Monday, July 2, 2012

The A-List: Fear Itself

Everyone has something that they are scared of.  If someone tells you that they aren't afraid of anything, or at least nervous, then they are either lying or a psychopath, and you should stay away from them.  At the very least, there's bound to be at least one thing that has us quaking in our boots, or fainting dead away, or some other extreme response.  It's normal, to be scared.  This is your brain's way of protecting you, and it's why humans have survived.  When you're scared, you tend to move away from what scares you.   This is a perfectly logical decision that is not based in any way on anything silly.  Unless it is. The brain is sometimes funny about fear responses.  I have yet to come up with a logical reason for someone to be afraid of the number 13, for instance.  That I am willing to consider that there might even BE a logical reason to be afraid of the number 13 tells you that I have become quite a bit more reasonable in my 'over the hill' years. 

When I was a kid, I had the standard kid fears about the monster under the bed, the dark, etc. As I grew, I realized that it was silly to be afraid of monsters under the bed, since everyone knows that they are in the closet.  In my twenties, I tried to focus on more realistic things to be afraid of, such as serial killers or bad hair.  Then my thirties showed up, and suddenly things that I'd never dreamed of being afraid of were popping up on the radar.  Here are some of the things that I am scared of, or at least extremely and unreasonably nervous about.  

1. Enclosed spaces  I was never claustrophobic until I had an MRI, and now even taking the elevator is a challenge.  All I thought about when they put me in that tube was "Wow, this is what being in a coffin would be like..." and it was downhill from there.  Since I am not one to give in to my fears, I did have the MRI, but it took TWO Xanax, and my husband had to sit in the room and keep his hand on my ankle.  People at work think that I am odd because I won't stay on the elevator if there's too many people on it, but in my brain more people=less oxygen.  I'd rather walk down the stairs, even if I have to use my inhaler.

2. Heights   Let me clarify: I'm not really afraid of heights.  I'm actually afraid of falling from heights.  And it's not just any sort of heights that make me concerned about falling.  If I am in a tall building, for example, I am not all that worried about falling.  I wouldn't go up in the Space Needle in Seattle, or the Empire State Building, because of the elevators, but I expect that I would have been fine once I got to the top.  I did fine when I climbed the stairs in the Washington Monument, and that venerable monument has been in the process of falling since it was built.  If I climb a ladder, however, I automatically feel all wonky, and it makes me nervous.  It's probably some sort of vestibular thing.  I'm also tactile defensive, but that hasn't manifested in any unreasonable fears yet. 

3. Cockroaches  I firmly believe that all things serve a purpose.  Even cockroaches.  There has to be a reason that they exist, right?  That said, cockroaches give me the heebie-jeebies.  They make my skin crawl.  Imagine my horror when I found out the hard way that there are some cockroaches that fly!  When I see a cockroach in my house, I must kill it.  I must find a very hard shoe and smash that cockroach into oblivion, because I have learned that sprays don't always work to kill them. In fact, sometimes when you spray them, they will chase you.  When the cockroach is deceased, I have to disinfect the shoe, and the floor, and myself.  Because, ICK!   Of course, now I pay a pest control company to spray around the house.  It's worth every penny.

4. Not being able to breathe  This is a no-brainer; I know exactly where this fear came from.  In 2003, I was on a respirator for a little while.  Ever since then, I've had nightmares where I can't breathe.  I looked it up, and this is a common thing for people who have been on respirators.  It's sort of a post-traumatic stress thing, I guess.  Being on a respirator is traumatic, and not just because of the reason you are put on the respirator.  When you wake up and realize that you are not actually breathing on your own, you freak out.  And then, when they pull that tube out of your lungs, it doesn't hurt, but it is indescribably weird.  It's like your lungs are trying to inhale while the tube is being pulled out

5. Crowds  In my twenties I was always in the mosh pit at concerts; today, I will pay extra to not be anywhere near a crowd.  I am not even sure when I started being nervous about crowds.  It sort of just was there.  I am a short person, and I hate not being able to see what is going on around me when I am surrounded by taller people.  I also don't like that crowds tend to have a mind of their own.  Like a herd of cattle, any crowd could suddenly decide to stampede, and I would be stuck.  This fear has become worse since I had my son, because he likes to run ahead and I'm afraid that I will lose him.  Luckily, I married a tall man, and when we are in crowds, I just stick close to him.  And I make him hold on to Zane.

Those are my top five.  What are YOU afraid of?


  1. I'm with you on 1 AND 2...I also had an MRI and thought I would die. I had it using nothing and I will never do that again. I am not afraid of elevators though!

    I have a fear of heights as in sitting in high up seats in stadiums, etc....

  2. that's funny you should say inclosed spaces, I too had an MRI---about two weeks ago, and I almost freaked out. Right before I got stuffed in there the guys says, "try to stay still and don't swallow too much." Well, you know I totally obsessed about swallowing.....LOL

  3. Crowds stress me out and I HATE walking into a restaurant or anywhere else alone...even if I know the people I'm meeting are already in there waiting on me. I have a mild panic attack just thinking about it. Unreasonable, I know!!!

  4. I've ha two MRIs, one being lat week. The first time I panicked because when they said to keep my eyes closed, I opened them as I was passing through...freaky. This time, I never opened them and was fine. I hate snakes. Never want to be near one ever!

  5. I used to be horribly afraid of dogs, but not anymore. I was never afraid of heights until I had kids. When we are higher than two stories, all I do is picture one of my kids' heads splatting on the ground below. Ever been to an Embassy Suites? Have mercy, I am a mess every time we leave the room, constantly yelling at the kids to step away from the railing and hug the doors until we get to the elevator.


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