Fear is a strange thing. Some fears come from experiences, some from stories, some from legends. Some fears appear as if from nowhere, and you can’t even remember when they started.
Fears vs Phobias
I think it is quite important to note that fears and phobias are two different things.
“A phobia is an irrational fear, a kind of anxiety disorder in which the individual has a relentless dread of a situation, living creature, place, or thing. Individuals with a phobia go to great lengths to avoid a perceived danger which is much greater in their minds than in real life.” [Source]
Bathophobia is the fear of depths. It is generally associated with large bodies of water, but it can also develop as a fear of caves, tunnels, or mountain valleys.
I only discovered the name of this fear when doing a little research for this post. you see, I have an irrational fear of being over the water. It’s not as bad as it once was – I used to be terrified of even just being in the car when it was driving across a bridge over a river. Piers were difficult too, although at least I knew I was in control of my own feet, unlike in the car. Over shallow water I’m fine, the trouble comes when I know I would be out of my depth.
I have no idea where this fear came from. I can swim, although I’m not the strongest swimmer, and I love being in the water, so it makes little sense to me. All I can think is that it’s linked to the fear of drowning…which I think is a pretty valid one! But my young mind just took it back that one step further to the possibility of being in that situation; of falling into the water and dying.
Claustrophobia is the fear of being unable to escape from an enclosed space.
This is definitely me. I really don’t like being confined in lifts, and just the idea of wearing a full-face motorbike helmet actually makes me panic a little. I also have recurring nightmares of getting stuck in clothes when trying them on/trying to remove them. Don’t even get me started on crawling through tight tunnels or squeezing between those foam rollers in soft play!
Acrophobia is the fear heights.
“Those with an extreme fear of heights – a condition called acrophobia and often mislabelled “vertigo” – significantly overestimate vertical distances. The stronger their fear, the bigger the error, say researchers.” [Source]
Acrophobia is one of the most common phobias worldwide, and research suggests that it is actually to do with how your brain interprets heights and distances. Studies show that people with acrophobia actually tend to overestimate heights, which actually makes the phobia more understandable. If you perceive there is a longer way to fall, you are likely to be more scared aren’t you?
As someone who has acrophobia, this really intrigues me. When I’m looking down or judging how high up something is, am I seeing it differently? Would I be just as scared if I perceived the ‘correct’ height?
What fears do you have? Are they common, or are they bizarre? Do you remember where they stem from? Let me know below!