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Thread: Anxiety

  1. #1 Anxiety 
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    Oct 2013
    Hello everyone.
    I'm in the 82nd Airborne division, been in the Army for a year now, no deployments yet, but, we're on GRF for now. So we jump out of planes for a living and sure the world thinks we're brave for it but, we have a cancer in our community. ANXIETY, its the black plague of our division. They tell us its good because its makes us careful. But not to the degree in which we experience it, surely the recurring injuries and deaths we experience make it difficult to overstep fear. However, even with persistent exposure to heights we seem to only hate it more and more with time. What does this have to do with science? Well as a previous psychology major, having learned that recurring exposure leads to desensitization, I failed to find out why we never overcame our fear of jumping even though we do it regularly! I would like to hear your thoughts and will elaborate further upon request.

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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor scoobydoo1's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    There is a relation between anxiety and adrenaline, and if I remember what I've read on the topic, it is triggered by our instinctual fight or flight response. I'm not entirely sure which causes which, but I do suspect the cognition/realization of a stressful situation will often provoke the response.

    I myself have been working on desensitizing myself of acrophobia for years now and have met with some success, but it is a condition I do not think I'll ever rid myself of. I have be able to deal with the dread and reluctance of being in a situation where it is triggered, but it is usually through the force of will that I am able to overcome it. Having said that, being able to deal with a condition like acrophobia or just about any similar anxiety related condition does not mean we will ever learn to "like" it. Sadly, it just means we are able to cope for lack of a better word.

    Desensitization of fear related conditions is much harder (from experience) than it is of other non-fear related conditions (such as annoyance, irritation, or moral and ideological related ones). It is a very primal survival instinct that is tied into our biology. I would consider the self-preservation instinct that is deeply embed within many of us to be helpful at times, but the cognition of an anxiety related situation allows us to attempt to override the fight or flight response. Whether we are successful or not, is of course an entirely different matter.

    Adrenaline addicts however channel the emotions and physiological sensations into something pleasurable and enjoyable. As to what degree that is achieved, I do not know. Perhaps someone else can comment on that if it interests you.

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  4. #3  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
    Yukon, Canada
    Recurring exposure can only lead to desensitization in situations where there is fear due to lack of experience or an irrational fear, in my oponion.

    Jumping out of perfectly good airplanes does not fit into that category. There are a number of potential problems that may occur, either in leaving the plane or equipment failure that could preclude an individual from ever becoming entirely blase about the experience. We are an adaptive species and we are capable of willing ourselves to action, even when sometimes the outcome may be injury, yet we retain a survival instinct that has a job to do and anxiety is one way that our instinct keeps us engaged. It is not always a comfortable sensation but it serves a purpose.

    It does beg the question, though, of how long our bodies can sustain optimum performance under constant or extended intermittent anxiety.
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  5. #4  
    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
    Resident of Big Island of Hawai'i since 2003, and in Bayside, Ca. since 1981, Humboldt since 1977
    I suffer from extreme claustrophobia brought on by certain circumstances. I sympathize totally.

    I have tried breathing excercises....trying to put myself in another place, you name it but to no avail.

    I would have to agree with both Scooby and Scheherazade.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope sculptor's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    I suspect that focus has a lot to do with overcoming fears.

    During training, and other seemingly non essential practices, the fear can become the focus.
    I too have a healthy dose of acrophobia except when the job puts me up there, then , I forget to be afraid as I focus on the job at hand.
    I also have a healthy dose of agoraphobia except when the job requires me to be in those situations. Again, while focusing on the job at hand I forget to be afraid.

    When I was in, airborne was completely volunteer. If packing your own chute don't dampen the fear, maybe you could un-volunteer?
    ("I wanna be an airborne ranger. I wanna live a life of danger.........Airborne!!!")
    Or maybe the fear will evaporate if/when you go on a mission?

    If memory serves, during your training you would have had to jump from platforms of increasing height from 8 ft up to about 32 ft. and that is where/when desensitization would have started. If it didn't work, then constant exposure to the thing feared, ain't gonna do a lot to diminish the fear. It may make you mentally numb, but that ain't where you want to be when your training kicks into a mission wherein that training becomes essential.
    Maybe, try focusing on the landing, and forget falling through space when the only wings you have are itsy bitsy little things sewn onto your uniform.

    Roadrunner and wile e coyote cartoons anyone?

    keep your knees slightly bent
    good luck
    Last edited by sculptor; October 29th, 2013 at 07:25 AM.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman The Huntsman's Avatar
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    Nov 2013
    Sounds very similar to fighting. Deep down I think you actually love being anxious. It will wear off I think, and when that happens you may seek something even more dangerous
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