HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR PHOBIAS
Each person on this earth has a specific fear of something. Your age does not matter or what you are made of or your personality or your toughness or whatever, you still have a disorder called —phobia. Some people have funny but serious phobias that you cannot understand the reason behind it.
If you have a phobia, (i.e. a morbid fear) you live in a psychological prison. You are restricted by your fear. Your friends can go to places and do things freely. They are free to have exciting adventures and enjoy doing them, whilst yours is just the opposite.
Just fancy your friends choosing to spend a holiday at the beach instead of being idle at home or doing something else, but because you are aquaphobic you will make all attempts to change the idea because you fear water. You fear water will carry you away and die so will eventually exclude yourself even if they finally decide to go.
STRANGE AND JAZZY NAMES
There are a variety of irrational fears and the founders of the English language have classified all such fears as phobias and have accorded some strange and jazzy names to describe these fears to put more fear in you.
Phobias are peculiar diseases since they are disorders of the mind and may need treatment by Psychotherapists rather than medical Doctors since they are psychological sicknesses. All of us are psychologically sick persons because each of us fears one thing or another. If you think you have no fear then you probably have not met what you fear yet and may just be bragging.
A lot of people, probably including you, fear snakes because some snakes are very poisonous and you may not know which one is poisonous and which is not, so to be on the safer side you have to fear all snakes and treat them as enemies. Whilst most people fear snakes and will never move near a dead one others can play with them and some keep snakes as pets.
If you fear snakes your sickness is ophidiophobia, and you may need the services of a psychiatrist therapist to overcome this fear to be able to kill a baby cobra.
Recently I was walking on a bush path, returning from a mushroom hunt when I met a young woman holding a stick and searching for something by the side of the path and the nearby bush. My curiosity made me ask her what she had lost or was searching for. She told me she was searching for a snake she just saw to kill it.
‘’A snake?’’, I asked as I moved two steps backwards. ‘’ If it has escaped let it go away peacefully’’, I tried to advise her.
‘’I can’t see a snake and let it continue to live. I must search to find and kill it.’’
‘’You don’t fear snakes, I suppose.’’
‘’No, not at all. It is rather the earthworm I fear most, not snakes.’’
‘’An earthworm?’’, that is not a dangerous creature like the snake. An earthworm can’t harm you but a snake can.’’
‘’Yes, in spite of that I still fear the earthworm.’’
‘’You must be suffering from scoleciphobia, that is the fear of worms. Happy searching’’, I told her and cautiously passed by her.
When I was in the primary school, some five decades ago, (all primary schools were mixed) there were about ten girls in my class. One of them was known as Massy. She was quite a beautiful girl which made men tell her they would marry her when she grew up. Whenever any man told her this, Massy would cry all day and refuse to come to school the following day.
I wonder if there are any girls today with that kind of fear which is known as androphobia, the fear of men. This phobia is not prevalent among only small girls but some of the bigger ones as well.
There is a male side to the above condition. A man who fears to approach a woman for love suffers from a condition known as gynophobia. Don’t worry if you are in that condition. There is a remedy for it.
In fact I never knew there were full grown adult males who have inborn fear until one showed his fear in my presence. My God! You won’t believe me but those who know it, know it.
This man was seriously sick of malaria and had to be taken to hospital for treatment. He dared not go. He resisted all attempts by neighbors to send him to the hospital, and this, those of us around him could not understand. Then his wife called me aside and whispered into my ears, ‘’he is afraid of the Doctor’s needle’’.
‘’Whaat! An old man like this?’’, I exclaimed to the hearing of all.
‘’Mr. Barnes, why won’t you go to the hospital’’, I asked audibly.
‘’You see’’, he responded in a not-too-audible tone, ‘’ with this type of sickness the Doctor will always ask you to see the nurses at the injection room and……’’ (Wife’s story confirmed).
Mr. Barnes phobia is trypanophobia, the fear of needles and not malaria.
EMOTION OF FEAR
An emotion of fear is in itself healthy because it warns us of real danger and so helps us to be cautious to preserve life. But a fear like that of the man mentioned above is not sensible enough to others but it may be so overwhelming to him that taking an injection looks like a threat to his survival. That is the mystery and awkwardness of phobias.
There is a rather strange fear by women among the fears, which is the fear of being touched and loved by a man. ‘’Jeezeebeel!’’
A woman is created to be loved and cared for by a man. That is how God ordained it. What on earth could make a woman fear being loved? Only a strange sickness can be responsible for that. Though aside of that a woman who had been treated badly by a man whom she loved can also suffer that phobia which is known as aphenphosmphobia. Yes, you haven’t heard strange names yet. Read on.
I remember vaguely the lyrics of a song I heard on radio many years ago. It was sang by a woman and it read something like this:
Wow! You are my sunshine
Wow! I need your loving
Yeah! You are my rainbow
Yeah! I wanna be loved.
Truly a woman needs to be loved. Aphenphosmphobic women may never like to hear this song, lest sing it.
Well, one woman’s delicious meat is another woman’s dreaded poison. Whilst some women fear being touched and loved by men others want to stay young forever in order to be touched and loved by men. Such women though may be in their 40’s and above dress and behave like 16 year-old girls. They fear being labeled ‘’off road’’. If you are one of them you are gerascophobic. You fear getting old. Don’t worry; take Dr. Young’s anti-aging syrup, Forever Young, one soup-spoonful every morning afternoon and evening.
Of all these irrational fears people have the one I find to be genuine or reasonable is the fear of thunder and lightning. Who doesn’t fear the flashing bright light and the loud vibrating noise from the heavens? Lightning can kill so you are right in fearing it. My brother or sister, better remain indoors during thunder and lightning to be safe from accidental electrocution.
It is quite sensible to be astraphobic to escape electrocution by this fearful thing called lightning.
My research on flying has revealed that most Europeans and Americans have failed to visit Africa not because they look down upon Africans or they can’t afford plane fares but because they are aerophobic. They fear to fly.
I understand and sympathize with them because I once watched the reaction of someone who feared flying in an aircraft whilst flying together. It was a bitter experience which I will not like to recount here. The experience was mixed with shivering and sweating and tingling sensation in the air-conditioned enclosure when the plane took off. I do not think the person will go near an aircraft again unless that fear is put in prison and he comes out.
With this eye-witness observation of the reactions of an aerophobic person on board a plane coupled with my sympathy for them, I have no qualms with those who refuse to fly. They are safer on land. In order to overcome this phobia, make friends with an air hostess.
An aircraft has two phobias for people, the one above and this second one which is the fear of heights, known as acrophobia.
An acrophobic person will swap his seat with you in an airplane if he happens to sit near the window. Looking through the window will put more fear in him if he sees he is meters off the ground so he’ll prefer to sit near to the aisle to be safer.
They also fear being on anything that is elevated some meters off the ground, e.g., high rise buildings, bridges and hilly lands. ‘’In case of a fall from this high-rise building shall I survive?’’. Such thoughts tend to add more fear to the inherent fear.
I worked with a lady who had that disorder and remember vividly how she behaved. She told me how uncomfortable she felt when she was about to cross a bridge and always needed someone to hold her hand. She wouldn’t cross a bridge alone even if it had solid railings on its sides. That, in addition to being acrophobic also made her gephyrophobic. Oh! Two disorders at the same time, poor her. Gephyrophobia is the fear of bridges. It is not about the structure of the bridge but the fear of a fall into the river below irrespective of the solidness of the bridge’s structure.
None of these phobics would have travelled with Jimmy Cliff when he sang ‘many rivers to cross.’
I watched a movie titled ‘’HOME ALONE’’ some years back. This movie was popular and many still remember it. The protagonist was a 6 or so year-old boy who was accidentally forgotten and left behind in the house whilst the family travelled away on holiday.
Though he was left alone in the house, he did not show any sign of being afraid nor had any fear of being alone and even drove away thieves who had come to raid the house. That was a show of rare bravery. The opposite is true for some people.
Those who fear being alone has a phobia known as monophobia.
I never knew this fear is common until I overheard a conversation between two women when travelling with them in a bus from the coast to the countryside. After passing through a small town it was bush left and right. Then we saw a small girl walking alone by the side of the road. One of the women exclaimed, ‘’hey, look at that small girl walking alone. Is she not afraid of being alone?
‘’Oh! Why do you ask this? Is this area not where she lives?’’ replied the other woman.
‘’I fear for her being alone. I have never been alone like this all my life.’’
‘’You mean you have never been on your own alone before?’’
‘’Yes, you know in the city there are people everywhere all the time. In my house my parents and siblings are around, other tenants are there with their children, and people are passing on the street every time.’’
This is clearly a monophobic person. She will scream like a frightened peacock when left alone. If you are like her let people accompany you always, even in your sleep.
From the above, by equation the small girl walking alone by the roadside is supposed to be enochlophobic because she lives in a less populated area and probably will fear seeing large crowds of people when she comes to the city.
Just listen to the disorder related to younger children of school going age. That’s such a mighty name for small kids’ disorder? Oh gosh!
Have you ever noticed children being dragged to school on Monday mornings crying? They are reluctant to leave their mothers and go to school. All such children who fear school suffer from didaskalemophobia. Fortunately they are able to overcome their phobia after a few months and thereafter they shall not be absent from school for a day.
Hey women! Listen to this, especially Ghanaian women. I know what you fear most. It marvels me a lot why among all things this is your most dreaded. It shall never kill you but you fear it more than an approaching train.
If there is anybody who doubts me let him make this observation and report back to me his findings.
Look at what Ghanaian ladies do when it starts to rain on them. If you haven’t noticed it yet, watch it from now onwards. I have no video to show you now but the truth is, they will run like death is coming after them.
They all suffer from ombrophobia, fear of rain, just a little rain and nothing else.
There is the fear of everything under the sun but this post is not intended to list all phobias on earth to put more fear in you. I do not want to scare you on this site. If you desire to know all, wait I’ll be with you in a moment to show you where to go.
Before winding off this piece I like to remind you that we are all potential dead bodies, since we shall all die. But the subject or mention of death is not a desired topic for many. It is an uninteresting and abhorred topic to discuss and many of you shall close this site if I attempt to discuss death so I shall not do it.
In addition to that, there are those whose sicknesses evoke the fear of death in them if the sickness is such that recovery is not possible in the short-term. The fear of death is known as thanatophobia. That is, if you fear you will soon die. If you are lucky to die soon you are released from this fearful fear.
After death appear ghosts. The existence of ghosts has always remained a controversial topic. Do ghosts really exist? Ask this question and you will get both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers. I wish someone describes one to me.
Nobody has ever seen a ghost but the fear of ghosts is real because of images or apparitions that appear in the mind. There is also the possibility of seeing a look-alike of a dead person. If a person dies in a family that ugly fear raises its head.
In superstitious communities when a married person dies they perform certain rituals purported to keep off the ghost of the dead person from visiting the living. Once the ritual is performed the fear is subsided or eradicated.
The fear of ghosts is known as phasmophobia.
I need to comment a little on my final phobia for you. It is a wonderful and stylish long word which is not easily pronounced. It could easily be taken to a pronunciation competition for a prize. The founders did a very good job in arriving at how the word should be spelt or written.
If you have never met or read this word don’t think it’s a joke for me putting it here. It is a real English word with a meaning.
In the writing industry writers are always reminded to be brief and concise, to avoid the use of long and ambiguous words, and make profuse use of short words and sentences. That actually saves them from some phobia attack.
But in certain professions like the medical, the use of long words is unavoidable. Some long words are the names of sicknesses whilst others are the names of drugs. For example, hypercholesterolemia and triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide are names of drugs.
Well, I understand the Doctors have short methods of writing these long names. That’s better, to avoid this long name phobia.
Anyway we are not medical practitioners, why should we worry?
Any writer who is economical with long words is avoiding this kind of phobia known as hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, a looong word to name the fear of long words. Could you pronounce it or just murmured over it?
This name was not conjured by me, no. It existed long before I was born. Unfortunately you may not find it in any English dictionary. They fear to publish it. You can only find this word on www.fearof.net, a website that has a list of over 100 phobias.
Fellow writers and dear readers, if you suffer from the above phobia how can you be cured? To be on the safer side stop writing or reading long words.
If you do not find your kind of phobia here do not think you don’t have one. You definitely have but I do not want to list all of them now.
The basic causes of phobias are not the same. Some are based on superstition, that if you don’t do this or that, something will happen to you; more are shallow imaginations of the mind and few are real.
To be able to overcome some of these fears you have to acknowledge that your problem is psychological and not medical. If you are connected with superstition you have no solid basis to validate it.
Most often an earlier bad or painful experience you have suffered has the tendency to perpetrate itself on your subconscious mind. When that happens, any approaching sign of that bad experience evokes fear in you.
For example, a woman who fears men might have been raped painfully at an earlier time and has that painful experience embedded in her mind. Her problem is how can she think positively that the next man shall not rape her but shall be lovable and caring?
She may need a therapist or counselor to show her the positive side that not all men are like that and that some can be very loving.
Having read this post might lighten your fears, or if it does not and your phobia still haunts you, leave a comment and let me pick it up from there.