Life in the Fast Lane


Phobias are Weird, Weird Things

By 2:34 PM , , , , , , , ,

I don't quite know how phobias work, exactly. Are they part of one's DNA? Are they acquired?

In my case, I have two phobias: ranidaphobia (fear of frogs) and acrophobia (fear of frogs). The first one had a trigger; the second one seems to be something that's always been a part of me.

I don't know if my acrophobia came from my dad, who also has the same phobia. Let me put it this way: when I'm in the mall, I have a hard time looking down at the ground floor without feeling queasy. I would rather go to the dentist and get a root canal than ride a cable car/funicular; in fact, two years ago in Sentosa Island, Singapore, I was practically crying while going down its Skyline Luge. I genuinely felt that I could fall anytime and that my stomach and brain had switched places.

Photo taken from here.

I attribute my ranidaphobia to my dog, Ashley, back when I was around 14 or 15. One evening, she managed to sneak out of the house and came back with a frog in her mouth; by the way, both its rear legs were sticking out of the sides of her mouth. I screamed and she thought that I wanted to play, so she would run after me and deposit the frog right by my feet. Thankfully, she wasn't poisoned and lived for at least eight years after said incident.

Nope, this isn't my dog. Ashley was a black Labrador.
Photo taken from this page.

Recently, though, I've realized that I somehow managed to develop a mild form of something.

My friends on Facebook were posting about trypophobia, a.k.a. repetitive pattern phobia. After reading up on it, I wouldn't say that what I had was a debilitating kind of fear, per se. But whenever I would see something that involves a cluster of small circles or holes, I'd feel really creeped out. In an explicable way.

I remember clearly the first time I felt really grossed out by a trypophobe-inducing visual (and no, I'm not talking about the lotus pod; click on this link at your own risk).

It was when I came across this image.

(Click at your own risk. I decided to just place a link instead of inserting the actual image, just in case you might also be a trypophobe.)

There's nothing really gross about it, actually. I guess what made me freak out when I first saw it was the fact that it looked painful. I could imagine the pain that this student felt after the teacher had imposed this kind of punishment. So when I came across those articles on Facebook related to trypophobia, I felt some closure knowing that that was why I was grossed out by those indentations on the skin in that picture.

According to researchers (as trypophobia seems to be a recently-studied phenomenon), "There may be an ancient evolutionary part of the brain telling people that they are looking at a poisonous animal" (Geoff Cole, University of Essex). It would be interesting if, in fact, trypophobia were the result of an instinct that warns us about possible imminent danger.

I don't know if, in my case, I get the heebie jeebies because I feel that danger's on the way. What I seem to feel, though, is possible pain, because I don't get creeped out by circles or patterns on animals. Just when it has to do with holes/circles on human skin. (And no, I'd rather not do a Google search to link up to an image that you can visualize.)

The human mind is a tricky, tricky thing. We all have phobias in varying degrees — some of which are inexplicable, i.e. like my friend's friend, who refuses to wear any kind of clothing with buttons on it; some of which are understandable, i.e. rooted in a traumatic experience.

How about you? What is/are your phobia/s?

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  1. arachnophobia, of course. i shudder at the mere sight of spiders.

  2. You're just like Ron Weasley then! :D


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