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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Some phobias are quite rational and aren't fodder for psychoanalysis or clinical help. Take the fear of heights. Put me on the roof of a 20 story building with no railing and I'm going to stay away from the edge. However, were I to refuse to take the elevator and stairs to the roof because of the height, that is a dysfunctional phobia. It's where the fear is greatly out of proportion to the risk. If I'm afraid to be near a garter snake, that is dysfunctional. Not wanting to be in the proximity of a rattlesnake is functional and not neurotic at all 

And what about phobias that almost seem to be genetic, like the fear of creepy-looking things? Most of us have an aversion to spiders, especially big ones. However, some people go into a panic at the sight of even a small spider. 

For many of us this may be hard to believe: some people have a deathly fear of cats (ailurophobia). I have a cat. An young and feisty one with plenty of attitude. She has bitten and scratched me but I don't fear her. I figure there's 200 lb of me and 8 lb of her, so whatever dislike I have for being bitten is reasonable and proportional. It doesn't make me fear her or even feel nervous around her. (BTW, being hesitant in handling a cat can make them nervous and more prone to bite and scratch, so for people who fear cats, cat bites, and cat scratches, their fear can actually provoke an attack that wouldn't happen to a more confident cat handler.)

I feel very akward about this whole situation...I sometimes doubt that I had full-on PTSD

It was decades before I got help, and it only because my kids stepped in to find help. (I didn't have trauma, but years of growing social dysfunction.) The treatment I got was enabled by charity and my veteran's status. I felt I didn't "deserve" help as much as other people--especially other vets--who had clear incidents of trauma, often multiple events. I still feel that way, so I feel extremely lucky and appreciative of the help I've received that has turned my life around.

My point is that an exact diagnosis doesn't matter as much as what one can do to help themselves, and I know from experience now that I couldn't have fixed myself by myself. I now have (mostly vet) friends who've also turned their life around, and they couldn't have done it without outside help, either. Something else that kept me going was the realization that I wouldn't want other people to deny themselves help, so why should I not take the opportunity given to me to make good?

I met female vets that had trauma too, but their damaging experiences came just as often from men and/or home life as from the war. Men who've fought wars deserve help, but so do women who encounter adversity practically as a matter of common daily life.

Thank you for sharing that perspective. I'm going to have to think about it.

I love flying (small planes to passenger jets), but roller coasters make me sick.

I'm guessing that enjoyment of bungie jumping would depend a lot on my mood.


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