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to think people shouldn't say phobia when they mean fear?

(22 Posts)
ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Fri 02-Oct-09 20:41:39

A woman who has just done a bungee jump says 'I do have a slight phobia of heights' - er, no you don't, if you did, you wouldn't have jumped off a blooming crane. It makes people go hmm about real phobias.

Mamazon Fri 02-Oct-09 20:44:57

agree agree agree agree.

I am phobic about moths and butterflies.
Im not scared of them, i am phobic. I have a physical reaction to being near them or even talking about them.

I cannot even have them as motif's on DD's clothing. i will feel sick at the thought of them and i cannot even manage the thought of being touched by one.

Someone being " a little bit scared" is nowhere near the same

BuckRogers Fri 02-Oct-09 20:52:02

I feel this way when people say they had really bad morning sickness and then talk about feeling queasy all day at work. hmm

I want to shout- that's not really bad morning sickness. Try spending weeks in hospital and being unable to move for about 4months, needing a bedpan and considering a termination because you feel like you are dying. That's really bad morning sickness.


MortBlackCatResident Fri 02-Oct-09 20:57:29

Mamazon my DSis is phobic to moths but not butterflies. If she sees a fluttering wee beasty she freaks - if she finds out it's a butterfly she is fine. If it's moth she freaks - that is a phobia.

I have jumped thinking a crawly thing was a spider and no matter how gross it was if it has under 7 legs and over 9 i'm fine....and believe me i'm not squeamish at all about any other animal. It really annoys me that a 5cm wee spider can reduce me to a gibbering wreck!

Mamazon Fri 02-Oct-09 21:05:45

just threw up after typing that sad

it really is quite pathetic. everyone that knows me finds it really funny as i am not frightened of anything.....but the prettiest least offensive things on the planet.

scottishmummy Fri 02-Oct-09 21:11:06

yes people exaggerate specific fears for disliking fruit becomes allergic to fruit

MortBlackCatResident Fri 02-Oct-09 21:11:39

After reading what i put??? Sorry Mamazon blush.

MortBlackCatResident Fri 02-Oct-09 21:13:15

Also annoying is allergic to food when they mean intolerant and sometimes intolerant means just don't want to eat it or can't in case i get fat....

Mamazon Fri 02-Oct-09 21:14:36

no, after typing my own post.

It has reached a stage where i avoid going in the garden during the summer

curiositykilled Fri 02-Oct-09 21:17:57

Totally agree. I have a phobia of needles which I believe I have overcome as much as I ever will, am quite smug about this.

The essence of a phobia is that it is a completely irrational and completely over-powering fear that makes someone behave in a completely disproportionate and unreasonable way when confronted with the thing they are phobic of. It is not being afraid of something because it might hurt you in some way like a lot of people use the word - it is an irrational fear at an unreasonable level.

My needle phobia is because I have an irrational belief that metal is dirty and that having a needle, particularly in my vein, will bypass the body's defences such as skin, stomach e.t.c. I know that metal is actually not dirty, I don't even know what I think will happen if the dirty metal goes in my vein.

I have got a Hypothyroid and so have to have regular blood tests. I have made it so that I can now get myself to the blood test appointment and have the test done - just can't breathe whilst needle is in arm and have to use meditation techniques. When I was first diagnosed I actually believed I would rather die than have regular blood tests and had to be given valium, be brought to the appointment and sobbed hysterically all the way through.

Much of an improvement on the height of the fear - when I was 10 I needed a measles booster and had to be dragged to the appointment by my mum having put on 40 denier tights, several tops and a pair of jeans so that they would not be able to give me the injection. Four people held me down and they had to stab the needle through my clothes, I kicked a nurse in the face. I also hid the letter about the BCG from my parents for long enough to miss out on having it.

zippy539 Fri 02-Oct-09 21:20:44

Mamazon - if you are at the stage where it is restricting your life (as it is) have you thought about getting some help/counselling?

Having said that if anyone suggested that I should get some counselling for my rat/mouse PHOBIA I would run a mile. As far as I am concerned it is perfectly rational to be PETRIFIED of any kind of rodent. I don't want to be taught that it's okay to like THEM because in my book it ISN'T.

madusa Fri 02-Oct-09 21:26:02

i have a fear of heights but a phobia against earth worms

They give me nightmares when it rains

zippy539 Fri 02-Oct-09 21:27:30

Mamazon. Okay - have re-read my post and realised that it isn't really helpful. I do think that you need to get some kind of help so that you can get on with your life.

Kat - totally know what you mean. I have a 'fear' of flying but I still fly occasionally when I have no choice (but only when totally trolleyed). However no matter how 'trolleyed' I am I would NEVER go anywhere near a rodent because if I even saw a rat I know I would have a heart attack and die. Tha, to me, is the difference between a fear and a phobia.

Mamazon Fri 02-Oct-09 21:28:50

thats exactly it, i know that they cannot possibly harm me in any way shape or form. i have no idea why i have thsi reaction. the only thing i can think of is that when i was younger i was told that they have some kind of powder on their wings that if it touched you you would die.

I know its rubbish and that even if i ate one i would be fine, but thats the only thing i can think of.

Someone mentioned before abotu me getting help (when i wanted to hack a nieghbours bush down as it attracted them and so i had to do the run of death every morning to get the car)
but i have never considered it would be important enough before. i thought that A) it wouldn't be deemed necessary so unavailable on the NHS and B) that i would somehow have to end up holding one or something.

MortBlackCatResident Fri 02-Oct-09 21:31:48

Agree Zippy. My own fear of spiders mean that if someone comes to my house for the first time i make sure they are ok with Rodents (i run a rat rescue).

Accidentally forgot once with the chap who came to fix the boiler - he went very pale and sweaty at the sight.

If i went in a room with tarantulas or house spiders in i would faint then and there and just generally give up on everything.....

curiositykilled Fri 02-Oct-09 21:44:43

No, you need to do something about it mamazon. The NHS would help, especially if it is negatively affecting your life. If it has a large impact on you are you are really extreme in your reaction it is classed and treated as an anxiety disorder I believe.

curiositykilled Fri 02-Oct-09 21:45:58


Disenchanted3 Fri 02-Oct-09 21:48:17


People agree with me on being afraid of planes then tell me they are off to Portugal the following month hmm

I am crap-yourself-if-a-plane-flies-over-the-house / will-not-watch-films-with-planes in / will-NEVER-go-on-holiday abroad / have-weekly-nightmares-about-crashes-phobic!!

scottishmummy Fri 02-Oct-09 21:48:51

CBT can be effective for phobias

Dumbledoresgirl Fri 02-Oct-09 21:52:33

Agree. I have a fear of flying but I can overcome it and get on a plane (reluctantly) if needed.

I also have a phobia of vomit and vomiting and it rules my life, is ever present in my mind and results in some avoidance behaviour and physical reactions. No way is it comparable with my fear of flying and I do get annoyed when people pile into conversations with personal fears that are clearly not phobias.

That said, I do have mild claustrophobia but can handle lifts and other situations severe claustrophobes could not handle, so I do think, like everything else, there are degrees of phobicness.

Goblinchild Fri 02-Oct-09 22:11:30

I agree, I have a dislike for dogs of a certain disposition but no phobias. smile

In a similar vein, it infuriates me when people use the word 'meltdown' to describe a tantrum.
My lad in full Meltdown is not having a tantrum, or even fully sentient whilst he's in one.
I feel like screaming 'Don't confuse a squib with a full-on Krakatoa, you haven't got a clue' at some individuals. Unreasonable of me, but there you go. grin

curiositykilled Fri 02-Oct-09 22:17:00

Yes, I think it is the irrationality that is the key difference with phobias. People will have varying levels of reaction depending on whether they are untreated, in treatment or treated for their phobia. Irrationality of the fear and irrationality of the reaction are the key things.

I am afraid of flying for example and will not get on a plane, feel slightly nervous when a plane flies over but the reason I am afraid I consider to be quite rational - air travel may be statistically safe but if the plane crashes you will die. I don't want to take the risk, the risk outweighs the benefit to me personally. A plane could fall on me out of the sky, it has happened. I am not phobic about planes, have a rational, albeit rather strange, fear of planes.

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