COLUMN: Phobias don’t define you

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Phobias – we all have them. Irrational nightmares about eight legged monstrosities, and absolute petrification when subjected to great heights. All these are well-founded revulsions.

Some people however are riddled with bizarre phobias, which can only be described as such. I genuinely feel for this individuals as it must be awful to be so terrified and misunderstood at the same time.

An example of a bizarre phobia is ‘papaphobia’, which is a fear of the Pope. I am oblivious to this indefinite terror towards Pope Francis, but I’m sure the sufferers have their reasons – however unexplained or subconscious they happen to be.

My sudden interest on this topic is a result of trending images which have been circulating on social media lately. The images depict various objects that contain small holes. Granted, the original image made me grimace, as these holes were presented as some sort of skin condition. 
However, as I browsed the latter images, I saw mundane photographs of honeycombs and golfballs, which apparently strike fear into the hearts of ‘trypophobic’ viewers. Scientific research has discovered that many sufferers have silenced their terror, for further fear of their confidant’s reactions. That is a particularly cruel form of irony. Trypophobia must be an awful thing to experience, but at least the condition has been clinically recognised, and some may now be able to confront their fears, thus embracing their individuality, warts and all.

Everyone has phobias, I’m just grateful that modern society is open-minded and – hopefully – not judgemental about them. Your fear doesn’t define you.