Tuesday, August 15, 2006


A friend of mine recently posted on her blog about her fears. She expressed interest in reading about other’s fears so I thought: "uhhh…okay."

Well, initially I learned a few years ago that divulging one’s fears isn’t always the wisest thing, because then it gives your enemies, or in my case, my rival prankers ammunition to use against you; however, as I have aged over-time and discovered that I am just too old for pranking anymore, I don’t worry to often about that kind of thing nowadays...HA!

So let me start with this, some clarification. Many who know me, know I can be a pretty anxious person. I do not deny this. Matter of fact, as most know, just about ALL psychology/counseling type people go into this career path because they are looking to address their own “issues.” HA! I laugh, and if you’re in a similar field, you’re laughing too, because sometimes, well goodness gracious, the true is just plain funny (and ironic in this case)! Whatever the case, my “issues” for addressing have always been anxiety-oriented.

As for a progress check-up in the area of my “addressing my own issues”, I am proud to say that with a masters degree in the area of “counseling” only a matter of weeks away for me, I can honestly say I have climbed mountains in concurring my anxiety issues and I am easily MUCH less of a nervous and anxious person as I was say some 5, 6, or 7 years ago. Today, I know SO much more about what causes me anxiety, and more importantly, I have learned how to address the anxiety when it comes and how to de-escalate myself and “cope” in the situation!

[Now doesn’t that above paragraph just make ALL you anxious people out there wanna go sign-up for a counseling degree plan right now?!?! HA!]

Now, another thing to note is that a highly anxious person does NOT have to have a lot of fears. One can fear only a few things/occurrences/situations and still be anxious a majority of the time. It simply comes down to how prevalent these couple feared things/occurrences/situations are, because if only one of the feared circumstances is consistently present, the anxiety will remain high.

Going with myself here, I’ll say that would more likely explain me, compared to someone who might have a list of ten or twenty good “fears.” Though I would not consider myself a highly anxious person, or someone that is constantly nervous, I would say that though my quantity of fears is minimal, their occurrences can be more consistently occurring than some common phobias.

Let me just list them and let you analyze for yourself…

The typical fears that I share in…

Rodents…mice, rats, opossums, gerbils…gross!. I swear it is the tail! We used to have a couple hamsters growing up, and they really didn’t bother me. But mice and rats especially scare the crap out of me!

Reptiles…snakes and lizards. They are too sneaky, small, and fast. We have lizard-type animals ALL over at my house and they scare the crap out of me all the time when I come outside and they scurry off up a tree or along the sidewalk. GROSS! Not to mention the time SOMEONE thought it would be funny to put a lizard down my shirt at a GATA officer meeting! I about KILLED that person that night—in between the shivers and twitches I kept experiencing all night thinking it was still on me crawling!

Heights…probably because I’m short and that leaves a long way to fall! But believe it or not, I helped roof a house once. I just stayed away from the edge unless I had a good hold on something!

Blood/Having Blood Taken…luckily I’ve NEVER had to give blood before. Never been real sick and had to, nor have I done it for the heck of it for a full check-up (that might not be good at my age, but I don’t care…HA)! As for blood drives…I steer clear of those things! Just thinking about them can make me start getting sick to my stomach. Seeing blood…it’s weird, but the couples times I’ve come VERY close to fainting were times when I had to watch someone bleeding. Blood in movies or tv…doesn’t bother me, but in real life, it get REALLY weak. I look for the nearest chair and you’ll be able to SEE the perspiration engulf every inch of my body. Strange…I know. HA!

Answering a question in class and being wrong or embarrassed by the response I give…yes, this IS a “typical fear” meaning it IS common. What is NOT common about it is people reporting it as a fear of theirs, because many times, people just don’t think about it, but trust me, MANY have this same fear. Think of all those people in your classes that NEVER spoke up in class. Yup, I would be willing to say at LEAST 75% of them struggle with this fear as well! HA! What fuels this fear, you ask? Pride. Who wants to be wrong PUBLICALLY? Why not just refuse to answer the question and then find out if you’re right or wrong by yourself. Who needs others to know!? HA!

The not-so-common fears…

[These ones are more anxiety-driven situations (situations that just make me nervous) versus the above list, which are more specific fears, which happen to be fairly common fears in the human race.]

Talking on the phone with strangers…this is a strange one for me, in that it is true in many cases, but not in other cases. Like I refuse to answer phones at my job. They know that and I am perfectly fine with refusing to do it…HA! Luckily, I can still keep my job with this refusal. I hate making phone calls to companies to ask questions about something or a product I might have gotten or a service I need to inquire about. If possible, I’ll look it up on the internet instead. I don’t like the case management end of social work because I don’t like to make phone calls. But basically, it comes down to the person on the other end being someone I don’t know I guess, because I have NO problem talking on the phone to my friends for hours. HA!

Not being able to escape without embarrassing one’s self...sounds interesting and ridiculous huh? Would you believe that there is an entire psychological disorder for individuals who struggle with this fear? Agoraphobia—check it out sometime. Do I meet the criteria for this disorder you’re wondering? Thank goodness I can respond with no—or at least, not anymore. Do I believe I could have been labeled with it at one point—most likely (it’s a decision I constantly find myself debating—whether or not I was ever bad enough that I was diagnosable). Still, today, though no where NEAR as bad as this fear once was for me, I find myself behaving in ways that are encouraged by thoughts of this one-time STRONG fear of mine. It’s interesting, in that it is more of an anxious feeling that is not driven by a constant thought of the specific fear its self, but more of an anxiety that is encouraged by mere presence of a situation, since it is not an “object” to focus on. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain…

Hmm….I guess that is my list as of what comes to mind. Feel free to remind me of any that I might have left off. HA!

I want to end with a portion of a comment I left on the blog of my friend that originally posted the list of fears that I modeled this entry after. My comment is as follows…

Though I myself might not be one of many “fears,” I can say I know the state of being anxious as well as most. And what I have rest assured in over time is the fact that anxiety is one of the most treatable feelings. I am quick to remember the words of one of my most favorite graduate school professors, “Mood disorders [which is like depression] and thought disorders [which is like schizophrenia] are best treated with a combination of medications and therapy; however, anxiety disorders are treated best through merely therapy.”

Common or uncommon, your fears are most likely all derived from personal experiences that can be explained through good ol’ classical conditioning. Remember the lovely Pavlovian dog experiment with the dog salivating when the bell rang? Taking ANY Introduction to Psychology course would have covered it! ;) That’s classical conditioning and it explains how most fears/phobias are developed.

I guess I’ll end like this…

Feel free to share your fears (if you’re brave enough)! ;)

No comments: