Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fear of Phobias

by Annette Dashofy

I should probably leave the topic of phobias to Tory, as I have no expertise in mental health or the workings of the mind. I do, however, have a few phobias. Some of them can be explained by life experiences. Most are just plain silly. Or so they seem to me.

First, a few things that I’m NOT scared of: I am not scared of the dark. That’s nyctophobia, by the way. I love wandering around my yard or the pasture after dark. The stars are incredible when you don’t have the glare of streetlights to drown them out. In fact, one of my biggest concerns when we got new neighbors was that they might put up a dusk-to-dawn light. So far, so good.

I do admit to being somewhat scared of some of the noises I hear when I’m walking in the dark outside. Living in the country, it’s not the idea of muggers or criminals that worries me (although my crime-writer imagination can easily be set loose in that area and send me running indoors), but rather the very real possibility of an encounter with a skunk. Is there such a thing as skunkophobia? Perhaps that falls under olfactophobia (fear of odors).

I do NOT suffer from claustrophobia, or fear of confined spaces. Elevators don’t freak me out. Then again, I’ve never been stuck in one.

On the other hand, I do have brontophobia. Or maybe it’s karaunophobia. That would be the fear of storms, thunder and lightning. Our house was struck by lightning when I was little and caught on fire. A few years later, some pyromaniac kids burnt down our barn leading to my case of pyrophobia. Yep. Fear of fire.

Another life experience left me with a bad case of hydrophobia. When I was six, I almost drowned resulting in my fear of water. But only if it threatens to go over my head. I love walking on the beach and getting my feet wet. Just not my face.

That brings us to the one that I have no explanation for. Acrophobia. The fear of heights. Although, acrophobia doesn’t accurately describe it for me. I’m not so much scared of heights. I’m scared of FALLING. Yet, I can’t find a specific phobia for falling. Getting even more detailed, maybe it’s the fear of the sudden stop at the bottom that gets me. Splatophobia?

I mean, I don’t mind being up high on an overlook with a railing. I get nauseous when I’m on a ledge with NO railing. I don’t mind being UP there. I’m just not at all interested in falling DOWN.

So what phobias plague you? Do you have verminophobia? That’s the fear of germs, although it sounds to me more like a fear of mice. But, no, that’s musophobia. How about bathmophobia? No, it’s not the fear of baths, but rather the fear of stairways. Go figure. If you really are scared of bathing, you’ve got ablutophobia.

Want to find out the name for what scares you? Click here. Then come back and share your deepest, darkest fears, as well as what they’re called.

26 comments:

Gina said...

I thought I was afraid of a lot of things, but looking at that list makes me feel really brave. I've never been scared of hearing good news (euphobia) in my life!

Joyce said...

I used to have gephyrophobia-the fear of crossing bridges. I remember when I was a kid, I'd always open my car window anytime we crossed the West End Bridge, so I wouldn't get trapped in the car if the bridge fell into the river. I never thought much about the fact that if the car fell that far, I'd probably be dead and it wouldn't matter. Fortunately, I seem to have outgrown that phobia.

Like you Annette, I don't like the water much. I don't know why, though, but I'm sure it ties into the bridge phobia. I have a fear of drowning. Just the thought of it makes it hard to breathe.

Kristine said...

Wow, in looking at that list, there really is a name for everything, huh? Does that prove we're a fearful society or that we like coming up with names for things?

I am deathly afraid of needles, which according to the list is called "Aichmophobia." I guess my fainting is a coping mechanism.

Annette said...

It does kinda makes you wonder about the person who would be afraid to hear GOOD news, huh?

I keep thinking that some of these phobias would be great to give to our characters to make them more "interesting."

Does your protagonist have any phobias you'd like to share?

Joyce said...

Kristine, one of our officers here is afraid of needles. When we get our flu shots in the fall, it's really fun to watch him turn white at the sight of that itty-bitty needle!

Joyce said...

Annette, my protagonist has a fear of commitment, but that's probably not a phobia. Maybe I'll give her the drowning phobia. That might be good for a future book.

Lee Lofland said...

Now, in addition to all my other quirks (thanks to today's post), I think I have readafearaphobia. I don't like reading about my fears. It scares me. :)

Actually, I briefly mentioned a few of these fears in my book. I did so because sometimes would-be killers attempt to use a person's phobias as a means of murder, such as tossing a live snake on a person who's afraid of them. By doing so, the killer hopes to generate a fatal heart attack. It rarely ever works, but they try. Normally, the worst that happens is the victim wets their pants or passes out, or both.

Hey Joyce, we used to have an officer who was deathly afraid to cross the street. In fact, to avoid crossing, she'd drive around the block over and over again just to find a parking spot on the side where she needed to be.

Thank goodness that during an emergency should could turn on her blue lights and park wherever she wanted to.

Image the panic attack she suffered the first time she had to direct traffic from the middle of an intersection.

Lee Lofland said...

Thank goodness that during an emergency should could turn on her blue lights and park wherever she wanted to.

That should have read, "she could," not should could.

Now I have a fear of making typos in public....

sorry...

Kathy MH said...

My husband got me the pop-up book of phobias for a gift last Christmas (all of your fears, illustrated in three dimensions!), which only served to reinforce that I apparently have a fear of pop-up books.

Kathy MH

Joyce said...

Kathy, I love that book!

Joyce said...

Lee, you never fail to make me laugh! I think I have a fear of reading your comments with food or drink in my mouth...

Annette said...

Joyce, that would be anginophobia...the fear of choking. I couldn't find a listing for the fear of snorting coffee through your nose.

My protagonist can't swim and has a fear of drowning, which, of course, she almost does in my first manuscript.

Kristine said...

Okay, my protagonist doesn't have a phobia. She has an inner fear, but I think that's something different. I need to think of something, and this list makes it much easier! I just bookmarked it.

Phobias are very interesting to me. We once had an exterminator come to our house who was afraid of spiders. Go figure.

Nancy said...

Lee, I'm the person who'd die if you threw a snake at me.

I used to have a terrible nightmare that my children were drowning in a pond & I had to swim through snakes to reach them. Woke me up in a sweat every time.

I want to see that pop-up book, though!

Joyce said...

Nancy, here's a link to a good photo of the pop up book:

http://www.thewirelesscatalog.com/wireless/Fun_1AD/Item_The-Pop-Up-Book-of-Phobias_PJ6842_ps_cti-1AD.html

Lee Lofland said...

I'm not so sure a book that has things suddenly popping up is good for people with fear issues.

Annette said...

Eek. That's the kind of book I would get for someone I REALLY didn't like very much. Kathy, your husband seems like such a nice guy. And yet he bought that for you??? Hmmm.

Kathy MH said...

Where you see nice, I see a man plotting my untimely demise;)

Actually, for a long time we planned on giving the book as our standard gift for new babies, 'cause we're evil like that (don't worry, Kristine -- you're safe. We'll come up with something much more maniacal for the child of a mystery writer).

Kristine said...

Kathy, you're so funny! LOL!

Nothing like starting little babies off on the right foot...er, I mean phobia.

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Anonymous said...

Basiphobia is the fear of falling, just to let you know.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's the fear of falling down, but same meaning. Don't worry, I have it too.

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When I read this first time I was scared.

Skye said...

Basiphobia isn't technically the fear of falling, its the fear of WALKING and falling. NOT the same thing, for that anonymus person who posted. I have a horrible fear of falling from heights but not a fear of heights. There doesnt seem to BE a specific fear for just FALLING. ((Come to think of it though, maybe I just fear the adrenaline rush... God I hate that feeling...))

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