Phobia: noun; a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it. (dictionary.reference.com)
I have fears; we all do. So when does a fear become a phobia? It becomes a phobia when it is irrational - for instance, being afraid of something that can't hurt you. It becomes a phobia when you go out of your way to avoid it (and therefore affects your day-to-day life). It becomes a phobia when the fear consumes you.
Growing up, I had arachnophobia. It's a common phobia, and one I've somewhat outgrown. I think I've outgrown it because other things have taken the place of my irrational fear of spiders. I can actually leave a spider alone in my house and not freak out or feel like I have to kill it. If it's big, I want it out of the house, but small ones don't seem to bother me anymore (as long as they don't get ON me). I think I used to fear them because of the way they look - sort of evil and menacing. It's not like I've ever been bitten by a brown recluse or a black widow that would give me a healthy fear of spiders. That's why it's a phobia - it's irrational.
I also had a fear of silverfish and cockroaches. I think I feared them for much the same reason I feared spiders... Both creepy crawlies still freak me out, but not as bad as when I was younger. You can't tell me you wouldn't be afraid of roaches if you found one in Barbie's bed. *shudder*
My Orthopterophobia began roughly at the end of 2003, beginning of 2004. I lived in a friend's basement. My room was infested with sprickets (aka camel crickets or cave crickets - if you don't know what they are, look them up. But I warn you. They are devil spawn). I slept with a can of Raid on the nightstand, and wouldn't get out of bed in the morning until I had flipped on the light and, standing on the bed, sprayed every last one of them. Go ahead and laugh. I'm sure I was quite a sight to behold - standing on my bed, armed with my Raid - but if you've ever come across a spricket, you understand. It's a wonder I survived my 6 months in that house. I'm sure I was breathing in way too much Raid fumes, but it's what I had to do. That experience led to my fear of crickets in general - insects I've never liked to begin with (Granddaddy always had to bait my hook when we went fishing) but didn't fear until I'd met my first spricket. *shudder*
Moving on. I don't know when my fear of wasps and bees (only stinging ones - not the cute, fat bumbles) began. I don't like the buzzing sound they make when they fly. I don't like the fact that they can sting me. I don't like how evil they look. All I know is that it is a huge accomplishment for me to be able to kill the wasps that get into my classroom. Most of the time I have to be rescued... Just ask my coworkers and the building service workers...
I've developed entonophobia because I can't stand ticks. They're creepy, crawlies of the tiny variety, but what freaks me out about them is that they want to be ON me. I've now had 4 ticks on me in my lifetime, and each one was more traumatic than the last... If you haven't figured it out, I don't do well with bugs - especially ones that are ON me. I suppose I also have a fear of lice, but it's not as bad as the fear of ticks. Lice aren't trying to suck my blood. This whole blog entry idea was sparked when I found a tick on the back of my knee last night. At the same time, the house I was in was dealing with an ant problem, and an unidentified creepy crawly had come in from outside. Not a good evening for me. I'm itching all over just thinking about it, and I have goosebumps.
I do have several other phobias in addition to the creepy crawly ones... I sometimes experience a fear of crowds and a fear of new things. Since I do not always experience these feelings, I don't know if they are true phobias. I find the times they bother me most is when I have to deal with them at the same time and I am by myself. Going to a new place that is going to be crowded is a big problem for me, especially if I am alone. If I am with someone I trust, I can generally handle it. I still become very anxious, but I can handle it. Facing it alone is typically enough to make me not do it at all, even if it means missing out on something I'd really like to do. Sometimes, just one or the other will be enough to stop me in my tracks. I don't like crowds and I don't like things that are unfamiliar - especially places where there may be crowds of strangers.
In my research I discovered there are some quite unusual phobias out there like hominophobia/androphobia (fear of men), asymmetriphobia (fear of asymmetrical things), barophobia (fear of gravity), and papyrophobia (fear of paper)... I am thankful I don't have more phobias than I do. I'm also thankful not to have triskaidekaphobia since 13 is my lucky number. I found one phobia that really made me laugh. It's called: Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia and it is the fear of long words. If I counted correctly, it has 14 syllables and 35 letters.That's just so very, very wrong!!! Wouldn't a diminutive word have sufficed? *giggle* Sorry, couldn't help myself. I can't imagine having that phobia because of my love of words. I'll keep my entomophobia. Thanks.
Fears I have
Entomophobia: fear of insects
Entonophobia: fear of ticks
Orthopterophobia: fear of crickets, grasshoppers, etc
Arachnophobia: fear of spiders
Spheksophobia: fear of wasps
Apiphobia: fear of bees
Herpetophobia: fear of reptiles or creepy, crawly things
Enoclophobia/Demophobia - fear of crowds
Cainophobia/Cainotophobia - fear of newness/novelty
Check out phobialist.com for a long list of phobias... It's the place from where I got most of my phobia names. So what are your fears and phobias? Maybe you have nomophobia? I do. It's a fear of being without your cell phone.
Thought of the Day: "We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot." ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Noble advice, but I'm not ready to face my fears... yet.