Thursday, October 26, 2006

Altocelarophobia

This is what I have. I don't even know if this is a real word, since Google only came up with a couple of hits with it. Altocelarophobia is a fear of high ceilings.
I have no problems with outdoor heights. I can stand on the top of the Empire State Building or on the edge of the Grand Canyon with no problems whatsoever, other than standing probably too close to the edge. Take me indoors, though, and the story changes.
My first experience with altocelarophobia (that I can remember) came when we went to St. Louis to see a touring production of the Broadway musical "Annie". I was maybe seven or eight at the time. We were going to our seats high up in the highest balcony, and the far distance to the ceiling combined with the height above the stage freaked me out. I had to leave, and I think I cried a bit. However, eventually I sucked it up and went back in because I wanted to know what happened to that stupid orphan.
The symptoms of altocelarophobia (for me, at least) include anxiety, sweating, and the insane fear that somehow suddenly gravity is going to give way and you're going to be sucked up into all that open space. Then, once you're sucked way up to the top of all that space gravity magically reappears and you fall to your death. Sound irrational? That's why its called a phobia.
For me the phobia is very subjective. Some buildings (like the Gaylord Entertainment Center, or the new Schermerhorn Symphony Hall) don't bother me much at all. Others, though, like the main hall at TPAC, or the Grand Ole Opry House (both of which I prefer to sit underneath the balcony), do not make me very happy.
Still at other times the phobia will come and go for the same building. Take this building, for instance:

This is the Santa Maria Del Fiore, or the Duomo, one of my favorite buildings in the whole wide world. I've been in this building probably two dozen times during my travels to Florence. Most of the time I've been fine standing there in the center of the cathedral, where the height from the floor to the top of the interior of the dome is nearly 300 feet. Last summer, however, when I went to Italy with my friend Brant, I had a near panic attack just walking down the nave of the cathedral, much less under the dome. I had to wait outside while he did the rest of the sightseeing. This summer, things were much better, and I was even able to take the following picture of the dome's interior, although I had to steady myself against a column to do so.

My overall worst experience with the altocelarophobia came at St. Paul's cathedral in London.
There they have a staircase that you can climb to take you to the base of the dome and walk around it on the inside. For some reason I thought this was a good idea so I climbed the 259 steps and came out on the landing at the base of the dome. I was 100 feet above the ground, with the top of the dome another 150 feet above, with nothing but empty, dark, echoing space directly in front of me. My first thought was to just pass out, a bad idea since the railing directly in front of me was barely at waist height. Toppling to my death would have been a bad ending to an otherwise great trip. Sadly, I could not go out the way I came in, and even sadder, the exit was at the opposite side of the dome, which was another 100 feet directly across. Bad, bad times. I pretty much went on my hands and knees and crawled around, looking straight at the floor, to the far side of the dome, ignoring the stares and the whispers of "stupid American."
However, true to the subjective nature of the phobia, I later saw "Phantom of the Opera", sitting in the balcony of a very high-ceilinged theater. No problems there, though I did sleep through much of the second act. That wasn't altocelarophobia, though; it was just boredom.

91 Comments:

Blogger fabricsnob said...

very interesting.
ps- 2nd acts always make me sleepy. to quote myself and make JT giggle "there's something about the dark, womblike theatre"

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello,

I also suffer from altocelarophobia, and get exactly the same symptoms. One time, I want to the Magna centre in Leeds, where there is a factory floor almost a mile long and about 200 ft high. I had to walk face down the entire trip.

Another, much younger time, I went to Sainsbury cathedral I think and my Dad (who thinks he knows all about phobias) thought it was a good idea to pick me up so "I could get a better view of the ceiling". Imagine swaying on someones shoulders in a cathedral.

Also, I often fear falling backwards in these places, and looking straight up at the ceiling. Does that happen to you?

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Hayley D. said...

Oh! This is what it's called! Oh thank the lord, I thought I was completely irrational. Well, I still am, but at least it has a scientific name!

I also experience symptoms when I stand next to a very tall building and look up. Such as the Washington Monument.

Domed ceilings tend to make matters worse. As do things hanging from the ceiling. Thank you for putting a name to it. <3

11:08 PM  
Anonymous catherine said...

thank goodness, i thought it was just me. when i went to st paul's cathedral there was no way i could stand under the dome, it made me feel as though my head was going to float off upwards. i also cannot approach old buildings like salisbury cathedral, tall glass buildings or look at very large pictures in art galleries. the feeling eases if i go to these places with my husband but he has to hold my hand firmly.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Indebted said...

Wow - I really thought I was the only one with this problem! Of course there are worse problems, but this one is so hard to explain to other people...especially when heights, that is being up high, aren't a problem for me at all.

I moved to London about 8 years ago and have mapped out the city according to tube, train stations and buildings that I can't go into so I can avoid looking like a complete moron and so I can get to my destination within a reasonable time! I've turned down jobs because there is no way for me to get in without freaking out and accosting a business man to cling onto while I traverse their shiny, high-ceilinged lobbies.

The severity of the problem waxes and wanes. Sometimes, I am absolutely paralyzed with fear (shake, get a feeling of vertigo, hyperventilate and sometimes even cry) and can't even attempt to enter a building with a high ceiling. Other times, I can vaguely handle it if I walk around the walls of the building if there's a lower overhang with my eyes fixed low and gripping onto my bag. Mostly, I just look completely insane.

Anybody find a way to deal with this or manage it successfully yet?

And anonymous - yes - I don't know what I'd do if I tripped and fell...even if I wasn't facing up!

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff...

Ever since I can remember I have suffered with this phobia myself. I can remember gym class when I was a kid and being horrified at the thought of having to do any kind of gymnastics (rolling or laying flat on my back) in that high ceilinged gym. Yet I have found that in time my fear subsided considerably, and it is rare when I find myself having thopse old feelings again. And to think, I thought I was the only one with this fear!

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, it feels so good to not be alone. Im 15, and have had this problem since about 6th grade. 6th grade was when i took a school trip to D.C., and visited the capital building. That was my first experience with high domed buldings ...and it didn't really bother me too much at first, but i started thinking about it... and i guess that thinking is what led me to imagine that gravity would shift and i would fall up to the ceiling. It sound crazy, but if i ever enter a room with a heigh ceiling, i feel... lighter. And when i look up [holding on tight to something] i get dizy, and my head will go back,as if i were about to fall, but i catch myself just before i fall, and when i do, that moment is when i feel the most shock, because lifting my head back up, i feel like im literaly falling up... and it scary. Gym class is tough, lol.

2:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 6 year old son has this same fear. Getting him ready for school in the morning is torture because he might have gym class that day! He thinks he is going to float up. He is seeing the school Social worker about it, but its not helping. I was thinking about bringing him to a psychiatrist or hypnotist. Either for him or me, mornings are hell! I just can't see him going thru this for the rest of his life, it would be horrible.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another "I thought it was just me!". When near a tall building or under a high ceiling, I frequently get the intense and irrational feeling that I'm going to float (or be sucked even) upwards and away. I also have fear of being in tall buildings (anything more than 20 stories or so) for the same reason. I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one with this bizarre phobia.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Hayley D. said...

So, it's obviously a real thing. Not this many people from around the world would have the exact same (very irrational) symptoms if it wasn't some sort of disorder.

The question is: How do we make it a REAL phobia? In all lists of phobias, I never find this one.

I want it to be real, so people aren't like. . . what the hell is Altocelarophobia?

I don't want to be crazy anymore. <_<

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im 16 years old from england and i have this fear also its horrible and no one believes me

i dont mind looking down from a high building or climbing a high place. its just looking up at high buildings and ceilings that makes me want to cling on to someone or something and keep my head down. also i start to get sweaty palms and i freeze.If i try to look up i hold on tighter and feel dizzy and fear falling over.

i recently went to paris and visited the eiffel tower, it was fine looking down from the top as i have no fear of heights.
however i went inside the cathedral of notre dame and i wanted to just pass out as i saw the high ceilings and domes. also the noise of peoples voices or music echoing makes me feel worse.

how can i get helpwith this phobia

ps. im glad im not the only one

5:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wwwwwwwwooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww
at last people that feel the same as me its hard to try and explaine to people and loved ones that you dont want to go in there or near the tall building my wife told me you are just a missfit. i am so glad its not just me sorry guys for being selfish but hay ho.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AHHH! just like everyone else, I've had the same problem since very early childhood. I remember looking up at tall ceilings-- in the State Capitol, churches, anything-- and being completely paralyzed with fear. Even when I wasn't looking directly up at a high ceiling, I would still feel all that terrifying empty space above my head.
And my fear also doesn't exist outside!

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm here too. Phew! Altocelarophobia. I hate it. I'm 44 and I have had it since childhood. High ceilings and tall buildings, etc. Pretty much no big deal now, though. As a kid, whenever I'd ride a rollercoaster I *had* to look down. Feeling the car move up slowly, approaching the pinnacle of the first hill, with nothing to look at but the top - I'd about crap. Ha! Altocelarophobia. Too funny.

12:59 PM  
Blogger kate said...

i had to sleep in a gym with very high ceilings the other night and i almost cried. i had to hide in my sleeping bag. it was my ifrst time ever being afraid of high ceilings, and it was awful.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im terrified of high ceilings too. i went to an omni theater, the ceiling is ridiculously high up and you have to stare at it for hours, because it's the movie screen. i went in elementary school, and all i can remember is i was paralyzed... i felt like i was goign to get sucked up into oblivion, i hated it

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1987- 13-year-old boy in a church sanctuary, and I was being totally weird. 'I think I'll lay on my back.' Uh huh, right. The ceiling was 30-35 feet high, not like the cathedral I went in, like a dummy, but I made a fast, shaky exit anyhow. It's been 21 years- time means nothing. I'm sweating between my fingers as I'm posting this. When I go in that- or any church like it, it's the same white-knuckle deal on the pew in front of me, CAREFULLY, slowly looking up if I dare to. "I can't go in there." HEY- my phobia's got an actual name! I look less silly.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, after 25 years of this ridiculous affliction, convinced I was the only one in the world suffering from it, I am so relieved and excited to find out I am not alone! It started for me in college. I've never mentioned it to my young son, who now has verbally expressed similar feelings. Yikes!

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think my 5 year old son has this. It has been a problem for about a year or so. I keep hoping he is going to outgrow it but today he was completely scared in a mall. I wanted to cry when I felt his sweaty palms hold onto me for dear life. What can I do to help him? Please help.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i kinda got over this, but only a tiny bit. i still get feelings of it sometimes. all i did was do a flip in the sports hall on the trampolines. just push yourself and you should get over it after a while. o ye i used this site aswell
http://theamt.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=229 with a photo of a high ceilinged place. READ IT ALL OR IT WONT WORK it might be boring lol but it kinda worked for me

6:41 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Oh, how I understand you...
It's my worst phobia and a frequent highlight of my many nightmares.

(Sorry for my English, I'm not a native speaker.)

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have this too,tall ceilings do something to my inner ear or something,went into a high roof place today and staggered around trying to hold onto railings and its a strange thing ive had since birth,altocelarophobia i guess

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got the same issue. Really is no fun, and nobody understands. Just reading here of other posts like the mile long factory and 200ft high is making my palms sweat. Also, I am scared of heights too, but I can get up high in a skyscraper and it doesn't bother me that much. I also get turned around I think and imagine like falling off etc. ugh I wish there was a cure

1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yay!! I get this too...so embarrasing in like this shopping centre place in Dublin, I just completely had a panic attack and this security guard was all over trying to help me...bad times, bad times!!...I just like freak out! I feel like suddenly I'm going to be up on the ceiling or something, about to fall down...This is nice!! I'm not alone!!

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same thing happens to me. I have to take final exams (for school) in a high ceilinged gymnasium, and I tend to suffer from the same symptoms. I become very anxious and sweaty. It really affects my test taking ability.
I'm just glad it actually has a name, and other people are experiencing the same thing I am.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and another i thought it was just me, i went to york minster and i love architecture but i just couldn't bring myself to look up

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad to have found this! A kind person, who I told about my fear of high ceilings, researched this online for me. I have suffered from my fear of high ceilings since a small child. Have often wondered if I was the only person who experienced this. Churches are the worst, but even large train stations, etc, can set me off. When touring the Skydome in Toronto a few years ago...before going my worry was will the Dome be open or closed. IT was closed, and I was very uncomfortable the whole tour. If it had been open...I would have been ok. Sounds ridiculous, but all too real to me. When in a large Church, I must stay close to a wall, or under a balcony, preferably close to an exit...to feel 'safe.' If I sit in the middle...under all that open space above, I literally 'shut down'...becoming more paralyzed with fear and overwhelming anxiety as the minutes tick by. I have ended up totally unable to move, eyes fixed on the floor, with my heart pounding and the sweat literally running off of me. Once at a wedding, I watched the sweat run down my hand, and drip off the end of my camera...feeling unable to move or take myself out of the situation. Needless to say, this has caused me much anxiety whenever inviting to a Wedding, or having to attend a Funeral, etc. My fear is that I will fly up to the ceiling...regardless of gravity as we know it. When in such an uncomfortable situation, my panic will increase if I even see someone else looking up at the high ceiling above! For years, people have encouraged me to 'forget about it', etc...but that is not possible. I have always thought I would like to meet someone else who can relate to this crippling fear. Just reading the other posts on here makes me feel more 'normal'...for lack of a better word. I would enjoy hearing from anyone who shares this phobia. e-mail: the shed@nbnet.nb.ca

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

email: theshed@nbnet.nb.ca

8:31 PM  
Blogger abuffalo19 said...

Thanks to you that I'm not alone! What is wrong with us? I don't like heights, granted, but what is with this irrational, terrifying condition? I only 'came out' 2-3 months ago to murmers and question marks, yet to nods & 'O...k..'s'... I felt like a gimp, but I seriously can't help it.

7:54 PM  
Blogger alanasage said...

when you said that there's the feeling that you'll somehow be sucked into all that space, and then fall again, i realized that's EXCACTLY how i feel... i was never able to explain to myself why i'm so scared of high ceilings, but that's exactly it..

3:33 AM  
Anonymous Mike Lewis said...

Wow so many people like me... im having trouble in gym because of this and its absolute torture for me. i cant even step into the damn place without fealing dizzy and my teacher has a bad case of NSBD (Non-Stop Bitching Disorder) so now shes making me sit in the MIDDLE of the gym and also if i dont sit in role call i now get an automatic detention HOORAY also something weird happened.. the first time i saw it i nearly had a panic attack but the next day i was completly fine with it and i never minded for 2 years but just 3 months ago it came back to me and its getting worse every day god im going to slap that bitch in the face if she gives me another detention

3:51 PM  
Blogger 'rene said...

I feel for you, Mike. As a form of anxiety disorder (all phobias apparently are), the intensity varies over time. It totally sucks though. I hope you can convince your gym teacher that you would rather run laps outside! Oh, and it might be useful to get your balance checked with your doctor. Inner ear problems can cause the same problems. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's what triggered everything off for me.

4:18 PM  
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1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad i found this site. I've been to numerous therapists and noone can help me, i wish i knew how to fix this problem. I thought i was the only one that had this.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Adam Linz said...

Hey everyone. I've had this phobia since I was a child. My parents took me an indoor market in a convention center and a balloon popped over head. Since then domes, convention centers, sports arenas, malls, theaters, and even cities like NYC are a struggle. I've tried therapy with little to no luck. As I've gotten older it seems to get a little worse each year. This is a big problem for me cause I'm a professional musician and play large halls and venues all the time. While everyone else gets to go off for a great meal somewhere in Europe I sit in the 1,000 seat venue and try to adjust before show time. The longer I can spend in a place the better. But malls are still a problem when there are a lot of people around. I use to like Times Square and now I loathe it. Any advice would be helpful as now I have to take anti-anxiety pills to deal. Thanks for reading. Adam

1:58 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

im 15 and iv always had a fear of high ceilings ever since i was a baby my mother said i would cry and look down whenever we went into a place with a high ceiling im happy to know there are others with this same fear the worst time when i was 6 or 7 and some ice show or whatever i had to get a better seat because i was crying and dident want to go under the huge ceiling and its so hard explaining it because i dont know what i think is going to happen i just get scared to death of it iv some what got over it gyms and such dont bother me now but when a ceiling is high enough i still feel extremely uncomfortable

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been living with this my whole life.

When I was very young (8 or 9 years old) it would be extremely embarrassing for any adults I might be with in areas with high ceilings. At the time this even included big box retail stores with 30-40 foot ceilings (these are not such a problem these days thankfully). I would crawl on the floor when faced with these environments.

I am now in my late thirties and exercise much more self control obviously. It still does bother me in extreme cases such as large museums and some airports. Escalators in rooms with high ceilings are extremely problematic to me. I must look down all the down or up.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I now know what my Phobia is called but I have the same concept but like when i am in movie theaters in a gynaisum or possibly the McCormic center I have the fear that gravity will give an i will fall and hit the ceiling while i will either break my legs or go splat face first. Sometimes i thought to what if gravity just gave when some people were outside how long would we fall though sky i feared that either if the strain of the fall wouldnt kill you the pressure would or your heart would give out. I also have a random fear I dont think its part of this phoebia but when your in a room and gravity gave out what if you fell to the to whatever is behind you and whatever is in front of you comes toward you (weather big or small) and it just crushes you.

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad I am not alone. I thought I had reversed vitiligo. When the clouds are just right to give depth perception to the sky I get the same sensation that I do when in a high ceilinged building.

9:31 PM  
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4:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I felt the same way about gym class. i just couldn't lie on my back, and that feeling of shock when you catch yourself is the scariest part. Thanks for that

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another I'm not alone. The funny thing is I didn't have this problem until I visited Santa Maria Del Fiore in 1992 and stood under the dome.
It is interesting that you mention the same building.

This phobia does drive me nuts because it means that I struggle to visit any event where a very high ceiling is on the menu. I was at Wimbledon a few weeks back and glad it didn't rain because I don't think I'd have felt happy if they'd closed the roof!

I also have a fear of heights and part of the problem is that I feel an urge to jump (I find it very difficult to understand why this is a useful response in any way!).

5:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 7 year old son has had this since he was about 1 year old. We went to Sam's Club and he cried & cried. It really be came a problem in kindergarten when he first had to go in the gym. He is in 1st grade now and the gym is getting better, his teachers have been very understanding and let him go in at his own pace. He doens't mind as much now. The weird thing with his phobiea is that it is only unfinished ceilings that bother him (right now anyway) the pipes and lights seem to really bother him. He says that he feels like the room will turn upside down. This blog has been very helpful to me that I can help him to explain to me what he is feeling... I figured there was a name for it but I didn't realize no one really knows about this phobia. A hat does seem to help him in some situations. I appreciate all comments. thanks for reading.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 7 year old son has had this since he was about 1 year old. We went to Sam's Club and he cried & cried. It really be came a problem in kindergarten when he first had to go in the gym. He is in 1st grade now and the gym is getting better, his teachers have been very understanding and let him go in at his own pace. He doens't mind as much now. The weird thing with his phobiea is that it is only unfinished ceilings that bother him (right now anyway) the pipes and lights seem to really bother him. He says that he feels like the room will turn upside down. This blog has been very helpful to me that I can help him to explain to me what he is feeling... I figured there was a name for it but I didn't realize no one really knows about this phobia. A hat does seem to help him in some situations. I appreciate all comments. thanks for reading.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Dj Marky G said...

hi my name is mark and i have suffered this phobia since the age of five, i find it very hard to dear with as i have a fear of heights as well i find i just want to die in some cases. I also have torettes syndrome so when in this position i swear really bad im like a complete nut case. Does anyone have any suggestions on what i could do cause it stops me from doing lots of things thanks mark

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe I found this. I have had this problem on and off for years. The oddest thing is that it never really became a phobia until adulthood. I cannot stand to sit in (or sometimes to even ENTER) an auditorium with anything over a 20 foot or so ceiling. The person who originated this blog has the identical situation as mine. It can get better in some situations, but overall, I have the same exact fears. This should be recognized as a phobia, it is almost as if it is a fear of heights, reversed. THANKS!
Lindsay

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got this problem and I work in a sports centre with lots of lovely high ceilings for me to be under! I find that it gets better if I clear and lock up the pool hall with my hoody on, although everyone who sees me doing this in the 30 degree heat now thinks I'm a crackpot. I'm also scared of the pool cover as it's on two tall columns and runs the entire width of the pool, the thought of standing underneath it makes the skin on the back of my neck crawl! You wouldn't get me in a cathedral in a million years and I have nightmares about these types of places quite regularly. Reading through all the comments it's nice to know I'm not the only one though :-)

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad that there are also people like me!

5:08 AM  
Blogger Dj Marky G said...

I understand how you feel, dont worry about feeling a crackpot you have a reason for doing this so dont worry. Its hard to tell people about it to i find as they take this piss so i just say " tell you what i will hang you off a tall building and leave you there for a hour then you might just feel how we feel all the time" they soon shut up then and want to learn more about it please keep in contact you can email me direct if you like so we can talk about this ok just ket me know if you want to do this ok

8:38 AM  
Blogger Dj Marky G said...

i keep wanting to speak to the dr about this problem but dont think its worth it cause the problem is not recognised by drs is it does anyone know how to cope with this problem even when every sunday you church

4:34 PM  
Blogger j-baskets said...

I also thought that I was the only person with this horrible fear, yet I found a way to conquer this fear. I just go in the buildings and try to look straight forward, but it is hard not to look up so heer is my advice, just try to look forward. :) but when I was five years old I was in the mall and I remember falling on my knees crying because I was so scared. BUT IM HAPPY TO HEAR THAT IM NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT IS SCARED.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Dj Marky G said...

Hi thanks for getting back to me, i spend some time in churches and that is my biggest problem as to the highness of the building. I ws asked to go to a theatre this week but it is just inpossable even tho it is for my own daughter. Wish there waws a perscription to this this but this is n ot really noticed as a problem by drs "think they need to wake up but will they NO" i know its really hard but eaven looking at churches even on tv is now a problem for me. Dont know what to do feel like a nutter especially when people just look at me and see me sweeting and turning white. Good luck to you buddy keep in touch ok thanks Mark G

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Bree said...

I have the same thing and I HATE it. In second grade, I went to my first cheerleading competition and had a panic attack. I also went to Chicago in 5th grade and had panic attacks a couple times. I'm in 8th grade now and still have the same thing. I'm going to a Taylor Swift concert on Saturday and I'm so scared !

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Amanda T. said...

Hi,my name is Amanda and ohh thank God, there are others.I am only in eight grade and totally dreading highschool next year. i don't know how i will deal with the gym. i have had this fear for as long as i can remember.It is such a set back, it started with sams club and while that is not a problem anymore it's the mall. I always have to suck it up when i go shopping with my friends an churches, oooohhh churches. i could just crawl under a rock and die and nobody understands, not even my mother but this site has helped her to realize that my fear is very real and that i don;t panic and cry for no reason. Thank you so much, you just have no idea how this has helped me. I hope one day doctors will come to see this as something very real too.
-Amanda T. 13 years old

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Amanda T. said...

Hi,my name is Amanda and ohh thank God, there are others.I am only in eight grade and totally dreading highschool next year. i don't know how i will deal with the gym. i have had this fear for as long as i can remember.It is such a set back, it started with sams club and while that is not a problem anymore it's the mall. I always have to suck it up when i go shopping with my friends an churches, oooohhh churches. i could just crawl under a rock and die and nobody understands, not even my mother but this site has helped her to realize that my fear is very real and that i don;t panic and cry for no reason. Thank you so much, you just have no idea how this has helped me. I hope one day doctors will come to see this as something very real too.
-Amanda T. 13 years old

5:45 PM  
Blogger NBV said...

I'm not the first to write this comment, but you have no idea how relieved I am to know that I'm not the only one with this phobia. I've always felt very silly towards others because they didn't understand my fear in rooms with high ceilings. I completely recognize your symptoms and actually felt the same feeling of fear when reading your descriptions. This has really made my day, and makes me want to investigate this alot more. Thank you!

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god I have this too! I dread going new places, shopping, to cities and concerts! The worst of it is that no one understands! I feel I have to clutch to them and its got worse as I've got older! I'm 14 now and have had it since I was about 2! I think it started with a dream about falling from a balcony off our local shopping centre! I get a feeling up my back and I feel dizzy and my legs stiffen up and I walk in jolts. Its the worst feeling ever and I can't believe I've let it get so out of control. My advice to anyone with children suffering from this phobia is to help them before it gets worse - I thought I would grow out of it. I'm now seeing a phsyciatrist
as I keep missing out on things because of my fear.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Jay C said...

I'm a DJ/music producer and I also share this problem! Every week I have to go to Manchester Picadilly train station, if I have to walk down the platform I get the same feeling everyone else has mentioned. It's made worse for me that the ceiling is made of glass and you can see the sky (eughh!) through it. I find it's worse for me when there are no trains to the side of me whilst walking down the platform, I get some kind of comfort from the fact there's something slightly taller than me in the open space?!

I would love to know of any ways to help solve it, I fear it may prevent me in my career from playing at bigger venues :( - I've read up on controlling anxiety etc and that helped for a few days... I always wear a cap with a big peak so I can't see the high ceilings as easily, and also - look forwards if you're in a shopping centre! I was once looking down at the shiny tiles in the Arndale centre and saw the reflection of the high glass ceiling with the sky beyond it (going dizzy typing) and that was NOT pleasant.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was seven I had a fever and it caused helusinations and one of them was waking up in the middle of the night and the ceiling would suddenly get higher and higher and I remember being so scared and I would walk throw up cause I would get so dizzy and nausous. Since then I cant take high ceilings. It just freaks me out. Its very unpleasent when I'm in PE at school and I cant concentrate with me getting dizzy and shaky just thinking about how high that ceiling is.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Charlie said...

Oh god good to see I'm not the only one with this, I have found that going somewhere often makes the fear diminish but we recently moved into a new school building and up the centre there's a giant four floor high chasm, this causes huge problems so instead of walking under the open space I've found myself sticking to the walls where there is cover, it makes me look crazy but alas, this is one fear which is quite hard to get rid of.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Grace said...

oh thank god im not the only one! I have had this phobia as far back as i can remember. I can also remember in gym class we had to lay on our back. One day i had to tell the teacher (i was 8 or 9 by then) i was scared and she had to sit next to me and hold my hand. I have had dreams were i am sat in my hall and i fall back and i am glued to the floor and nobody helps me get up. I have to grab something everytime i go into a large hall and i sometimes feel the room is tipping. The worst thing though about my school gym is that the celing is black which makes me feel even worse, I sometimes feel as if im going to fall up to it (if that makes sense) and be sucked into a massive black hole. My friends truly understand and whenever i cling onto them in gym they know that im not just a freak.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow I seriously didn't know this was a real phobia. I thought I was just being stupid and it feels so good to know I'm not the only one. My mum wanted to make me climb to the top of st paul's cathedral but luckily it was closed. I would probably have a panic attack right at the top and fall off the rail. Once i went to the science museum in london and i wouldn't go higher than the first floor. Also there were massive aeroplanes hanging off the ceiling. It was a horrific experience. I love london but i also hate it because it is only tall buildings. I think this phobia is kinda weird though when we all look up to the sky every day and the universe is of course the tallest ceiling in the world.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 29 and have had this fear as long as I can remember. Going back to elementary school, I remember I would cry and throw a fit if they tried to get me in the middle of the gym. If I was by a wall I would be somewhat okay, but I couldn't do the sit-ups without closing my eyes.

Even as an adult it hasn't gotten any better. It's not even limited to just high ceilings. I have an extreme fear of heights, can't even climb up ten feet on a ladder. I can't look up at skyscrapers. I can't go in an open space at night, because for some reason the night sky reminds me of a ceiling. I'm completely fine during the daytime though.

This is the one thing I would change about myself if I could. It is so hard to deal with and what makes it even worse is everyone I've told so far (which isn't many people) think I'm absolutely nuts. I even saw a psychiatrist when I was 13 or so and she did nothing for me. My last relationship even ended (partly) because of this fear. I can't walk in a mall without holding someone's hand, walking close to the wall, and looking down. It's very difficult to go to stadiums and see concerts or a baseball game, although sitting down and being able to hold onto the chair helps a bit, but not much.

I don't even know what to do about it. The psychiatrist I went to as a kid did nothing, almost seemed to believe I was lying. My parents think I'm crazy. And the few friends and exes I've told think I'm nuts too and like I said one reason my last relationship ended was because she was too embarassed to be seen walking with me in the mall, holding her hand with my head down. One friend told me to "pretend the ceiling is lower or don't think about it" which is easy for him to say. I don't want to think about it but I can't help it.

I thought this would go away over time but it hasn't subsided at all. At least now that I've looked it up, I know I'm not the only one suffering from it and know what it's even called. But has anyone had anything that helped them...anything at all?

12:50 AM  
Blogger Oceanrider50 said...

I've had this since I was a child after a bad dream about being in the garage and the world turned upside down. I'm 40 now and it's getting worse. I've had a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) assessment and the therapist thinks he can help. I start my programme next week. I'm a psychiatric nurse in England and manage an acute admissions ward. I've never heard of other people experiencing this before and it's a comfort to know I'm not alone!

2:12 PM  
Blogger Oceanrider50 said...

I've had this since I was a child after a bad dream about being in the garage and the world turned upside down. I'm 40 now and it's getting worse. I've had a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) assessment and the therapist thinks he can help. I start my programme next week. I'm a psychiatric nurse in England and manage an acute admissions ward. I've never heard of other people experiencing this before and it's a comfort to know I'm not alone!

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 55 yr old woman and I have been living with since early childhood. My family has finally accepted it but it has been very difficult. It came up in conversation this evening and my daughter asked if I'd ever looked on-line to see if anyone had ever heard of such a strange thing. I am shocked and actually close to tears to learn I'm not the only one. I have it so bad that I won't even travel as I can't go into an airport. If faced with a "no choice situation" as much as I try to remain calm, look Dow, hang on to someone etc. I will rapidly panic and run like a hunted animal, I have actually vomited and come very close to passing out. All, bloody exhausting and slightly embarrasing. It feels so good to know I,m not crazy (or maybe we are?) Thanks for your reassurance! Oh, I have consulted several Phsyciatrists and they all felt that there wasn't much to be done as it is very severe.

11:09 PM  
Blogger AustiN# said...

I am so relieved to find out I am not the only person with this problem. My parents used to get very angry with me if we went to WalMart or a more recent case to Grand Central Station in New York. I would stay to the edge of balconies or try and speed walk to different over hangings. I'm 20 now and the problem only seems to get worse. I am a music major so we go to many areas that have high ceilings. Most recently I went to the smithsonians and I had to have two of my friends keep their hands on my shoulders just so I did not completely freak out. We went to one church and I was going to walk onto the balcony in my place in line but I passed out...on live tv. Needless to say I have to find something to ease this. But for now I am just happy I am not alone.

9:44 PM  
Blogger AustiN# said...

I am so relieved to find out I am not the only person with this problem. My parents used to get very angry with me if we went to WalMart or a more recent case to Grand Central Station in New York. I would stay to the edge of balconies or try and speed walk to different over hangings. I'm 20 now and the problem only seems to get worse. I am a music major so we go to many areas that have high ceilings. Most recently I went to the smithsonians and I had to have two of my friends keep their hands on my shoulders just so I did not completely freak out. We went to one church and I was going to walk onto the balcony in my place in line but I passed out...on live tv. Needless to say I have to find something to ease this. But for now I am just happy I am not alone.

9:45 PM  
Blogger AustiN# said...

I am so relieved to find out I am not the only person with this problem. My parents used to get very angry with me if we went to WalMart or a more recent case to Grand Central Station in New York. I would stay to the edge of balconies or try and speed walk to different over hangings. I'm 20 now and the problem only seems to get worse. I am a music major so we go to many areas that have high ceilings. Most recently I went to the smithsonians and I had to have two of my friends keep their hands on my shoulders just so I did not completely freak out. We went to one church and I was going to walk onto the balcony in my place in line but I passed out...on live tv. Needless to say I have to find something to ease this. But for now I am just happy I am not alone.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally awful feeling. I'd highly recommend staying away from Dubai airport or if you need to go through it, wear a hat. I almost completely freaked out and even if you look at the floor, it's so damn polished you see the reflection of the ceiling. Arghhh.

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 5 yo son suffers from this as well. Its so heartbreaking to c how scared he gets. Its become problematic at school as the gym class and lunch room both have high ceilings, but it helps him if he wears a ball cap in any of these like spaces.

10:23 PM  
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7:32 PM  
Blogger Dj Marky G said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:04 AM  
Blogger Dj Marky G said...

I have had this phobia since the age of five I am now 35 and for the last couple of years I am also now findind low clouds a problem to its a bit of a night mare more so when driving

5:05 AM  
Blogger Dj Marky G said...

Hi I understand what you are saying I had the same problem and still have it now is also embarrassing some times

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3:51 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Oh my god. I thought I was the only one! I've never met anyone that has understood this and here is a whole page of 80 people that have/had it!
I have always described what I had as "the opposite of claustrophobia" but there is another word for that, and it's not the same thing at all.

This really takes me back. I had this fear from when I was born till I was about 13, I'm 17 now and it's faded to almost nothing - I just stopped looking up.It was horrible, as a kid, I didnt know what was wrong with me. My parents didnt understand, its not a common phobia. Hell, I only found it tonight!

In primary school, our gym ceiling would terrify me. I'd stare at the ground all the time. I couldnt describe it to anyone, because its not like you feel trapped, but theres all this vast empty space towering above you.
I remember when I was like, 9 or 10 and I went to a hardware store and I was horrified because it was a 2 or 3 story high ceiling, so I went outside to escape and looked up at the sky for some stupid reason and it dawned on me how high the sky was and I had to grab onto something and started shaking and crying and feeling as if I would be sucked up into the sky.
It got worse with malls, the school chapel, assembly hall, cinemas etc. I simply refused to enter. I could not be under the roof of the building.

But then it died down. Its still sort of there when I walk on the sidewalk in the city and look up at skyscrapers from the outside and cant see the top, that is so terrifying. But I went to Europe a few years ago and went to so many cathedrals and I can just imagine if I still had my fear how debilitating it would be to the whole experience! I cant imagine being 40 and still having it, like many people on here are saying. That would be horrible.

10:53 AM  
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7:27 PM  
Anonymous John M. said...

There must be something that links us folks together. Has anybody else experienced ear problems?

I initially came to the realization of this fear when I went on a family trip to D.C. at about the age of 7 or 8. I was SO excited to visit the Smithsonian, especially the National Air and Space Museum. But what a conflicted experience it turned out to be. I tried hard to enjoy my time there, but all the planes hanging from those terribly high ceilings had me almost paralyzed. Like others have described I really felt like I was going to "fall" upwards. I think my parents remember it better than I and they were just as confused. I began sweating and went all clammy and had to walk around staring straight at the ground, nervously smiling - an attempt at making it seem as if I was enjoying myself. Looking up at tall structures such as buildings has almost exactly the same effect, but really the worst for me is anything hanging from a tall ceiling.
I have had problems with my eustachian tubes all of my life and at one point I thought this may have to do with it. Anybody have any thoughts on this?

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the same thing. I live in a capitol city and I went into the interior and became very nervous. The ceiling just had to be so dang high!

3:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I came across this website I thought I was the only one too! I once was on holiday and in one of the restaurants and that had a high ceiling, I had hold of the table cloth so tight (not that it would do much if I floated away)I don't like being around high buildings either. I laugh about it to myself but when put it that situation it never fails to cross my mind that I'm gonna somehow float away.. Think I watched too much Willy Wonka!

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Caspian said...

Oh, thank goodness for that. I've actually managed to find a whole page with about 200 people with similar attributes.

I'm from England and have always been afraid of Heights, especially when sat on the floor or eating at a table.

My Nerves get so bad that my Head becomes paralyzed, and I need my Hand to move my head. Anything put above me, E.g. a Hat or a sheet will remove that fear completely.

My Mum used to have it, but she said it goes after a while and you no longer have the problem. So for some people out there, there is a chance that you wont have this for long.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep i have it also mine started when i first started primary school so i was about 6...i can remember it like it was yesterday...i was walking into the hall i was fine going in i dont think i took much notice of the hall or the surroundings...just walked inline to the front an sat down on the floor...still everything was fine i was talking to friends and everything but then i looked up...fear hit me soon as i saw the ceiling no idea why just knew i didnt want to look up again...im now 22 still have the fear it stopped me from going to watch a wrestling match (WWE)...a childhood love...i regret it to this day...only way i know yo can beat it is to face it no matter how hard it is...dont do what i did and not go i know i wont do it again you got to face it no matter what.

12:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to not feel alone about this! For me, it's standing under any kind of large dome, from building domes like cathedrals to looking up inside of a hot air balloon. It looks and feels like this vortex that I'm going to be sucked up into. It tends to be worse if the design of the dome includes rays or beams or other structural or decorative bits that draw attention to the center of the dome in some way.

I have no problem with any other kind of high ceiling, like school gyms or shopping malls; in fact, the building where I work has some very high ceilings and it doesn't bother me at all because it's all squared and has lights and other structures breaking it up.

Visiting the planetarium (with its large domed ceiling) at the city's museum of science is unsettling. When I walk in, I feel overwhelmed at first, but once I'm seated for the show I feel much better ("strapped in" so to speak.) Visiting the state capital's domed building is another nightmare.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Brian Barnes said...

Great article. I'm currently building a website devoted to this phobia (as a sufferer myself) and would love to include this as a feature (accredited of course). I'll be including a link from the resource page regardless. Contact me via the contact page at http://altocelarophobia.yolasite.com

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always got funny looks when I've mentioned this to people.It's great that I now have a name for it. Any time I find myself in a tall ceilinged building I have to walk about staring at my feet, trying to convince myself it's not really as high as it is!

2:56 PM  

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