Forums: BASE Jumping: General BASE:
PTSD from Accident - Solutions?
Premier Sponsor:



Jul 13, 2021, 2:42 PM
Post #1 of 8 (1178 views)
PTSD from Accident - Solutions? Can't Post

I had a cliff strike a few years back that provided me with about 10 months of my life chilling on the couch. I seem to have developed some kind of PTSD from it. Up until the accident I thrived on the feeling sports like BASE, big mtn skiing, and soloing (climbing) gave me. It used to feel like the fear of what I was about to do only made the excitement more intense and the feeling after sending your line / jump / whatever that much better. Since the accident I have dabbled in the same things I used to do but the feelings are much different. I don't know if it is the fear of getting hurt again or what but either way the fear now outweighs the fun and I feel that I have to force myself to do the activity.

Has anyone been through this and can offer advice? Any books or maybe some kind of sports therapist? I really don't know what to do as I thought if I forced myself to keep doing these activities I would eventually get over it but apparently that hasn't worked. Instead I generally get really stressed out, overwhelmed, and sometimes end up having mini panic attack like things where all I want to do is go home. That feeling kind of sucks when you are perched halfway up a 2000 ft climb. I appreciate any advice!


Jul 13, 2021, 7:51 PM
Post #2 of 8 (1163 views)
Re: [jski123] PTSD from Accident - Solutions? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've had two ski accidents that have left me with permanent scars. The second one involved some forgotten lessons from the first accident. Both have had long-term impacts on my life and my risk appetite. But nothing as severe as what you went through so I offer this with a grain of salt.

It sounds like your body has mostly healed, but your mind/spirit (whatever you want to call it) still has a ways to go. Just like you shouldn't stress a broken bone until it's healed strong enough, or exercise a torn muscle until it's rested, you shouldn't force yourself to take on more fear than your mind is ready for. Different parts of you will heal at different speeds. You're trying to lift 1,000 lbs when you should be using exercise bands.

I've known people who have taken 5, 10, + years off from an adventure sport because they just weren't ready to enjoy returning to it. That's OK, because the key point is about enjoying returning to it. Meanwhile, there are a lot of other great adventures to be had that can help you grow as a person, and prepare you for re-entry.

Scars, physical and psychological, affect your limits. Physically it could be a joint's range of motion, or stability. Mentally it could be your tolerance / appetite for danger, or your ability to "keep your shit together." Physical therapy is the gradual process of building up your strength and remodeling your scar tissue. Mental therapy does the same for your mind.. it's gradual, deliberate, sometimes a few steps forward, a few steps backwards.

I'd start with a sober re-assessment of, what do you really want to get out of your activities? If experiencing high exposure is something that you feel is really important to you, think about why it's important to you and what you're willing to do... and to risk... to regain it. Make some goals for long term, middle term, and short term, but make sure they are goals you truly want and not the goals you assume you wanted. Talk with others who have recovered. Consider a therapist, and try to find one who understands adventure sports. You may discover that, having seen some of the most severe risks the sport can offer, the new you just doesn't find it worth it any more. That's OK too (and you'd be in good company).

Start really, really basic, and do things specially designed to boost your confidence in safe environments. Most people didn't just start soloing 2000 ft walls, they started on top rope at a 5.easy crag. Go to the mental gym and train-- try martial arts, meditation, Feldenkrais, yoga, bouldering, endurance sports, teach rock climbing, travel, take flying lessons, whatever floats your boat-- and do some self-exploration without putting artificial pressure on yourself.

And enjoy the journey. Good luck.


Jul 13, 2021, 8:37 PM
Post #3 of 8 (1159 views)
Re: [Colm] PTSD from Accident - Solutions? [In reply to] Can't Post

I appreciate the advice. I think the toughest part is since my whole life has been rooted in action sports including most my friends, stopping this altogether doesn't even seem possible. Plus, I don't feel whole without these activities so I think I need to find my way back. I will try out some things on your list and definitely look into some kind of sports related therapist.


Jul 13, 2021, 11:23 PM
Post #4 of 8 (1142 views)
Re: [jski123] PTSD from Accident - Solutions? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a cliff strike 7 years ago that landed me in a wheel chair after some surgery with about a year of recovery. My legs are still not fully recovered, probably never will be. I had severe PTSD for a few months afterward while still in casts -waking up in cold sweats, screaming, panicking (a lot of that is related to the 24+ hour rescue epic). I got back to skydiving to stay current and enjoyed it well enough. I did my first trip back to the bridge just a few weeks ago. I was scared shitless but also needed to do it, and I had an absolute blast. I was convinced id tow my bridle into the snake river on each one, though. I used to have a lot of confidence BASE jumping. Now I have a lot more reserve and caution. I’m extremely drawn to the community. I love the people in the extreme sports arena. I love the activity of planning and scouting and I enjoy the places the sport takes me. I heard recently of an experienced guy who went on a BASE jumping trip for weeks and didn’t make a single jump. He realized that he still had as much fun as he did when he was jumping. I understand that now. I still *want* to get a jump off occasionally, but I don’t have to in order to have an experience that enhances my life. I still want to be around extreme sports, but I don’t feel the need to be the one sending it all the time (just when I want to). Good luck on your journey and let me know if you figure it out!


Jul 14, 2021, 2:03 PM
Post #5 of 8 (1095 views)
Re: [jski123] PTSD from Accident - Solutions? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't like serious posts, and this is going to be lame, but my only suggestion is learn how to meditate. A teacher may help. Learn to be totally present. As we get older we become more and more aware of our own mortality. For many, fear and anxiety accompanies that. If you can accept it and live in the present, it will f*ck with you less.

Or maybe I'm full of sh*t.

Otherwise, abuse drugs and alcohol. Thats what most people do! Cool


Jul 19, 2021, 4:35 PM
Post #6 of 8 (980 views)
Re: [jski123] PTSD from Accident - Solutions? [In reply to] Can't Post

MDMA assisted psychotherapy is 100% the most clinically proven effective treatment known to date. Highly recommend.

Also, meditation as previous poster said.

Finally, if in the immediate period following witnessing a traumatic event, play Tetris on your phone. Best results are within 4-6 hrs but anything within 24-48 hours is helpful.
Google the scientific research if you don’t believe me; I’m too lazy to find and link to it here. But I keep the app on my phone for that reason.


Aug 8, 2021, 12:38 PM
Post #7 of 8 (616 views)
Re: [jski123] PTSD from Accident - Solutions? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a bad fall bouldering and missed the crash pad. Kept going back but the fear turned into negative fear which sounds weird but sometimes the fear helps you focus. I wasn’t having fun anymore. Did a little indoor climbing in Boston at a great gym but hung it up eventually. If your not happy doing it just find a new passion.


Sep 2, 2021, 10:57 AM
Post #8 of 8 (397 views)
Re: [jski123] PTSD from Accident - Solutions? [In reply to] Can't Post

In my opinion, the only reason to BASE jump period is because you want to do it. If you don't want to do it, then what's the point? You would be putting yourself at risk of great bodily harm or death just because you feel like that activity somehow defines you. BASE is not an obligation. If it's truly gone from your life, you will have to mourn it's loss. It's not easy to leave something that big behind, but you have to keep moving forward in life. If BASE lies somewhere down the road for you, then be glad to cross paths with it again. If not, be glad about the times that you had with it and don't feel bad that it's over. You survived.

Forums : BASE Jumping : General BASE


Search for (options)

Log In:

Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?

D4DR Media