Anxiety Disorders, Irrational Fears, and Phobias
First fears, or were they phobias?
I think I have always been afraid of spiders and there lots of them were I grew up. If I had not been so afraid of them, I might have admired their beauty, abilities, and perseverance . There was always one huge black thing, with neon yellow patches, that had a complicated web strung from post to post on the front of the house. It must have worked all night and, in the morning, dew flashed rainbows in the lace from the sunlight. I always used the kitchen door which was toward the back.
If you have read my hubs, you know that we had no utilities; therefore, there was no indoor plumbing. My parents both had 'green thumbs' and my father loved his fruit trees, vines, and bushes. He lined the path to the 'outhouse' with grape vines on each side. That was a custom ... to keep others from knowing one was going to use the facilities.
Of course, during the night, spiders liked to string webs from one row of grape vines across the path to the other. Yuck! Once inside, one had to be alert then too. I always feared that they would drop from the darkness of the ceiling onto my head or they could also crawl across the underside of the seating platform to touch me.
My father did not seem much afraid of anything but my mother feared and hated snakes. She even called worms that were inside hickory nuts baby snakes. Snakes have never bothered me unless one startled me.
- Special Note: I had another spider image on the right ... from freeimages.com ... but had to remove it. It looked so very huge and real when I opened this Hub. Super scary!!!
Other fears, more of mine and those of other people
I have always been afraid of heights although no one in my family was. We had a two-story farm house and I've often wondered if someone teased me about my fear and threatened to dangle me out of an upper window, one with a two story drop. I'll never know.
Flying on airplanes is now impossible for me. The first time I traveled by plane was when I was 18. We were unable to land at LaGuardia for a long time because the landing gear malfunctioned. The next couple of times something prevented me from enjoying the trips ... I don't recall now what happened. I've wondered if my fear of heights had something to do with my dislike of flying but do not think so.
I have never been afraid of bats but a friend was, especially when one somehow found its way into her upstairs where the bedrooms were. She was not able to capture it and slept on a downstairs couch until she finally called someone who was familiar with these creatures. This person became her 'batbuster' and was able to remove it and its mate or friend. Many people dislike bats but they are extremely useful although many people think they are kind of creepy looking.
My husband is afraid of water. He says that he just doesn't like it, but it is possible that something happened when he was a toddler. He could have been dunked accidentally when he was in the bathtub. Anyway, he is seriously afraid of deep water, does care for shallow water either, and does not enjoy showers.
I went over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge soon after it was built and thought I would never survive that experience. Several years later, my brother told me how terrified his son was when they went over it. The boy was a teen and not afraid of heights but laid between the seats of the car with his head covered. I wonder if high bridge fears are separate from height fears? I believe they are.
Living in Colorado
In addition to other fears and phobias, when living where I grew up, there was unusual unusual storm activity, besides the commonplace horrendous thunder, lightning, and tornadoes. Once, when I was in high school, I saw ground lightning snaking along in a greenish atmosphere. I was driving to a friend's house when that activity happened. The neon green and sulphuric glow that crossed the road in front of me and extended into the fields on either side was terrifying. I braked immediately and would not approach that area. I, myself, had never seen anything like that before. Finally, I was able to turn the car around in the road and go home. A cell phone could have been reassuring.
I have attempted to find an image that shows how it looked but was not able to find one that was just right. Just picture the image on the right with the lightning laying on the ground (instead of coming down from the sky) popping and cracking, swishing back and forth in glowing green light. It must have been a very rare occurrence but, after that, I feared storms.
After living in Colorado for a few years, my fear of storms dissipated somewhat because I encountered other 'things' that were even more fearful. I might talk about that at another time, or not.
How are these fears, phobias, and anxieties explained?
Many, many years ago, people explained that a child's fear of snakes happened because the pregnant mother was startled by a snake. I assume that explained why the child was afraid of snakes but not the mother ... she was merely startled, not afraid, though the child took that as fear when in the womb. Personally, it seems to me that phobias can be explained in a few instances but certainly not always. Genetics, a previous life, what could it be??