I want to talk about phobias. I suppose one could be afraid of just about anything.

According to the NIMH (source: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1SPEC_ADULT.shtml) ....

Phobias are said to be marked and persistent fear and avoidance of a specific object or situation.

I found this list of phobias: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_phobias

Do you have any phobias?

Have you ever gotten treatment for a phobia?

How do you know the difference between a phobia and a rational fear of something?

I have an irrational fear of men and I'm trying to work through it....but I hope the discussion can help anyone with a phobia open up. I hope we can laugh a little too....I remember so many little things I've been "afraid" of only to laugh at myself later. That ever happen to you? Or is it just me? Lol.....

Oh yah, can phobias be HEALTHY? Why did phobias evolve?

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I wonder if the fear of heights should even be classified as a phobia

But I'll bet that fear of heights comes from a healthy place, maybe even among most animals. I was afraid of heights as a kid, but I love flying... but you won't find me balancing on a high beam! When standing on a cliff, I have to suppress an acute fear of getting blown off by a gust of wind, or something.

Damn, that sounds like me! Except that I was so defensive and unapproachable that I can't remember anyone asking me to be a friend. (Maybe I've just forgotten.)

Decades older now, I'm finally getting over a social phobia, which has been a serious handicap in my life. However, I survived, and I'm happy with my more independent view of life. When I got married, my lack of being social was actually a burden on my wife, who loved to shmooze (sp?) and make connections. But I did happen to be pretty good with people one-on-one, especially over the phone. And my kids turned out to be adequately social animals, and overall successful in college.

I can sort of relate. I hung out with this one girl for a while in high school and it was equal parts akward and fun until she started to talk about us becoming friends...it was so weird the way she did it, it set off alarm bells and I stopped hanging out with her. I wouldn't say I have a phobia about this as much as I'm just too cautious. 

I have to add that my inability to spell awkward is really getting on my nerves.


When I was five my mother dropped me off at my dads and step mom's. All my clothes in a shopping bag. She had intentions to return and fetch me but that was the last time I saw her until the age of 19. My father seized the opportunity, put me on an Eastern Airlines jet, and flew me off the island. Turned out my mother is a manic depressive. When she returned no one would tell her where I was and she had an episode and was admitted to a psyche ward.

I was a kid so in my mind she abandoned me and left me to live with an indifferent father and a very mean step mother. Consequently I had, and still do to this day, some really deep trust issues. Socially I can be great, now, but I never seek friendships and the ones I do make are more of the acquaintance type. Deep fear of rejection and betrayal. But in my case I wouldn't classify it as a phobia. More of a defense mechanism.

Exposure therapy. Trains and buses, gyms. Alcohol's a social lubricant (it's practically socialism in a bottle), to begin with. Gotta keep the ball rolling, or you'll fall to isolation. Solitary confinement is cruel, torturous. You get into these little habit loops. It breeds insanity.

I have a deep fear of birds.  When I was a child, a wren got in our house.  (I lived in an old, very run down house with holes you could drive a truck through, so this was a common occurrence.)  My job was to hold the screen door open so it could be shooed out.  It flew into my hair.  I had very long hair and my father had to kill the bird so that they could disentangle it from me.  To this day, I am wary of birds outside, but if a bird is in a building, I freak!

That sounds awful. No wonder!

My mom has irrational fear of snakes. She has a hard time seeing them even on TV. Most snakes are harmless. But, I can say I exist for at least the fact that my mom would have avoided all contact with snakes, harmless or not, because she survived long enough to...you know. Lucky me.

Some people don't go into the ocean because they are afraid of sharks. Some people get killed by sharks because they went into the ocean. Going into the ocean makes it possible to get killed by sharks. That seems rational. However, going into the ocean is fun and the chances of being killed by a shark are very small. However, only people who survived having gone into the ocean can tell you this.

I've had a fear of public speaking which I hear is very common. But, mine was so bad that it interfered with college because I wouldn't show up on the day I was supposed to make a presentation to the class, therefore, I'd take a hit on my GPA. I'd say that is irrational because what am I really afraid of? Being embarrassed? Even if I fudge my presentation I would have at least received some points toward my grade.

I'm not sure what you mean by a fear of men. I've never been good at socializing with people, at least I've never felt I've been good at it and tend to avoid social situations. But if there is a woman I'm interested in then it is even worse. I feel totally awkward and exposed and can't think of a damn thing to say which causes a viscous circle or a self-reinforcing delusion. I'd call that irrational because I know that relationships are normal and healthy and once in one I have no trouble at all. What a horrible situation to be in if a person had both a fear of relationships and a fear of being alone...lol. Then again, that might be the same thing.

Fear of men is probably more like a fear of sharks and not of snakes and probably more like a fear of fear similar to public speaking. That is, it has minimal actual physical danger but could leave you feeling like crap emotionally when things don't work. Ultimately, everyone has a fear of the unknown to some degree.

I have a rational fear of women and taxes. :)

Either of them can put a man in the poor house if he don't keep his wits about him.

lolololololol omfg you are so witty.

I fear heights, my wife fears mice and rats.  Neither of us can name a causal event.

I have a phobia of fish and sea-food which doesn't bother me much in the least as I live in land and sea food isn't around here much. It is my only mania. My phobia seems really silly in comparison to others. I am really thankful that I don't have claustrophobia or fear of people or fear of failure or fear of fear.  These phobias are so debilitating it is painful to watch my friends suffer, unable to fly, go out clubbing, get a promotion or make it to the third date with a guy. Worse...they all have nothing but excuses when I calmly and caringly explain the therapies available.

What is this phobia that keeps people from overcoming their phobias?


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