Good morning friends! How are you? Good? Good! Let me ruin that for you! Just kidding. Sort of.
Let’s talk about scary things. There are a lot of things that scare me. Violent horror films, aliens, mirrors, cats, running out of chocolate…the list goes on. Finding something scary for a moment ,however, is a lot different then having a true phobia.What I find so interesting about phobias is that I found out a while ago that there are some phobias that are learned, while others are actually left over instincts from back in the day when we lived outside in the wilderness. Phobias like fear of snakes, spiders, darkness, and a lot of others are actually meant to keep us from harm. Other ones though, like the fear of clowns for example, are learned. I’m pretty sure there were not cave man clowns. If there were, that’s pretty damn terrifying.
Personally, I have four phobias. They are, in no particular order of how much I hate them:
I am sure everyone knows what this one is. Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders. I have no idea what started me on it, but I believe that all four of my phobias are actually innate, and due to the fact that I am a generally emotional and sensitive person, it isn’t exactly a surprise that there are so prevalent in my personality. Spiders make me feel fear as if I am in danger. Whether they are big or small, Daddy Long Legs or Black Widows, I am afraid. Only now, at the age of 24, am I finally brave enough to kill them. Before, I could not bring myself to kill one for fear it would get on me and bite me. Many times I have my dog Luna kill them for me, but if I am not sure if they are poisonous, I have to do it myself.
When I was in high school, I didn’t actually realize it until I was told by a doctor, but I was bit on the arm by a spider. I woke up one day with a big red spot on my arm, and it turned purple, and then my entire arm swelled. It was very painful, but I had no idea what was going on. It wasn’t until a popular boy in my theater class who was a self proclaimed expert camper told me to show him my arm, which I reluctantly did because it was gross and he was hot, and told me that it was a spider bite, and that you could even see the fangs in it. First leaky faucet face, now swollen spider bitten arm, am I sexy or what?
Before that bite, I was still arachnophobic. As a little girl I would constantly check the four corners of every room before walking in, and even outside I was paranoid about spiders being anywhere and everywhere. For one christmas, my grandparents got me a beautifully illustrated book of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” to cure my phobia, and I enjoyed it, but when they tried to tell me spiders weren’t scary, I told them that the only reason that particular one in the book wasn’t is because she wasn’t real, and then I went back to my usual panic. What a little asshole.
This phobia is actually more common than you may think, and no, it is not a fear of mottes. I don’t even own a castle, guys. Don’t be silly. Mottephobia is the fear of moths. I’m not actually sure whether or not this one is learned or innate; all I know is that I absolutely hate moths. Most things that flutter or fly around all spastically, rather than just flying normally, freak me out. So who do I consider spastic fliers? moths, Mosquito-Eaters, dragonflies, and yes, even butterflies. Butterflies freak me out, which is why when I go to zoos and they have those beautiful enclosed butterfly gardens, while all the four year old girls are loving it and thinking, “oh, pretty!” I’m standing there, a grown woman, thinking, “oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god.” They don’t make me feel nearly as terrified as spiders do, but they’re up there, and certainly make me more anxious. If I find a moth or spider in my room, even once I get rid of it, I can’t sleep because I become convinced that there will be more. There rarely is, but that’s sort of how anxiety works. It doesn’t exactly make a person think logically.
So, basically, fuck moths. And spiders.
Now that we’re past bugs, let’s move on to bigger things. When I first decided to write this, I was sure I was claustrophobic. Turns out, I’m not. Instead, I’m nyctophobic! The difference is that claustrophobia is a fear of small, enclosed spaces. I have that a little, but I wouldn’t qualify myself as a sufferer of the phobia; but when it comes to dark places, big or small, I freak the hell out. Nyctophobia is exactly that- the fear of dark. Most children have it, and then grow out of it, but on occasion they don’t, and turn into people like me who really cannot handle darkness. Yes, I do sleep with a light on. It’s a salt rock lamp, to be specific, which is actually really neat. I don’t even need a large amount of light. Just a sliver of it is enough for me.
About two years ago, when I went to DisneyWorld with my mother, we went on a ride called Stich’s Great Escape. I have not been often, but the detail and art put into everything in these places is just stunning. This wasn’t so much a ride as it was a show. You walk in, and see all these amazing aliens, and then sit down in a room where Stitch is in the middle, in one of the containment capsules. Half way through, he escapes. The lights flash, things explode, and then, to my horror, the lights go out. Thanks to the fact that Disney is seriously ballin’, the flawless surround sound in the room makes you feel like stitch is running all over the place, causing havoc. Overall, it is really cool, but when you are nyctophobic and have clinical anxiety on top of it, the ride is a nightmare. I was beyond embarrassed because after we walked out, the children all came skipping down the hallway, while I was sat on the floor, hyperventilating, shaking, and crying. I always knew my fear of darkness was pretty severe, but this experience opened my eyes to exactly how severe it is. Now I realize that I must be much more careful about what kind of situations I put myself in. Naturally, it makes me a little bummed that I have to sit out of certain rides or things others consider fun, but I am not being a “baby” or a “scardy cat.” It’s like an illness. I would know, considering I have five billion of them.
Nyctophobia is my worst phobia by far, tied at number one with, drum roll please,
Okay. This is a weird one. Scientists and psychologists have been arguing for years about whether this one is even a real phobia at all, but I absolutely promise you, it is. My mother and I share this one, which is nice, because while it sucks that she has it as well, she understands why I freak out. So…what is it? If you were to google trypophobia, the most common definition you’ll find is “the irrational fear of holes.” *Sidenote, if you have this phobia, DON’T google it, because as I just learned, the first thing that comes up is a bunch of images that are the exact sort of thing that disturbs people who have it. That’s a little twisted, Google.
“The irrational fear of holes” to me, a terrible explanation of Trypophobia. For one thing, it isn’t just one hole. It isn’t like I see a hole on the ground and lose my mind. Instead, it’s a cluster of holes together that triggers me. Think of things like lotus pods, honeycombs, certain reptiles who have skin with those patterns, or an old leaf with holes in it. While these things might bother a person for a second, people with Trypophobia are much more than just bothered by them. Keep in mind, single holes or clusters of spots, like polka dotted clothing, usually don’t bother us. It’s an extremely specific sort of problem.
The peculiar thing about this phobia, and the other reason I say the definition of it is very inaccurate, is because unlike my other phobias, I don’t actually feel fear. Instead, most people who have Trypophobia feel disgust. Disgust isn’t exactly the best thing to feel, but it is different then fear. When I see something to trigger this phobia, I feel nauseous, my skin crawls, and I am genuinely disgusted. The way it makes us feel is one reason there is so much debate about this phobia. Phobia means fear of, right? Maybe it should be called Trypogrossia instead, because we are not fearful. We are repulsed.
For me specifically, my photographic memory worsens this fear, because if I see something, I get it locked in my memory for weeks, my anxiety skyrockets, and I generally feel like I want to jump out of my skin. The last time I saw something that triggered me, which I can’t describe to you because it will trigger me again, I didn’t sleep for nearly a month after, and compulsively would run my hands over my arms, legs, neck and back to make sure they were still smooth and not all freaky and gross. Just writing about this caused me to rub my arm at least three times in between typing. Urgh.
So, there you have it. Even more things that make me a little more strange. If you have phobias that really affect the way you live your life, I do consider you research them. While it won’t cure you, having an understanding of why your brain does what it does is wonderful. I personally find a little comfort in knowing why I am the way I am, even if what I am is weird.
I wasn’t sure if I would have a song for a post about phobias, but I actually have the perfect one! This post actually creeped me out. I’m going to go check my skin, check the corners of my house, and turn on all the lights now. Eep.
City streets at night can be so intimidating
I’m not the toughest guy, I gotta keep my eyes open
You came out of nowhere.
Man, you really freak me out, I’m so afraid of you. and when I lose my cool
I don’t know what to do.
I know you don’t mean no harm, you’re just doing your thing.
But man, you really freak me out.