What Are You Afraid Of?

*Image Credit – drdenisburke.com

    Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it fitting that I write a post about people’s pathological fears. Halloween is a time when our fears are put to the test and we are forced to face costumes or images that are scary to us. Most of our Halloween experiences turn out to not really be that scary at all. However, this does not mean that some people don’t harbor real fears that paralyze them, literally, when they are exposed to them.

    Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary defines a pathological fear as “being such to a degree that is extreme, excessive, or markedly abnormal.” In layman’s terms, this basically means that you are afraid of something to the point that it is excessive and it consumes you. Everyone is afraid of one thing or another but, when these fears affect you in an extreme way, they go beyond just being scary.

    I have actually discussed this topic with a few of my friends and family and I was really surprised at some of the fears that people have and the degree to which these fears affect them in their daily lives. When asked what they were deathly afraid of, I received responses that ranged from clowns and insects to failure and rejection. I quickly realized that fear is a real thing in people’s lives and that it does dictate some of their actions and reactions to events in their daily lives.

    This made me start to reflect on some of the things that I am afraid of in my life and I identified quite a few things…The one particular thing that I am terrified of are Waterbugs. For those of you who do not live in NYC, Waterbugs are huge flying Cockroaches. They are attracted to damp, humid places and often have the ability to fly around.

    Unfortunately, I have had my share of experiences with them from when I lived with my parents in a basement apartment which attracted them due to the apartment’s proximity to the boiler to outdoor events. They are the most vile and disgusting things in the world and they scare me to death. I have been known to run out of places when I saw one or to become frozen with fear at the sight of one.

    While I fully understand that I am bigger than the bug, I cannot help but be afraid of them. I even remember one night, when I was a kid, standing on the edge of the tub in the bathroom, screaming at the top of my lungs for my parents to rescue me when I noticed a Waterbug standing in the doorway waiting for me. You are probably chuckling to yourself as you read this but, trust me, those things are smart and they will stand there looking at you and waiting for you to make a move before they come charging in your direction.

    I am very curious about what creates or drives these fears inside of us. My memory does not contain a single traumatic event that would have catapulted me into having such a fear of these bugs. Maybe I associate them with a difficult time in my childhood, who knows…What I do know is that I will never overcome this fear and I know, for a fact, that other people have some irrational fears of weird things too. Take some time out to reflect on the irrational things that you are afraid of and you might be just as surprised as I was.

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