A woman from the U.K. has conquered her fears literally one step at a time after suffering a life-long phobia of stairs.
Louise Wilson, 43, has battled a crippling fear of stairways and steps after she fell as a child.
Wilson's fear is known as bathmophobia, or fear of stairs or slopes.
Until recently she had not walked up any stairs, including those at her home, since 1973 — instead shuffling up or down on her bottom if there was no elevator or escalator.
Wilson turned down countless jobs in offices without stairs due to the phobia, and teachers would have to meet her on the ground floor when she visited her son's school.
The fear was so bad she was not even able to walk upstairs at the school to look at her son's work.
But, Wilson has overcome her fear after a hypnotherapist discovered it was triggered by a childhood experience of falling face-first onto concrete.
Wilson, from Coundon, Coventry, said: "I truly don't remember a time when I wasn't scared of stairs and heights — it's just always been there. I would get panicky and full of adrenaline, I didn't know what it was like not to be frightened."
Wilson's most embarrassing experience was at a department store when she took the escalator up — but discovered she would have to take the stairs back down to the ground floor.
"I ended up having to go down the stairs on my bottom while hanging on to the rail," she said.
"It was very busy at the time — they must have all thought I was drunk."
Wilson finally decided to get professional help in August, and she started attending sessions with hypnotherapist Russell Hemmings, who discovered her phobia was sparked from a childhood accident.
"Louise's fear of stairs is a combination of phobias - a fear of heights and a fear of falling," said Hemmings.
Wilson said she still doesn't feel "100 percent comfortable" around stairs, but she does feel more in control of the fear.