My Irrational Fears

Posted on October 11, 2010


I have come to the conclusion that when faced with my fears as a child I can’t count the umpteen amount of times when I ran away screaming at the top of my lungs with my hands flaying about my head.  I honestly believed that this would be an everyday occurrence in my life.  As I got older some of my fears have increased, I don’t have the option of running away as faced with my fears I become rooted to the spot, my mouth goes dry and if I try to scream nothing comes out, because for a few seconds I’ve actually stopped breathing.  Can you relate to this?

I’ve done some research, well I goggled it, so don’t hold me to this but on studies conducted these are what are considered to be the top ten most current fears in the UK:

 1. Fear of spiders (arachnophobia).  

2. Fear of being misjudged (social phobia).

3. Fear of flying (aerophobia).

4. Fear of any place where escape may be difficult (agoraphobia).

5. Fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia).

6. Fear of heights (acrophobia).

7. Fear of vomit (emetophobia).

8. Extreme fear of cancer (carcinophobia).

9. Fear of thunderstorms (brontophobia).

10. Fear of the dead (necrophobia).

 I can see there are some similarities but I was surprised at how much that list differs to the top ten fears in the USA:

 1. Snakes (Ophidiophobia).

2. Speaking in public (Glossophobia).

3. Heights (acrophobia).

4. Being closed in a small space (claustrophobia).

5. Spiders (arachnophobia).

6. Needles and getting shots (Trypanophobia)

7. Mice (musophobia)

8. Flying on a plane (aerophobia).

9. Dogs (sorry, Lassie)( cynophobia)

10. Thunder and lightning (brontophobia).

I do not think I would be wrong to say that everyone I know has at least one irrational fear, for me I have a few things (I hate admitting this but maybe admitting it is halfway towards solving the problem) but not all of them are irrational, well in my mind they are quite rational.  

I am scared of large expanses of water; I actually managed to overcome this one when my son was born.  I took lessons but an unfortunate incident caused by another swimmer has put paid to that and I’m right back where I started. 

I also had a huge fear of clowns, which if taken by surprise I think still remains.  My mum took me to the circus when I was 4 and in those days they would take a selection of the children into the ring to pet the ponies and have your picture taken.  I was happily standing there with my candy floss (cotton candy as it’s sometimes called) holding my mum’s hand when this heavily made up clown picked me up with no warning and promptly stuck his face right into mine to rub noses.  I have never been so terrified in my life but more to the point if there was one in my face now I would probably punch it or at least drop kick him into next week, so maybe I am over that one. 

I have a tendency to sleep with the light on, not because I’m afraid of the dark but because I’m afraid of what’s in the dark.  I can’t explain this one I think it might be because I always had a nightlight as a child and its more habit or maybe it comes down to fearing the unknown, who can say but I know for me I will never sleep in the dark unless there is someone there with me.

So all that aside my biggest fear, oh yes I have another one it’s not heights, or closed spaces, fear of cotton wool, nothing like that.  My biggest fear is one of the top ones in the UK, quite ironic really as we don’t have what is considered dangerous or venomous spiders here but even the word ‘SPIDER’ brings Goosebumps to my skin, sends shivers down my spine, pulls in my shoulders and compounds me to feverishly look around my immediate vicinity.  I cannot escape this fear because as winter draws nearer and the weather is turning, my house is becoming a free hotel for a national spider convention. 

 My fear is so compounded that I cannot even touch plastic ones, my Halloween party house was hilarious, I decorated it with lovely lanterns, witches, skeletons, fake cobwebs and then got my friends to sporadically chuck plastic spiders all over.   I thought “they are plastic it’s going to be fine” but then spent the next 3 hours having palpitations because I couldn’t tell the difference between the plastic and the real deal.  I find it hard to look at them in pictures or on TV and I even struggle when there is several inches of glass between us.  I have tried every known ‘cure’ to rid me of this fear.  The fact that they are more scared of me than I of them does not ring true with me, I have come across some very large and very mean spiders that do not run away, and in fact they menacingly scuttled towards me, fangs at the ready.  It’s as if my fear resonates throughout the house and as much as I don’t like to kill them, I am often faced with the ‘them or me’ situation. 

So what happened to me to make me this way? My mum has told me as a small child, I would pick them up and collect them in matchboxes, build little territories for them and was actually quite fascinated by them.  I can’t remember this and often think my mum gets deluded about me as a child, often confusing me with the perfect one she wished she hadJ.   In short I have no idea, something obviously triggered a fearful reaction and in my mind it had quite an affect as it has left me with this irrational fear that I just cannot get over. 

I was hoping that my son wouldn’t have this fear and that he would be the one who can rescue me from the evil spiders instead of me having to ring my mum to come and get rid of them.  What I am particularly sad about is that as much as I have tried to be brave when my son is around I have actually passed this fear to him.  This is something I just didn’t want to happen but when your fear is so compounded there really isn’t much you can do.   What it has done is make me even more determined to overcome my fear and show him that there isn’t anything to be scared of and hopefully help him to overcome the fear that was inevitably installed in him by me.  Wish me luck

Do you have an irrational fear? A story of how your fear impacts your life? Or even a fear that you’ve overcome?  If so I would really like to hear about it.