Most irrational fears
Phobias and Irrational Fears - HelpGuide.org
Is a phobia keeping you from doing things you'd like to do? Learn how to recognize, treat, and overcome the problem.
What is a phobia?
Almost everyone has an irrational fear or two—of spiders, for example, or your annual dental checkup. For most people, these fears are minor. But when fears become so severe that they cause tremendous anxiety and interfere with your normal life, they’re called phobias.
A phobia is an intense fear of something that, in reality, poses little or no actual danger. Common phobias and fears include closed-in places, heights, highway driving, flying insects, snakes, and needles. However, you can develop phobias of virtually anything. While most phobias develop in childhood, they can also develop in later life.
If you have a phobia, you probably realize that your fear is irrational, yet you still can't control your feelings. Just thinking about the feared object or situation may make you anxious. And when you're actually exposed to the thing you fear, the terror is automatic and overwhelming. The experience is so nerve-wracking that you may go to great lengths to avoid it—inconveniencing yourself or even changing your lifestyle. If you have claustrophobia, for example, you might turn down a lucrative job offer if you have to ride the elevator to get to the office. If you have a fear of heights, you might drive an extra 20 miles in order to avoid a tall bridge.
Understanding your phobia is the first step to overcoming it. It's important to know that phobias are common. (Having a phobia doesn't mean you're crazy!) It also helps to know that phobias are highly treatable. No matter how out of control it feels right now, you can overcome your anxiety and fear and start living the life you want.
Barbara's fear of flying
Barbara is terrified of flying. Unfortunately, she has to travel a lot for work, and this traveling takes a terrible toll. For weeks before every trip, she has a knot in her stomach and a feeling of anxiety that won't go away. On the day of the flight, she wakes up feeling like she's going to throw up. Once she's on the plane, her heart pounds, she feels lightheaded, and she starts to hyperventilate. It gets worse and worse with every flight.
Barbara's fear of flying has gotten so bad that she finally told her boss she can only travel to places within driving distance. Her boss was not happy about this, and Barbara's not sure what will happen at work. She's afraid she'll be demoted or lose her job altogether. But better that, she tells herself, than getting on a plane again.
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“Normal” fears vs. phobias or “irrational” fears
It is normal and even helpful to experience fear in dangerous situations. Fear serves a protective purpose, activating the automatic “fight-or-flight” response. With our bodies and minds alert and ready for action, we are able to respond quickly and protect ourselves. But with phobias the threat is nonexistent or greatly exaggerated. For example, it is only natural to be afraid of a snarling Doberman, but it is irrational to be terrified of a friendly poodle on a leash, as you might be if you have a dog phobia.
|The difference between normal fear and a phobia|
|Feeling anxious when flying through turbulence or taking off during a storm||Not going to your best friend's island wedding because you'd have to fly there|
|Experiencing butterflies when peering down from the top of a skyscraper or climbing a tall ladder||Turning down a great job because it's on the 10th floor of the office building|
|Getting nervous when you see a pit bull or a Rottweiler||Steering clear of the park because you might see a dog|
|Feeling a little queasy when getting a shot or when your blood is being drawn||Avoiding necessary medical treatments or doctor's checkups because you're terrified of needles|
Normal fears in children
Many childhood fears are natural and tend to develop at specific ages. For example, many young children are afraid of the dark and may need a nightlight to sleep. That doesn't mean they have a phobia. In most cases, they will grow out of this fear as they get older.
For example, the following childhood fears are extremely common and considered normal:
0-2 years – Loud noises, strangers, separation from parents, large objects.
3-6 years – Imaginary things such as ghosts, monsters, the dark, sleeping alone, strange noises.
7-16 years – More realistic fears such as injury, illness, school performance, death, natural disasters.
If your child's fear is not interfering with their daily life or causing them a great deal of distress, then there's little cause for undue concern. However, if the fear is interfering with your child's social activities, school performance, or sleep, you may want to see a qualified child therapist.
Common types of phobias and fears
There are four general types of phobias and fears:
- Animal phobias such as the fear of snakes, spiders, rodents, and dogs.
- Natural environment phobias such as a fear of heights, storms, water, and of the dark.
- Situational phobias (fears triggered by a specific situation) including the fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), flying, driving, tunnels, and bridges.
- Blood-Injection-Injury phobia, the fear of blood, injury, illness, needles, or other medical procedures.
Some phobias, however, don't fall into one of the four common categories. These include fear of choking, fear of getting a disease such as cancer, and fear of clowns. Other common phobias that don't fit neatly into any of the four categories include:
Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is fear of social situations where you may be embarrassed or judged. If you have social phobia, then you may be excessively self-conscious and afraid of humiliating yourself in front of others. Your anxiety over how you will look and what others will think may lead you to avoid certain social situations you'd otherwise enjoy.
Fear of public speaking—an extremely common phobia—is a type of social phobia. Other fears associated with social phobia include fear of eating or drinking in public, talking to strangers, taking exams, mingling at a party, or being called on in class.
Agoraphobia was traditionally thought to involve a fear of public places and open spaces, but is now believed to develop as a complication of panic attacks.
If you're afraid of having another panic attack, you become anxious about being in situations where escape would be difficult or embarrassing. For example, you're likely to avoid crowded places such as shopping malls and movie theaters. You may also avoid cars, airplanes, subways, and other forms of travel. In more severe cases, you might only feel safe at home.
The symptoms of a phobia can range from mild feelings of apprehension and anxiety to a full-blown panic attack. Typically, the closer you are to the thing you're afraid of, the greater your fear will be. Your fear will also be higher if getting away is difficult.
Physical symptoms of a phobia include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Racing or pounding heart
- Chest pain or tightness
- Trembling or shaking
- Feeling dizzy or light-headed
- A churning stomach
- Hot or cold flashes; tingling sensations
Emotional symptoms of a phobia include:
- Feeling overwhelming anxiety or panic
- Feeling intense need to escape
- Feeling “unreal” or detached from yourself
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Feeling like you're going to die or pass out
- Knowing that you're overreacting, but feeling powerless to control fear
Symptoms of blood-injection-injury phobia
The symptoms of blood-injection-injury phobia are slightly different from other phobias. When confronted with the sight of blood or a needle, you experience not only fear, but also disgust.
Like other phobias, you initially feel anxious as your heart speeds up. However, unlike other phobias, this acceleration is followed by a quick drop in blood pressure, which leads to nausea, dizziness, and fainting. Although a fear of fainting is common in all specific phobias, blood-injection-injury phobia is the only phobia where fainting can actually occur. Read: Overcoming a Fear of Needles.
When to seek help for phobias and fears
Although phobias are common, they don't always cause considerable distress or significantly disrupt your life. For example, if you have a snake phobia, it may cause no problems in your everyday activities if you live in a city where you're not likely to run into one. On the other hand, if you have a severe phobia of crowded spaces, living in a big city would pose a problem.
If your phobia doesn't impact your life that much, it's probably nothing to be concerned about. But if avoidance of the object, activity, or situation that triggers your phobia interferes with your normal functioning, or keeps you from doing things you would otherwise enjoy, it's time to seek help.
Consider treatment for your phobia if:
- It causes intense and disabling fear, anxiety, and panic
- You recognize that your fear is excessive and unreasonable
- You avoid certain situations and places because of your phobia
- Your avoidance interferes with your normal routine or causes significant distress
- You've had the phobia for at least six months
Treating a phobia
Self-help strategies and therapy can both be effective at treating a phobia. What's best for you depends on factors such as the severity of your phobia, your access to professional therapy, and the amount of support you need.
As a general rule, self-help is always worth a try. The more you can do for yourself, the more in control you'll feel—which goes a long way when it comes to phobias and fears. However, if your phobia is so severe that it triggers panic attacks or uncontrollable anxiety, you may want to seek additional support.
Therapy for phobias has a great track record. Not only does it work extremely well, but you tend to see results very quickly—sometimes in as a little as one to four sessions. However, support doesn't have to come in the guise of a professional therapist. Just having someone to hold your hand or stand by your side as you face your fears can be extremely helpful.
Phobia self-help tip 1: Face your fears, one step at a time
It's only natural to want to avoid the thing or situation you fear. But when it comes to conquering phobias, facing your fears is the key. While avoidance may make you feel better in the short-term, it prevents you from learning that your phobia may not be as frightening or overwhelming as you think. You never get the chance to learn how to cope with your fears and experience control over the situation. As a result, the phobia becomes increasingly scarier and more daunting in your mind.
The most effective way to overcome a phobia is by gradually and repeatedly exposing yourself to what you fear in a safe and controlled way. During this exposure process, you'll learn to ride out the anxiety and fear until it inevitably passes. Through repeated experiences facing your fear, you'll begin to realize that the worst isn't going to happen; you're not going to die or “lose it.” With each exposure, you'll feel more confident and in control. The phobia begins to lose its power.
It's important to begin with a situation that you can handle, and work your way up from there, building your confidence and coping skills as you move up the “fear ladder.”
Make a list. Make a list of the frightening situations related to your phobia. If you're afraid of flying, your list (in addition to the obvious, such as taking a flight or getting through takeoff) might include booking your ticket, packing your suitcase, driving to the airport, watching planes take off and land, going through security, boarding the plane, and listening to the flight attendant present the safety instructions.
Build your fear ladder. Arrange the items on your list from the least scary to the most scary. The first step should make you slightly anxious, but not so frightened that you're too intimidated to try it. When creating the ladder, it can be helpful to think about your end goal (for example, to be able to be near dogs without panicking) and then break down the steps needed to reach that goal.
Work your way up the ladder. Start with the first step and don't move on until you start to feel more comfortable doing it. If possible, stay in the situation long enough for your anxiety to decrease. The longer you expose yourself to the thing you're afraid of, the more you'll get used to it and the less anxious you'll feel when you face it the next time. Once you've done a step on several separate occasions without feeling too much anxiety, you can move on to the next step. If a step is too hard, break it down into smaller steps or go slower.
Practice. The more often you practice, the quicker your progress will be. However, don't rush. Go at a pace that you can manage without feeling overwhelmed. And remember: you will feel uncomfortable and anxious as you face your fears, but the feelings are only temporary. If you stick with it, the anxiety will fade.
Facing a fear of dogs: A sample fear ladder
Step 1: Look at pictures of dogs.
Step 2: Watch a video with dogs in it.
Step 3: Look at a dog through a window.
Step 4: Stand across the street from a dog on a leash.
Step 5: Stand 10 feet away from a dog on a leash.
Step 6: Stand five feet away from a dog on a leash.
Step 7: Stand beside a dog on a leash.
Step 8: Pet a small dog that someone is holding.
Step 9: Pet a larger dog on a leash.
Step 10: Pet a larger dog off leash.
If you start to feel overwhelmed…
While it's natural to feel scared or anxious as you face your phobia, if you start to feel overwhelmed, immediately back off and use the techniques outlined below to quickly calm your nervous system.
Tip 2: Learn to calm down quickly
When you're afraid or anxious, you experience a variety of uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as a racing heart and a suffocating feeling. These physical sensations can be frightening themselves—and a large part of what makes your phobia so distressing. However, by learning how to calm yourself down quickly, you can become more confident in your ability to tolerate uncomfortable sensations and face your fears.
Perform a simple deep breathing exercise. When you're anxious, you tend to take quick, shallow breaths (known as hyperventilating), which actually adds to the physical feelings of anxiety. By breathing deeply from the abdomen, you can reverse these physical sensations and feel less tense, less short of breath, and less anxious. Practice when you're feeling calm until you're familiar and comfortable with the exercise.
- Sit or stand comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Take a slow breath in through your nose, counting to four. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale through your mouth to a count of eight, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
- Inhale again, repeating the cycle until you feel relaxed and centered.
- Practice this deep breathing technique for five minutes twice day. When you're comfortable with the technique, you can use it when you're facing your phobia or in another stressful situation.
Use your senses
One of the quickest and most reliable ways to relieve anxiety is by engaging one or more of your senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch—or through movement. But since everyone is different, you'll need to do some experimenting to discover what works best for you.
Movement – Go for a walk, jump up and down, or gently stretch. Dancing, drumming, and running can be especially effective at relieving anxiety.
Sight – Look at anything that relaxes you or makes you smile: a beautiful view, family photos, cat pictures on the Internet.
Sound – Listen to soothing music, sing a favorite tune, or play a musical instrument. Or enjoy the relaxing sounds of nature (either live or recorded): ocean waves, wind through the trees, birds singing.
Smell – Light scented candles. Smell the flowers in a garden. Breathe in the clean, fresh air. Spritz on your favorite perfume.
Taste – Slowly eat a favorite treat, savoring each bite. Sip a cup of coffee or herbal tea. Chew on a stick of gum. Enjoy a mint or your favorite hard candy.
Touch – Give yourself a hand or neck massage. Cuddle a pet. Wrap yourself in a soft blanket. Sit outside in the cool breeze.
Meditation for stress and anxiety relief
When fear or anxiety starts to carry you away, meditating can help stop it in its tracks. And with regular practice, meditation boosts activity in the area of the brain responsible for feelings of serenity, helping to quell fear and panic before they strike.
Tip 3: Challenge negative thoughts about your phobia
When you have a phobia, you tend to overestimate how bad it will be if you're exposed to the situation you fear and underestimate your ability to cope. The anxious thoughts that trigger and fuel phobias are usually negative and unrealistic. By writing down the negative thoughts you have when confronted by your phobia, you can begin to challenge these unhelpful ways of thinking. Many times, these thoughts fall into the following categories:
Fortune telling. For example, “This bridge is going to collapse;” “I'll make a fool of myself for sure;” “I will definitely lose it when the elevator doors close. ”
Overgeneralization. “I fainted once while getting a shot. I'll never be able to get a shot again without passing out;” “That pit bull lunged at me. All dogs are dangerous.”
Catastrophizing. “The captain said we're going through turbulence. The plane is going to crash!” “The person next to me coughed. Maybe it's swine flu. I'm going to get very sick!”
Once you've identified your negative thoughts, evaluate them. Use the following example to get started.
Negative thought: “The elevator will break down and I'll get trapped and suffocate.”
Ask yourself the following 4 questions:
1. Is there any evidence that contradicts my negative thought?
Yes, for example: “People are currently using the elevator and it hasn’t broken down.”
“Even if it did break down, I’ve never heard of anyone dying from suffocation in an elevator. There are air vents which would stop the air from running out.”
“I’ve never been in an elevator that has broken down. ”
2. Could you do anything to resolve this situation if it does occur?
“Yes, I could press the alarm or use the telephone to call for assistance.”
3. Are you thinking in an unhelpful way?
“I’m fortune telling, as there is no evidence to suggest that the elevator will break down or that I’d suffocate.”
4. What would you say to a friend who has this fear?
“I would tell a friend that the chances of the elevator breaking down are very slim, it’s not something you hear about happening very often.”
Positive coping statements
It's also helpful to come up with some positive coping statements that you can tell yourself when facing your phobia. For example:
- “I've felt this way before and nothing terrible happened. It may be unpleasant, but it won't harm me.”
- “If the worst happens and I have a panic attack while I'm driving, I'll simply pull over and wait for it to pass. ”
- “I've flown many times and the plane has never crashed. Statistically, flying is very safe.”
Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.
Craske, M. G., & Stein, M. B. (2016). Anxiety. Lancet (London, England), 388(10063), 3048–3059. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30381-6
Specific Phobias (Symptoms) | Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety | Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2021, from https://www.med.upenn.edu/ctsa/phobias_symptoms.html
Walter, H. J., Bukstein, O. G., Abright, A. R., Keable, H., Ramtekkar, U., Ripperger-Suhler, J., & Rockhill, C. (2020). Clinical Practice Guideline for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Anxiety Disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 59(10), 1107–1124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2020.05.005
Anxiety Disorders. (2013). In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Association. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425787.x05_Anxiety_Disorders
Phobias: Self-Help Guide – CBT techniques to help you tackle a phobia. (NHS Inform)
Fears and Phobias – Information geared to teenagers about fears, phobias, and treatment. (TeensHealth)
(Video) Phobias – Explanatory video from Khan Academy and American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (YouTube)
Helplines and support
Support in the U.S.
NAMI Helpline – Trained volunteers can provide information, referrals, and support for those suffering from anxiety disorders in the U.S. Call 1-800-950-6264. (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Find a Therapist – Search for anxiety disorder treatment providers in the U.S. (Anxiety Disorders Association of America)
Support in other countries
Support Groups – List of support groups in the U. S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa. (Anxiety and Depression Association of America)
Anxiety UK – Information, support, and a dedicated helpline for UK sufferers and their families. Call: 03444 775 774. (Anxiety UK)
Anxiety Canada – Provides links to services in different Canadian provinces. (Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada)
SANE Help Centre – Provides information about symptoms, treatments, medications, and where to go for support in Australia. Call: 1800 18 7263. (SANE Australia).
Helpline (India) – Provides information and support to those with mental health concerns in India. Call: 1860 2662 345 or 1800 2333 330. (Vandrevala Foundation)
Last updated: December 5, 2022
30 irrational fears you didn’t know you also had
There’s something horribly wrong with mayonnaise, and it terrifies me to the point that I can’t think straight if I know it’s in the same room as me. The combination of its disgustingly off-white color, its thick appearance, and the way it lands on the corners of the mouths of those daring enough to consume it causes internal and external shook-ness. I run from it. I yell at it. I fear if it gets too close it will send me into a life-long puking fit.
If mayo has touched any part of any meal, it’s lights out. You can’t scrape it off. Anything it touches, it ruins. There are parts of my childhood I’ll never get back. One time my dad told me to just wipe the mayo off the bread of my Wendy’s crispy chicken sandwich and that was nearly it for us.
I’m not alone in this battle against mayo. I can’t be.
I will soon start a GoFundMe to launch that heaping pile of garbage to the moon. Not Earth’s moon, that’s too close. I’m thinking one of Jupiter’s moons.
Anyhoo, I asked Twitter, and a few of my co-workers about some of their irrational fears. Somehow, things got weirder than mayo, like string cheese, salad bars, and sloths.PAPER NAPKINS
Wet paper napkins, to be clear. A lot of thin paper products. I never blew my nose on a Kleenex in school (paper towels were fine). Straw paper really freaks me out too. Why? I don’t really know, a texture thing, I guess. — Ryan Van BibberMANNEQUINS
I saw a Twilight Zone episode that I wasn’t ready for. — Kofie YeboahDROWNING IN AN ENCLOSED SPACE.
This is a very specific fear, and one I’d call more of an anxiety. This all stems back to some very specific Navy training in which they simulate a helicopter crashing and you have to escape. What you may not know is, when they hit the water, helicopters FLIP UPSIDE DOWN as they sink. Yes, flip upside down. This complicates things greatly and now leads me to drive across bridges with one hand on the window control button and pondering how I’d complete my underwater egress. Oh, and clowns. Clowns suck. — Caroline DarneyOWLS
pic.twitter.com/NmV5fLKiNU— Leo (@isosix) April 17, 2018
What if a piece of chalk had the consistency of rubber? I don’t know, and I’ll never find out. — Pete VolkWALKING DOWN INTO THE GRAND CANYON
Descending into a giant hole, with no guardrails along the way, seems like it should scare anybody, but some people were running down. I think I mainly couldn’t handle watching my daughter walk down the thin slope right next to the drastic plummet, because walking back up wasn’t scary. I’m sorry for my apparently irrational fear of exercising my way into the Sarlacc pit. — Jason KirkASSORTED THINGS
Clowns. And snakes! Also being sucked out into the vortex of space with a spacesuit on, so I can’t just die immediately and instead have to just float away, into infinity, until I either perish from dehydration, alone, or make the decision to just rip the helmet off and embrace the sweet, cold clutch of death. Oh, also spiders. Icky. — Nate ScottTHE OCEAN ON GOOGLE MAPS
I love to scroll through Google Maps when I’m bored and just look at random places, but I get absolutely petrified when I scroll too far and end up with a screen that is just full of dark blue water. It’s just really creepy being out in the ocean and frantically scrolling in a bunch of different directions to find land. It makes me feel like I’m some person lost at sea like in Life of Pi dying of exposure and thirst. Maybe I’m just scared of the actual ocean. Ever hear of Thalassophobia?
FROGS & TOADS
Welp, I suppose it’s time to admit this to my colleagues and the rest of the world: I lose my shit if I see a frog or toad in real life or even a photo of one. That makes it a little difficult 1) living by a creek, and 2) watching TV when every other laundry detergent commercial thinks “I know what will help sell the idea of crisp, clean clothes: a disgusting, wart-covered amphibian!”
Alas, there’s no reason whatsoever for my aversion. I’ve never had a traumatic experience with frogs and I know they won’t hurt me, poisonous species aside. I’ve just never been able to look at one. It’s truly an irrational fear. My best guess is that it’s primitive, since I also have a very minor case of trypophobia (I can look at clusters, I just find them unsettling).
Matt, please, please don’t include a picture of a real frog in this post. Kermit or Michigan J. Frog is allowed, though. — Sarah HardyESCALATORS
WIDE OPEN SPACES
Escalators. They're not stable, all those sharp edges, the fear of hair or shoelaces getting caught at the end, those videos of escalators breaking and people falling down.... It's not even irrational, escalators are evil (also mayo)— Pedrito (@SenoritoPedrito) April 17, 2018
Yes, I did specifically phrase my fear in that way so you have the song stuck in your head now. You’re very welcome. I have no clue how I got this fear but I can’t stand to be in open, empty spaces. Packed crowds, a tight bunk, or busy areas? Totally fine (except in rare situations where it seems like things might be about to get out of hand in some way — which feels like a normal reaction).
But if I’m in an empty field or a big parking lot with no one else in sight, that viscerally bothers me. I can’t stand feeling like there could be something out there that I’m somehow not noticing or can’t see. Completely unsettling. — Whitney McIntosh
I’d consider myself a rational person, so admitting I have an irrational fear is a toughy. However, sloths (a commonly adored animal friend) give me the heebie-geebies. When I see pictures of tourists allowing sloths to hang around their necks, I cringe. I have not been close enough to a sloth (out of fear of course) to know for sure, nor have I had the bravery to spend time researching the creature to find out, but I imagine them to be greasy and garbage-scented. I think the meme that circulated a few years ago depicting a sloth whispering various inappropriate phrases into this innocent women’s ear solidified my fear:
Waking up in the middle of the night with a sloth’s weird dagger-like nails and stringy arm wrapped around my neck with hot garbage sloth breath in my ear is where my nightmares are born. — Sarah HeilmanMY PLANE LANDING IN THE WATER AND ME DROWNING
My local airport is Reagan National in D.C. The runway there is right next to the Potomac River. I have taken to closing my window during landings there, because from the side vantage point, all I can see is the plane getting really close to the water. I can’t see that there’s runway in front of me, and I assume my life is about to end. — Alex KirshnerSALAD BARS
I’d like to begin by saying I believe my fear is totally rational. Anyway, salad bars are breeding grounds for people using their unwashed poop hands to touch my potential food. The whole thing is a damn minefield. How long has the lettuce been there? Did this cottage cheese get left out overnight? How often do they clean the food bins? THEN on top of all that it seems like we get a quarterly report of “Oh whoops! LOL. You’re going to get E Coli and die from eating [insert green thing here].” I like salad. I like the option to choose my own food stuffs without the hassle of preparation. The entire salad bar concept can die in a fire. — James DatorFALLING THROUGH THE BACK OF STAIRS
SCRAPING THE TOP OF MY FOOT ON PAVEMENT
pic.twitter.com/T8whb7cROX— Alex_____Bleuel (@Alex13leuel) April 17, 2018
I get a lot of awful invasive thoughts, but the worst typically comes when I’m walking to or from my car at the beach, then consider just how awful it would be if my feet decided to stop working and just flop along the cement walkway, peeling back layers of healthy skin and making it impossible to wear shoes for weeks. Get the fuck out of here, flip flops. I’m not falling for your game. — Christian D’AndreaANTHROPOMORPHIC FOOD MASCOTS
I don’t know if this is a “fear” so much as “crippling uncomfortableness,” but the people who created the talking M&Ms can fuck right off:
Or the talking Tostitos bag:
Or this monstrosity that I just found:
Everything about these commercials is horrible: The cavalier attitudes these possessed foodstuffs have towards their own mortality, the glee with which real people want to devour these things whole and alive, and how casually this wanton murder is portrayed.
Tell me, when you eat the chips out of a talking Tostito’s bag, what are you eating exactly? Its brains? Its guts? Its soul? Does it die when you get to the bottom of the bag? Is it immortal and destined to live breathless and sad in a landfill for the rest of eternity after you throw it out? What exactly is the social contract between food and humans here? Is food our slaves?
Talking tomatoes aren’t cute. M&Ms trying to escape human clutches because — Ha! Ha! Ha! — they’ll be eaten and dead if they don’t isn’t cute. These commercials make me want to change the channel faster than even those terrible Sarah McLachlan commercials. No, nothing about this feeling is rational but IDC. I hate you talking food. — Louis BienDECAF COFFEE
decaf coffee— Arati (@aratiii) April 17, 2018
Spiders are the embodiment of evil. Yes, I’m aware that they help control the insect population and whatnot, but here’s the thing: I don’t care, because they’re creepy as hell and I hate them and they terrify me. One time I had a dream that someone was trying to kill me and the murderer was standing right beside my bed, and I woke up, and a wolf spider was in the exact spot where I dreamed the murderer was standing. This seems like objective proof that spiders are very bad. I rest my case. — Jeanna ThomasTHE FALCONS NOT WINNING A SUPER BOWL
It has to happen one day, I just might not be here for it. — Harry Lyles Jr.PRAYING MANTIS
It was the first day of Pre-K. I was walking along to get there and a praying mantis just fell out of the sky onto my chest. It stayed there for a good minute or two while I wailed. It hasn’t happened since, but I’m sure I’d wail again. — Russ OatesTHE BOWLING BALL RETURN MACHINE
FALLING INTO THE SKY
I don’t know. It’s absolutely irrational. It’s mostly about my kids. I freak the hell out any time they get within five feet of it. I get this mental image of it just ripping their fingers and hands off.— ArrogantSOB (@OneArrogantSOB) April 17, 2018
When I was just a boy growing up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I spent a lot of time outside. We didn’t have a lot of reason to stay indoors on nice days, so it wasn’t hard to find us just resting against the trunk of a tree reading a comic book, or down at the creek fishing for brook trout. But once, while lounging in a field near my house and staring up into the perfectly blue sky, my brother offhandedly mentioned that if the world stopped spinning, we would all fall into the sky and into space and die. It terrified me. Suddenly I felt like I was falling. I gripped the grass around me in a desperate attempt to keep myself grounded. My heart jumped into my throat. I began to panic until I rolled over and stared wide-eyed into the dirt. You’d think this would be a one-time thing, but the feeling overwhelms me anytime I stare into the blue sky too long. Not the night sky. Not a cloudy day. But that pure blue sky. And it frightens me. I quake when I do it. I feel that familiar panic and want nothing more than to scream and run to safety. Irrational, I know, but a fear nonetheless. — Sam EgglestonSOUP THAT’S TOO HOT
The only burns I want are the ones I can get from the internet. —Brittany Cheng
MAYO. FAKE MAYO. FAKE FOODS. HAIR SALONS? LEAVING CHUBBS. BIG BUGS!
Because I am an expert at rationalizing my irrational thoughts until they seem so sane and considered that it’s actually weird you don’t have them yourself, I sought outside insight into my fears and phobias. I turned to the person who most consistently sees me in my most fearful moments: my girlfriend.
Yes, this all checks out. She knows me. Uh oh.
Mayo is bad. This has been established. Fake vegan mayo is even creepier because it is a science project approximation of something already unsettling. Basically, every faux food is almost certainly Soylent Green. I’m pretty sure. That or it’s a Snowpiercer situation. Trust me, I’m a vegetarian. Hmm, hair salons? That’s new to me. But also I just recently got my first haircut since 2014 and it occurred at home so she might be onto something. It’s definitely true that leaving Chubbs — SB Nation’s famous blogging cat — home alone for too long is something that inspires anxiety in me on par with standing on a balcony on a high floor of a tall building. In other words, LET’S GO INSIDE WITH CHUBBS. But also, always remember that large insects with exoskeletons and/or hair are terrifying and clearly preparing for either a battle against the humans or to somehow infiltrate our society in order to do us harm. —Chris Greenberg
Discussing the irrational fear of a person
Gulia Konkina TeachLine Training Center
Fears are different. Some lend themselves to logic, while others can only be explained by their irrationality. What are these fears, where do they come from and how to deal with them - we'll talk about all this in the article.
What are irrational fears?
The word "irrational" is translated from Latin as "irrational". Therefore, "irrational fear" can be translated as "logically inexplicable." These types of fear include phobias and fears of the unknown. It is not clear why a person is afraid of this, where does this fear come from. nine0003
For example, many are afraid of unidentified objects, water, enclosed space.
There can be several reasons for the appearance of such irrational uncontrollable fears.
- Hereditary: fear can be passed on to you from a parent.
- Psychological: depressions, situations, traumas of the subconscious - all this can give rise to fears in you.
- Social: negative life situations can also cause fear. Take the same example of swimming in a river. Almost drowned - they became afraid of water. nine0016
Such fears can be in every person with a weak psyche. These fears are hard to control.
What kind of irrational fears are there?
Experts identify several types of irrational fears. Let's look at the most popular ones.
- Fear of mysticism. People with this kind of fear are afraid of devils, brownies, etc. Even if it is not scientifically proven that such objects exist at all, such people are sure of their existence. I will give an example from my own life. I often suffer from sleep paralysis, a condition where your brain wakes up before your body. At such moments, he begins to invent various images - most often devils who run around me. Because of this, I am afraid to be alone in the apartment, because it seems to me that these creatures are always there. nine0016
- Fear of places. Fear of the morgue, the cemetery, abandoned houses - all this belongs to this type of irrational fear. Perhaps there is nothing to worry about?
- Nosophobia. This kind of fear affects people who are obsessed with disease. They believe that the disease haunts them, and do everything possible to avoid it.
- Fear of objects. Many people are afraid of mirrors, large windows, etc. This is also one of the types of irrational fear.
- Fear of being in certain situations. This type includes just swimming, flying on an airplane, parachuting, etc. nine0016
Most often, when people experience one of the types of irrational fear, their general condition is characterized by a strong heartbeat, weakness in the legs, lack of air.
How to get rid of irrational fear?
Most often, a person tries with all his might to avoid this fear. In no case does he want to be in a situation where this fear can surface. For example, someone because of their fear never flies on airplanes. nine0003
But, if you are ready to fight fear, there are several ways to get rid of it.
- Take the Incentive Ladder. In this case, you will have to face your fear, but gradually. For example, if you are afraid of snakes, first just write the name of your fear on paper, then look at the photo, then observe from the side, and then meet face to face. It is important that at all stages you are in a relaxed state.
- Play the game "It's not true." The essence of the game is this: someone close to you tells you about this fear, scares you. And you have to come up with arguments why this is not true. Thus, you yourself begin to believe in it. nine0016
- Face your fear and conquer it. Specially find yourself in a situation where your fear will manifest itself. Convince yourself that this is all unrealistic and end it forever. To "recover", we advise you to do a lot of work on yourself together with a psychologist.
Irrational fear is an animal that lives in us. It can grow if you feed it, and it can die if you work on it. To live with such fear or not is your choice.
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Author: Gulia Konkina
The strangest phobias in the world
attacks - you to a psychotherapist. A phobia is an irrational fear that is uncontrollable and does not always have a reasonable explanation.
Phobias are treated by psychiatrists and psychotherapists, and this process can last from a month to a year, depending on the severity of the disorder. Known phobias include aerophobia (fear of flying), claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), and actophobia (fear of heights). But it happens that people are terribly afraid of completely unexpected things, and at the same time they are not alone in this. Below we will look at the strangest and most specific phobias that are found in the modern world. nine0003
Phagophobia - fear of swallowing
Phagophobia is characterized by an obsessive fear of choking while eating. At the same time, a person does not have any physical disorders that directly interfere with swallowing. Previously, this phobia was equated with pnigophobia - the fear of suffocation, but later it became clear that these are two different disorders, each with its own symptoms. Such an irrational fear may come from childhood trauma, during which the child almost choked to death by choking on food. In mild cases, people with this disorder consume only liquid foods. nine0003
Phobophobia - fear of phobias
In essence, phobophobia is an irrational fear of suffering from an irrational fear. People with phobophobia fear the appearance of obsessive fears and the emergence of phobias. The symptoms of phobophobia are the same as those of other diseases associated with increased anxiety: the inability to relax, palpitations and panic attacks. A person suffering from phobophobia begins to worry and worry when thinking about stressful and tense situations, since theoretically in these situations he can experience fear. He tries to avoid them in every possible way, thereby only increasing his fear and anxiety. nine0003
Aquaphobia: fear of water
Chorophobia - fear of dancing
There are people who are simply embarrassed to dance because of their shyness, but for some, dancing may be associated with a mental disorder. Chorophobia is not just a fear of dancing, but also a fear of any places and situations associated with them. A person suffering from chorophobia is not able to repeat the most elementary dance moves, and being in a disco can cause him a panic attack - he falls into a state of stupor and experiences horror. nine0003
Trichophobia - fear of hair
With trichophobia, a person is terribly afraid of scattered hair, and this is associated with the patient himself and with the people around him. Such patients cannot tolerate pets and are disgusted with any furry and hairy objects. For example, a person with trichophobia may cause a panic attack if a comb with a few hairs is left behind, or he may fall into a stupor of horror if he sees a hair on the coat of a person standing in front. nine0003
Peladophobia - fear of bald people
This phobia is the opposite of trichophobia in its content. People with peladophobia are disturbed by the presence of a bald person nearby. And this fear is very often directed at patients on themselves - they are terribly afraid that their hair will start to fall out. Moreover, in most cases, such people do not have any identified prerequisites for hair loss. Sometimes this phobia begins to manifest itself after visiting a doctor - when a person is diagnosed with baldness or trying to identify its causes. Peladophobia affects both men and women equally. nine0003
Dromophobia - fear of crossing the street
The cause of such a phobia can be an accident in which the patient lost a loved one, watching a traffic accident from the side, or excessive interest in the news. A person suffering from dromophobia tries in every possible way to avoid roads, it is difficult for him to cross them even at a pedestrian crossing, it is difficult to walk on sidewalks. Any approach to the roads is accompanied by bouts of panic fear. Patients with such phobias are more common in large cities, and much less often in rural areas. nine0003
Ovophobia - fear of eggs
This phobia occurs in one in a hundred inhabitants of our planet. In people suffering from this disorder, the mere sight of eggs causes disgust. Alfred Hitchcock, who also suffered from this disorder, said that he had never eaten a single egg in his entire life. According to him, there is nothing more disgusting than a leaking yolk after it has been pierced.
Arachibutyrophobia - fear of peanut butter
The fear of peanut butter is primarily the fear that it will stick to the palate and cause suffocation. People with this disorder experience extreme stress around jars of peanut butter, even if they're just standing on the counter in the store. And if, for some reason, they accidentally manage to try a peanut butter sandwich, they can start a real panic attack. nine0003
Brumotactyllophobia - fear of mixed food
For people with this disorder, eating is a real problem. It is very important for them that all the products and ingredients on the plate keep a distance, they should in no case touch each other, and even more so, be mixed.