tw for mention of suicide and self-harm
I thought I’d make a post on this to basically let people who feel this way that they’re not alone.
I have this thing where if I’m afraid I’ll jump off of a high place. I’m absolutely positive it has nothing to do with my suicidal tendencies, I don’t feel depressed or anything when it’s happening. For example, there are these escalators in Pacific Place mall (where a scene in issue 3 of MAOH takes place). They go up and there’s nothing on either side of them. And I’m always at least a little tense going up them and have to really distract myself because I know I’ll start looking over the edge and start thinking about jumping and then get freaked out that I’m so tempted.
What distinguishes this for me is that I’m so tempted to jump and the temptation is so strong that it’s terrifying to stand in a place where it would be possible for me to jump.
There’s almost no research into this.
Some people think it’s related to vertigo, but from all descriptions I don’t think so. I’m not afraid of heights. I feel all right when I can’t look over the edge of somewhere or there’s no ability for me to impulsively jump. Someplace with high railings, for example, doesn’t bother me because it’s too high to go over. I’ve been to the Space Needle several times, totally felt fine and safe.
Some people think it’s related to the drive to self-harm/sucidal tendencies. Again, I don’t think so. I DO have that urge but it’s completely tied to my depression and anxiety, being really upset about my life (or what have you). I don’t have any feeling of thinking about anything in particular when I have this urge to jump, whereas when I’m depressed and want to self-harm/commit suicide, it’s more to relieve myself of all those thoughts. And again, I’m not afraid of any of my self-harming habits (unfortunately), I’m only afraid that I’ll jump off a high place.
Some people think it’s what Poe talked about with The Imp of the Perverse, where you want to do something wrong just because you can. But I don’t think I have any other sort of urge similar to this that I’ve ever noticed. And again, it’s not really characterized to me by the longing to do it, it never happens when I’m away from the high place but by the strange urge that comes over me when I’m near it, and that the urge itself is strangely strong.
Some researchers did a study but I think their findings are speculative and weak. But they at least gave it a specific name: high-place phenomenon. x