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Fear of high voltage power lines

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Fear of high voltage power lines

Postby gihaedia » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:40 pm

Believe it or not I got scared when I pass under high voltage power lines. This started when I was about 8. I try to avoid them whenever possible, and when I have to go under them I walk as fast as I can. I do not dare to look up before I'm sure I'm clear. When I'm not alone I can control this fear much better (so good that it's almost unnoticeable) , even when I'm with someone whom I don't trust. I think I'm mostly afraid of getting electrocuted from a cable that is too close to the ground, because this may have a connection to the fact that I'm blind on one eye and therefore I can't tell distance of an object.

I don't remember why and how I became afraid, and I'm probably the last person on Earth who should have such phobia. I studied physics so I have a good knowledge of electricity, and I also have a good understanding of engineering and safety involved in construction of power lines.
I work with electricity since I was 12 (all house repairs and more), I was shocked few times, and few times I had good chance of getting killed. Despite that I have no fear of electricity, I even touch live wires after making sure I'm properly insulated from the ground. Once when I was repairing an old TV I had to tune it while it was on. So I sat on one wooden chair and placed my legs on the other, and without fear plunged my fingers into 30 000 volts. My only fear here is getting burned in case of shorting out, but I also get this when working with angle grinder or arc welder, so it's not electricity, but hot sparks.
Safety is one of primary goals to engineers who design power lines, and I'm perfectly aware of that. Minimal height of 400 KV power lines (the ones that scare me the most, the ones that make loud sizzling noise) is 5 meters. Even on pouring rain you would have to get closer than 2 meters to the cable in order to get shocked, so I know I'm perfectly safe.
One of my most frequent nightmares is running into fallen cables or cables that are very close to the ground, so close that you would get electrocuted even if you crawl. But I perfectly understand that it would take lots of freezing rain and a hurricane to bring 400KV lines down, we don't have that kind of weather. Power lines with lower voltage are much easier to bring down, and it happened few times in my area, but illogically I'm much less afraid of them.
When I was a kid (4-5 yrs. old) I was afraid of thunder, but that fear is now gone.
If I'm in a car (which is a Faraday cage), I could seat under power lines for hours without fear. Strangely, in that case I can control my phobia because I know the car is safe. Also, I walk under 138KV line every day, and it seems that I'm used to that, my pulse barely changes.

The strangest thing is, if there was say 500 000 volt line close to ground where I can clearly see it, I could approach it (maybe with a little cautious fear), within a safe distance of course.
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Re: Fear of high voltage power lines

Postby Chucky » Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:42 pm

Hey,

you mentioned the idea of control here, and maybe that's what this is all about. You feel safe and confidant around things that are in your reach, but not the power lines (which are too far away for you to control). It's like my fear of flying: I know how an airplane works and that the pilots are probably well-traine, but when I get a flight, I DON'T have control over my own life. I don't know if this is making much sense to you, but i ope that it is. Fears can come in any form, size, shape, etc. though. Im sure you know this already though as you come across as being intelligent/wise.

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Re: Fear of high voltage power lines

Postby gihaedia » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:46 pm

That makes sense, I like to have a control over things. For example I can get nervous when someone else is driving, but I never get scared in tough situations when I'm behind the wheel (I get scared later when I think about what could have happened).

I forgot to say in the first post that this fear started about the same time when my father was telling me about how high voltage can kill you at distance. Like I said I was about 7-8 yrs. old at the time, we were picking mushrooms and very often went under big 400 KV power line. I was curious why are wires hanging so low (why are insulators so long), and he explained me that such high voltage can kill a man at a distance of 1-2 meters. But that didn't scare me then, I walked under the same power line for dozens of times. Phobia developed some time later.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this?
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Re: Fear of high voltage power lines

Postby Chucky » Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:30 pm

Hey, yeh that makes more sense now. I mean, the fact that your father told you that when you were young might very well have something to do with it. I remember having a huge fear of death when I was younger too, due to something that was said to me. there are many other fears (large or small) that we take from childhood into adulthood. I think that the most important thing to do is to talk about them. In your case, maybe you could actually talk to your father about it. Im sure that you'll both laugh it off and maybe this will then give the fear less purpose/power over you..?

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Re: Fear of high voltage power lines

Postby gihaedia » Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:56 pm

Chucky wrote:maybe you could actually talk to your father about it.


Unfortunately I'm not in very good relations with my father, actually he's the last person I'd talk to about this.
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Re: Fear of high voltage power lines

Postby Chucky » Fri Dec 25, 2009 9:34 am

Okay, I can understand that. Is there anyone else that you could talk to about it? - a colleague/fellow worker? You could start it off by saying that you have this strange phobia (in a humerous way) and then go on to explain more about it. I just really feel that the way to best overcome this is to talk about it as much as possible. This makes the fear less personal to you (and secretive), and converts it into something that you can freely think/talk about.

By the way, I got shocked from the mains before too. ... weird feeling.

Happy Christmas dude,
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Re: Fear of high voltage power lines

Postby gihaedia » Fri Dec 25, 2009 9:14 pm

Merry Christmas

I did talk about this with few close friends. It didn't help me much (although I found out that one of them is afraid of a comic book).

The best thing I can do now, when I have to walk under some power line, is to distract my mind in some way, and sometimes this is quite effective.
Few months ago I've found these videos made by some crazy Russian guy who is shorting-out power lines. At first videos seemed scary (I was jumping in my chair), but after watching them a few times it all became funny, now I really like these kind of videos, I hope the Russian guy will make more of them, if he doesn't get killed or jailed. Here are some of the videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBjbRUj5eIk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V3OZMW_45M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6xLDRHR0sI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uizotjo1sso
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb5-v5MVeW0

Brown smoke is actually copper wire that is instantly vaporized.

One more thing I forgot to say: I never ran, no matter how afraid I was. I have a feeling that I would get even more scared if I started running or panicking. I like to keep thing under control, and I can't remember last time I panicked about something.

Electric shock does feel a bit weird, especially when your arm becomes numb after few minutes (depends on how hard you get shocked).
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Re: Fear of high voltage power lines

Postby shayree » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:27 pm

hi ur first post apply on me completely i also fear from thunder & lightning I aslo stant on insolated place with live wire in my hand like u repair electrical & electronic aqup but its not possibal for me to pass the over heat HT lines specially in rainy wather plz plz reply me ur nightmear is 110% same like my onec i often search for high tension line dangers on webs Or what if v stand under it or climb the tawer
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Re: Fear of high voltage power lines

Postby shayree » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:41 pm

gihaedia i never ever gana explain in words & specially in writing u post hear that that how much we both have same feeling .I also never ran while passing through them i fear that may be line cuse electrical break down of air moulecules while iam passing under them iam not much good in english so i cant explain hhhhaaa.............
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Re: Fear of high voltage power lines

Postby MsJenniLee » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:12 pm

I too have a phobia of power lines. I can't even look at a picture without the intense anxiety that comes with it.

Mine started in early adulthood. I was in a physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive relationship when the reoccurring nightmares started. It mixed my fear of heights with power lines. I would be facing a zombie, or a killer and try to fly away... but then I would start floating up, uncontrollably... right into this huge mesh of power lines. I would be forced to decide whether I'm going to keep uncontrollably flying up right into outer space or grab onto a power line and risk electrocution. Either way I chose in the dream, it lead to terrible results--sometimes so bad that it would startle me awake.

After a few years of that same dream, I talked to a friend who was learning about dreams. She suggested the dream might be about loss of power and control. Which made perfect sense given my personal life situation (the abuse). The dreams/nightmares where about my loss of power and control while being hurt by power I can't control.... with the added fear of choice with nothing but terrible results.

Although I figured out why I developed the phobia, it never went away. Big power centers where you can hear the energy flowing through, makes me start trembling in fear and I want to run. I can walk under them, but it's more like a fast pace jog. Lol. I have forced myself to face my fear a little. But I really haven't beaten it.


I noticed, as I've read several stories about power line phobias, that many had dreams and nightmares about power lines. And a lot had real life situations where they were at a loss of power.

Just something to note.
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