Our expert says:
The same thing happened to me when I was a child - I was on holiday and, going up in an old-fashioned lift in the hotel ( in the days when they were fairly open rather than closed ) I dropped something I was carrying, and it slipped over the edge of the lift floor and fell 4 stories and was never seen again. For quite a time afterwards, having suddenly become aware that there was a Possibility for something to fall a long way, where I had always felt safe and secure, I felt very uncomfortable when steppin g into a lift, especially one of the old open form.
Your experience is a good example of how a phobia starts. And the more one avoids the situation which makes you feel uncomfortable, the stronger the fear gets, and it can even spread to other, similar situations.
Counselling of the CBT form can help. One can also, especially in this early phase, often work one's own way out of it. While you could feel more fearul every time you avoid an escalator, the fear will reduce markedly every time you manage to go on an escalator and get to the top without problems.
Maybe discuss this with a friend so you ca practise with someone understanding and sympathetic, choose a quiet time at the mall, and practise, taking your time to choose the best way to step onto the first step, riding up, and the best timing to step off. After a few times practising and finding how confidently you can do it, the fear will reduce and fizzle away
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