Memory Train Keeps Rolling

How do you deal with the fear of falling?

I’m not talking about falling into poverty, or falling into sin, or falling out of touch with reality. No, I’m talking about the fear of falling — physically. You know, when your feet fly right out from underneath you and you land with a Thump on the ground.

Possibly injuring yourself. Seriously.

Ever since my last fall, I’ve had nightmares — and day-mares — about doing it again (only this time, much worse).

I see myself striding along, minding my own business, when out of nowhere — Boom! Down I go.

Elderly folks have ways of dealing with fall-prevention: canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and such. They take baby steps, hang onto stairway railings, proceed slowly and with caution.

People who live alone do, too. They can get one of those I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up rescue devices, which will page the fire department or 9-1-1 for assistance.

Youngsters don’t fear falling; they’re resilient. When they fall, they just have a good cry and hop right back up. And if they do hurt themselves, why, they heal almost instantly.

Not so for us adults. Our healing takes weeks. Or months. And sometimes it requires a stay in a facility for physical therapy.

I was fortunate not to have to endure all that. But still, the fear persists, and now I know what Mom and her “old lady friends” mean when they express apprehension over tripping.

We take all the precautions possible — protecting our bodies, being mindful as we’re moving about — but accidents still happen. That’s why we call them “accidents,” right?

You’d think I’d be used to falling. After all, I’ve become quite adept at it.

But this time felt different. My eyes were opened to how awful falling really is, how frightening and annoying and frustrating and inconvenient it can be.

Living through that awful stumble once was enough. So why does my waking mind persist in reliving it, and how can I stop the memory train from rolling?

Any suggestions would be welcomed and appreciated!

23 thoughts on “Memory Train Keeps Rolling

  1. It’s scary to feel helpless and out of control which is what falling makes us feel. I also feel angry and embarrassed. Why not try catching yourself when you are aware that you are thinking about falling or picturing yourself falling and replace that thought with a more pleasing one—it could be walking along a beautiful path with Dallas, or enjoying lunch in Paris at an outside cafe. Whatever is pleasing to you. Beyond being careful you really can’t control falling but you can control your thoughts about falling. When you wake up from a nightmare, firmly tell the nightmare that you want it to go away and replace it with a sweet dream. The fear of falling can also represent anxiety in another area of your life–so you might want to take a look at the piece.
    And lastly tell yourself every morning and every night that you a graceful, confident women and let go off labels of being awkward, clumsy or careless. Good luck!

    • How do you know me so well??? I’m absolutely amazed at your take on my dilemma — anxiety in another area, huh? You’re onto something with this one, Katybeth. In fact, there’s anxiety in a LOT of areas right now! Guess it’s manifesting itself in my day-mares of falling again. Yes, I think replacing the bad thoughts with the peaceful, happy thoughts is just what I need — thanks for pointing out what should have been obvious to me!

  2. P.S. Have you noticed that your last 2 posts are themed around potential accidents? Maybe it’s time to take a calculated risks. Seems to me you might need a planned adventure outside your comfort zone. Just sayin’ 😀

    • A planned adventure outside my comfort zone?? Does it count that I’m planning on venturing to The Land of the North to visit Domer? Yes? I think so, too! I guess it could be considered “a calculated risk,” since he probably doesn’t need his momma encroaching on his space — but of course I’m NOT going to do that!

  3. Debbie, I just read your comment on my post today and thought it so ironic that we BOTH posted about fear.

    For me fear, whether it be about change or doing something after I’ve had an accident is hard for sure. It’s like when I had a VERY bad experience flying one time and flew through a hurricane. OMG…it’s scared me to death. And for YEARS, I refused to fly because all I kept thinking about was what I had gone through on that flight. However, I finally got sick and tired of being afraid and avoiding flying. So, I bit the bullet and just did it. And I can’t say that I wasn’t petrified when I flew again, but it pushed me through the fear and actually allowed me to enjoy flying again.

    Have a super week, my friend!

    • You flew through a hurricane?? Oh, my golly, Ron, that’s just too powerful and frightening to even consider! I remember riding out a few of them when I lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and even the dog (not Dallas, but a different dog) was uncomfortable. Pushing through the fear is great advice — thank you! And have a wonderful week!

    • Me, too, Suzi. Something about these new Yoga Toes makes me hope/think my clumsiness might be easing (easy to say that, huh??). At least, my feet feel more flexible, and my balance seems surer, and that’s good, don’t you think?!

  4. As someone who tends to latch onto worries and obsess over them, I’m afraid I don’t have advice for how to end the nightmares. I can save up my bubble wrap from online purchases and send it to you… to break your fall 🙂 Only teasing! Hope you gain confidence in your sure-footing!

    • Don’t think I haven’t considered bubble wrap, Janna, ha! A padded full body suit would also suffice, or maybe a padded room?! At any rate, thanks for sympathizing!

  5. Ooh, Debbie. I feel for you! I once bought myself a pair of fancy, expensive heels for work. They were low heels but each shoe had a big bow on the toe area. Well, the first time I wore those shoes I fell flat on my face. Why? Because somehow the heel of one of the shoes got caught in the bow of the other while walking in the office. That was scary, humiliating and painful. I returned the shoes to the store the very next day.

    • I’m sorry to laugh at your expense, Monica, but the image of you tripping on your pretty shoe-bows is just too picturesque! I’m sure I’d have done the exact same thing — that’s why I don’t invest in pretty shoe-bows!! I hope you didn’t hurt yourself physically (the pride sometimes hurts just as bad, but it eventually heals). Probably a wise decision to return the shoes!!

    • Golly, Kim, I don’t know, but I’m sure somebody somewhere has interpreted that fear of falling! I do it, too, only generally, I’m slipping down stairs. It’s scary, and I’m sooo thankful when it jolts me awake!

  6. That last fall was more than your average fall. It’s no wonder you keep going back to it in your mind. Maybe you just need to be really aware of any falls you manage to avoid to let your mind get some rest from it.

    • Thanks for your empathy, Terri. I do think the Yoga Toes are helping keep my feet limber, so that should help. Also, I’m trying to be more cognizant of things like uneven sidewalks, stairs, curbs, anything that could potentially trip me up!

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