Getting Over Your Fear Of Roller Coasters
Here's an article about getting over your fear of roller coasters, it helped me so I thought I'd share it somewhere relevent:
It helps if you're afraid of:
Sense of danger
I've been there and done that, dealing with coaster-phobia, that is. I used to have a particularly bad case of it; a severe and full-blown specific phobia. I rode Space Mountain at WDW when I was six years old and that scared the daylights out of me (I wouldn't have gotten on it, nor would my mom, had we known what sort of ride it was - but back then it was brand new and you couldn't tell from the outside), and I did everything I could do to avoid coasters for the next 21 years of my life.
My phobia was so bad that I couldn't even watch ads for new coasters on tv; I'd turn away from the tv every time one came on. I was even very wary about setting foot in an amusement park because I feared who ever I was with might try to get me to go on a coaster, worse yet, or I might get in line for one by mistake and not be able to turn back. Irrational fears (at least the last one), but that's how phobias can be.
You could also get over your fear the hard way (even psychologists don't often recommend this type of phobia exposure - going full bore into rather than getting over it gradually), the way I did.
One day a friend of my mom's invited both of us to join her at SFA (back then it was Adventure World) for a company picnic. I wasn't keen on the idea because I knew that there had to be at least one coaster at that park, and I might have to face my fear. She said that they'd spend most of the day in the water park, and I thought that was OK since there'd be no "danger" there. Come to find out that the lady also brought her son and several of his friends to the park that day, so I ended up going on rides with them. Turns out we ended up spending more time in the park then in the water park, and we came across the Wild One. I recalled my very scary experience on the Rebel Yell at KD back when I was 13 (my cousin and I had a sort of a "dare" pact to get on that one, and I got thru it somehow, but was still scared of coasters), but figured I could somehow find the courage to do this one coaster and not be a chicken. I made it thru that ride, and felt a relief that I hadn't had a heart attack or something, and was glad to get that out of the way. The Python wasn't running that day and boy was I glad of that! But just when I thought I was home-free to go back to my coaster-phobe world, we ended up on the other side of the park (this was back in 97', so most of today's coasters at that park weren't there) where something truly awful awaited me.
I had never seen a suspended inverted coaster before (didn't know they existed then, being a coaster-phobe), and I held out a futile hope that the group would chose not to ride it. But no such luck - they all made a break for the line, and I politely declined. But my mom's friend, who was then in her 50's (and I in my late 20's - boy would that have been humiliating, someone more than twice my age willing to ride and me chickening out), insisted that I join her. She basically grabbed my arm and just about dragged me over there. I swear that was the longest 30 minutes of my life, waiting in line to ride. I could manage a woodie (good thing I hadn't had my first ride on the Voyage!) but drew the line at any inverted coaster (I also remember being terrified of the SDL at HP when I went there with a friend when I was 11, this friend wasn't into the dares and such like my cousin).
I kept hoping the ride would break down (but if it had been an Intamin I might have had my wish) but again, no such luck. I swear I felt like a cat clinging desperately to the branch of a tree swaying in the wind going up that lift hill. I had never been so scared in my life. I screamed my head off thru the whole ride and was shaking like a leaf when I got off.
But something strange happened - as the day went on, I had a very weird and conflicting feeling. Even though I was terrified of that coaster I had an urge to go back over to that side of the park and ride it again. After I got home I kept thinking about it, and only a couple weeks later I bought a season pass (this had been very early in the summer) and was back over there several times with a friend who didn't one way or the other about coasters, but just liked to go to the parks. I spent the rest of that summer working thru my fears over at the park, riding all three coasters over and over until I had no more fears and felt only joy.
Your article also mentions going back to re-visit a ride that scared you before. I did something close to that when I went to DL and rode the Space Mountain out there a few years after I got over my phobia. Not the same exact ride but close enough - I was glad I could ride it and be rid of my childhood fear forever.
Like most things, the best way to overcome your fear of doing something is to do it and see that it's not as bad as you make it out to be.
Most of the "fear" on a roller-coaster is over the time from when you strap in to the bottom of the first drop.
If you're scared, it's best NOT to sit and stare at the lift hill/launch track while you're waiting in line. :)
Usually once you're up to speed, everything is happening so fast that there's very little time to freak out.