Monday, 15 August 2011

List 9: things that I have irrational fears of

I'm not a scaredy cat, at least not in the traditional sense. Snakes, spiders, creepy crawlies of any sorts do not faze me in the slightest. In fact my fears are not really things which I encounter regularly in my daily life, which is quite fortunate really. My best friend is terrified of spiders and has been denied access to her own bathroom on numerous occasions due to the presence of one lurking in the bathtub! But we all have thing we are afraid of, whether they are physical things or not.

1. flying - probably my greatest fear, and the one I've had the most problems with. I love travelling, but for about four weeks before I am due to board a plane I get gripped by the most awful fear, which increases as I get nearer to the departure date. I can talk very rationally about flying - I have read numerous self-help books to deal with the fear, and part of overcoming the fear is understanding the mechanics behind flight. I'm pretty much an aviation expert! But fear is not rational, and no matter what I read or hear to the contrary, I remain convinced that my plane will crash and I will die. My fear got to the point where I literally couldn't fly anymore (the last time I flew without medication was to Morrocco and I became nearly hysterical with fear and could barely stay in my seat - I felt like the guy in Final Destination when he knows the plane is going to crash and no-one will listen to him!) So I now have to take high doses of valium before any flight - the thoughts are still there, I still think I'm going to die in a crash, but the fear doesn't rise up and overwhelm me like it used to. Which is good. I've since flown to America twice, to Barcelona, and to Thailand, all without incident.

2. hand puppets - I do not know where this fear started from. I have no recollection of a mentally scarring incident in my childhood involving hand puppets. In fact we owned a set of them which we used to put on shows for my poor, long-suffering parents. We honestly believed we were the UK equivalent of the Von Trapp family. My fear is limited only to hand puppets, I'm fine with marionettes and those ones on sticks. But show me a hand puppet and I feel an overwhelming need to be elsewhere.

3. failure - sometimes I get overwhelmed with the realisation of how incredibly short our lives are, even if we live to what is considered a ripe old age. The desire to live my life as fully as possible, and do as much as possible in the time I have, overwhelms me sometimes to the point of near paralysis. I don't want to have any regrets when I get older, wishing I had seized opportunities, seen more, done more, experienced everything on offer. But the more I think about it the more I become aware that it's not possible for me to do it all. Even if I live till I'm 100 years old I will not have read all the books I want to, or studied all the things I want to, or visited all the places I want, and this failure terrifies me. Does anyone else share this fear?

4. heights - this sort of links into my fear of flying but, even though the main reason flying seems so scary and dangerous to me is because you are so high up, the height aspect only really comes into play when I'm taking off or landing. It's hard to comprehend how high up you are when all you can see is cloud! But I do suffer from vertigo - I have always been afraid of being high up, but I only discovered my vertigo whilst visiting the Empire State Building in New York. We got to the top and stepped out onto the viewing platform and I felt the entire platform tilt to one side as I slid towards the edge almost falling off and plummeting to my death. Of course that didn't actually happen, but in my mind and my body that's what happened. I barely made it back inside before sitting on the carpet, gripping it in both hands and refusing to move until I was escorted back down to terra firma.

Woah, kind of a heavy post for a Monday morning, but thank you for attending the therapy session! Oh, and please share your fears, however big or small they may be.


  1. I try not to worry about failure, as you said there will always be something that you haven't done and even if I was the most amazing person in the world who didn't sleep or eat or see my friends, I'd never get everything done. It's about choosing the things that you do want to do well I think and making the most of them.

    Your fears are more rational than mine overall, I can understand the fear of flying and heights... whilst I'm irrationally terrified of the incredible hulk, moths, octopuses and squids. I have no idea why I'm scared of any of them, they just freak me out.

  2. Very sweet that you are scared of hand puppets. I am extremely claustrophobic. I can't even watch people on tv and films in confined spaces or I start to panic!

  3. Definitely following some of these fears! My biggest fear is the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Seriously, I'm so so so fearful of him. Makes me cry endlessly.

  4. eeep i'm terrified of needles .. even at 23 i still managed to have a little cry when i have to get one


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