Gephyrophobia, The Fear Of Bridges
Crossing over a bridge can cause anxiety and panic in people who have Gephyrophobia. In fact, sometimes just looking at a bridge from afar could even make a person with this phobia feel anxious.
Some of the symptoms of Gephyrophobia include:
♦Shortness of breath
These symptoms may heighten the fear. It may feel as if the person is paralyzed or coming out of their body. A person with this phobia could end up having a panic attack and feel as if they are going to die. If you have a fear of bridges, you may want to try some of these helpful techniques to try to conquer or at least lessen your fears.
The anxiety of crossing over a bridge may cause shortness of breath and shallow breathing. By doing some deep breathing exercises you may be able to feel more calm. This might take a lot of practice and it would be more helpful if these exercises were done before crossing over the bridge.
Look up pictures of bridges on the internet and stare at them for awhile. It might be more helpful to look at pictures of the particular bridge that you would have to cross. It may cause you anxiety to look at a bridge, even if it is just a photograph of a bridge. When you first see the picture of a bridge, rate your anxiety on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst anxiety level.
Each day, go back and look at the pictures of bridges and get yourself used to seeing them on a daily basis. Rate your anxiety levels and see if they eventually go down after some time. This might be a good first step at lessening your fear of bridges. After this step, you may want to drive near a bridge but do not cross over it. This might be better if someone else is driving so that you can concentrate on the bridge and your anxiety levels. Rate how feel from 1-10 when you are near the bridge or just looking at it from a short distance.
After going near the bridge for a few days or weeks, then it would be time to cross the bridge. It might be better to do this when you notice that your anxiety level ratings are lower. You might be able to actually cross the bridge with less anxiety this time. If not, try more techniques to help conquer your fears. Going over the bridge may cause the most anxiety, but if you desensitize yourself with exposure to bridges it might be helpful in keeping you more calm.
Pushing Through Anxiety
You might want to ask yourself if you would rather push through the anxiety for a few minutes while going over a bridge or just completely avoid the bridge and miss out on opportunities to go to other places. There may be a relative on the other side of the bridge who you would like to visit. There may be a vacation destination that would require the use of a bridge to get there. By not being able to cross that bridge, you may end up missing out on some special trips. Practice deep breathing exercises, familiarize yourself with bridges by exposure and try to desensitize yourself so that you will eventually be more willing to cross that bridge.
Peace Of Mind
There could be different reasons as to why a person is afraid to go over a bridge. One such reason, is something bad happening, such as a person thinking that their car will steer over the bridge and fall. I will tell you that I know no one personally who this has happened to nor have I have ever heard of anyone this has happened to. I live in a largely populated city with a bridge nearby and I have not heard of anything bad ever happening while someone was crossing the bridge. I have a fear of bridges myself and what helps me, along with the other techniques I mentioned, is knowledge. I know people who travel by bridge on a daily basis and they have always safely made it to the other side of the bridge and back.
If these techniques are not helpful to you, you might want to talk to a mental health therapist about your fear of crossing over a bridge. It can be very scary to cross a bridge when you are having a panic attack. A therapist might be able to help you by suggesting different anti anxiety techniques. Gephyrophobia may no longer be a phobia that you have to deal with anymore if you can find the proper treatment that works for you and your fears.