Phobias, the way our brain decides to scare our pants off.
According to Wiki, phobias are an irrational fear to an object or situation, which the sufferer feels like it would be a life threatening situation.
All my life, since I can remember (age 3 years old), I've had Selachophobia. This is the phobia to the Carcharodon Carcharias or commonly known as Great White shark. Why? Thank Mr. Stephen Spielberg for his amazing work in all the Jaws movies, because I didn't ever miss one. Funny thing is that whenever my family and I went on our traditional yearly holiday destiny, South Padre Island (Texas), we always ended up with a Shark encounter. Don't get me wrong. It is not like everyone who goes to this destination bumps into one of these prehistoric fish, we are just that lucky. So it kinda reminds me of the movie franchise itself, where only the FAMILY were attacked.
I've always been amazed with these creatures. I mean, after all, they have survived for so many centuries, and yet they keep on being so powerful and intimidating. I remember being a kid, and spending some of my recess at the library browsing through National Geographic magazines and screaming when I realized I had been holding a page that had a Great White shark's photo on the other side. That's how bad the phobia is. No swimming by myself in the pool, and sometimes even the bathtub would give me the creeps. Not all of them, only those in hotels at beach destinations. I have always been of the mentality of facing your fears right? Well wrong!!! I have gone to aquariums in all the oceanic destinations where they have sharks, and I seem to be sort of fine. In the summer of 2011, I went to La Jolla cove in San Diego California, and though I felt brave enough, I failed. I went in the water with my mother-in-law knowing that some years before a man had been attacked by a Great White just there. I thought: "There are a lot of people here, why would I of all be attacked?" This thought was good enough to get me a couple of feet in. Just about when I felt fish swimming between and around my legs, and the algae slightly rubbing my feet, it was time to rush out, and I literally mean rush like: "Feet, if you ever were meant to do something, it was to take me out of here like NOW!" I went running so fast that I actually hurt my foot while wrongly stepping in sharp rocks as I went out. I sat down in the sand as I observed the rest of the swimmers and thought: "This is wrong." It was humiliating, and I don't know what would happen if it was a ship sinking and I was on it. I think I would probably die of a heart attack first. This is why I don't do cruises, and never will. Thank god my husband is not even interested on those. I couldn't even try wearing a shark tooth necklace at some point of how scary it was to feel something so real of something that made me so fearful around my neck. And I don't mean to be disrespectful, but once I couldn't understand how a friend of mine who is arachnophobic could jump out and scream like a girl just by seeing spider webs until this experience I had.
So I suppose avoiding deep ocean experiences and swimming where the ocean's water is higher than my waist helps to ignore I have this problem. Unfortunately, this is not the only phobia I have.
I love swimming, and when young, I remember jumping from the trampoline like if there was no tomorrow. I also remember how it all started. I was growing up when I was between 11 and 13, and I could feel my body stretching as I saw things further below me. I felt tall, and with this I gained a phobia. I remember being up in the trampoline at the pool, thing that I had done before. Suddenly I felt my body stretching and in the height that I was, boom, it happened. Congratulations, you've just acquired Acrophobia which lead to height vertigo. I shrank, I just couldn't, and I grabbed from the railings and carefully went down the trampoline. I felt so vulnerable that I never did it again.
I tend to forget I have height vertigo, but when I am next to a tall building or structure and look up it just kicks in and I end up falling on my knees trying to grab on to the floor. I mean, this doesn't happen when I am on an airplane and looking out the window. The test was this one time that one of my close friends decided to go up a bridge through a staircase inside one of the columns. It had no railing in the side of the void, only on the wall. I would consider that very dangerous, but apparently the person that built it didn't think so. Anyways, we didn't get that high up, only a couple of 100 mts high. We were appreciating the view, when all of a sudden the wind started blowing hard and I realized that anything around I could use to hold on could potentially cause my death by fall. The space between the floor and the railings was huge, I could easily slip and fall, the railing diameter where we were was bigger than a hand could hold, I had to grab myself with both arms and still fall. I had to stand in the center of the flat surface and shrink to my knees. My friend grabbed me between laughs thinking I was being goofy, which I do tend to do. This time it was no joke. I thought: "This was a terrible idea, I shouldn't had listened to my friend. It is going to be very embarrassing to call the Fire Fighters to get me down from here." My friend decided to slowly and carefully help me down. Walking me to the stairs we took to get there. I had to face the wall and grab the railings with both my hands, so I technically went down the stairs sideways. My friend had to hold my back so I didn't feel the void in my back and so I wouldn't look down. I am a clumsy person, I have fallen from stairs before, and I thought: "YOU are not going to fall in this one. You want kids!" Hahaha, that was all I could think about. It was the longest and scariest moment in my life. When I touched the floor I understood why the Pope used to kiss the floor every time he landed somewhere. I think I almost did that. My friend just went back up by himself as other people were further up where we were before turning back, and all I thought at that time was: "That was stupid, this is dangerous and I don't know why people go up there if it is not safe at all!" Aside of my vertigo, I didn't think it was safe. I guess there goes my "wanting" to go up the Empire State building, and the Eiffel tower. Thank God I didn't become an Astronaut. Oh well, I'll survive. I do remember before the trampoline incident, doing this thing on slides, where you attach your feet to the railings on the top and you place yourself upside down laying on the slide. Your feet end up being up high and your head down. And in that position I would look at the sky and observed the stars. In a couple of occations I did this before nightfall when the sky was still bright, and OMG did I panic. I felt like I was so high up that I couldn't see the floor. I felt like sometimes it would be ok, because I knew it was the sky and I was looking up, and sometimes my brain would just invert the situation telling me it was the area beneath my feet. This never happens when I look up at the sky in a normal standing position, just happened when I was upside down. I suppose that was it for doing that and using slides the wrong way. I noticed that after 6 months of going to school by train and crossing a bridge to get there, my height vertigo started kicking in the past couple of weeks. It hadn't happened before, but all of a sudden it started and now to cross the bridge I have to sing or do something to avoid the panic, since I do have to cross it to go to school. I guess this is why I am sharing this post with all of you guys. Sharing makes me feel brave, and maybe I can brainwash my brain that way, lol.
Now, I've shared with you folks my two phobias. It is a bit embarrassing to be able to say that you have a phobia, and saying that you have more than one could feel like more so. I have learned that reading about other people's experiences and sharing is a good way to work things out and not to feel so bad about this. I suppose it also helps researchers help us deal with them and try to figure out where they come from and why they happen like they do in such a different way a normal fear, like being afraid of the dark, would do.
Does any of you have a phobia or know someone who has a phobia? If so, please share. Also, which is the most bizarre phobia that you've heard someone have?
Thank you for sharing and for reading my post. I hope everyone who is reading have a great week, and that I didn't freak you out that much with my phobic adventures, lol.