A phobia is an irrational fear, aversion, or dread focused on a situation, living creature, place or object. There are so many different kinds of phobia, and the reason I have not tried to list them all is because you can become phobic about anything at all.
Phobic feelings are an intense anxiety of being out of control, and created in the sub-conscious, which we consciously project onto something else in an effort to give the fear a rational sense - a snake for example. The rationale behind this being it would seem silly to have a fear for no reason, and so we create the label, 'snake' in order to identify it, and to subsequently avoid anything to do with them.
Anyone suffering from a phobia will go to great lengths to avoid the perceived danger, threat, or fear which is far greater in their mind than in reality. For instance, watching TV and a snake appears on the screen. they would suffer significant distress, sometimes leading to a full blown panic attack. Often just thinking, or imagining the fear can be just as distressing as the reality.
Any fear or phobia becomes problematic when eventually we start to avoid anything that triggers the anxiety by organising and controlling our lives around avoidance. We constantly imagine what we fear rather than what we want to happen. This is called rehearsal, and it means we are perfecting the fear which in reality does not exist outside of our own heads. This means that we overwrite our rational reasoning side with the intense emotion of anxiety.
To summarise: when we begin to develop a phobia we feel generally psychologically out of control. We don't like this feeling so we project it onto something else because it is far simpler than looking inwardly. We don't really possess the ability to problem solve if the problem is happening on a sub-conscious level, and this is why we negatively imagine and conjure up feelings of danger like:
- confined spaces
- public speaking
If you identify with any of the above, or your phobia is something entirely different - please rest assured there is something that can be done to help you with your fear.
For a comprehensive list of phobias - please click here.