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Being Afraid: The Things That Scare Me

Updated on December 30, 2020
Ramkitten2000 profile image

Deb thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and is a Search & Rescue volunteer and writer living in Flagstaff, AZ.


Lions, Tigers, Bears, Oh My!

To be honest, I don't know why I'm doing this -- publicly announcing things that scare me. What's the point, really? Writing about my fears won't make them go away and neither has the fact that I've faced them all on many occasions.

But many of us tend to admit our fears to our friends, family, and even strangers. Maybe there's comfort in knowing we aren't the only ones.

There's also comfort in being understood. I've been helped -- emotionally, psychologically, and even sometimes physically -- by telling those around me that I'm afraid and finding out that they don't think I'm "just being silly."

So, you want to know what scares me? Okay, well, since you asked....

Fear of exposure and falling
Fear of exposure and falling | Source

I Have A Fear Of Exposure

No, I don't mean taking my clothes off.

Although, I should probably be afraid of that too.

But I'm talking about being on the edge of a long way down, which is where I've been countless times while hiking. On one occasion, I was so paralyzed by fear while backpacking in Grand Canyon, my trail-mate had to retrace his steps to where I was standing, frozen, and let me hold onto his backpack as he walked right in front of me. We took baby steps for at least half a mile, as I stared at his feet and we played memory games to keep my mind off of ... well ... death.

We were on a Search and Rescue mission, actually, hiking part of the Tonto Trail between Grapevine Canyon and Cottonwood Creek (west of Horseshoe Mesa), if you're familiar with the area. Along this section, there are stretches where the trail is right on the edge of several hundred feet of sheer cliff, without any visual barriers like rocks or vegetation to make it at least seem not so dangerous. I mean, one slip and ... bye-bye.

Whenever I come to an exposed stretch of trail, be it for ten feet or a mile, I'm very afraid. And I try to avoid such exposure on my hikes as much as possible. Still, it doesn't stop me from walking trails or diminish my love of hiking or backpacking ... or stop me from wondering why the heck they have to put those trails so close to the edge!

Acrophobia and Altophobia both mean fear of heights, but I don't think that's what I have, because I don't mind being up high. I just don't like to be on the edge of those high-up places.

More information on Acrophobia

Are You Afraid of Exposure or Heights?

How afraid are you?

See results
Things That Scare Me
Things That Scare Me

I'm Afraid Of Speed

As in, going really fast

I just learned that this fear has a name: Tachophobia. Definitely put me down for this one. Which is why I don't enjoy downhill skiing, driving on freeways where the speed limit is 75 mph, riding a galloping horse, or flying down long hills on a bicycle.

Whenever I get going too fast--or feel like I am, anyway--I feel out of control, as if I could wipe out at any moment. And that kind of thinking can only get me into trouble ... which it has.

There was the time I started flying downhill on cross country skis and, just from fear, hit the ground hard. It's amazing I didn't break anything, the way I landed with arms, legs and skis a tangled mess, and it wasn't like I had to fall either. If I'd have kept calm, I would have stayed upright.

Then there was the spectacular dive I took off a skateboard when I was a kid, as I was rolling fast down the big hill in my neighborhood. And the road burns and bloody scrapes were spectacular, too. Needless to say, that was the last time I ever got on a skateboard.

More information on Tachophobia

Are You Afraid of Going Fast?

How afraid are you?

See results

This is more my speed.

This is more my speed.
This is more my speed.
Fear of Lightning
Fear of Lightning | Source

I'm Really Scared Of Lightning

Meaning, being outdoors while it's popping

I guess I have Astraphobia too. Dang! But there's no doubt about it, when I hear that first rumble, my pulse quickens and I look around for where I can hide from the several hundred million volts that are sure to follow. Which is why I was darn scared almost daily for a couple of months while hiking the Appalachian Trail. It seemed like nearly every summer day was visited by a thunderstorm and always right where I happened to be.

And most of those storms are etched in my memory, including the time I had to throw down my pack and metal trekking poles and assume the "please don't fry me!" position, crouched on my heels in the pouring rain as the lightning crashed all around. Fun stuff, huh?

I know I said before that I don't like going fast, but just add lightning to the mix, and you'll see me hike faster'n a cheetah on speed!

More information on Astraphobia

Are You Afraid of Lightning?

How afraid are you?

See results
fear of the dark
fear of the dark | Source

I'm Afraid Of The Dark Outdoors

Or being alone in it, anyway

For me, it's not really Lygophobia -- fear of darkness -- because I'm just fine indoors or even outdoors when I'm with other people. It's being all by my lonesome in the dark in the great outdoors that gets me all panicky. Matter of fact, I get the heebie-jeebies even if I have a flashlight when I'm alone at night in the woods (or the desert or a canyon). That little bit o' light makes very little difference.

Oh, heck, you dragged it out of me; I still get nervous even when I have company at night outdoors, if it's just one other person. I mean, if it's just one person, they can only be on one side of me at a time, so that leaves three other sides exposed to the boogie monster, right? Yes, I have quite the imagination.

So it makes a whole lot of sense that I'm often traipsing around at night with one other SAR-mate, looking for the lost and missing (and over my shoulder). Just don't tell my teammates that Deb is a weenie.

Seriously, though, my fear is partially based on not knowing what I'll find when I'm out there, until I'm right on top of it ... or him or her. On one occasion, the find wasn't good, and that sudden shock--though over soon afterward--has stuck with me, I guess.

More information on Lygophobia

Are You Afraid of the Dark? - Particularly the dark outdoors

How afraid are you?

See results
things that scare me
things that scare me | Source

I Have A Fear Of Quads

The kind you drive, not the kind you flex

Also known as 4-wheelers, ATVs and ORVs, quads and I don't get along well. And I wouldn't be driving them at all if it weren't for my volunteer work with Search and Rescue. In SAR, quads come in handy on unpaved Forest Service roads and rough two-tracks, where we often have to search for lost backcountry travelers and patrol the perimeter of an area where someone is missing.

I'm just not comfortable on those heavy beasts, which I feel are determined to tip over with me on and then under them. I'm okay putt-putting along on flat terrain, but when those rocky, rutted back roads cause the machine to pitch to one side or another or angle steeply up or down, I lose all confidence. And that's when I get myself into trouble, often hitting the brake when I really should be giving the thing more gas.

I can't seem to find a fancy phobia name for this one, though. I guess maybe it's too silly to have one. Quadaphobia?

Are You Afraid of Riding Quads?

How afraid are you?

See results
fear of bees
fear of bees

And I'm Extremely Scared Of Bees

And anything else with a stinger

I have a very good reason for having Apiphobia, though. When I was about twelve years old, I was attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets and stung several hundred times, head to toe. Thankfully, I wasn't allergic and, as far as I know, I'm still not. But with that many stings, I blew up like a red balloon and was in extreme pain for days. Then, when the pain subsided, I was one massive itch.

Not two weeks later, I was stung up the back of both legs by hornets.

Needless to say, when I hear a buzz, be it one fuzzy bumble bee (harmless, so they say) or a hive full of bees, hornets, wasps or yellow jackets, I break out into a cold sweat. I know they have their place in the world, but just keep those nasty stinging things away from me!

More information on Apiphobia

Are You Afraid of Bees?

How afraid are you?

See results

Facing our Fears

Facing our Fears
Facing our Fears

A Guide to Coping with Fear and Anxiety

Written by a doctor who specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders, this book includes step-by-step exercises you can do "in the moment without having to understand the subtleties of the most often used therapies for treating anxiety."

Coping with Anxiety: 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear & Worry
Coping with Anxiety: 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear & Worry
The book is available in both paperback and on Kindle

Do You Face Your Fears Or Avoid Them?

When you're afraid of something, do you tend to make yourself face it head on, or do you avoid it at all costs?

A Well-Liked Guide for Kids (and Parents) on Dealing with Anxiety and Fear

What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety (What-to-Do Guides for Kids)
What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety (What-to-Do Guides for Kids)
This is a popular, interactive self-help book for kids to help them--and to help parents and teachers help them--deal with and even overcome their worries. It's aim is to educate, motivate and empower, and the vast majority of readers and reviewers feel it accomplishes those goals extremely well.

Want To Know The Formal Names Of Fears?

Check out this huge Phobia List

Or you can look up the phobia name by the fear on the Reverse Phobia List

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Deb Kingsbury

What Are You Afraid Of? - Please leave a comment before you flee.

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I did not know that I have a fear of heights until I climbed a lighthouse, but I reached the top. I conquered my fears even when I climbed it with shaking knees. It was really terrible. I guess, I still have that fear, but I am willing to climb more until that fear is lost.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My most challenging fears are acrophobia and the fear of germs/diseases. Great lens!

    • flycatcherrr profile image


      8 years ago

      I share your first two fears, of exposure/high-up edges and of going at speed. The bit about falling on skis when you could have stayed upright is very familiar. The might-as-well-fall-now response increases the fear, too, because now you're not just fearing an accident but fearing your own stupid mind playing tricks... gah!

    • choosehappy profile image


      8 years ago from US

      Fear of message yeah, seriously. I've seen way too much go way too wrong on message boards before, so it doesn't just make me nervous. Scares me into silence. I'm trying to wade in but it's a slow paced kinda thing.

    • Deborah Swain profile image

      Deborah Swain 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Really informative lens...thank you for sharing so much of yourself here. BLESSED!

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image


      8 years ago from Omaha, NE

      Sprinkling some Squid Angel blessing sparkles on you today for sharing your fears and making such a great, informative lens! Love the participation factor with the polls.

    • LiliLove profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your fears. Awesome lens, blessed by a Squid Angel!

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 

      8 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      Oh I can relate to some of your fears, but they do not control my life. Blessed.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      8 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I don't feel like such a ninny now that someone like you who I've come to know of through your lenses as someone who very brave and strong has some of the same fears that I do. Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I truly enjoyed your sharing of your fears and hope it helped you to share them. I fear I have now discovered I am a "nervous nellie" thanks to your questions after each of your fears!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens. Candid, interesting, and helpful. I'm afraid of lots of things. Some, I avoid. Others I face. And some fears do lessen after awhile. I used to be afraid of surgery but I've had it enough now that I know what to expect and while I don't embrace the experience it no longer panics me.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      9 years ago from Colorado

      I fear extreme mountain driving (where there is no margin of error, no guardrails, and killer drop-offs). I am also afraid of snakes. I can appreciate your fears, as I share several of them. Lightning is deadly where I live and hike, so I have a healthy respect for it. When I spent time in Zion National Park, I had to avoid some of the trails that had warnings about extreme exposure. I'm having to consider that now, too, as I attempt to climb some of Colorado's 14ers. I don't plan to do those with high exposure.

    • Alana-r profile image


      9 years ago

      I am really scared of heights and bees too, great lens!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      It appears I'm afraid of many things, some I don't think of, because I avoid them. I'm probably most afraid of being shut in an enclosed place, and of the dark. There is always a light on.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      9 years ago

      We all have our fears, and my life is so rude that I keep having to face them. :)

    • InfernalCombust profile image


      9 years ago

      "High Five" It is very inspiring to read about your fears, knowing that you have definitely faced them and accomplished what many people, even fearless people, will never do.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      9 years ago from Canada

      I am afraid of heights. I won't fly. And when my husband took me up a rural road that wound up winding up a hill, I screamed for him to stop the damn truck, and I got out. I just do not do high areas well at all.

    • profile image

      Michey LM 

      9 years ago

      I am afraid of losing health, the rest can be work around... so I start to pay more attention to what I eat, how much I sleep and so one... just small things which can have bog impact long rangs

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      9 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Thanks for sharing your fears. Mine are of 4-legged or flying critters in my house (like mice, lizards, bats, birds, etc.); the cat is fine. And I'm not a daredevil. I just don't put myself in those situations though.

    • kimbesa2 profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      I pay attention when I feel fear coming up, and weigh the situation. Should I go ahead or back off? Heights is the one that could get me to panic mode... No claustrophobia section, but that's a panic attack for me...

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 

      9 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      A technique I've used, like when I'm about to make a group presentation, is to focus on what I have to say, and not try to stop the fear, even if my hand shakes. It turns out better because my focus is on the right thing. I also think that fear is our friend, and keeps us safe--of course, it must be in balance, so we are able to follow our dreams.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very interesting lens.....

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very interesting lens.....

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I think naming things makes them less scary.

    • iMANDY profile image


      10 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I will tell you what I am NOT afraid of....telling you that you have wonderful writing abilities and have some of the most interesting lenses on Squidoo! :)

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      10 years ago from Ljubljana

      No special phobia here... Hope it stays this way!

    • Othercatt profile image


      10 years ago

      I have Mysophobia (a fear of germs), Ichthyophobia (fear of fish), and Nyctophobia (fear of dark). There's more but those are the worst.

    • auntjennie profile image


      10 years ago from Canada

      I'm afraid of Death. If I had been stung by bees that many times I'd be afraid of bees too.

    • profile image


      10 years ago


    • profile image


      10 years ago

      nothing much

    • natashaely profile image


      10 years ago

      I am afraid of heights and moths though my worst fear is being so I'll I am incapable of living my life. I face my fears though and try and live a wonderful life, though sadly I can be found running in the opposite direction to a moth lol :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      OH MY! What am I afraid of? That the tree will fall in the forest and nobody will hear it. That I might freeze to death in the fifth wheel and only mom will know. Oh, I don't know. I'll have to give it some thought -- I froze my butt off this morning ... gotta go now and try and find that butt of mine. But, But Butt!!!

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      11 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Spiders. I can deal with snakes, scorpions and all critters. But spiders, I just can't. The worst is when I go rock climbing, there is the little voice in my head sometimes that keep reminging me that mabe the little tiny hole by which I am holding is home to a spider

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      11 years ago from Central Florida

      Afraid of bridges, traffic, driving in general. Afraid of losing my eyesight.

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      11 years ago from Washington KS

      This is a really interesting lens. I lensrolled it to my phobia lens. Good job, brave girl.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Halloween and LITTLE monsters scare the wits out of ME! ............ BOO!!!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I'm afraid of plenty of things, but the one I confront most is the fear of bees and other things with stingers. I used to have pretty fierce arachnophobia, but a canoe trip down the Ausable with two very inexperienced canoers (one of which was rather panicky) and what turned out to be a whole slew of spiders helped me learn to deal with that. I still don't LIKE spiders and will avoid them when possible, but I don't freak out like I used to.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Hi Ramkitten, I love your lens because it comes across with honesty and sincerity. I am thinking hard to find out what I am really afraid of. Maybe I am on the other end of the spectrum which is just as weird as those who are so afraid. Life is all about balance and any extreme can be dangerous.

      I am sure there are things that I am afraid of, but the life I live in reverence fear of my Creator give me a bold and couragous spirit that keep my mind on things that have me focused on fulfilling my purpose in life.

      My passion and purpose is to make a possitive difference in others lives. Look at my squidoo lens about my journey without end.

    • Jack2205 profile image


      11 years ago

      I'm not afraid of heights, but I am afraid of falling off the edge of a high place if it's not safe and secure. I'm also afraid of thunderstorms because my house was struck by lightning a few years ago.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      11 years ago

      We must be twins, except for the quad, no fear of bikes, nosireeeeeeee, but speed yes. Merry Xmas.Blessed by an Angel.

    • divacratus 2 profile image

      divacratus 2 

      11 years ago

      I am scared of heights! Yikes.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Kingsbury 

      11 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      @NC Shepherd: Ooo, I should add that last one to my list, too! I've had several of "those" falls, so now I go down hills like that very, very slowly, thinking I'm going down at any moment. I'm used to looking silly, though.

    • profile image

      NC Shepherd 

      11 years ago

      I'm afraid of failure, looking silly, and giving in to my fears. Oh, and walking down a steep hill with loose gravelly dirt. Geez, will I EVER get over that fall?

    • sarita garg profile image


      11 years ago from Hisar

      I fear height and water...

    • profile image

      drifter0658 lm 

      11 years ago

      I have that fear of being on the edge of a steep drop off as well. I call it Vertigo, although I think Vertigo actually has psychologically induced physical reactions.

      Bees....dang, I wish I could tell you how many times I've been stung by 'em, including the time I got it on the lip. There is a pic of that around here somewhere. Yeah, the bike seems to be a stinging critter magnet.

      I know those folks who just got done at that Primitive Baptist church over yonder were thinking I needed an exorcism when all I was doing was fending off a fourth stabbing by the same bumble bee. Stupid thing got in my jacket and stung me twice before I could get the bike stopped and jacket off. He got a sting-by in on my temple as he flew away.

      I think he was pissed, and all I was trying to do was come to a mutual resolution. I didn't want him in my jacket any more than he wanted to be there.

      Anyhoo.........Smell the smoke of a burn-out blessing?

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 

      11 years ago

      I loved your snail pic. I am afraid of the dark inside, scary movies, spiders, tight spaces, elevators that are stuck, blah, blah, blah... Every dog on day I am afraid. However, I run through the darkness, rid our house of spiders, have gone caving in tight spaces and blah, blah, blah. I will never let fear stop me. I love to do everything even when I am afraid. This was a great lens.

    • justholidays profile image


      11 years ago

      I liked the piece with the snail, hahaha! Be careful here we think snails are delicious :D


    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      11 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Congrats on your 100th Lens! 5* Amazing Achievement! Fun to read. I think I am more superstitious than afraid. :)

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 

      11 years ago from England

      Mysticmama and I must be kindred spirits with you...I got hung up climbing down a cliff in La Jolla, California (my crazy cousin talked me into climbing down to the beach) and now I can't even look down the stairs without getting all sweaty and lightheaded! And I've been stung multiple times...I freak when I see any kind of bee...wasp, hornet...whatever. But I'm very glad to know that I'm not the only one and there are actual names for some of these fears. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      11 years ago

      There are just a lot of scary things out there. Nicely done! Blessed.

    • Laniann profile image


      11 years ago

      I have a few of the very same fears you have and it sounds like most of us are with you. You face so many of your fears every time you are on a Search and Rescue mission. You are very brave. 5*s

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 

      11 years ago

      Wow... we have some of the same ones, I was bitten by a wasp as a teen and it is excruiating, and even though bees sting, not bite...I don't care for them either...

      About 15 years ago I had a dream that I was on a beach that was total open exposure for miles... no trees, or cliffs, just white sand & ocean... and suddenly I was struck by lightening... and actually felt myself die... before waking up... ever since, I've been afraid of lightening, especially in wide open

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Ooo! I can understand why you'd be scared of some of these! 5* and Consider yourself loved and blessed by a passing Angel :)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Making phone calls and taking clothes off, not necessarily at the same time. Nervous of driving anywhere I haven't been before unless I have the Google map engraved on my brain. I have to worm one of my cats and am definitely baulking at it. My kid scares the daylights out of me, especially when she hides around corners ready to leap out. Christmas - very scary.

    • ZenandChic profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens! I am afraid of some of the same things as you, especially being on the edge of a cliff or high place, even in a car.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      11 years ago from United States

      Oh man, I have to say you know how to make me laugh! Believe me, I have a fear of exposure and I do mean, taking my clothes off. High school gym glass was a horror played over and over daily for me. Oh, yeah, and now you have done it. It is 10:00 p.m., I have to go to bed some time and dang, those eyes are going to follow me. I know it! Yes, I could leave the light on, but it is still dark inside my eyelids:)

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      11 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Yes, thanks for sharing. I can certainly relate to several of the things that scare you. And you're right, it made me feel better to know I'm not alone in those fears!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      11 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Deb, this is a super lens describing the things you are afraid of. I wanted to come by and be sure I read your 100th lens and since I was the first to rate it, I win the prize of getting to give you a Squid Angel Blessing! Congratulations!


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