- Mental Health»
- Anxiety Disorders
Storm Phobia: What is it?
At the first hint of a storm, the distant thunder or a slight breeze, the worry starts. It’s like a panic attack that comes parallel to the storm. Those who experience storm phobia can have symptoms that range from an almost childlike fear of a storm that might amuse friends and family, to crippling fear that prevents the phobic from living a normal day-to-day life. The person suffering from storm phobia should be understood to be suffering, whatever the level of fear involved.
The signs of a storm phobic are fairly straight forward. They include wanting to hide from even a mild rain storm, a constant worry of being struck by lightning while the storm is active, mistaking sounds made by planes or traffic for thunder and feeling upset by them, becoming nervous at the sound of wind, shaking or crying during a storm, being unable to hold still during a storm, and being able to think of nothing but fear during a storm, just to name a few. Generally any sign of fear that is repetitive and reliable is a warning of phobia. To the storm phobic it is hard to think while a storm is raging, and this often extends to just knowing that a storm is on the horizon.
What Can a Phobic Do?
There are many options when it comes to helping yourself through your phobia. There are many types of therapy open to those who experience storm phobia because it is a fairly common form of phobia. There are also techniques that you can employ yourself on a regular basis. When a storm hits there are various ways to distract yourself in a beneficial manor. If you are at home try getting the family together to play a board game. Play something that requires some form of focus and not just mindless rolling of a dice. Try to play in a room that has no windows to start with and get the family talking and laughing. Make it a distracting and fun experience and work up to being able to see and hear the storm. Hopefully before long you will be joking about the weather with the rest of them before long. There are also many meditating techniques that could be employed at work. It is harder to meditate your fear away but it could be beneficial to take deep calming breaths and slowly do a question and answer. Feel your heart beat and focus on slowing it, and ask yourself things like “how dangerous is this situation really?” and despite what your fear might be telling you reassure yourself that it’s really not as bad as you think it is. Reading aloud is a very good way to concentrate on something outside of the storm; it takes focus and produces sounds that compete with the weather for attention. Whatever the method you use it is important to understand that it will take time and effort in the form of practice to begin to reduce your fear.
What Can Family and Friends Do for the Phobic?
It is very important for the family and friends of a storm phobic to be understanding of the fear that the phobic feels. Yes, it is unreasonable, because that is what a phobia is. Those wanting to help should be aware that no amount of joking, or Mocking, is going to help the situation. Most likely the phobic knows that the fear is unreasonable and feels some sort of shame about it. Don’t add to it, instead be supportive and loving. Never underestimate the power of a hug and a gentle but serious reminder that they will live through this fear. It is important for the family and friends to be a calming and loving influence in the lives of the storm phobic, and to urge them to get help if they need it. Help them research their options for treatment such as therapy and self help techniques.
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