Under what circumstances could you confront your worst phobias?

I picked “safe” but the real answer is “for fun,” (with safe being implicit).

My biggest fear is falling, which is why I love jumping off rocks into water. I’m a real chicken-shit about it, though; I can’t go as high up as most guys. Anything over 20 feet and it’s all I can do to convince my body to step out over open air. It just won’t go unless I trick myself!

The highest I’ve jumped seemed to me to be about 25 feet and one second of free fall. I be willing to bet that the actual measurements are probably half that. It was at Natural Arch Park in Queensland, Australia, where the waterfall ate a cave below and then opened up a hole into it, so the first half of the jump is through a say 10 foot diameter hole and the second half is falling through the big cave. I think it took me an hour to figure out how to fool my legs into allowing me to fall.

Then I found out what “scared stiff” really means. On the first jump, my arms went up (“I surrender” pose) and on the second one I wanted to draw them down to my sides. Mid air I realized that I could hardly move: apparently all my muscles were firing full force, and ANY movement was very difficult! Without thinking about it, I had always assumed “scared stiff” was purely mental, merely being immobile. Wrong!

For me, the scariest sensation is the one I’m sure I’d feel driving a car off a cliff. That’s why the Millennium Force at Cedar Point is such a head trip, years ago. The previous year I’d scared myself silly on the Magnum, which had been CP’s highest/fastest ride, but then they added the new MF, which was a lot faster/taller/scarier, and just the thought of it gave me the willies. So, my friends and I went to that first, and as luck would have it, I got the coveted first row seat (yikes). This ride accelerates as it goes up (unlike older rides where they slowly crank you up and then gravity takes you down.) It reaches an 80 degree angle on the way down (10 degrees short of vertical.) When you’re actually on it, it looks like it goes past the vertical, due to perspective.

I had to go to my safe place. But I survived, and we went back again for the last ride of the day, where I even managed to let go of the handholds and raise my arms above my head. I was so proud. :wink:

It’s irrational to fear water based on depth; if it’s over your head, it’s just as dangerous no matter how deep (and actually, deeper is safer because the waves won’t be as steep).

I’ve had that reaction…but I’ve also done the involuntary teleport thing, where I leap a good three feet in some random direction, without any conscious intention at all.

That kind of fear bypasses our will entirely (sometimes.)

I chose “some combination”. If I was guaranteed to be safe, and you paid me $100,000, I’d take on a giant scorpion-spider-tendril monster.

Heights are a major phobia of mine. The only thing I could think of that could overcome that was an even more painful imminent death, like those poor souls who jumped from the WTC, rather than burn.

Money isn’t going to do it, or the pleasure of an enemy being afraid as well.

Can we switch off? You sit in the room with the forty tarantulas, and I walk across the deep gorge on an “Indiana Jones” style rope-and-plank bridge?

Getting rejected by a woman was always my big phobia, and I’d need to be single again to face it. Ain’t enough money in this world to make that happen.

I’d do it for the money. Otherwise why would I bother?

(ETA - because “if it would save a life” or something isn’t an option.)

That’s kind of the way I feel. I would confront a phobia if I felt there was a benefit for me to do so and the benefit outweighed the fear I would experience. It wouldn’t have to be $100,000 but if I’m going to do something I’m phobic about, there’s going to have to be a reason for me to do it.

I have quite major claustrophobia - I have to choose clothes carefully so that they don’t feel tight over my head when I put them on, for example. One time recently when a dress suddenly started feeling tight when I was on my way to work I got off the train, bought another dress and enlisted the help of a stranger in a supermarket toilet to get me out of the original dress.

Then I had to have an MRI. Wasn’t allowed sedatives. I did manage to get a lump on my head by freaking out when they put me into the chamber with my head and neck encased, no possibility of movement, and then the edge of the chamber brushed against my arm. But then they did the head and neck separately, so I had a bit more space to move, and I suffered through it for an hour and a half, shaking all the time and so covered in sweat I was glad I’d taken a change of clothes.

I did it though. :slight_smile:

At the end of the scale you need the survival chemicals to kick in (you or close family). Only way.