by Jenny Hansen
For the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about fear here at Writers In The Storm. It all started with a Thursday night chat at critique group where, “What are you afraid of?” turned into a really big deal.
Below are the posts we’ve done on the subject and I think we’ve covered the writers’ fears REALLY well…
There was Laura Drake’s post – Fear of NOT Succeeding – that started the “Fear Throwdown.” Laura worries constantly about running out of time.
Fae Rowen answered the challenge with a beautiful post called, “Fear of Success” where she shared that she fears not meeting expectations and submitting work that is less than perfect.
D.A. Watt balanced both sides last week with “Are You A Head Case? Fear No More!” Deb worries about dropping the ball in her personal list of responsibilities and spreading herself too thin trying to be “Super Me.”
Jenny Hansen (that’s me!) spoke on the Fear Factor of Dreams, summing up the other posts and discussing how our dreams can both help and hinder us.
But what about the things that scare everybody (including writers)? Below, are the top phobias in America. . .they might surprise you.
What is a phobia?
A phobia is a completely irrational fear. Sufferers know they are behaving oddly. But that doesn’t lessen the fear – in fact, it can make it worse.
Phobias are a subconscious reaction — logic and rationality don’t help. In short, it is a flaw in their perception of reality.
I looked up the 10 Most Common Phobias in America and was interested to note that the rest of the world fears different things than Americans. Some of the “World’s Top 10″ — Fear of snakes, darkness, another person, dogs and the dentist – did not make the U.S. Top 10 Phobia list, which is shown below.
10 most common phobias reported by both men and women.
1. Arachnophobia – the fear of spiders. There is no escape from these eight-legged beasts. They live in our houses, gardens, and even our places of work. True arachnophobes are even scared of pictures of spiders.
2. Social phobia – the fear of social situations. More than simple shyness. This is an extreme fear of being scrutinised by others, or humiliated by one’s own actions. This is usually where the fear of public speaking falls.
3. Aerophobia – the fear of flying. In a plane, obviously. Often paired with claustrophobia.
4. Agoraphobia – the fear of inescapable situations. The result is anxiety and panic attacks, which can easily become self-perpetuating. Extreme agoraphobes are confined to their own home, which is the only place they consider to be safe.
5. Claustrophobia – the fear of confined spaces. Sufferers will stay well away from elevators, trains and tiny cupboards under the stairs. May cause panic attacks if escape is not possible.
6. Acrophobia – the fear of heights. Sufferers may have panic attacks and put themselves in genuine danger if they can’t get down. Often confused with vertigo – which is merely a dizzy or spinning sensation and not necessarily caused by heights.
7. Emetophobia – the fear of vomit. No one likes the sight or smell of vomit, but these sufferers will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the stuff.
8. Carcinophobia – the fear of cancer. Although it’s not contagious, a carcinophobe will believe he has cancer because he touched someone else with the disease.
9. Brontophobia – the fear of thunderstorms. Also known as astraphobia. Child and adult sufferers alike hide away from thunder and lightning, lest they suffer panic attacks and have difficulty breathing.
10. Necrophobia – the fear of death. Derived from the fear of being buried alive, after early excavations of coffins showed scratch marks made by trapped victims. Also relates to coffins and corpses.
Which one of the above surprised you the most? For me it was #7. Fear of vomit? Huh. I can only speculate on what parents do when they have that one. Excuse me, little three week old Johnny, but you need to clean that hurlage up yourself…
Confession Time: I have a phobia.
I’ve been deathly afraid of heights since college. (Yes, I have an inciting incident for my handy-dandy phobia.) I have a hard time going up and down escalators and stairs and my stomach pitches whenever I stand on a balcony. And ladders? Forget it. I don’t even like to watch my hubby climb one.
I’m going to make y’all a deal, right here in the middle of this post here at WITS: If you give me the scoop on your phobias and irrational fears in today’s comments, I’ll tell you the whole story of why I’ve been afraid of heights since about 1989. It’ll happen over at my place, More Cowbell, but I will tell all.
So, do you have any phobias (and what are they)? Have you always had it, or was there a starting point that you remember? Did we leave any “writer’s fears” out?
Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after the newly walking Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing. In addition to being a founding member here at WITS, Jenny also hangs out on Twitter at jhansenwrites and at her other blog, More Cowbell.