Phobias are a real thing. They are severe, pervasive, and debilitating. When your frontal lobe (reasoning center) shuts off because you are terrified by the prospect of whatever the stimulus is it is more than just being scared of a bug.
There are things I can’t look at or talk about. Some I have no actual reason to be petrified of, but I am.
Quick List so I don’t have to think too hard about it (since if you have a phobia, thinking too hard can trigger an attack)
2. Small Spaces
3. Deep Water
4. Sometimes not-so-deep water
I think that’s everything. But like I said, I can’t think too hard about this stuff.
Phobias are irrational things that can come from rational places. I got locked in refrigerators and trunks when I was little, so now I’m claustrophobic.
I can’t explain sharks to you.
I almost drowned once growing up and was almost drowned once growing up. If you need an English teacher to explain that sentence, sorry.
Doug and I have to be careful when it comes to my phobias and fears. The other night we left a party because they were going to play the game, “murder”. Where you turn the lights off and someone does a special thing that “kills” other players.
Not a good scenario for someone with PTSD of any kind.
I’ve left people’s houses because everyone wanted to watch a scary movie and I can’t do that. When you have DiD (Dissociative Identity Disorder), you have extra aspects of yourself to deal with and some things just aren’t, as weird as this sounds, age appropriate.
I can’t go to aquariums, cause sharks, and water and stuff.
Doug screens movies before I see them unless it’s a kid’s movie.
When someone has a phobia that doesn’t make sense, it can be hard to support them.
Agoraphobia, or the fear of outdoors, can leave people paralyzed in their homes and their friends and family not understanding “the big deal” it is to get over the fear to go outside.
It is easier to understand that someone is arachnophobic. Spiders are weird and creepy looking.
The main distinction is that if you can see a picture of something that scares you and you’re okay, you don’t have a phobia. You know a picture can’t hurt you.
Those of us with phobias our minds can’t make that distinction. We will react as if there is ________ in the room with us. We have no control over it and unless we’re in the room with a trained therapist or GOD Himself, please don’t ask us to confront those things head on.
Don’t pressure people into doing things that make them uncomfortable. Don’t tease them about how it’s just a picture or “just a rubber shark, Cathy”. These things are real. I mean rubber sharks aren’t real. But to me they may as well be.
And please stop abusing the term. Just because something makes you uncomfortable, it doesn’t make you “phobic”.
Phobias are full on attacks of pure terror that can come from someone thinking too long on something or seeing a picture they weren’t ready for. When you throw the word around it just adds confusion and makes us with genuine issues we need to deal with feel like it isn’t the huge deal that it actually is. Support us by being a little more sensitive.
P.S. There is NO SUCH THING as being “a little OCD” or being “OCD about that”. Stop. STOP. STOP.
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/4730538213/”>h.koppdelaney</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>