I am going to talk to you about another fear I have. I feel that the more I think about it and the more I become aware of it, I have a huge list of fears. Not saying I am becoming a nutcase or unstable with a case of panophobia, which is the fear of everything. I will never get there. I like too much but here and there, I discover another common and quirky thing I fear. Today’s post is about my curse of stepnophobia, or in laymen’s term, the fear of ladders. You read that right. I am scared of ladders.

You can laugh at me and giggle about me behind your back. I don’t care. I already told you I am scared of trash compactors and my ladderirrational fear of people in bunny suits. You might be scared of spiders or snakes. Do you see my laughing? First off, I think you’re crazy and freakish if you admit to being afraid of snakes. If you tell me you’re scared of spiders, then I will agree. Those things are not right. Spiders are scary and I agree. When you stumble upon a momma wolf spider in your house and she’s covered in hundred’s of eight-legged freaks, you sort of stop breathing for a second and then decide quickly that spiders are evil and deserve to die immediately. I don’t suffer from arachnophobia. I hate spiders but don’t flip out and stop breathing when I see them.

it is the same about compactors, bunnies, and ladders. I don’t freak out and have panic attacks. My panic attacks occur randomly, like when I am buying a new toilet brush. I will call them phobias because while I may not have a full-fledged phobia per se, I do get nervous and feel uneasy around giant bunnies, being crushed alive in a compactor, and climbing ladders.

Someone once asked if I have acrophobia. I don’t. I will fly. I will ride coasters and I have been at the top of the Empire State Building. I want to even go skydiving. So suffering from a fear of heights isn’t right. I just can’t climb ladders without feeling some sense of doom and having a fear of dread that the ladder will topple over with me on it. It’s not like I can’t climb things. I climb shelving at work all the time. I will jump up on shelves, (which isn’t safe at all) but I do it anyway. I’ll climb about like a monkey and leap down without any fear of twisting my ankle or pulling a Kevin Ware, breaking my leg in some horrific and grotesque way.

kevin ware injury

That isn’t supposed to happen.

I was at work once night and was asked by my manager to hang a large banner.  I didn’t decline and I didn’t explain to him my fear of ladders. I just accepted his chore and planned on hanging the sign, even if I died doing so. While getting the ladder in place and with the banner in my hand, I take one step onto the ladder. Sure enough, my heart races and I feel nervous. I can’t do this. I can’t climb this ladder that was probably a mere 8 foot tall. I take another step and the fear and the onset of one of my panic attacks starts kicking in. A lady at work, who was helping with this hanging of the sign, noticed the fear and angrily told me to,

Get the eff off the ladder. You’re scared.

I was. I was scared. I made it a few more steps but with each step up and getting further from the ground, I was getting worse. I felt like an idiot when I had to explain to them that I was scared of the ladder. This is when I was asked if I was scared of heights. But I am not. I am not stricken with acrophobia. I don’t suffer from vertigo. I just suffer from stepnophobia. I have an irrational fear of ladders. I cannot and will not climb them. I don’t find them safe. I don’t think they are secure. My sister knows this first hand. She fell off one and she won’t climb ladders because of that ordeal. Is it possible that because of her falling off one, I someone recalled it and worry that I could suffer the same fate? Whatever the case may be, my sister and I fear ladders. Those two-legged or four-legged metal death traps will never coax me into riding them like a wealthy businessman rides a prostitute…which is a great analogy because both said things are unsafe.

I know there are other people out there who suffer from this phobia. If there wasn’t, there wouldn’t be a name for this. It’s silly but I fear ladders. I will end you with a personal thought about this and work. While writing this, it got me thinking about work and how I feel I’ll never become a manager and finally lose the title of assistant. Could my fear of ladders be the reason? Am I also afraid of figurative ladders? Am I too scared to climb the corporate ladder because I fear I’ll fall?

No matters. Eff, ladders. Those things scare me too.


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I like food. I like the smell of cinnamon.

Latest posts by pitweston (see all)

  • Tayra

    You’re not alone, I can be up on the roof, I can be down on the ground, but stepping on the first rung of a ladder makes me shake, insane laugh like an nervous idiot (fear laughing), and I will freeze up. Maybe I fell off a ladder in a previous life LOL Folks that love me have coached me through ladder projects and I get it done but Im irrationally scared the whole time.

  • Jacob Gleason

    Its weird, being around a ladder doesn’t bother me, going up a ladder doesn’t really bother me (much, still hate it) but coming down I panic. I once stayed on my grandfathers roof for an hour while he and my dad tried to coax me onto the ladder. Is that still stepnophobia?

  • Jacob Gleason

    Is there a name for is?

  • Cuzzzz

    Best thing to do that i ever did to face my fear of ladders was jump off them. I would climb a few steps them purposely throw myself off. That way i would know how to escape in an emergency. Ladder falling just bail, tuck and roll

  • G

    This is my phobia… Well described. Except holding the ladder also gives me the creeps. I hate ladders. I don’t fear heights, just ladders that are unattached to something. If the ladder is attached to a wall permanently, no problem. Some dude walking by carrying a ladder… problem. I’m good at faking it, and sometimes have to climb the evil things…

    One time I was stuck on my roof for over an hour. Having fixed the shingles that were missing I now had to climb back onto the evil contraption and couldn’t. At the time I was on the volunteer fire department and feared that we’d have to call them to help me down. I couldn’t call my wife to hold the ladder, my phone was in the house… I did get down. I wound up jumping to the ground, probably 13 feet or so… Drop and roll.

    • Bryan Valearius

      I am the exact same way, hate ladders but I am fine with heights, Ladders attached to walls permanently I am fine. But any standing ladder Nope. I can look at them fine but I can not climb them. I will carry them but I hate holding them when someone climbs them. I can go up to the 2nd or 3rd step sometimes but I can never go further. I will not even use a ladder to go into my attic if I need to I will not.

  • Stef


  • True story.

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