I am afraid of a lot of things. Critters with more than four legs, for one. The more legs, the more terrifying it is. Large dogs that I don’t know. Walking by myself in the dark. Tornado sirens.
a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.
Origin: 1780–90; extracted from nouns ending in -phobia
Synonyms aversion, hatred.
With regards to irrational fears, I’ve got even more! After all, spiders actually ARE scary, especially the ones that can really hurt you, such as the brown recluses that I happen across from time to time. So are unfamiliar dogs, because they could attack you. Walking by myself in the dark is potentially dangerous. And tornado sirens are definitely useful, even if the sound itself fills me with dread.
Lately I’ve been absurdly terrified of re-spraining an ankle. I do this on a relatively frequent basis, as I am rather clumsy and accident-prone. I see holes in the ground and envision spraining my ankle even as I gingerly tiptoe around it. Just thinking about it makes me twinge in pain.
I am also constantly afraid that one of my pets has died, to the point where I will wake them to make sure they are still breathing. I have a dog and a cat, and both are six years old and in good health. Neither are going to spontaneously die, but I am convinced they are. My family does not have a good track record with pets living past three for one reason or another, so I guess I just think my pets are living on borrowed time.
I live within a few miles of a large international airport, and when I hear a jet fly over our house, I’m convinced it will crash on our house. That’s a phobia I’ve had since I was little. That, or a tornado or fire will destroy my house, as well as take the lives of the pets inside it. I can remember many storms as a child where I would be at school or otherwise away from home and I would panic and sob, convinced I’d never see my family, pets, or stuff ever again. (This might explain my fear of tornado sirens themselves. It’s strange, though. When I hear it, I’m actually more terrified of the sound of the siren, than the potential tornado in the area. Most sirens put me on edge and sometimes I’ll have a panic attack.)
I am very easily spooked by an argument happening around me, though I’m pretty sure that’s mostly the PTSD talking. When my mom remarried, any argument she and my stepdad got into terrified me to the core. I’m also deathly afraid of people who are drinking. They morph into my dad or my stepdad and it’s the scariest thing ever. Again, likely the PTSD talking. I have a pretty stunted social life, since most people my age do everything with copious amounts of alcohol. (The older I get, the more I’m realizing that the alcohol never really goes away, does it? Does *anyone* do *anything* without drinking anymore?) It always makes me acutely uncomfortable when I’m out with friends. I don’t like it when friends drink around me and I will do whatever it takes to cut the evening short. I know alcohol in and of itself is not to blame but it scares me to death. I will go out of my way to avoid places where people drink, which is probably about 80% of everywhere. They even sell beer at the local zoo!
I used to be completely paralyzed with most of my fears, though it’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older and learned more coping skills. My therapist recently taught me to think about what the problem is, what my immediate response is, and then contemplate what a reasonable response is and why my response is, well, usually overkill. The recent concern that my pets will die is one I haven’t quite figured out. I think it stems from being afraid of being left alone, and from losing my great-grandmother back in March. I can’t bear to think about losing my mom, or my grandparents, and thinking about how inevitable it is usually makes me suicidal so I stop thinking about it. So maybe that fear has translated to my pets, because it is somehow easier to handle their deaths? (Which is a lie, it totally isn’t.) At any rate, my cat was just licking herself and is settling down for a nap. So long as she keeps snoring because she smooshes her face into the leather couch and makes it hard for her to breathe, I will know she is fine, and therefore I guess I am, too.