Some spooky sensation that actually happens to me: "The Call of the Void"

in #science2 years ago (edited)

I consider myself a rather mentally stable person. I am not depressed even though my life is routine, I exercise, I have a pretty great social life, and I have a doggo that keeps me happy every single day. I also get to live somewhere that is pretty awesome and costs very little and am financially stable. So why on earth would I have feelings of doing something totally crazy every now and then? It turns out that I am not the only person who has these thoughts and there is a term for it. It is called "l'appel du vide" or "The call of the void."


This phenomenon is mostly related to being in high places, where a fall would cause very serious injury or death and feeling compelled to jump, or being in any other potentially deadly situation and having thoughts about the same thing.

I experienced something like this a few weeks ago when I was on a motorbike taxi the other day to another nearby beach town where I started wondering if I should jump off the back of the bike while it is moving really fast.... Of course I didn't do so but I found myself gripping the bike very tightly to prevent myself from doing so. I am afraid of heights for this same reason and approach ledges, even if they are very safe ledges with the same trepidation..

I'm not nuts as it turns out and this is something that happens to a lot of sane people on a regular basis and I never knew it was widespread until I encountered this meme


What a spooky widespread phenomenon this is huh? According to the only study that has been done on this phenomenon it is not associated with suicidal thoughts or any sort of mental illness - it's just one of those things that happens to a lot of "normal" people and is also referred to as HPP or "High Place Phenomenon." The study showed that of nearly 500 people evaluated found that nearly half of the people who had never had any sort of suicidal thoughts had experienced "HPP" more than once in their recent past.

It isn't just jumping from cliffs or tall buildings, but also includes thinking about swerving your car off the road for the hell of it, touching electrical wiring, and throwing yourself on train tracks. I guess we can add "throwing yourself off the back of a motorcycle taxi" to that list as well.

I'm curious if any of you out there in internetland have ever experienced this: Like I said, I am a normal, happy, successful person who has no reason to want to kill themselves, and this is something I experience every now and then.



I've had this happen a few times myself, the last time being 6 or 7 months ago when I was sitting in the passenger side of a car. Had the thought in my brain to open the door and fall out while we were going over a bridge. It's way different than having depression/mental illness, just a strange sensation to have even though it only lasts a couple of moments.

yeah, that's the thing. I am not suicidal at all. I am extremely happy with my life but sometimes the impulse just occurs to me and I can't explain it.

Well, I'm the opposite there where I have bad depression/anxiety problems and I still can't explain it because it's way different. Whenever it happens to me it has a kind of disassociation feeling to it, my mind feels entirely blank of any feelings/emotions besides the impulse itself. It's definitely fucking weird.

Now that is a wild one.

Not sure how normal and happy I am in the grand scheme of things but I always attributed it to innate survival instinct. Something along the lines of "Hey dumbass! Don't take your hands off the wheel or you are gonna eat it!"

Maybe your mental state or disposition influences how long you linger and whether to fly into the light?

You start some interesting discussions and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the comments.

Well it is all because of a meme. I'm glad that I saw it too because I was a bit worried about the sensation I felt on the motorbike a few weeks ago.

For sure. I was thinking the same thing after your post.

Must be the part of our souls that flourishes when shit goes sideways?

Must be the part of our souls that flourishes when shit goes sideways

one of the most profound things I have seen written on Hive in a while. :)

Yeah, I am not a fan of heights either, so I can't really speak to that one, but then I read the line about switching into oncoming traffic and I can totally relate to that one.

I guess we should be happy that most people have a high level of impulse control. The heights thing though, gets me, I get anxious even though there is no chance that I am going to fall but something compels me to look again and again. In tall buildings I visualize what would happen if the building collapsed with all of us in it.

Oh wow, that is pretty crazy. I have never been to the grand canyon, but I have heard that bridge they have out there is pretty trippy. I did the empire state building last time I was in New York. My stares into the void are probably pretty tame compared to some people's.

I’ve totally been in that situation a lot of times. It’s crazy...