I am trying to overcome a fear of roller coasters that I've had for as long as I can remember. In the past, I've had friends try to drag me onto rides, with only limited success. I tend to have panic attacks, and get harmful towards people I ride with (gripping their arm to hold on for dear life, for example, sometimes deep enough to draw blood). Consequently, I either avoid amusement parks altogether, or, merely wander around the park grounds while other people ride. To me, that's not only a waste of my admission ticket money, but it also prevents the people I'm with from having fun, since they're constantly worried about me (or so they have reported).
It is possible to live a full life without ever going to an amusement park, though I know
some people in this community might not believe that. ;) It was an annoyance to me that I got irrationally terrified, and I was sick of friends who wanted to go out and ride coasters while I sat around like a lump and bought cotton candy or something. I wanted to do something about my fear, but I wasn't sure what or how. All I knew is that my fears were completely irrational, and I don't like it when I am irrational.
I really didn't do anything about it, until around six or seven months ago. At that time, I became LJ-friends with a coaster lover. She can spout off ride stats like nobody's business, uses a lot of official-sounding terminology (like "lift hill" and so on), and often posts ride photos of herself online. Over the past few months, we discussed and developed a plan to confront my fear gradually. This last weekend was the big test -- I rounded up my girlfriend and we drove out to Cedar Point (which, for me, is a 12 hour drive) to meet her.
I have to say, I am VERY
proud of myself. I did A LOT
better than I expected (heck, I neither drew blood nor crushed anyone's hand bones this time), though I didn't do as well as I would have liked. I ended up in a full-blown panic attack coming off of Gemini, hence that is where I stopped, while my new LJ friend and my girlfriend went off to enjoy some of the scarier rides together. I think the prime reason I did so well is because we started gradually and we had developed a somewhat detailed plan as to the order of rides I'd try. Previously, people just picked random rides to try and drag me on.
still want to work on this, and I'm energized by my successes last weekend. Unfortunately, the season is almost over, so it's going to have to wait until next year. I have, however, started an LJ community (coasterphobia
) to see if I can find other people like me. So far, there aren't too many people there, but it's only been two days since I created the community.
Finally, after that small novel, I reach the whole point of this long entry. I was wondering if you fine folks over here have any advice that I could both use for myself and pass along to other people who join my community. Have you gotten terrified friends to ride and enjoy coasters? What has worked? What hasn't?
Thanks in advance.