Fear is something that follows us closely and torments us now and then. In childhood it was darkness that scared some of us, later it was spiders and other insects, later still – werewolves and other imaginary monsters (and what if they really exist?). They are things that are frightening, and we can feel justified in a way that we are afraid of them.
Yet there are perfectly harmless things can put a scare into some people to a great extent. And though these people are aware that they are outside of this particular kind of danger, they still live in fear of the things. This condition is called a phobia, and it is usually highly irrational but very potent.
Phobias can be social and cause severe anxiety when running into some kind of people. A striking example of it can be fear of clowns. These funny characters’ ultimate aim is to make us laugh by looking stupid, but for some it seems a subtly menacing attitude, and such kind of person dreads that they are about to do him or her irreparable harm as long as they are around. It may sound silly, but it isn’t for those who have this particular phobia!
However outlandish a phobia may be, it is a source of acute neurosis to the sufferer. People are in grip of something they cannot control, which paralyzes them and hamstrings their lives; since they realize their phobia is irrational, they feel ashamed. We have enough worries in this life, but some wretched people’s condition is aggravated by sudden onsets of fear that are as illogical as they are unexpected. Some of these fears are really, really unfathomable – see if you knew they existed!
Peanut butter will remain forever sticking to your teeth and palate! (Arachibutyrophobia)
If you like to take in a goodish amount of peanut butter periodically, you know how it is apt to stick to the root of your mouth. Maybe you don’t care, on the other hand, you may not like that quite strongly. But imagine people going in fear of it happening! Yes, Arachibutyrophobia can make a person lose control over themselves completely. While you apply your tongue to the task without thinking twice and get rid of the blob (getting more tasty sensation on the way), for those with this particular phobia it is a grave problem that sends them shivering, panicky. To escape this end-of-the-world feeling they have to forgo peanut butter.
Ducks are keeping their eye on you! (Anatidaephobia)
Have you ever looked a duck in the eye? Did it strike you as a very malevolent eye that fixes you and never leaves you wherever you go? Probably not. Well, people who have Anatidaephobia are dead sure that ducks stalk them ceaselessly, keep a watch on them and mean no good. You cannot relax your guard because ducks are omnipresent and can get at you at any moment of your life. Even if there are no ponds in the vicinity, you know that you have flocks of enemies that can surround you suddenly and give you a bad time. Horrible, isn’t it?
Bathing is a dangerous venture! (Ablutophobia)
Another strange phobia. If you can somehow get into your head that butter may choke you and ducks can give you an unpleasant moment, it’s next to impossible to picture fearing the tap in your bathroom. Nevertheless, it happens, and people are genuinely afraid of keeping themselves clean! According to studies, it is children and women who mostly fall prey to this phobia. The sound of running water is abhorrent to sufferers; the sight of a filling tub is practically unbearable. We cannot say what hazards they are in fear of – drowning? But we do know that it is highly irrational – and, arguably, one of the most inconvenient phobias for social life.
Flowers hide unspeakable dangers! (Anthophobia)
For many of us flowers are decorative, beautiful, symbolic of the wonders of Nature and just nice. We love to have them on our tables, on windows and in gardens. But what if petals, stems, fragrance can bring about terror and damnation? It’s hard to grasp, but people do suffer from this phobia. Warm seasons when the earth blooms with flowers spell for them prolonged agonies; they have to take refuge in the heart of the city, in buildings made from brick, steel and glass. Still, they shudder each time when their eye falls on a poster with flowers or they come into an office decorated with a bouquet of these evil plants!
Long words are driving you out of your mind! (Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia)
Those diagnosed with Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – regard the name, it speaks for itself – are afraid of long words. The person who came up with this name obviously didn’t belong to the sufferers, and never gave a thought to the fact that even ordinary people who are used to dealing with all kinds of words will be stumped with this one. A long word is “sesquipedalian,” and one should have thought that this would be enough for coining the term, but the psychiatric went all the length with it. Although this phobia is quite rare, imagine the shock one gets in the middle of a good book, or at work, when reading some professional text or an agreement. There’s nowhere you can hide from assault.
Working will be the end of you! (Ergophobia)
Yes, you’ve got it right: there are people who are mortally afraid of – working! We are at sea whether we should pity or envy such people. They stand in terror of looking around for a job, get extremely nervous when in a working environment, and are totally unable to perform even the easiest duties. What’s more, it’s an officially recognized disability. Or is it? How can a person get diagnosed with it? Will he have to work in order to provide the medicos with sufficient grounds to exonerate him from doing so in future? It may be an extremely difficult phobia to confirm. There may be sufferers who went through a long ordeal before they managed to prove they are genuinely work-neurotic.
There’s insidious harm in beards! (Pogonophobia)
Once again, fear of beards is a difficult kind of phobia to have, because you can run into a bearded person at any moment, and here you are wanting to cringe, run and hide. Nowadays beards are in fashion, and if you have Pogonophobia, you’re in for a bad time. Besides, how will your boyfriend or girlfriend take it that you are constantly break out in sweat, shudder and act up whenever you catch a glimpse of a bearded man? Not to mention other people, strangers, present on the scene. It ought to be unthinkably uncomfortable. Neither are you safe at home – bearded men can come up on TV when you least expect them!
This balloon is sure to pop right now with a loud bang! (Globophobia)
Balloons are a source of deep fear for those who have Globophobia. It can be balloons as objects that are used to decorate rooms and buildings, or it can be a morbid expectation that the balloons will pop on you all of a sudden. You have to watch them all the time so that they can’t do that to you unexpectedly… But you lose every time: either they do not pop at all, or they catch you with your guard down. While you can lead your life avoiding balloon-infested places, now and then you have to attend such events as birthday parties, opening events, all kinds of festivities. Uncanny that what is a symbol of joy and high spirits can mean so much trouble to a few.
Don’t even think of ordering anything with cheese! (Turophobia)
There is such a thing as bad cheese – but not so bad as that! Yet for turophobiacs cheese is something horrible. For some it applies to certain kinds of cheese only, but for others all cheeses are objectionable. Can you really imagine yourself horrified at a piece of delicious cheese? One can’t very well go into a restaurant or a café where cheese lies in wait everywhere, ready to get into your system and wreak havoc there. People dashing off to get as far from a yummy piece of pizza all covered with cheese. No, this is terrible kind of phobia to have.
Trees want to surround us… We must break through and run! (Hylophobia)
Trees can be fearsome, with their branches reaching out and grabbing people… At least that’s what people who have Hylophobia seem to believe. They are unnerved by forests and single trees alike. Living in the city may help some, but when we come to think of it, trees are found everywhere, even in the heart of any city, so for these people it’s difficult to get away from their sworn enemies. It is also an unpleasant task to explain to your sweetheart who invites you out on a picnic or for a stroll in the park that it’s impossible for you to be around those terrifying objects who love to brush against one with their twigs or drop leaves on one’s head and hands. Other people just don’t realize that danger lurks everywhere around them.
Small holes are pure terror! (Trypophobia)
You may not even notice them, but for some people small holes gape so alarmingly that the heart sinks at once, and all the symptoms of acute fear begin to manifest themselves. At the sight of such trifling objects as a sponge or honeycombs those who suffer from Trypophobia get dizzy, show great anxiety and even panic. In what way they perceive small holes as dangerous is not quite clear – what harm can come from these infinitesimal apertures? There’s no way they could be sucked down there. Nothing can come out that could seriously threaten your life and peace. Still, there are people that shudder uncontrollably when a hole is smaller than a certain set size…
Vampires will milk you dry – run for your life! (Sanguivoriphobia)
“Sanguivoriphobia” literally means “fear of blood eaters.” It‘s not about mosquitoes, but about those immaculately dressed aristocrats of old who invite you to their castles and bite through your jugular in the dead of night. The only thing left for you to do is PANIC!!! Those people never read books or watch films about vampires, because they are sure there are some among us, and if they haven’t been bitten yet, it’s only because they bide their time waiting for a better chance. The measures they take for guarding their bedrooms at night must be something formidable. You will never convince them that vampires don’t exist – there is enough evidence in books and movies.