Trypophobia, the Lotus Seed Pod Phobia and Other Weird Fears
Most people have a phobia, or an irrational or abnormal fear of certain things. It is estimated that approximately ten percent of adults have at least one phobia. The most common phobia, acrophobia, is a fear of heights and a lot of folks, namely children have achluophobia - they're afraid of the dark. Many people are afraid of flying (aviophobia or pteromerhanophobia), being in closed spaces (claustrophobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), thunder and lightning (astraphobia, brontophobia, tonitrophobia, or ceraunophobia), and germs (mysophobia). One of the most talked about fears is homophobia, or the fear of homosexuals.
Some peoples' fears are so great that they have a nearly paralytic sense of panic when confronted by them. Some even have more than one of these fears, a condition called polyphobia. A few very unlucky folks are afraid of everything. They have panophobia.
Some specific phobias can be debilitating, such as agoraphobia, which is the fear of being in places with large crowds and disposophobia, which is the fear of throwing anything away - commonly referred to as hoarding. People with extreme cases of these and similar phobias often require large amounts of counselling to be able to lead normal lives.
Many confront their phobias to overcome them. For instance, a person who is afraid of heights might go to a very high place to confront their fear. There have been many television shows dedicated to helping people overcome their fears. Some scientists say that the relatively new medium of virtual reality may help cure some people of their phobias.
Some people have something called counterphobia, which is described as the seeking out of those things which people are afraid of. Some believe that thrill seekers and dare devils could fall into this category. Often people with the fear of death, necrophobia, will often have a morbid curiosity with it.
Most phobias can be explained, and usually stem from an incident in childhood. Others are completely without cause and are often nearly impossible to overcome. Others still can be attributed to inherited subconscious knowledge. A fear of falling may occur as an evolutionary adaptation because falling was, at one time, a potential source of serious injury in a world that did not have advanced medical care.
What is Trypophobia?
I have personal experience with phobias, though I do not have the gripping panic that some experience when confronted with them. I have an abnormal fear of spiders (arachnophobia), which is fairly common and a fear of clowns (coulrophobia), which is less common but still relatively well known. These phobias are both a result of childhood incidents. I have another phobia, though, which has no reasonable explanation, at least none that I can remember.
My grandmother had a silk flower arrangement that she often placed on her kitchen table. I remember it had pink and light blue flowers in it. It also contained something that caused me an extreme amount of discomfort. So much so that she eventually removed it from the arrangement. It was a dried lotus seed pod.
It wasn't until a few years ago that I did an internet search for 'fear of lotus seed pods' and came up with something called trypophobia, which is derived from the Greek word trypo, meaning having holes that are punched, drilled or bored. It's considered an intense, irrational and often overwhelming fear of clusters of holes. It is an unofficial phobia, meaning it is not recognized as a medical condition.
Other trypophobia sufferers have reported intense phobic symptoms with other things involving holes as well, including sponges, holes in wood or honeycombs. Some people's reactions to holes, including mine, intensify when the holes have something in them, such as a sunflower with its seeds. Researching for information on trypophobia returned some photos that officially gave me the heebie-jeebies, namely the photo of the Surinam toad, who incubates and hatches her eggs from holes on her back. There is a video that shows the tadpoles hatching, but I'm not posting it here simply because I might have to watch it to get the the link.
There are internet and social media websites and even whole communities and message boards dedicated to trypophobia, where users often give examples of the things that cause them the discomfort associated with the fear.
Other Unusual Phobias
Almost everybody has a fear of something. I'm listing here some of the more unusual phobias I've found. Though some of them may seem ridiculous, bear in mind that there are people out there who are deathly afraid of some of these things. It may seem funny to us to be afraid of having peanut butter stuck to the roofs of our mouths, but just imagine being paralyzed with fear at the very thought of it.
Some of these phobias are not medically recognized conditions.
- Alektorophobia is the fear of chickens.
- Anuptaphobia is the fear of staying single.
- Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of having peanut butter stuck to the roof of the mouth.
- Coprastasophobia is the fear of being constipated.
- Cyprinophobia is the fear of prostitutes.
- Oenophobia is the fear of wines.
- Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th.
- Pentheraphobia is the fear of a mother-in-law.
- Porphyrophobia is the fear of the color purple.
- Pteronophobia is the fear of being tickled by feathers.
- Geniophobia is the fear of chins.
- Helminthophobia is the fear of being infested with worms.
- Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of long words.
- Ichthyophobia is the fear of fish.
- Kathisophobia is the fear of sitting down.
- Melophobia is the fear of music.
- Automatonophobia is the fear of ventriloquist's dummies or anything that is designed to appear human-like.
© 2012 Georgianna Lowery