I wasn’t always afraid of heights.
I remember climbing tall pine trees when I was only four years old, and they comprise a lot of my earliest memories in my family’s old home.
But that all came crashing down one day when I fell out of a tree and broke my arm. It was a sudden and abrupt impact, and I remember first the fear that I had lost my footing, and then the sharpness of the pain in my arm and my back after I collided with the ground. Like anyone else marred by a traumatic experience, I wasn’t ready and willing to relive the sheer terror of falling from heights again, so now I have intense vertigo in those situations. When I had to repaint my house, it required using a ladder otherwise I’d have to pay a professional to do it for me. I was scared through the whole process and even created a makeshift harness to hold myself onto the ladder and to prevent myself from falling off. Needless to say, as much as I hate getting on ladders, it feels like a massive burden to have an HVAC system with an air return that can’t be reached without a ladder. Every single time I want to replace my air conditioner filter, it requires climbing onto a large ladder and risking the crippling fear that comes with any form of heights for me. I think I would be more ready and willing to replace my air conditioner filter more often if I didn’t have to get on a ladder to do it. Instead of hoping that my vertigo will magically go away, I just have to swallow my fear each time and pray that I won’t slip. I can’t afford to neglect the filter changes on the HVAC system because otherwise the system loses efficiency.