a sense become much more REAL to me.

I am no longer phobic about dogs, thanks to psychotherapy. I still despise them, but they don’t freak me out as they once did.

I’m afraid of the consequences of not dealing with diabetes (and thus expend a lot of effort in doing so). Of course, I was only diagnosed 5 or 6 years ago.

I’m not exactly afraid of my father dying so much as dreading its inevitability.

I’m afraid of something happening to my wife. That’s probably my biggest fear.

I also am more afraid of heights as I get older. I can’t even watch someone else stand close to the edge of a high place, even a total stranger. I am also a much more timid driver than I used to be. And I hate it. Don’t want to be such a wuss. Any ideas how to get my fearlessness back?

It’s actually a difficult question for me to answer.

My biggest fear came to pass, so in a way I’m less afraid of loss than I was. But in another way I’m so much more aware of loss than I was. I know I can survive things I didn’t know I could survive, but I also know exactly how badly it hurts.

Fast cars are not fun anymore. I’ve seen too many wrecks and known people that lost loved ones.

These days I stay under the speed limit. I won’t ride with anyone driving recklessly either.

About the same or maybe a little less. It’s hard to say for sure because I know I’ve become better at avoiding things that could initiate a fear reaction in me.

Yes, very much like your examples.

And my brain, when left without supervision, LOVES to come up with new ones.

Definitely less, although I’m not that old yet.

I do take fewer risks, but that’s because I’ve gotten a little bit smarter, not really increased fear per se.

I suppose I should have asked for ages. At 63, I have a much larger problem with heights than I did at 43 or even 53. I suppose it’s tied to feeling one’s mortality.

My current job involves working off a cradle several storeys up. Two years ago I would have found that hard to imagine - the thought of it would have brought me out in a cold sweat. I think that’s probably because in the preceding ten or so years I had been laying floors and hadn’t worked at height.
The last couple of years my new occupation has involved working at height to various degrees. I still have a healthy respect for heights, but I don’t shudder at the thought of them.
It can be a vicious circle: fear of heights - avoid heights - increased fear of heights etc.

Definitely. At my mid-40s, I have a lot stronger reactions to heights and enclosed spaces than I did in my youth. Of course, I have four kids to worry over, and my health is crap. Thinking about it, I think I bottled up a lot of my fears when the kids were little to keep them from picking up on them. “Oh look, honey, that’s a tornado. Isn’t it cute?”

I have become a worry-wart about other people’s driving. I used to do long extended road trips, but other than a 7 hour drive two weekends a year, that has pretty much ended. I get really nervous though about other people driving long distances, or in winter relatively short ones. One weekend last fall two co workers were doing a 4 hour shopping trip to Duluth MN (not together) and I was worried on and off all weekend for their safety and then envisioning multi car calamaties and losing two co workers.

My team mate at work drives 45 mins to and from work every day. In winter I tell her to phone me when she gets home after work.

Its nuts. But my fear of heights is lessening from panic inducing to now being mildly unnerved if I have to climb a ladder or something.

I am turning 35 this week and my experience with my fear of heights is perfectly in step with yours. I was mildly uncomfortable with high places and bridges, but over the past 5 - 7 years I’ve become more and more truly phobic. I worry about what the future will bring for me if this continues.