Saturday, January 30, 2010


Phobia: an anxiety disorder characterized by extreme and irrational fear of simple things or social situations

Let me stress "irrational". Knowing the phobia is irrational doesn't help a bit. The fear is real. I have never encountered another person with the following set of fears, but was wondering if by chance anyone else out there can relate.

Fear of metal awnings. Not the entire awning, just the scalloped edge that hangs down in the front. They always seem to be some shade of green or white, weathered to a dull powdery finish, streaks of brownish orange running downward to a rusty-sharp terminus. The awning taunts me as I walk along an otherwise welcoming sidewalk, projecting its razor edge downward, waiting for the opportunity to open up a laceration in my forehead. Put me next to the buildings...put me out in the street...I cannot walk under the front edge of a metal awning.

Cuttle bones. These are the internal framework of the alien creature known as a cuttlefish. They are commonly sold as a chew-toy for parakeets. I cannot touch them...they give me the creeps. I know that as soon as would try to pick it up, a splinter will jut out and embed itself deep underneath my, I'm not guessing. I KNOW IT WILL HAPPEN! As I type this, I have actual pain running up my arms just thinking about the evil, evil little torture device known as a cuttle bone.

Emery Boards. A device specifically designed for smoothing one's fingernails. Oh yes, please oh please remove my fingernails by means of the slow arduous torture of repeated abrasion...GAH! I cannot reach into my wife's purse for fear of grabbing one by mistake. Sandpaper? no problem. I can ( and often do) use sandpaper all day long. I have no aversion to sandpaper...but adhere it to a popsicle stick and you can watch me wet myself in fear. Oh God....emery board inside of a popsicle? That would be the end-all torture prank of all time....licking down to the stick of a popsicle to find the abrasive gratings of an emery board hidden within, silently waiting for your teeth.

Ok, so I have bravely exposed my phobias for the world to see and ridicule. It hasn't helped a bit to admit these things. So who else wants to step up to the plate and talk about what truly scares you?


  1. I hate metal shavings. Nothing worse than a metal splinter.

    I am also afraid of food made by strangers. I don't think its going to hurt me, but I think it will be so gross I can't hide my disgust and will embarass them and myself. I always eat before going to a party.

  2. Here are some of my irrational, strange fears.

    Items protruding straight out from larger solid objects: sometimes it's a long rusty bolt sticking out from a wall. Or the long antennae on a mechanism that someone is turning over in their hand. If it's anywhere near eye-level, I'm convinced if I'm not careful, it's going to stab me in the eye. I'll trip and fall onto it, or it will be moved by someone and FWAP! Right in my eye. I don't freak out at the sight of objects that meet this criteria, but I am aware, and if you watch me closely - say, when either myself or someone else is manipulating long coils of rigid wire - you'll catch me leaning back slightly and blinking a few times.

    I also walk extra carefully with scissors, toothbrushes, etc. I tend to be clumsy, which in my mind increases my chances of poking my eye out.

    Grasshoppers: they are tiny and harmless. But when I was about 5, I overheard my Grandmother telling my mom she swore she was bit by a grasshopper in the garden. That day outside, I told my friend the story. Of course, there just happened to be a grasshopper where we were. And it just happened to jump toward us; jumping higher than we stood. And that's what sent two small girls screaming as they tore back to their houses as if the devil was swatting at their heels.

    I got in trouble for scaring my friend.

    Later in life, I had two incidents with grasshoppers. One was during a move when I was a pre-teen. There was no room for me so, being the smallest, I was forced to sit in the back of the cube van on top of a dresser. There was just enough light in the back that I could make out shapes and basic details. And as the van made its first turn, that's when I realized I'd been locked in with a grasshopper who was freaking out because he was locked inside. Though I think I was the one more filled with panic.

    It was a 15 minute drive. By the time they let me out, I was drenched in sweat.

    The second was in University. I was hiking in a field. Took a turn down a path and when I stepped in the long grass, HUNDREDS of grasshoppers jumped to get out of my way. My stomach fell into my knees and I froze. I did eventually get moving again and forced my way forward, telling myself it was therapy.

    I have other phobias, but none as entertaining as those two. I also know someone who has an emery board phobia, so you aren't alone :)

  3. Seriously? Another person scared of emery boards? So I was right!!!! I still haven't recovered from the thought of biting down on one.

    Grasshoppers CAN bite. Don't let anyone tell you differently. I enjoyed reading your stories, and can imagine being in your place locked up in the back of the van. That must have been horrible.

  4. Ticket turnstiles.
    Both the spinning metal ones and the newer, plastic fin ones.

    The local swimming pool had a giant spinning one. Instead of only being hip-height it went from floor to ceiling and was bolted onto concrete on both sides. To get in the pool you had to go through it and as a kid I was certain it was some sort of human-grinder, and that there would be a rush and I'd be pushed up against the metal bars to stop you going all the way around and that the metal arms would push me through the gaps until all my bones broke.
    Up until last year they had the hip-height ones in the supermarket and I'd always wait until everyone else went before I would quickly run through.

    The new ones, where you put your ticket in, the colourful plastic fins open for you and you step through, I am certain that inside those plastic fins are giant sharp metal blades, and that one day I'll be a moment to slow and they'll come whistling down and slam into my hipbones, like some sort of Saw-style torture device.

    Taking a train to the city becomes quite a hurdle when convinced the station is designed to kill you.

    Graters freak me out as well. I'm incredibly clumsy, especially in the kitchen and so many times I've come close to taking off the tip of a finger or part of a knuckle that I avoid any dish that requires grated food.

    Also, crowds. Can't ever be a good thing about a large group of people.

  5. My friend (burly, macho & male) is terrified of cotton wool, even if it's still in the bag, if the pack comes near him, even just into the same room, he totally freaks... My fears are all pretty rational in comparison, mainly spiders and power tools or spiders operating power tools. In many parts of the world Spiders are poisonous, but not here in the uk... it's more that I think they are evil and all connected somehow, a hive mind, and they are all out to get me.

    I so wanted to do jewellery at Art College but just couldn't cope being in the same room as all this lathes or whatever they're called, same thing with kilns in the ceramic rooms. Doesn't matter if they are unplugged: still terror for me. And as for band saws or those drills that plug in - eeeeeuuuw. Pretty much any tool invented after the middle ages will bring me out in a cold sweat, even air-brushes, or more specifically the compressor. Yuk.

    Lots of people are afraid of fish but for me it's the context, had plenty in tanks as pets, love sushi, and assumed I would love snorkel diving. Couldn't wait to swim among those vivid tropical creatures and dove over the side of the boat thinking it would just be like watching a David Attenbrough BBC special... oh no - the damn things are no respecters of personal space and you are in THEIR element. It was one of the most unexpectedly horrific experiences of my life, I was out of that water and back on the boat like a torpedo and the instructor thought I was In shock as I was shaking and almost vomiting. He thought I'd been stung or seen a shark at the very least, but oh no, just had some inquisitive little Nemo come check me out. Never again.

  6. theCadaver, I know exactly what you mean about the turnstiles. Menards (a local home repair store) has a set of shiny metal turnstiles at their entrance. They are waist height, and there is a perpendicular bar jutting out towards oncoming victims. Every time I enter the store, I am SURE I am going to run straight into that protruding menace right in my groin, sending me to the ground as the security cameras capture my agony.

  7. My weirdest phobia... I cannot have a shower/bath when the toilet seat lid is up. I have the fear that I will fall out of the shower, or slip coming out, and fall into the toilet. Irrational fear - it has never happened to me that I know of, nor anyone that I've ever heard of. I've turned off the shower, dried off, crawled on my hands and knees to put the lid down, then stood up and proceeded to have a normal shower. We also stayed in a hotel that didn't have a lid, more of a commercial was a 180 second terror filled shower. Have you ever tried to wash and rinse off while squatting and staring at a toilet? I guess it would be basiahydrophobia?

    I'm also freaked out when bugs surprise me... I can put my hand in grasshoppers, tarantulas, moths and eaten a few different kinds including mealworms, (cooked) 'hoppers, chocolate ants, etc. But if I look over and see a butterfly or 'hopper on my shoulder, watch me do the panic dance. A vampire, wolf, elephant or clown with a chainsaw over my shoulder on even touching it? meh. spider on shoulder? **soils self**

    Though not a phobia, I do find myself seeing tragedies in my minds eye whenever I'm using a grater/knife/screwdriver/clippers/chopsticks and on occasion, emery boards. I'm not afraid, and use the objects anyway, but I visualize them as they bite deep into the flesh, the blood flying like some Japanese gorefest flick.
    Hmm, sounds like I need to see a shrink.
    I usually try to figure out how I can duplicate the effect into some Halloween prop...maybe they will freak other people out.

  8. hmm, well to come to mind for me. the first i've gotten over but i was tarried of straws, the kind you put in drinks. i could look down it and see it was clear but i knew as soon as i tried to use it a abt or something was going to be in it and fly into my mouth.

    the second, drains. bathtub sink pool. i stay as far away from them as i can. again i know thye are safe but in the sink something is going to shoot out and bite/grab me. in the tub again somethings going to come out and get me or wait for me to go into the bathroom and get me. as for the pool. either it will collapse and i'll be sucked into some underground cavern or it will turn on super high and i'll get stuck there and drown.

    again i know none of that will happen. but if i think it it can and with my luck will.

    oh and bridges. they will always fall when i go over them, i just know it.

    and on the crazy side, that all my friends are being paid off by my parents to like me. and that i am secretly a very evil person who only pretends to be nice and good to see how far i can decive people.

  9. Creepy stuff...most of the things described here did not used to bother me....but now that hear why people are scared, it creeps me out. I don't think I will look at an emery board the same again.

    That phobias are simple, the first of spiders. I seem to be a bit famous for that one. I was on a blog the other day that had a spider looking thing posted, and most of the comments were about what the "frog queen" was going to say :D The problem is bad, but I am happy that I can entertian :)

    I also hate needles. Do not like giving blood or getting shots. I faint almost every time. (shudder) almost worse than spiders. :)


  10. Phobias: walking on sewer grates...the storm drain things that water can wash down into. When I saw S. King's "It" movie, I wasnt scared of the clown but when he was in the sewer, I nearly pooed myself.And I'm terrified to weld, as it involves using a cannister of explosive gas that YOU HOLD. I have & do weld, but hate it.And I think going to wakes and sitting in a room with a dead body is weird & macabre, and I hate that too.Now, lets all take a walk downtown and see who can walk over those big metal doors in the sidewalk that lead into the shops' cellars....and, did I mention being stuck under pond ice??

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  12. So much fun to see people as neurotic as I am. I TOO hate walking on sewer grates and avoid the long subway exhaust grates as much as possible. No fear something will get me, just a fear of falling.

    PGnome: when I was little, and didn't really understand how plumbing worked, I WOULDN'T turn on the tap to wash my hands until the toilet tank was done filling up. I was afraid "toilet water" - not necessarily the stuff that was washed down the drain (though why risk it?), but the water that filled the tank as well - would come out the tap. And who wants to wash their face & hands or brush their teeth with water meant to go into the toilet? ;)

    (sorry about the delete. Needed to edit)

  13. Interesting info. Most of the people are suffering because of the phobias - a fear on something and Anxiety. When I suffered because of phobias. I have faced lot of problems in myself. The main thing which make so depressed is I cant enjoy my life with good confidence always I use to fear of the things around me Later I found a good solution for my problem through Hypnosis. They provided a good solution through various hypnosis and hypnotherapy technique. After trying hypnosis I got a good improvement in my self confidence and self control.

  14. This has been amazing to read all these strange phobias. I guess we all have some level of strange fear, and it is comforting to know there are others willing to admit it. has this made anyone feel better ( or at least different) to unload a phobia or read about someone else's phobia?