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January 03, 2005

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» Hidden terrors from Doing Things With Words
Obsidian Wings is running an unofficial "admit your deepest fears" comment thread, attached to a post in which Edward_ reveals his fear of whales. Good material here for anyone looking to break into sadistic psychological torture. [Read More]

» Whales scare the bejesus out of me. from BlogBites
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Comments

Fix the focus on that photo! And pan to the lower-left corner.

My fiancee has a tsunami phobia. I'm finding it so not funny any more.

Thank God you dont have to deal with whales everyday life, while I have a real rats, snakes, frogs phobia.

You can request a close-up of the babe AND reference your fiancee in the same comment, rilkefan? I'd have a flying heavy object phobia, if I were you.

Murat, just let the snakes eat the rats and frogs, and then all you'll have to fear is happy fat snakes...

wait a second... is that head out there real, or is it a clever bit of Photoshoppery ?

and for that matter.. what's a 30 foot whale doing in 10 feet of water?

When a ship is in drydock, it sits upon wooden blocks called 'ways' that are aligned with the ship's keel. Ways are usually about 3 to 3 1/2 feet tall and about 4 feet wide.

Several times, in surveying a ship's hull, I'd have to get under a ship on it's ways in order to visually inspect transducers mounted on the bottom of the hull.

When you have a ship weighing 90,000 long tons over you, your mind races and induces phobias.

"You can request a close-up of the babe AND reference your fiancee in the same comment, rilkefan? I'd have a flying heavy object phobia, if I were you."

She's sweet-natured (to the extent of saying it's fine to look if I don't leer) and not strong enough to dent my thick skull. Yes, I'm a lucky guy.

"happy fat snakes..."

obWallaceStevens: Frogs Eat Butterflies. Snakes Eat Frogs. Hogs Eat Snakes. Men Eat Hogs.

I don't think I have any paralyzing phobias. Hmm. I used to be very afraid of needles, but my bout with the flesh-eating bacteria cured me of that (IV or die? I'll take the IV).

I used to fear that someone would take a picture of my bald spot and put it on the internet. But now that edward did that (above) I'm not so worried.

the head in the water in the upper right corner really seems pasted in.

my phobia? room 101.

Francis

Gross food.

Animation, especially animals that speak like humans. CAN'T. STAND. IT.

And could barely get through Orwell's Animal Farm in HS.

Centipedes. Hell, damn centipedes make me pissed.

Thank God the posting rules have no requirements for value-added.

Spiders. I once found a dead spider and kept it on the table for a week, knowing that it couldn't do a think and hoping it would help me (overcome fear by facing it). But I still didn't dare to go near it.
I had the "arachnaphobia" film on video for two years and still didn't dare to see it....

Oh, and Jaws made quite an impression when I saw the film 30 years ago. I slept with my legs pulled up for about a year and still can get frightened when swimming in the sea.


that it couldn't do a think

a thing.... preview is my friend. I MUST overcome this preview phobia ;-)

I don't have any phobias. However, I have this possibly related quirk: I cannot stand watching, on TV or in movies, any scene in which a basically decent person has done a truly stupid and embarrassing thing and is going to be found out. I mean: I literally have to hide my eyes. I can look at all kinds of gross or violent things -- I once stood entranced for about ten minutes by a skinned donkey's head which, between the white eyes and teeth, black ears, and red all the rest of it, was really quite beautiful, before I realized that it was odd of me not to be grossed out -- but I cannot watch the kinds of scenes described above.

Still, I'm not as odd as Billy Bob Thornton, who claims to have a fear of Victorian overstuffed furniture.

Strange, I can't watch normal people be forced to do embarassing things either. My roommate was watching some hidden camera show on MTV where in order to win some money a comic pretends to be your new best friend and embarasses you in front of your old friends (Best Friends? My New Best Friend?) and I had to leave the room.

Hilzoy and Sebastian --

One of my apartment-mates a few years back literally had to leave the room when "a basically decent person has done a truly stupid and embarrassing thing and is going to be found out" on TV. Didn't matter how high- or lowbrow the show -- 90210, for instance, did it at least once an episode. (I've taken to calling this particular reaction the "Toby face" in his honor.)

My fear: Germs -- but in an intermittant, on again off again way. I think, though, that it might qualify because it seems a bit in excess of the norm. Put it this way: While lathering my hands the men's restauroom at a moderately priced restaurant, I was once asked by a stranger whether I might be preparing myself for surgery.

I'm not Monk (or "The Aviator") -- filth doesn't disgust or bother me. I'll happily sleep outdoors or wallow in spelunking cave mud or etc. (Well, maybe not "happily" in cases.) But invisible germs: they'll get you.

Oh, and things poking people in the eye.

"restauroom"

Although I may have just coined a useful word, there, I meant "restroom" of course.

Cockroaches. Pardon me while I go into a shuddering fit. Also, this is not exactly a phobia, but I've developed a serious revulsion for malted chocolate milk balls after eating them during a screening of some black and white documentary of American G.I.'s marching to their deaths in Vietnam, the day after the Moscow theater siege back in 2002. I had to curl up in the fetal position for several hours, and the mental assocations still make me nauseous at the thought of ever eating any ever again.

p.s. - Hilzoy, you should probably never see Meet the Parents. Or, I'm guessing, the sequel out now. It wasn't unwatchable, but I just pretty much cringed all the way through it.

My one unconquerable phobia: cockroaches. Esp. the tropical kind, the ones that are big enough that you could strap one to each foot and go skittering off into the sunset. I lived in Miami for many years, and had a great chance to get to know my phobia very, very well indeed. Miami cockroaches are particularly nasty, aggressive monsters that fly straight at you when you're trying to spray them. And, it doesn't matter how clean your house is: you're gonna have roaches, because they set up camp in the walls and floorboards.

You wanna know how much I hate and fear cockroaches? Enough to do something really, really stupid:

Once, I was awakened at night by a roach crawling up my leg in bed. To say I freaked out hardly covers it: I went right past "freaked out" to "completely loco."

I sprayed myself. With pesticide. All over my body.

For the whole next day, I was feverish and delirious, like I had a bad case of the flu. I'm probably lucky I didn't die or something.

That's how much I loathe cockroaches.

Upon reading this thread I'm going to have to add skinned donkey's heads to the list.

My secret fear?

Retarded people. Not in the "Ohmigaw, he's so retarded" sense of the word, but actual mentally handicapped persons. I know that this makes me a horrible person, but every time I see one, I start picturing myself that way and quietly freak out.

McM: I probably wouldn't have seen it anyways, but now I definitely won't.

I had a delightfully cockroach-free first 22 years, and then after I graduated from college I went off to the Bay area to seek my fortune, or something. And the first night after I arrived, cockroaches began to come out of the walls of the rundown dive I had checked into. I had never seen anything like it, and I was trying to swat them, but there were more and more, and when a friend of mine called to say hi, I burst into tears, which I almost never do, and he ended up driving up from San Jose and taking me away.

Fast-forward a few years, and you find me writing travel guides for a living during my first few summers of grad school. I end up working mostly in Greece, the Middle East, the SW US, and Mexico, which is to say a variety of cockroach-y places, and get to know all sorts of cockroaches, including great huge ones in Alexandria that practically set up hammocks in my room.

If you have a fear of cockroaches, do not ever stay in the Alexandria Youth Hostel -- cockroaches crawl out of the pillows and mattresses there, and even I, by then very hard-boiled about dubious places to stay, wore sneakers into the shower. I was very, very broke at the time, but even so it wasn't worth it.

Well its manageable and not that bad, but my fear of heights seems to extend to all "edges". As I said, not so bad a fear of heights, I can stand on top of a twenty foot stepladder. But heartbeat goes way up and so on.

What's funny is that it seems the fear of falling extends in a weird way to edges. Cliffs and skyscrapers, of course. But also beaches, open fields, anyplace I can't see a solid horizon causes anxiety. Maybe just an agoraphobia, tho I am not real uncomfortable in crowds.

I also hate eating with my fingers. I eat hamburgers and hotdogs with a fork. Don't like chips, popcorn, melting candy bars. Trust me, I am not fastidious.

Slugs, maggots, grubs, pretty much any kind of squishy crawling thing. I saw a documentary a few years back on TV in which a group of explorers were hiking through a rain forest and thousands of leaches came walking, inch-worm-style, out of the ground cover and up nearby branches, drawn to their body heat. That is, for me, the very definition of a waking nightmare, only surpassed by any kind of parasitic worm that burrows through the skin, in either direction.

any kind of parasitic worm that burrows through the skin, in either direction.

reminds me of a news segment i saw on botflies. the person being interviewed was saying he recalled feeling the worm under his skin, munching his flesh: "chomp. chomp. chomp." he said, while making a little chomping mouth with his fist.

and speaking of parasites and nightmares...

back in 6th grade, i had a dream about my thumb - a piece of broccoli-shaped fungus grew out of it, sideways. i could, and can still, feel the roots wrapped around my thumb bones, and what it felt like when i brushed the broccoli with my hand. it's like phantom limbs, but in reverse. f'in horrible.

it was caused, i'm sure, by a poster my teacher had in the classroom of, of all things, skin parasites - fungal, parasitic, bacterial, etc.. ugh... time for an alcohol rubdown.

I have some fear of tight spaces, esp. the being unable to move part. I just saw Ocean's Twelve (skippable) - a character folds himself up into a large backpack and doesn't get freed for a length of time during which I felt acutely uncomfortable. I once read something about the Russian practice of swaddling babies to the point of immobility - shudder.

cleek -- for some reason your dream reminded me of a recurring nightmare that had when I was a kid (6 or so.). -- In the Boston Museum of Science, which I loved, there was an exhibit on Kepler's laws of motion, one bit of which was a sort of horn-shaped metal funnel thing, wide mouth up and narrow neck down, around which a steel ball would roll, at first in great lazy circles around the wide part, each revolution almost imperceptibly lower than the last, but then, as it got closer and closer to the center, it would go faster and faster until finally it fell in. I thought it was cool. Anyways, in my nightmare I was biking around Lake Michigan (why Lake Michigan? I have no idea; and plainly I also had no idea how big it really was), and suddenly I would realize that I couldn't stop, and I would go round and round, slightly lower and sightly faster each time, until I fell in/woke up. It was terrifying. But it hasn't led to any lasting phobias, either about Lake Michigan or Kepler's laws of motion. Although the idea of having a phobia about Kepler's laws of motion is, now that I think of it, kind of fun.

Used to go catatonic in the presence of creepy-crawlies of any sort -- and my parents were big on camping, so that was always a bit traumatic. But then I lived for 20 years in a house surrounded by acres of forest. After cohabitating with every sort of insect, spider, snake (when we redid the roof there were snakeskins everywhere), mouse (with a preference for shredding toiletpaper rolls when they get in cabinets) -- I'm totally blase and don't even go running for something to kill the suckers with.

But I still have a thing about clowns.

I don't like the sound of people eating. I am a private eater, on the couch, with a book. The sound of the munch munch munch gives me the shudders. I especially can't stand being around people when they eat eggs.

The only saving grace to reading Hilzoy and CaseyL's stories now is I still have another five or six hours yet before bed to try and distract myself from the horrid images that that just produced.

I love this thread, let's never ever do it again.

My weird phobia is crowded elevators. I'm ok with empty elevators and crowds in other contexts, but put the two together and I develop a sudden need to prove my fitness by taking the stairs.

Gee, I barely feel qualified to comment on this thread: like, apparently, most of the commenters, I only hate roaches and other bugs - phobia intensity in direct correlation to size of roach/bug - I can't think of any intense skin-crawl-inducing -
Oh, wait! Just came to me: Grasshoppers/locusts. I have a country house with an adjacent meadow, and summers with prime locust conditions always make going outside a true cringe-making experience.
I know where this particular phobia comes from, though: when I was a kid, the local TV station (the old KHJ TV in Los Angeles, I think) used to run horror movies in repeated showings on the weekends, and I recall siting horrified/fascinated through multiple reruns of "Beginning of the End" (1958) - hence my lifelong dislike of the Locustidae.
Funny, though" they were also, IIRC, one of the first to run the original "Godzilla" - and my fear of 30-story radioactive reptiloids has never been quite as acute.

I said I had no phobias, but on reflection I wonder whether my reaction to PBS pledge week might not count. I turn on the TV and all the PBS shows I like -- history, science, drama -- are replaced by musicians I've never heard of and try to instantly repress, like Yanni, or alternative health gurus, or the horrible Suzy Orman, whose show with the amazing title "The Courage To Be Rich!" is probably what transformed my reaction from annoyance to full-bore screaming horror.

My wife has a phobia about butterflies. Being the helpful spouse in the tell me about it mode, I asked her to tell me about it. 'They...flutter! And they have that powder if you touch them...yuck!" or words to that effect. It still ticks me off a bit, because our daughter (6 years old) freaks because my wife does. Now, I have a bit of arachnophobia, but I no longer do St. Vitus' Dance when one gets close to me and I was really going to try and have our daughter not wimp out when she encountered an insect, but I guess we'll have to try with the next one.

A lot of the spider and snake things freak me out, but not an out and out phobia. Most of those creatures I can handle if I see them coming. Don't like surprises though, and little leggy things crawling across my body in the middle of the night would not be good. I've got a little agoraphobia - large expanses of water make me nervous. I dream about that some times. I'm definitly deathly afraid of suffocating. No speluncking (sp?). I remember crying like a sissy when I got piled on once as a kid. That's it for me, buried alive. The AFLAC commercial with Santa stuck in the chimney gives me a shudder. What was the movie 'Deer Slayer' (darn I don't want to look it up), help me blogosphere, where the guys go to Viet Nam and are captured and held in submerged cages with just an inch of air at the top. They'd be coming to take me away, Ha! Ha!

http://w3.gwis.com/~dml/tdh/>The Deer Hunter Tribute Page
Couldn't stand it, The Deer Hunter, 1978, DeNiro and Walken. Great movie.

Not sure it is a phobia, but I absolutely cannot sit through a horror movie. I think the music has something to do with it, but it has long been a family joke that I have to leave the room, and leave them to their horror. They can have it!!!! I cannot bear it!

Edward, were you dragged to the Museum of Natural History at an early age? I remember refusing to walk under that giant blue whale at the hall of ocean life.

I have a fear of serious mental illness. And on a lighter note, bears, which is only a problem on camping trips but oh boy can I be annoying. I am also a pathetic wuss about scary movies, and have a weird aversion to bell peppers.

Thanks, mc_masterchef! Any day I can render hideous for others by sharing my traumas with them is a day not entirely wasted, says I :)

Back to whales: My wife and I were kayaking off Oahu and saw a humpback whale breaching. We headed out that way for a closer look. Of course the whale sounded long before we got anywhere close, so we just sat out there scanning the horizon seeing nothing. Our boats drifted about 50' apart. It was quite a shock when a whale surfaced right between us. Didn't last long, but a really scary moment. Its breath smelled pretty bad.

I haven't posted in this thread because I've had trouble thinking of any phobias of mine that answer the original question "What do you irrationally fear?" And as far as I can tell, neither can most of the contributors to this thread. Cockroaches, heights, pledge breaks, these are all perfectly rational fears to have.

I guess my biggest phobia is making any kind of mistake or foolish remark in a public venue. I distinctly remember the sweats I got as the time approached for my first (and last!) academic article to be published -- even though I knew full well that mistakes, omissions, etc., are part of the game, I just couldn't stand the idea that hundreds (well, OK, let's be honest, dozens (optimistically)) of readers would spot an obvious, silly, only-an-idiot-could-write-that goof and (gasp!) realize that I wasn't perfect.

Hate to query your psyche since mine is obviously a bit twisted, but do you include my clown phobia in the "rational" category?

do you include my clown phobia in the "rational" category?

Well, there is a word for it. coulrophobia

do you include my clown phobia in the "rational" category?

Well, I sure as hell was scared of the one in Poltergeist. And I would fear to entrust my safety or well-being to Krusty. So, yeah.

LJ
Now, I have a bit of arachnophobia, but I no longer do St. Vitus' Dance when one gets close to me and I was really going to try and have our daughter not wimp out when she encountered an insect, but I guess we'll have to try with the next one.

Be carefull what you wish for. I tried to NOT pass on my arachnaphobia and ended up with kids putting their hands under my nose: "Look mamma, my friend spider".
I am still proud that I managed to control the twitching and shuddering...

LJ -- spectacular link. I am no longer alone with my affliction!

Heights. The first time I had to back over an 80-foot cliff with nothing but an absurdly narrow bit of nylon between me and spattered all over jagged rocks at the bottom, I froze. It seemed like hours. And just when I think rock-climbing has gotten me over it, I do something like the Red River Gorge in Kentucky (which is not all that tall, really), traverse around a corner and come to a complete stop from the exposure.

So I think there's a touch of agoraphobia in there, too. Once I was on the base of the cable route on Half Dome (just my first look around, there) and everything was just so HUGE and the wind was whipping so hard that I just had to lay down and hug the ground for a while. I could just see myself being swept right off and splattered somewhere in the valley.

KenB - No, I think the point about a phobia isn't whether there's a rational reason for it, I think it has more to do with how irrationally we behave in the face of our fear-object. Being afraid of falling from a great height is rational; refusing to fly in a plane, despite the fact that plane travel is still considered safer than motoring, is an irrational behavior. In my case, I've already told the story of my irrational response to roach-induced fear :)

My ex, an almost stereotypical big strong brave man, was (and still is) an arachnophobe. As he put it: "Spiders, when they're outside, are god's creatures doing god's work; when they're inside, they're the devil's spawn." Since I like spiders, and am not afraid of them, it became my job to catch them and put them outside.

He and I moved to a new house. We had unpacked, arranged the furniture, and settled in. We'd decided to use papa-sans as living room furniture, because they can easily be stacked and moved out of the way (we used to have fencing lessons in the living room).

So: there we are one evening, me on the papa-san sofa, and he in the papa-san chair, talking.

And there, overhead, spinning its way down from the ceiling, was a big fat old spider; on a straight-shot trajectory for the top of Mike's head.

Mike doesn't see it. I do. And I'm trying to figure out what to say or do that won't start a panic. Leaping out of the papa-san and lunging for the spider isn't an option, because papa-sans aren't the most stable pieces of furniture in the world.

Well, Mike notices me glancing up towards the ceiling a lot, and he notices my worried look, and he says, "There's a spider coming down, isn't there?"

"Uh...yeah..."

So he looks around, and up, and the spider must've been a lot closer than he thought, because before I can do anything, he has lunged sideways to get away from it and overbalanced in the papa-san, and the top cup of the papa-san (the part you sit in) overbalances with him, and he and the papa-san cup both topple over backward onto the floor. His legs are sticking up in the air and everything, just like in a cartoon.

And I can't do anything to help him because I'm curled up in a little ball laughing so hard I can hardly breathe.

See? Irrational behavior.

I'm a little afraid of everything mentioned here, except for cockroaches.

I don't like heights, but I don't mind flying. I'm afraid of taking off and landing. Or rather NOT taking off and NOT landing. What really scares me is the burning and the screaming on the way down.

I hate peas. I mean I hate them in an irrational, shuddering way.

I can't think about eating a bologna sandwich on white bread without gagging since eating a spoiled one about 50 years ago in the back seat of my mother's car on a sweltering day.

Old rickety wooden roller coasters, especially on the curves, creep me out.

I'm irrationally incompetent and, I guess, scared about trying to fix a computer software glitch. So my wife tells me, as I race from the room cussing loudly.

Grizzly bears. Running faster than horses and their jaws snapping.

I really don't want to ever open the paper again and read that another Beatle has died.

Having met Sebastian at Christmas and had a nice chat over coffee, I'm now slightly scared in retrospect now that I find out he's had the flesh eating bacteria.

Just kidding ;)

I've never thought about skinned donkey heads, but now I am and probably will tonight when I awake to see one hovering at the foot of my bed .... in the night .. or sitting on a shelf in the closet, cackling ... in the night .. when the lights have gone ..... in the night.

I am afraid of sliding down slopes. I used to have nightmares when younger about not being able to climb up a hill without sliding back down, and when I was in San Francisco visiting a cousin we were going to a choir performance at this beautiful big church that was on one hell of a hill and we had to park on a really steep slope and i was shaking so hard my knees were literally buckling. Also, I am so happy to see that other people besides me have a total inability to watch those shows based on being embarrassed like "Hidden Camera" and those movies based on people doing horrible things by mistake like "Meet the Parents." I thought this was an abnormal thing about me, as everyone I associate with loves these types of things and I either cringe by myself or leave the room.

In Norway we have these flying things that make my skin crawl. They are just like daddy-long-legs...but they fly. And they don't just really fly, they, uh, bounce in big arcs against the wall, the window, the ceiling, your face. Just the thought of suddenly getting a large daddy-long-legs bouncing in your face is so horrifying to me that if I have just a hint that one could be in the house there is no way I am sleeping until I kill it.

And my wife gets chills and and runs away if she hears someone brushing their teeth. The sound drives her nuts, so of course I try to brush my teeth near her at every opportunity ;-)

I am going back to the whales! Never thought of them before (and will never look at them in the same way again) but I really dislike those huge aquariums. Like at Seaworld. Where you can go down three stories and look at Shamu. I am terrified that the glass will crack and I will die or I will be crushed or even I will get eaten by Shamu (yes fear even before the edward post. not frightened of wild whales, but whales in captivity). And if that isn't irratinal enough, I have always been afraid on bridges or piers with gaps between planks of wood that I will slip through. Or now that I am grown and about to start another new year vowing to lose weight/be more active, that I will trip on the crack and go falling over the side. Likely to be eaten by Shamu.

Seaweed. And being burned alive.

Up until I was 16, I had a phobia about seaweed. I didn't want to touch it, I didn't want to go near it, and I hated swimming from beaches where seaweed was growing.

I'd been learning sub-aqua swimming for about four years by that time (in a salt-water indoor pool) and then a group of us went on a week-long diving trip. I wasn't certified to use an aqua-lung independently at that point, so I and most of the rest of us kids were just going snorkelling in wetsuits.

The first morning, I went out with my swimming partner (we were of course required never to go swimming alone in the open sea - always two by two) and we were to swim from the beach to a rocky headland where one of the instructors was standing. This would just prove to him and to us that we were able to swim in the open sea.

I got about halfway, realized I would be swimming right over the biggest, nastiest, scariest looking seaweed growths I'd ever seen in my life, and turned back.

I'd got back into shallow water before it dawned on me that the rest of the week was going to be pretty boring for me if I stayed away from anywhere there was seaweed, and I turned back, resolved to swim all the way over to the headland, telling myself firmly (and I had to be very firm) that however ghastly it looked, the seaweed could not actually hurt me.

And I did, and it didn't, and furthermore, at the point when I turned to swim back from the headland, it dawned on me that my phobia about seaweed had just gone away. And it never came back. I had a lovely week diving in the open sea, and I've never been scared of seaweed since.

Of course, I'm still phobic about being burned alive. And I have no intention of getting myself trapped in a burning building to find out if that one will go away.

John Thullen: Having met Sebastian at Christmas and had a nice chat over coffee

I really envy you this.

On another thread, I offered kenB a virtual cup of tea: I meant basically that while I have no interest in finding political common ground with people whose political beliefs are completely at odds with my own, I'm always happy to find non-political common ground: if nothing else, for example, that Stan LS and I both detest sugared tea.

kenB, CaseyL is right - "irrational" here should be read to mean "unreasoning", both in terms of the reason for the fear and the reactions associated with it. An irrational fear does not necessarily have a rational source - even if there are potential rational sources - and inspires abnormal feelings and behavior.

For example, I have a fear of falling. This is not a fear of heights; I have no problem being very far off the ground (I've been to the top of the Empire State Building, and fly regularly, with no problems), as long as I can't fall from where I'm standing. It's edges - even edges with railings and bulletproof glass - that inspire unthinking terror in me; the possibility of falling is too much for me to bear. (The height of the edge only matters in that it changes the intensity of the fear; a ten-foot drop scares me much less than a balcony on the sixteenth story.) The worst instance of this fear that I can recall was getting to the top of the Temple of the Moon at Teotihuacán and suddenly realizing that, due to the grade of the stairway - it's a very steep climb - I wasn't going to be able to get down again without significant mental effort.

Others of my fears, incidentally, are of spiders, insects that creep (such as millipedes), and damage to my eyes and hands. I also have a mild neurosis about washing my hands any time anything gets on them - mud, oil, ketchup, what have you - but that's less a fear and more a compulsion.

Snorting wth laughter through this whole thread. Thank you. What makes it so funny is that I can sympathize with so many of the fears listed.
Unable to watch on-screen embarassment -- check. I've mostly conquered that, but my 8yo will jump up and run out of the room rather than watch anything potentially embarassing. Maybe it's genetic.
I'm not afraid of heights, but I fear the sensation of falling (rollercoasters, elevators, etc).
As for cockroaches, if you've never seen 6-inch roaches flying around madly in mating season, count yourself lucky.
But my biggest fear is going blind. Waking up in a pitch dark room I will start to panic because I start wondering if I'm actually blind. Seeing even just a pinpoint of light will calm me down.

Well, you've wasted a lot of my time, I'll have you know, as I found this

Some choice ones
Arachibutyrophobia- Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth (for me, it's hot pizza cheese, but that's rational)
Bolshephobia- Fear of Bolsheviks (quite unfair! I can't find the inverse, unless it is Heresyphobia or Hereiophobia- Fear of challenges to official doctrine or of radical deviation)
Enosiophobia or Enissophobia- Fear of having committed an unpardonable sin or of criticism (ahh, my dating problems explained)
Ephebiphobia- Fear of teenagers
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia- Fear of long words
Novercaphobia- Fear of your step-mother (also Pentheraphobia, much more common than Vitricophobia- Fear of step-father)
Porphyrophobia- Fear of the color purple (no mention of Whoppi Goldberg in this though)


The whale fear isn't here, but if you combine
Large things- Megalophobia and Fish- Ichthyophobia.
One gets Megaloichthyophobia

kenB, CaseyL is right - "irrational" here should be read to mean "unreasoning",

Well, I was being a little bit facetious.

The whale fear isn't here, but if you combine
Large things- Megalophobia and Fish- Ichthyophobia.
One gets Megaloichthyophobia

Hmm, but whales are mammals, not fish...

BTW, did any see the story about the woman with an "irrational" fear of whales that was attacked by one?

Edward, were you dragged to the Museum of Natural History at an early age?

Yes, I've seen that giant blue whale there. For some reason, that one's OK. Maybe because it's not real and doesn't move. If it were to ever move, I'd never get within 25 blocks of 79th Street again.

Our boats drifted about 50' apart. It was quite a shock when a whale surfaced right between us. Didn't last long, but a really scary moment. Its breath smelled pretty bad.

I like to think something like this would perhaps exhilarate me right past my phobia, but I somehow think it's equally likely I'd have a heart attack and die right there.

The creepy-crawly thing I kind of get, but fascination usually wins out for me. No fear of rats or snakes or frogs or slugs or that kind of stuff. Normal people in embarrassing situations, I get that one too, although that's gotten better as I've gotten older and perhaps a bit more comfortable with the idea that I have the skills now to recover socially should I find myself in that situation (yes, I think it's a bit induced by empathy and projection).

Heights, no. Edges where I could fall though, comes and goes. There are days when I could bungee jump off a bridge and others I couldn't...not sure why.

Getting trapped in a tunnel or other restrictive space: totally get that one. All those prison escape movies or cave explorers...fuggedaboutit.

Snorting wth laughter through this whole thread.

Me too. Thanks to everyone brave enough to share here. This goes in my e-scrapbook of favorites...

Well, I think that Edward would be frightened of any very large marine animal, a whale shark, giant squid, or even, if he encountered one, an ichthyosaur

I'm also curious if edward has any opinion of Monstro in Pinocchio. If so, do avoid Les Voyages de Pinocchio at EuroDisney...

a whale surfaced, flipped its large black tail out of the water and struck the Hancocks' brand-new boat.

[...]My wife has this terrific fear of whales and every time you go near a boat she is always talking about 'Don't go near whales,'" Regg Hancock says.

"I used to always laugh at that and say, 'There is no way a whale will come near a boat.' Well, she proved me wrong."

Brenda Hancock is recovering from her injuries at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony.

SEE!!!! SEE!!!! I'm telling you...they're evil!!!

Thanks for making my fear seem less irrational kenB.

e

BTW, did any see the story about the woman with an "irrational" fear of whales that was attacked by one?

I'm telling you, they can *smell* fear...

I'm also curious if edward has any opinion of Monstro in Pinocchio.

Jonah and the whale, too, don't forget that Biblical horror story.

Aren't they supposed to be from another planet in some theories, whales? Can't we help them contact the mother ship and send them all home? They're so creepy. And people who hug them or ride them ("Whale Rider"...what a nutjob she was). {{{shudder}}}

Speaking of whales, I was at a party that was also attended by a killer whale trainer from Sea World. Part of her job had to do with artificially insemination - the collection part. Of course, I had to ask: how on earth? Giant, inflatable killer whale love dolls? Manual stimulation on a much larger scale? A souped-up (but suitably waterproofed) vibrator?

The answer was of course much more bizarre and less...bestial than I was thinking: they're trained to ejaculate on command.

they're trained to ejaculate on command.

This is me not saying ANYTHING.

they're trained to ejaculate on command.

yeah, that sounds all nice and clinical, but HOW do they train them to do that???

Decent people doing highly embarrassing things on TV - one of the worst possible scenarios to sit thru. I cant do it. Sadly I love cheesy teenage drama so I spend about 1/2 the time covering my face with a pillow or running for kitchen to get away from the horror.

I am also extremely afraid of the door handle on public men’s restroom. I hang on to the paper towels I used to dry my hands to open the door. Sad. Even worse is when they have one of those air dryer deals and no paper towels in sight. Shaking just thinking about the nastiness.

I hang on to the paper towels I used to dry my hands to open the door.

same here.

and then i walk down the hallway to our office door - open that with the paper towel, too. then i drop it over the wall of an unused cubicle into the garbage can that i've cleverly positioned on the other side.

but, what makes it OK, is that i'm not the only one who does this. there are other people in my office who refuse to touch the bathroom door handle, and the office door handle, and who also drop their paper towels into that garbage can.

germ-phobics unite!

yeah, that sounds all nice and clinical, but HOW do they train them to do that???

Trade secret, I'm sure. If I remember correctly, there was a fluffer involved, so it wasn't entirely hands-off, so to speak.

"Arachibutyrophobia- Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth"

About 25 years ago, I watched a woman choke to death on peanut butter. Heimlich didn't work, nor a tracheotomy.

What is the command?

I have a fear of the command "Hup!" because I'm afraid of what might happen.

My partner (who's been reading here occassionally) is also germaphobic (so I'll try and be gentle about this just in case). We literally have dozens and dozens of cleaning products in our apartment. The cupboard under the kitchen sink makes most supermarkets look understocked.

I believe germs are unavoidable and most measures to try and avoid them are actually more bad than good for you. Antibacterial soaps and the like drive me nuts. As a species, our immune systems will weaken to the point we'll need to live in bubbles if this continues. Personally, I believe firmly in the five-second rule for food dropped on the floor, have no problem touching doors or bannisters or the poles on the subway, and kiss an average of 30-80 people a week (depending on whether I'm attending art openings or not) and I get no more than one or two colds a year and the flu only every four to five years, so clearly the germs out there are not as evil as some people think they are...

"If it were to ever move, I'd never get within 25 blocks of 79th Street again."

My partner works at the AMNH so I've been there after it closes. I don't know about the whale, but I'm pretty sure the dinosaur skeletons walk at night.

"If it were to ever move, I'd never get within 25 blocks of 79th Street again."

My partner works at the AMNH so I've been there after it closes. I don't know about the whale, but I'm pretty sure the dinosaur skeletons walk at night.

Ack! I also have a rational fear of double posting.

rilkefan -
I'm with you from way upthread. I have a recurring dream of waking up to find that someone, for some reason, has encased me in a block of plastic, but left one inch of space in the body-shaped cavity. Oxygen is somehow supplied, denying me that easy out. It's the extra inch that really makes it horrible and wakes me up screaming - that tiny extra space allowing me to thrum my hands helplessly about and thrash ever so slightly, but denying my muscles any real release except inward frustration, as more and more adrenaline dumps into my system...ak...I'm going to go outside now.

Oh, and fire. I check my gas stove at least twice every day before leaving the house. Maybe a mild bit of OCD, but hey, if you have to be compulsive about something, fire prevention's not so bad, I guess.

kenB:

Well, I was being a little bit facetious.

I figured, but I have epistrophimania, you see...

(The fear of whales, by the way, is phallainophobia, as I recall.)

Perhaps I should change my germ fear to irrational fear of watching people using a public restroom and then walking out without washing their hands.

I'll kiss babies, eat food that has fallen on the floor (given that it hasn’t landed in something alarming), use hand railings, etc. I don’t worry about these things. But failure to mind basic personal hygiene, in particular not washing your hands after using the restroom disturbs me on a fundamental level.

Instead of compartmentalizing this fear and exploding in a fit of rage at some point on the future I project this fear onto the door handle of all public men’s restrooms. It’s much healthier in my opinion.

To those of you with germ phobias: do not eat those mints at restaurants -- at least not the ones that aren't wrapped. One of the things that really stuck with me from my Epidemiology class was that when tested, they turned out to have residues from all major types of bodily fluids and secretions. All. Think about it.

I'm a big-time arachnophobe. Actually, any crawling or flying bug much larger than an ant sends me into near-hysterics if I find it on me. Last year, I was driving somewhere with my wife, and a large bug flew into the back of my shirt. I literally had to jerk the car onto the shoulder and stop before I killed us both in the wake of my panic attack.

Also, I've never been afraid of flying, or of heights, but I've always had a low-level fear of falling off of tall structures, so I've always avoided edges, or looking over observation points, etc. But ever since 9/11, I've developed an almost pathological fear of being out on a balcony. We live in a fourth-floor apartment, and last summer, we were eating lunch out on the balcony. I found myself edging my chair closer and closer to the door until I had to just get up and go inside. I can't be out there now without panicking. And I've become a very nervous flyer, too.

As for the AB soap: when's the last time you had any sort of bacterial infection? Not saying AB soaps are bad, mind you, but they aren't really proof against viruses like cold and flu.

Perhaps I should change my germ fear to irrational fear of watching people using a public restroom and then walking out without washing their hands

errr... yeah... now that you mention it, ilet me amend my germ-phobia post..

the reason i open the office door with a paper towel is because the office door in question is the way people get from the bathroom back to their cubicles (it's not the main public door) - if someone doesn't wash their hands before they leave the bathroom, that door handle is the very next stop their hand makes after the bathroom door handle.

i'm not actually a germ-phobic... i just don't want other people's piss on my hands. ;)

i just don't want other people's piss on my hands. ;)

I don't want it either, but that same person goes on to use the copy machine, touch the outside door, open their office door, etc, etc. In the end I assume that if it hasn't killed me so far, there's more important things to worry about...like all those whales out there, plotting against us. ;-)

Oh, God damn, the public restroom. This will undoubtably destroy what remains of my dignity, but I've been known to try to open public restroom doors with my left pinky finger -- on the assumption that it's the finger least likely to come into contact with food, etc.

My wife's attitude towards all this is pretty much the same as Ed's: nothing really bothers her -- "I have an immune system!" is one of her favorite retorts.

But failure to mind basic personal hygiene, in particular not washing your hands after using the restroom disturbs me on a fundamental level.

Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Yes.

"I have an immune system!"

My sentiment exactly. Although I just got a back channel warning to lighten up on the "eaning-clay oducts-pray" talk because there are clearly lots more someone hasn't tried yet...we so-o-o-o-o need a bigger apartment.

My father likes to tell a humorous story about being at a urinal next to a young Marine private, who, seeing my father leaving the restroom without washing, said, "Sargeant, aren't you going to wash your hands first?"

"No," he replied.

"Why not, Sarge?"

"Because in the Army they teach us how not to piss on our hands, that's why."

I can't believe no one has mentioned a crippling fear of public speaking. You mean it's just me?

I also have a phobia/recurring dream about my teeth falling out.

I also have a phobia/recurring dream about my teeth falling out.

In most popular dream interpretation books, teeth falling out represents death...which seems a rational fear to me.

Public speaking? Eh, gets easier with practice, like most things.

Cool picture, Edward. Having just watched a Series of Unfortunate Events, I'm glad you're not afraid of, say, Realtors. Tornadoes are what freak me out, goes back to my early childhood watchings of the Wizard of Oz. Later, it was nuclear bombs and radioactive fallout after reading On the Beach.

Hmmm - I don't really have any phobias. However, I share Hilzoy's & Sebastian's feeling about watching decent people do embarassing things on tv. I never knew other folks had the same reaction. I'll also sometimes have to temporarily put down a book when I get to a scene in which such an embarassment is about to take place.

Cool picture, Edward.

Thanks, but I suspect, like others above, it's been photoshopped around a bit.

Tornadoes are what freak me out

Ditto. Three mean sunsabitches struck my county when I was 18 and I still have nightmares about them.

share Hilzoy's & Sebastian's feeling about watching decent people do embarassing things on tv.

I'd meant to chime in on this: I don't fear it so much as refuse to waste a single additional second on it. My own descriptor for this is "excruciating". It started with Ellen DeGeneres' show, and continued with The Married Guy, Will & Grace, and Three Men. I'm sure there's a large number of shows that also feature this sort of activity that I haven't ever laid eyes on.

It's interesting to know that there are so many other people out there who share my inability to watch decent people getting caught doing embarrassing things -- I had always thought this was my personal oddity. (My sister always thought so, and who was I to disagree?)

Public speaking definitely gets better with practice. I am a recovering shy person -- I have basically spent my entire adult life forcing my way past it, and now no one believes I wasn't born outgoing -- and I used to throw up before teaching. Now, however, I have no problem with it at all. (Well, minor residual stress, but nothing worth mentioning.) Having to do it for a living, there was no real alternative to just learning to deal with it.

Hilzoy: Now there's a weird thing.

I was, when a child, cripplingly shy. When I moved out into the wider world, I started to learn techniques to get me past that shyness - since otherwise I'd have spent hours at perfectly nice gatherings just staring at my feet.

I discovered how well it had worked when I went to a big family party given by a cousin - where my whole immediate family were there, but we knew hardly anyone else. My cousins had foreseen this problem, and everyone had namebadges, which I thought was an excellent idea. So I did what I usually do at parties like that: wandered round the room saying hello to people I didn't know, having a few minutes of conversation, and moving on.

I came back to the table where the rest of the family were sitting to find my mother, sister, and sister-in-law sitting staring at me in consternation; "But we don't know anyone here! What are you DOING?" to which I said, rather annoyed, "I'm shy! When you're shy, you have to learn HOW to do things like this!"

My problem with public speaking is that I get absolutely terrified of doing it before I do it, but once I start, I'm fine. And by this time I know that's how I am, and I just keep telling myself that. Ignore the sweaty palms and the cold ripples of terror, I tell myself: you'll be fine, you'll be fine...

"watching decent people do embarassing things on tv."

Isn't this almost the definition of a sitcom, and most "reality" tv? We have to like the characters, and can't have them doing anything actually wicked, so writers drive plots by having Ralph Kramden or Rob Petrie make an idiot of himself. It isn't as if you actually have to check out a new sitcom to know what it will be like.

Is why I don't watch any mainstream tv. Except of course Married with Children and the Simpsons, who were having fun with the formula.

To those of you with germ phobias: do not eat those mints at restaurants -- at least not the ones that aren't wrapped. One of the things that really stuck with me from my Epidemiology class was that when tested, they turned out to have residues from all major types of bodily fluids and secretions. All. Think about it.

I was gonna say that exact same thing about peanuts in public bars. I think I read they discovered on average 7 different kinds of urine on them - yuck.

The germ thing I don't have. But I do have a telephone treshold. Not a phobia; I can do it if I feel it is necessary ---- but I will find a lot of excuses before I deem it absolutely necessary...

ouch sorry for the italics. Are they off now?

Public speaking definitely gets better with practice.

That's absolutely correct. Also, knowing your subject through and through. I went from being absolutely terrified of public speaking to kinda enjoying it.

I still nearly throw up every time I have to argue a point in Court, though. But that's for fear of losing -- and the cause of the loss being me -- not because I'm afraid of public speaking.

I was gonna say that exact same thing about peanuts in public bars.

Aaargh. And Toby, if he's still around, will remember this:

My favorite bar of a few years back in Chicago had this peanut machine, which was essentially one of those 25-cent gumball machine except that it was filled with peanuts. As I drink I become less germ-phobic, so I'd sampled the fruit of the peanut machine (so to speak) on several late occasions. One day, early to (and belly at) the bar, we watched the guy load up the peanut machine. Big, grubby (as in back-tar dirty) hands reaching in a dirty, digusting sack and grabbing individual, de-shelled peanuts and stuffing them haphazardly in the machine.

Never ate peanuts from that machine again.

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