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Question of the Week: Phobias

I'm temporarily sitting on the fourth floor of the client site where I work, rather than The Basement. I could deal with the cubicle, the lack of windows, the mildew, and even the mice. I could not, however, continue to deal with the roaches bigger than my thumb. There were not everywhere (that we know of), but when one was dead or dying we would see it. I did my best to avoid seeing them, and I tried to live in my bubble world where they didn't exist. But every time I walked into the building, my heart rate would go up. With every step down into The Basement, my stress levels would rise. The whole time I was working in my cube, I felt like I was living in Code Orange, with all the anxiety that goes along with that. I kept my feet tucked in my chair all day and avoided going to the bathroom for as long as possible.

You see, I have entomophobia, a fear of insects. I don't mean that I don't like icky bugs. I don't mean that I think bugs are gross and I'd rather not be around them. I mean that I freak out when I see a large bug with a panic attack, with my fight-or-flight response in full on flight mode. In the way that people are claustrophobic or terrified of heights of flying or whatever, that is how I am with bugs.

So instead of living in a constant state of anxiety, especially while trying to get pregnant, I laid it out to my boss and she got me a temporary place to stay on the fourth floor. Unfortunately, my approval to sit here ends soon, but until someone makes me move, I'm planning on being right here. Its either that, or, I don't know, switch projects I guess. Or maybe get approval to work from home, but that's harder to do than sit on another floor.

The definition of phobia is an irrational fear of something which you are compelled to avoid. That's right folks, I understand that it is completely irrational. The bugs can't hurt me. I get it. How silly of me. I'll just not be scared anymore. No problem.

Except it doesn't work that way, does it? We all have things we dislike, but when they verge on or become phobias, there is very little that helps. There is treatment, but I know what the treatment likely would be, and I don't want anything to do with that, thankyouverymuch.

I mean, we do all have dislikes, fears and phobias, right? Come on, people. Make me feel better by answering the Question of the Week:

What is your major dislike/fear/phobia?

Come on, you can tell me!

And people? Please do not at all imply that there are bugs on the fourth floor. I don't care if there are, as long as I don't see them or know about it, then I can live in my bubble world happily. Thanks!


Becoming Mommy said…
Ophidiophobia--really bad. As in the Reptile House has me so on edge, if I even imagine something touching me I scream and run. My brothers used to have fun with it and would gently poke me or take their arms and drop them limply on my shoulder. My Dad set me up a few times too with very wiggly sticks. They don't know it's so bad that I have to check the toilet before I sit down (always) because I once heard a story about them coming thru the plumbing.
Acrophobia--because I, for some reason, feel I will be compelled to throw myself off the edge. Yeah, I know. Really crazy.
nutmeg96 said…
I am completely creeped out by yellow toenails and by commercials advertising treatments for said toenails.
Sharina said…
I have Trypophobia, an irrational fear of clusters of holes—like in honeycombs or anthills. I get chills just talking about it. My sister has it too, which is reassuring to me because when I try to describe it to other people, they give me puzzled looks.
Cloud said…
No real phobias, but I'm a little irrationally nervous around dogs (I'm trying very hard not to pass this one on to Pumpkin) and far more bothered by cockroaches than I rationally should be.
paola said…
I'm classically cliched here and am petrified of heights and flying. Flying is getting a lot better since becoming a mum as when we fly as a family I spend all my time worrying why my kid is crying and whether I should waste a nurse on take-off and landing to release ear pressure or save it up for later to get her off to sleep ( although it did nothing of the sort on my recent odyssey). Heights still freak me out and you would never catch me anywhere near a observation deck more than two floors up (let alone throwing myself out of a plane, Caramama, which would be sheer terror).
Jan said…
I always used to say I was 'a little' claustrophobic. As in, I'd certainly never PANIC about it, or anything, but I didn't like having the covers over my face and occasionally experienced a feeling that I could not get enough air when there was no physical reason for it.

Then came unexplained miscarriages and, among other things, I had to have an MRI. I refused to check the 'claustrophobia' box, because I didn't want them to drug me up so I couldn't drive. I've never been a big fan of needles, but generally I'm pretty stoic about medical procedures. I didn't expect to love it, but I figured I could tough it out.

I lasted maybe 10 seconds the first time, composed myself for a second try and didn't even last 3 the second time. (An abdominal MRI takes roughly 45 minutes.) I have never felt like that before in my life, and I hope never to feel that way again. I couldn't breath, could barely contain a scream and was sobbing uncontrollably for a good ten minutes after they brought me back out.

Needless to say, I got the drugs and took a damn day off work. It's a good thing they had a sedative, because I can tell you right now that if it meant that I would NEVER become a mother, I could not have voluntarily gone back in that tube.

Irrational about covers it. Oy.
caramama said…
Becoming Mommy - I usually try not to tell people about my fear of bugs because I think they will pull pranks on me. I'm sorry your family did that. That sucks.

nutmeg96 - What about yellow nail polish on toes?

Sharina - I hadn't heard of that one! Hopefully you don't run into those much.

cloud - After being bit by a cat when I was young, I was nervous around cats. My cure was to get one, which was easy because I simply loved them from afar after the bite. Now, I have no problem, even if bit.

paola - Welcome back! I'm glad you made it through your long flight, considering your fear. BTW, skydiving was one of the coolest things I ever did. But I love heights.

Jan - That just sucks! I'm so glad they had good drugs for you. Over the years, I have learned to contain my reaction so that the freak out is all on the inside (until I'm alone or with hubby where I can break down). I can't imagine being suddenly confronted with such a fear and having to deal with it in front of people! Hugs to you!
I'm Not Skippy said…
Clowns. I don't give a rats ass what it's called, I hate those bastards.

True story, when I was old enough to understand how awful this was, a clown at at a family restaurant pulled a balloon out of his oversized pants touched me with it and put it back in his pants. I swear to God it happened!
Mama said…
I have a major problem with tinfoil. Specifically the idea that someone might accidentally bite into tinfoil. I cannot eat anything out of tinfoil or eat next to anyone who is eating something out of tinfoil. Tinfoil far away from a person's mouth does not bother me.
Colleen said…
being constipated (as I was crazy enough to mention to my readers), and to a certain degree, have a fear of heights, though that fear is subject to certain rules, provisos, circumstances (i.e. looking out of plane windows and riding roller coasters is ok. standing on a ladder more than a few feet off the ground? notsomuch).
AmyinMotown said…
Chickens. Terrified of them. Yes, I am a city girl and one weuld expect I don't run into chickens all that often, but you would be surprised. Oh they scare me. Bug phobia--normal, bugs are gross. Chicken phobia--huh??
Don Mills Diva said…
Don't know if this is a phobia but the metal taste on forks REALLY upsets me!
Spiders and bugs give me the creeps... but not as a phobia.

For a long time I had a bit of a fear of bathrooms. I mean of course I have to use the bathroom, but I would always shudder and make sure there was no one in them... not because they are gross but because I was scared someone or something awful (like a skeleton ) would be in there.... strange. But I am over it.

Also I can't look in mirrors at night. Just scared of what might be looking back at me!
caramama said…
I'm Not Skippy - Coulrophobia is what it's called. And after that story, I can't blame you one bit!

Mama - I could not find a fear of tinfoil in the list I've been using, so maybe you've got an undiscovered one and it could be named after you!

Colleen - I remember reading about that! I'm not kidding: the fear is called coprastasophobia. It's in the list.

AmyinMotown - Alektorophobia is the fear of chickens. (I'm on a roll with naming everyone's fear!) It's in the list, so maybe it's not too unusual. Still makes me feel a little more normal for my bug fear, so thanks for that.

Don Mills Diva - Sounds phobia-like, at least. That must make it tough to eat sometimes!

sheSaid - Did you read The Bloggess's guest post on Her Bad Mother's site? She has a fear of finding dead bodies in a bathroom, so there you go. Not that she's ever found one, don't worry.
La folle maman said…
Arachnophobia is mine. You remember those Tom and Jerry cartoons when the woman would jump on the couch or table when she saw Jerry? Well, that's me with spiders. I will avoid entire rooms if I know there's a spider in it. I've been trying to work with this phobia and if the spider is small, I've been getting better about it. Although, my phobia was tested about 5 months ago when there was a HUGE one in the room Monkey and I play in most of the day. It was either vacate for the day or take care of business. So in an effort to protect Monkey from any impending spider bites (he went after it like a new toy), I had to overcome my fear and kill it.
Anonymous said…
I know I'm not answering your question here, but my daughter freaks out anytime she sees an insect (even ants and flies and seemingly innocuous stuff), and I could never figure out where she got it from. That was until her school picnic where I saw one of hear teachers completely freak out at the sight of an insect. Mystery solved! She is totally copying her teacher's reaction.
Tranny Head said…
I am blessedly phobia-free. Don't have a single one.

However - I certainly don't LIKE roaches. As my post about Sumo's roach experience suggests. *gag*
- Dana said…
I have a fear of open water. I love to swim in pools (and I'm a pretty good swimmer), but I can't stand lakes, rivers and the ocean. I think it has to do with not being able to see the bottom and the creatures in it. It gives me a panic attack. So, sorry goofydaddy, snorkling is out of the question! I however was on the Crew Team in High School for 4 years. I think I got in the water once...and believe me I was OUT as fast as I could.

Oh and I hate spiders too. Ever seen one in your car while driving? I almost wrecked!
Karen said…
Fear of heights is what kept me from really enjoying the Grand Canyon. It's not fun.

But the claustrophobia is what drives me nuts. It hits randomly and there's nothing I can do to stop it except leave while trying not to yell and run.
The Broken Man said…
I don't think I have any major phobias (I'm not great with heights, but I can cope), but my wife has a huge phobia of scaffolding. She doesn't like seeing anyone walk under it, and it has taken 6 years of marriage to get her to go near it, evn when I have checked it all personally to make sure nothing is loose.

Does that phobia have a name?

The Broken man
I'm Not Skippy said…
I agree with the chicken woman and I'll go one further and say all birds. . . they creep me out only slightly less than clowns.
I have a huge fear of heights, which oddly enough I never had until I bungee jumped on a dare, backwards, over cement, about 20 years ago. Now I can't stand near the edge on even a 2nd floor and I just can't even talk about what goes through my head when my children get anywhere near the edge. Total Rainman type freakout.

Also, I do not think it's a phobia but I need to give a little shout out to crickets. They are creepy little creatures and def give me goosebumps.

Fun post btw!!! I may copy you months down the road if you don't mind. :)
hedra said…
@colleen, me too on the fear of heights! A lot of my mid-range fear of heights (about 2nd story height to about 5th story) vanished when I got married - I later figured out that it was really a fear that someone wouldn't be there to catch me. Married nixed that fear... but I still don't like ladders and that 10-ft-off-the-ground range. LOVE looking out airplane windows, though.

@amyinmotown, I grew up in farm country, and chicken phobia wasn't that unusual, along the level of snakes or spiders, among the kids I knew.

No other major phobias, other than I get freaked if a spider or other bug SURPRISES me. I am okay with them in general, just don't like the startle reflex plus bug in view combination.
Rudyinparis said…
This isn't a phobia, because it's not irrational, but I have tons of issues around my ears. I had recurring, painful infections as a child and some pretty horrific experiences with doctors... I still have problems with my ears, and finally last Spring cleared up some recurring ear infections in both ears that I had had for nearly an entire year. It took a lot of courage. And valium, prescribed by my doctor, just to have the specialist be looking in them. Again, it's not a phobia--but it sure is a weakness.
Jan said…
I feel sorry for bug-phobia people, because you can't really control when you'll need to deal with them. If I were, I would get one of these:

bug vacuums. Have you seen them? $30 seems like a small price to pay for being able to dispatch with them and not have a day like @la folle maman describes.
Burgh Baby said…
I don't have any phobias per se, but there sure is a whole long list of things I can do without having in my house. Mice, spiders, etc. can all stay outside where they belong.
Shellie said…
Oh, I think you are so lucky you don't have my entomologist twins! Good luck with that phobia. I can't think of any off hand, but I must have some- oh! scared of helghts=that's why I'm so short!
ImpostorMom said…
Ah,I had completely forgotten about your fear of bugs. Now I plainly remember removing a cricket from the office with the aid of two plastic cups to help calm one FREAKING OUT co-worker. :P Good times, good times.

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