Inspired by Toni’s post yesterday about phobias, I thought to myself: hey! I have me some phobias too! In fact, my mind, it is a strange, creepy town riddled with dark, twisting alleyways which I bet the Forever Amber readers would just love to explore. In other words: I’m a bit strange, me, and unless you’d like to hear about the brief snowfall we had yesterday, I got nothing for you here, so I’m just going to
copy Toni take a leaf out of Toni’s book and tell you all about all the things that keep me awake at night.
So here we go – a quick tour through my troubled psyche, or “the things I have phobias about”.
1. Crabs and other crustaceans. But mostly crabs. (‘kabourophobia’)
I’ve touched on this before, but as Terry will tell you, I’ve never been one to shy away from the idea of repeating myself – I said, I’ve never been one to shy away from the idea of repeating myself – so let the record show that by far the biggest phobia in my life is the fear of crabs, lobsters, and anything else that lives in the sea, has a shell, and operates more than four legs, some of which contain pincers. So bad is this phobia, in fact, that I wasn’t able to copy Toni and show you little pictures of the things I’m scared of, because that would involve looking at pictures of crabs, and would then mean that I wouldn’t be able to view my own blog for as long as it takes for this post to drop off the front page. Yeah, I hate those suckers.
The phobia is so severe, you see, that I can’t even look at pictures of crustaceans, and when we’re in Florida, and we go to Publix, which has live lobsters in a tank (so that people can just pick them up! With their HANDS! AAAAAARRRRRGH!) I have to close my eyes so that my mum can guide me past it. If I do happen to see a crab, or a picture of a crab, I will generally drop any object I happen to be holding at the time, and I wake up a few times every month standing screaming next to the bed, having just leapt from it in terror, convinced that there are crabs in it. Because, you know how that’s always happening?
Despite this, as I noted on my last entry about this, fear of crustaceans is actually quite a good phobia to have, if you’re going to have a phobia, because the feckers don’t generally travel inland, so unless you live by the sea, you’re good. So, yes, ‘kabourophobia': recommended. Only, not really.
Like Toni, my fear of flying arrived one day out of a clear blue sky, with absolutely no prior warning. A bit like a plane crash, in fact. Up until that point I had been flying through the skies with the greatest of ease, and without a single clutching-of-the-armrest moment. Then one day when I was kid, as the plane taxied along the runway, I sat bolt upright in my seat and started screaming, “I WANT TO GET OFF! I WANT TO GET OFF! AAAARGH!” Which I would imagine was probably a little disconcerting for my fellow nervous fliers. I mean, if I was on a plane and a kid started doing that, I’d be the one struggling to free myself from my seat belt and shouting, “THE LITTLE GIRL KNOWS SOMETHING! TURN THE PLANE AROUND”
As it was, I obviously didn’t “know something”, but every time I fly, I am burdened with the thought that I do. Every single time I get onto a plane I am overwhelmed with the certain knowledge that THIS IS HOW I AM GOING TO DIE, and I then get to pass an uncomfortable few hours wondering if I should, perhaps, tell someone about my “feeling”, my instinct that the flight is DOOMED, DOOMED I TELLS YA!
Incidentally, the fact that I have never yet been in a plane crash (or, indeed, had a particularly turbulent flight) does nothing to assuage my fears: all it proves is that it hasn’t happened yet, and by “it” I mean “the crash that will kill me.” It’s coming. I know it.
3. People who rub their feet together while wearing socks
I don’t think this one has a proper “phobia” name, so maybe it’s not a “proper” phobia, who knows. All I can tell you is that while the sight of someone rubbing their feet together while wearing socks doesn’t frighten me, the way crustaceans do, it does make me want to run out of the room screaming “STOP RUBBING YOUR FEET TOGETHER!” And sometimes I actually do. Sorry, dad. There’s just something about that “cotton on cotton” thing that sets my teeth on edge (See also: wet towels, touching of) although, to be honest, bare feet rubbing together is almost as bad. Yeuch.
4. Actually, just socks in general, really
I hate almost everything about them. I will wear them when I absolutely have to (unlike crustaceans, unfortunately, they’re pretty hard to avoid), but I hate the look of them, and, more importantly, hate the feel of them on my feet. Just thinking about them makes me feel ill. This phobia has been ongoing for most of my life, and dates back to my early childhood, when I would reluctantly wear the socks my mum forced upon me, but would pull the toes of them away from my feet so that the socks ended up about 20 feet long, but at least didn’t come into contact with my toes. Urgh.
5. Being beheaded
Again, I’m not sure this counts as a “proper” phobia, because let’s face it – no one really enjoys a beheading, do they? Well, no one except Henry VIII, who doesn’t really count, on account of being dead and all. I do, however, have a horror of decapitation that makes me unable to read about it, see it in a movie or otherwise think about it without being seriously disturbed for quite a long time afterwards. In fact, I’m pretty sure I think about being beheaded far more than is really healthy. (Is there a particular amount of “thinking about being beheaded” time that IS healthy, though, I wonder?) Luckily this is not a scenario I’m ever likely to face, but as I type this, I’ve kind of tucked my neck down into my shoulders, tortoise style, and am contemplating having a stiff drink to get the horrible images out of my head…
6. Very deep water
Not just because it could contain crabs and other crustaceans, but because… well, because who knows WHAT it might contain? It’s also dark, creepy, and very far away from an environment in which we could actually survive, which is probably why I’m sitting here struggling for breath as I write this, with the thought of sinking ships and bodies of Very Deep Water at the forefront of my mind. It’s also the reason why flying across the Atlantic is a particularly mind bending experience for me…
ETA… Having written this a couple of days ago, I suddenly realised I’d missed out some of my biggest phobias completely. Because I am stupid, obviously. So, er, here they are…
7. DEATH. And illness. But specifically cancer.
This is a bit of a no-brainer, in that I don’t think many of us really relish the thought of death or serious illness, you know? I, however, manage to elevate this to phobic levels by being unable to read about, hear about or watch any TV programmes or films which contain DEATH or cancer. (That film where Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman find out they’re both dying of cancer, for instance? Wasn’t my favourite.) Like, if I’m reading a book, and a character develops cancer or finds our that they’re dying, I will have to stop reading, and I HATE leaving books half-finished. Then I will have to go and lie down. All of this, of course, makes being a hypochondriac NO FUN AT ALL…
8. Hospitals (Nosocomephobia)
See: ‘Death’, above. I guess my fear of hospitals (which has its own official phobia name and everything! Yay! Party for Noscomephobia!) is really just a sub-set of my fear of death and illness, but it becomes so all-consuming at times that I figured it deserved it’s own entry in Amber’s Big Book O’ Phobias. In fact, I actually think that my fear of cancer is not so much a fear of illness/death, but a fear of having to spend time in a hospital. I have never, for the record, had to stay in a hospital for myself (I’ve been in them plenty when visiting other people), and I aim to go through the rest of my life with that fact unchanged. At this point, so great is the phobia that I think that if I somehow chopped my own leg off, say, I’d probably just try to deal with it myself, rather than go to hospital.
There are so many things about hospitals that freak me out: the smell of them, the fact that there are DEAD PEOPLE in them, the smell of them, the fact that so many of them seem to be staffed by people who HATE EVERYONE, the machines that make funny noises and often contain blood, the smell of them, the fact that many of the patients seem to be crazy, and always try to steal your stuff, the smell, the fact that really bad things happen inside them (See: “Death and cancer”, above), the smell of them, the noise of all of the patients watching different TV channels, all really loudly and at maximum volume. All of these things – and more! – combine to make me feel sick to my stomach if I have to so much as set foot inside a hospital. But it’s mostly the smell.
When I started writing this list, I didn’t include noise, because I thought it was probably more of an annoyance than an actual phobia. But then I realised that I actually spend a lot of time worrying about situations in which I might be exposed to noise (I.e. “What if I’m on a long-haul flight and the person across the aisle is blasting out music from their phone and I can hear it?”), and then yesterday I almost threw myself out of the train window because there were so many tinny MP3 players blaring at the same time, and I said to myself, “Amber,” I said, “This is not normal, dude. And also: chill out.”
I am not phobic of unavoidable noise, like drills, hammers, etc, but I will totally freak out if someone in the street is playing loud music and I can hear it. Other sources of noise phobia:
> People cracking gum
> The sound of people eating boiled sweets – you know, when they kind of click the sweet around their mouth for ages and then crunch it really slowly, making a noise like a gun shot with every bite? Hate that.
>Actually, ANY kind of noisy eating, really. It makes me want to gag. Like, listening to someone eat an apple, for instance. I HATE that.
These types of noises are the equivalent to me of the “nails down a blackboard” or “rubbing a balloon” noises that most people hate. They literally make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and I will be forced to leave any situation in which any of these noises are being made. You know, in case I kill the people making them.
The strange thing about all of this is, of course, that when I sat down to write this entry, I thought I had literally thousands of phobias, that it would take me all day to list, but now that I really come to think of it, I realise that most of them are actually more what you’d call “foibles” rather than actual “phobias”. This is good news in a way because it means I’ll get to write yet another list sometime soon, but it’s also bad news because, God, I’m weird…
What are your phobias?