Conquering the Heights

On Salisbury Cathedral steeple

Standing outside of the steeple of Salisbury Cathedral

As a child, I loved to climb high into trees. From dozens of feet in the air, the world looked magical. The wind in my hair, swinging my feet through the crisp air, swaying in the breeze, the rush of fear and awe when looking down – all of these helped me to forget about my life and pain. As I grew older and more depressed, people more often scolded me for climbing and I began to lose interest although not the desire for that freedom.

Now, heights still exhilarate me, but they also terrify me. When I am up high, suicidal thoughts often creep into my mind. Despite my efforts to keep them out, these feelings and desires haunt me. Even climbing up and down stairs brings about this strong urge. Part of me wants to just end my life then, but another part (which grows stronger almost every day) fights against this inner command. Thus, I try to avoid heights although I love them in an odd way.

The view from Salisbury Cathedral steeple

The view from Salisbury Cathedral steeple

Today, we went on a field trip to Stonehenge (which is so massive and awesome), Old Sarum (a ruin of a town), and Salisbury (which was built to replace Sarum). The end of our tour was in the Salisbury Cathedral. This beautiful, massive church made me weep because of its beauty and reverence. Also seeing the Manga Carta (one of the few copies) left me without words. Great Britain is truly an extraordinary and culturally rich country.

One of the best parts of the cathedral, however, was climbing up the steeple. Many stone and wooden staircases wound about, taking us very high up in the air. When perched on top, we could look out over the whole town. The view was magical as the sun beamed down on fields of sheep, grand houses, willow trees, and rose gardens.

Wooden staircase

One of the wooden staircases up

My thoughts certainly crept in at many points. However, I was able to enjoy the church for the most part. Instead of freaking out about the images of my death and strategies of accomplishing it that popped into my head, I responded by letting the intrusive urges come and go. That does not mean it was simple. Doing so took a great deal of energy and I wish that I could have spoken with my mother. Yet, the experience overall was a positive one.

Many of my fellow classmates were terrified at the top and grumbled over all the stairs. I am proud of each person for having made it up the steeple. Releasing myself from my deluded thoughts, I am also proud of myself for having not only conquered the heights and the trek up but also the internal struggle in my head.

Salibury Cathedral front

Salibury Cathedral entrance

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11 thoughts on “Conquering the Heights

  1. A beautiful church and I’m proud of you too.
    Diana xo

  2. MEM says:

    Anna Rose, your courage and resilience are truly inspiring. SO HAPPY for you to be able to conquer the inner fears and thoughts in order to enjoy the heights. Love and hugs,
    Mom

  3. April says:

    You are such a beautiful, inspiring young woman. Your strength shows through your smile. I’m enjoying the photos!

  4. jefairgrieve says:

    You are so lucky to be doing this, Anna Rose! Thank you for sharing your experience with us, your readers! The ancient Sarum Rite was the basis for the later Book of Common Prayer, and I always have wondered if the town still exists. Fascinating history, and you are in the middle of it. Wow! Thanks again for your post! Be sure to see the White Horse of Uffington if you can.

    • Oh, Sarum is there but pretty much a ruin. It is so cool. Salisbury is fantastic although we did not see too much. I don’t think I know about the White Horse. What is that? Thanks so much!

  5. […] Salisbury Cathedral – This is where we went last Friday as a class. Climbing up the spire was a wonderful experience. Other wonderful aspects were the Magna Carta, silly faces on the walls […]

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