How Do People Get Phobias? Or Why Do We Get Them?

  • OceansBlue

    OceansBlue (185)

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    I have arachnophobia too but I remember getting an unwelcome visit from one of those giant but thin-bodied and long-legged ones on my leg as I was happily playing with my toys on my bedroom floor at an early hour of the morning as a child (I had sleeping problems and a persistent fear of the dark).

    I perceive having a fear of the dark as quite normal, but I often find myself associating darkness with spiders because I reckon I learned as a child that the spiders learned to come out when the room got dark because that's when humans (predators) are less likely to be present, so they can eat their prey or do some web-building.

    I also am in the process of getting social phobia diagnosed. This is the biggest phobia for me and it has impacted my life in such a way that I realised I have no choice other than to admit to a doctor that I suffer from this. The nature of this phobia is what has made it so hard to finally seek professional help.

    I have tried avoiding confronting the issue for years and in many ways, which as you might understand doesn't solve the issue and instead worsens it. It has significantly impaired my ability to form or keep relationships, my success in work or study and basically affects me negatively whenever I am in close proximity to another person (unless they are one of my two best friends or my mum, dad or brother).

    The thing that baffles me is why or how I got social phobia. I don't remember having any hugely traumatic social experience yet this phobia has really affected my quality of life. Neither of my parents or grandparents have suffered from this phobia as far as I'm aware.

    There are a range of symptoms but those which commonly affect me are reddening of the face, shaking or tics, tightening of the stomach, "on-edge" feeling of impending doom, strong desire to flee the situation, heart palpitations, inability to swallow, stiff muscles and a hoarse or stuttering voice with jumbled, quickly spoken words.

    I believed that having this fear was quite normal due to the volume of people on-line seeming to admit having this phobia (i.e. by sharing related posts); people who I knew, although (without intending offence) I believe that some of those people may have confused their shyness with this phobia, and others may not experience it at such a severe degree because their habits or behaviour really seemed to contrast having social phobia.
    I made the mistake in thinking that I was just a shy person, but I'm actually not very shy. It really has been Hell and I can't wait to beat this son of a bitch.
    November 22nd, 2015 at 07:33am
  • JJ Everlasting;

    JJ Everlasting; (305)

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    I got my very unhealthy fear of clowns from when I was little, and stuff that has happen at the haunted house I work at.

    When I was little, I had one of those blow up punching bags that bounce back at you. Guess what was on it - a clown. When I was little I used to hate the thing, I remember being paranoid that it was watching me, so I took a pair of scissors and popped it.

    Now for what happened at the haunted house, this is what made it worse. So at this haunted house, I was going through it the year before I started working there, and so the first room was FILLED with clowns, like nothing but clowns, and if you show fear, they purposely go after you. I was so glad they can't touch you. Now that I go behind the scenes I know that they aren't that scary, because I know the actors, but when you're new and they have a chainsaw in their hand. My first instinct was to run. Now I know that there isn't any chains on the chainsaw, and the extra noise was just huge fans.

    I'm so glad that my dungeoun doesn't have any clowns because if I go through as a tourguide and see a clown, I'd run.

    That's where mine came from.
    November 26th, 2015 at 09:39pm
  • esenigma

    esenigma (100)

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    Jewel Nicole:
    Good question, I don't know. I would say that it's because of something traumatizing that has happened to someone once, but then some people fear death (like me), so I don't know. XD
    Yeah I'd have to agree with this wholeheartedly. I have ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) which comes from my parents training me to be afraid of them because we live in the woods so seeing them is pretty common. In addition, I was chased by a cottonmouth when I was a child which also played a large role in my fear developing.
    May 6th, 2017 at 07:24am
  • the optimist.

    the optimist. (100)

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    On the whole I'd say they definitely arise from trauma. I have severe emetophobia (fear of vomit/vomiting) that came from an incident when I became very sick once as a child. I cannot recall (and prefer not to) if it was norovirus, bad food, or something else, but I was often prone to digestive issues as a child and once vomited enough that I was left on the bathroom floor dry heaving for probably half an hour. I must have been four or five. Ever since then, I get panic attacks if I think I may throw up. If I witness/hear other people doing it, it sends me fleeing the scene irrationally. I can't even watch a television show or a movie that has someone throwing up. Let me tell you how much fun watching House was ... let's play the "will the patient puke?" game. If I know it's coming, it's easy for me to skip a scene.

    As I went through my teens, I got a few cases of norovirus but after age 16 or so, it became a very rare occurrence for me. But I will probably always have serious anxiety around ill people.
    July 10th, 2017 at 11:28pm