“One should overcome one’s fears.”
This and any other inspiring quotes concerning how one mustn’t let fear take over their senses is a valuable piece of advice, but understanding it is quite a bit harder. Let’s face the facts – we all have fears. Whether it’s our father, our boss, cockroaches, public speaking or the dark, we all have at least one thing that sends a shiver up our spine.
Phobias are much more serious versions of fear. While a simple fear of heights might make you jittery and uncomfortable on the terrace of a twenty-story building, acrophobia will result in far more serious physical and psychological symptoms. Phobias can be a lot more persistent than fears and lead to extreme anxiety.
Some types of phobias are fairly common, such as Arachnophobia (the fear of spiders), Trypanophobia (fear of injections) and Claustrophobia (the fear of being in small or enclosed spaces). However, there are also many other absurd and bizarre phobias that many people hardly believe exist.
Let’s take a look at some of these strange phobias out there in the world:
1. Philophobia: Fear of falling in love or forming emotional attachments.
This often forces one to live in solitude and avoid making any human connections. Humankind has generally considered the ability to love as its greatest gift. Can you even imagine how difficult it would be to live with a condition like philophobia?
2. Anthophobia: Fear of flowers.
Yes, a deep-seated fear of flowers! While people suffering from this condition may understand that flowers don’t really pose a physical threat to them, the sight or even the thought of flowers still results in extreme anxiety.
3. Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia: Fear of long words.
People suffering from this phobia probably won’t be able to read the name of their condition without getting the shakes. Like most phobias, one isn’t born with such a fear. Instead, it is usually triggered by some incidence or experiences in one’s life. The term hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia can be broken down into different parts to understand the meaning – the first part of the word obviously refers to the Hippopotamus. “Monstr” is of Greek origin, meaning something monstrous and terrifying. “Sesquippedalio” is also of Greek origin, and means ‘measuring a foot and a half long’. Finally, phobia is derived from “phobos”, which means morbid fear.
4. Spectrophobia: Fear of mirrors.
People with spectrophobia may fear the breaking of mirrors, they might be terrified of someone jumping right out of the mirror to scare them, or feel that mirrors might even suck them into some supernatural world. Often, spectrophobia is caused by traumatizing events, such as watching a horror movie, or from superstitions related to mirrors and ghosts.
5. Pedophobia: Fear of children.
This intense fear results in anxiety in the presence of, or even just the thought of babies or children. It can be caused by a huge range of both psychological and sociological triggers, and several academicians have tried examining this strange issue. However, one still cannot pinpoint a particular cause or treatment for this peculiar condition. One behavioral treatment, of course, is not having kids, or at least avoiding them whenever possible.
6. Haphephobia: Fear of being touched.
This is one of the few phobias that a person can be born with. However, there are many who develop this fear over time, usually as a result of a bad experience. Often, this sensation is related to a fear of sexual assault. A person with Haphephobia may have no troubles during social events or when making friends and other social connections, but anything even approaching physical contact will make them extremely uncomfortable.
7. Trypophobia: Fear of irregular patterns or holes.
Now, this phobia is truly a weird one. I’m sure that there are many people who have experienced something like this, but didn’t realize that the feeling actually had a name. Have you ever been creeped out at the sight of a beehive? Or those droplets of condensed water on a chilled bottle of beer? If your answer is a begrudging “yes”, then you understand what trypophobia can feel like. It can cause anxiety, uneasiness, and in the most severe cases, itching and vomiting at the sight of something that contains a cluster of holes or pods.
We live in a world that is quite amusing, but it’s also very scary. Fears are not always based on rational grounds, and while it’s easy to laugh at some of these phobias, it’s just as important to understand that these are real conditions that people must face every day. People suffering from these conditions don’t have the easiest time in the world, so if you come across someone who has one of these phobias, just remember to approach these individuals with understanding and compassion.