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Thursday, July 1, 2010

On Fears and Phobias

Okay, just a word to the wise...if you are afraid of snakes, don't do a Google image search for fear of snakes. I'm, um, not going to use a picture for this blog entry. Sorry!

The Definition from Webster

Main Entry: 1fear
Pronunciation: \ˈfir\
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English feren, from Old English ̄ran, from ̄r
Date: before 12th century
transitive verb

1 archaic : frighten
2 archaic : to feel fear in (oneself)
3 : to have a reverential awe of
4 : to be afraid of : expect with alarm


Main Entry: pho·bia
Pronunciation: \ˈfō-bē-ə\
Function: noun
Etymology: -phobia
Date: 1786

: an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.


There are certain things that scare a lot of people. I, for example, am terrified of snakes. My mom read The Swiss Family Robinson to me as a kid, and the scene where the snake swallows the donkey...lets just say that I had nightmares for the next decade. Not all related to that book, I'm sure, but reoccurring nightmares about snakes.


I'm slightly afraid of heights, but more from a...I could fall off of here...perspective, rather than a just I'm afraid of being high up fear. Like, I'm not afraid of going up on The Sears Tower or the Eiffel Tower, but afraid of looking off the side of the Grand Canyon where there's no guard rail. I do know people who are just scared of heights.


I'm slightly claustrophobic, besides my snake dreams I also suffer from a reoccurring dream where I wake up and I can't move. Then I fight my paralysis and realize that I didn't wake up, I woke up in my dream, and wasn't really awake...see what I mean? It's a terrible dream. I think that writing my last book brought out my claustrophobia a bit.


The last thing that I'm afraid of is contagion. I am terrified of cancer. Terrified. And terrified of other diseases, particularly that my kids could catch. I'm getting ready to use this fear in a book, and I'm not sure I'm looking forward to it.


I'm not sure that any of my fears are (on the surface) irrational...but the amount of nightmares, night terrors, and anxiety that I've suffered at different times in my life makes me think that I might be a neurotic mess.


So, what are your fears, and what do our fears teach us about life, and what does literature teach us about what these fears and phobias teach us about life?


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5 Comments:

Blogger Girlinbetween said...

I am really scared of heights as well, again due to the falling of things so as long as I don't look down then I'll be okay.

I'm also scared of losing someone very close to me, as I haven't before and I don't really know how I'll react to grief.

Certain YA books like THE SKY IS EVERWHERE and INCREDIBLY LOUD AND EXTREMELY CLOSE have really exposed me to the world of grief.

July 1, 2010 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger Nomes said...

That will be so awesome to tap into that fear and get it into your book. The more I hear about this book, the more I'm liking it :)

I love snakes and spiders and all kinds of things normally considered creepy but I have a lot of stupid stupid fears.

For instance, I get really freaked out by different foods touching each other. makes eating at a restaurant sometimes hard :) I've never had apple pie and ice cream - cant handle the idea of them touching... even a pea next to the mashed potato causes me anxiety. I think it may be more OCD than a phobia though - although I would find it very hard to have to eat food like Nachos etc if I really had to. Mind over matter, I guess. Still, it's very disturbing.

xx

July 1, 2010 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger bethany said...

My seven year old doesn't like his food to touch. He's been known to ask for separate forks if he has more than one item on his plate!

And yeah, we think he has some slight OCD tendencies. He also gets anxious about things though, he's very worried about the Oil spill, and about polar bears not having enough ice.

July 1, 2010 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Horserider said...

I like snakes and heights never really bothered me. I'm weird that way though.

I'm terrified of driving which is weird because I loved it when I was in drivers ed. Unlike most people with a driving-phobia, I have absolutely no problems with highways. I LOVED highway driving. Now intersections on the other hand...

I'm also scared of doing/saying the wrong thing, but that's not really a phobia because it rarely ever stops me.

July 2, 2010 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger bethany said...

We went hiking this morning, and my daughter was like, but Daddy is afraid of hikes! and I'm like, you think Daddy is afraid of walking in the woods? My husband actually has this weird anxiety about...tall things, like if he looked up at the Eiffel Tower he got all nervous, or looking up at a ladder. He can climb or be on tall things, but looking up makes him get panicky. Weird. (Like I should talk)

July 3, 2010 at 12:51 PM  

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