Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tagged?!?…OK, Maybe…

So, HAVE MYELIN/SHERRY left a comment in another post asking me what my phobias are…she even had the guts to say, “You’ve been tagged!”

Since I am not one to back down from a challenge (even if it WAS a sneaky one!), I decided I would answer her question/tag in a post. But, I am also not one who can just give “simple” explanations/responses…as most of you may have already guessed (or become quite annoyed by)! AND, since the word “phobia” is right up my…er…ALLEY of career practice, I have decided it is HAVE MYELIN’S fault you all must endure this lengthy and extremely BORING bombast…hehe…blame HER, not me. LOL

The word “phobia” is one of those psychological terms that gets thrown around in our speech like a football toss at a park…it is often misused and misunderstood (but don’t worry…I DO have one or two pure “phobias”, which I will list later!). Psychologically speaking, the accepted clinical definition of a “phobia” (per the psychiatric Bible, the DSM IV-Revised) is:

anxiety disorder or symptom characterized by avoidance of a situation out of fear or out of anticipation that anxiety would accompany exposure.

There are certain clinical criteria one must meet before a “phobia” can be considered a full-blown disorder. In other words, one may have a “phobia”, but it is not necessarily a dysfunction until said “phobia” causes a profound disturbance in someone’s ability to function normally (and that word “normal” is used rather loosely here also! LOL). Here is a list of the DSM IV-Revised criteria in order for a specific “phobia” (which is classified as an Anxiety Disorder) to become a clinical diagnosis:

Diagnostic criteria for 300.29 Specific Phobia (
cautionary statement)

A. Marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood).

B. Exposure to the phobic stimulus almost invariably provokes an immediate anxiety response, which may take the form of a situationally bound or situationally predisposed
Panic Attack.

C. The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable.

D. The phobic situation(s) is avoided or else is endured with intense anxiety or distress.

E. The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared situation(s) interferes significantly with the person's normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.

F. In individuals under age 18 years, the duration is at least 6 months.

G. The anxiety, Panic Attacks, or phobic avoidance associated with the specific object or situation are not better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (e.g., fear of dirt in someone with an obsession about contamination), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (e.g., avoidance of stimuli associated with a severe stressor), Separation Anxiety Disorder (e.g., avoidance of school), Social Phobia (e.g., avoidance of social situations because of fear of embarrassment), Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia, or Agoraphobia Without History of Panic Disorder.

Specify type:

Animal Type

Natural Environment Type (e.g., heights, storms, water)

Blood-Injection-Injury Type Situational Type (e.g., airplanes, elevators, enclosed places)

Other Type (e.g., phobic avoidance of situations that may lead to choking, vomiting, or contracting an illness; in children, avoidance of loud sounds or costumed characters)

So, there’s your over-achieving answer as to what a true “phobia” is when it becomes a SPECIFIC PHOBIA that is DYSFUNCTIONAL and/or requiring treatment or intervention…I’m sure you’ve already learned more than you ever anticipated here. LOL

Now here is my answer to HAVE MYELIN’S subtle tag regarding this issue…YES, I DO have some specific phobias! There…my secret is out (like most of you couldn’t have already guessed I’m a nut case on your own?!?).

My first and probably most anxiety-producing phobia is a fear of driving over/walking over/traveling over bridges that have water under them. I seem to have no problems passing over bridges that span land…it’s just the water part underneath! When I lived in Houston, I used to travel to New Orleans at least once or twice a year for pleasure/vacation (escaping the law…whatever!). I don’t know how many of you have ever attempted to travel from the East Bank of the Mississippi River to the West (or visa versa), but there is an ENORMOUS and GIGANTIC bridge that spans the mouth of this river (see photo). I used to have to lay down in the back seat of the car while friends drove me across, feeling my heart beat pounding in my head, just to escape trying to SWIM across the river to get to the other side! LOL

Which brings me to my next phobia…drowning/suffocation. The thought is fairly terrifying for me. And the suffocation aspect doesn’t have to be in water either…ever think about suffocating from smoke in a fire?!? Well, this certainly keeps me from playing with matches…LOL

My third phobia (and I have a very good explanation for this one, thank you very much) is a highly dysfunctional fear of large dogs. Chihuahuas…no fear. “Doxies” (just for YOU, SHERRY)…no fear. Great Danes, Labs, Mastiffs, and anything really higher than my knees…GET THEM THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!!! (And that would be YOUR hounds from hell, too, MDMHVONPA!) When I was but a wee lass growing up in my Midwestern village, my piano teacher had a Boxer named (of all bizarre things), Raisin. Raisin seemed to hate me for no good reason…personally, I think Raisin thought I was easy prey since I was only about 4 ½ feet tall at the time! One day, while walking home from school past my piano teacher's house, Raisin caught my scent in the air, jumped her fence, and proceeded to attempt to maul and drag me into a ditch. To this very day, I angrily CHEW RAISINS with revengeful thoughts…ah, that would be the shriveled grape kind, of course.

SO…there you have it. My self-disclosure of the only three phobias I can think of that I personally harbor. What are YOUR phobias? CONSIDER YOURSELVES…TAGGED! (In the comment section here if you don’t write your own blog)…


Peej said...

Phobias? I suppose I could label these under that flag. :)

1) fear of fire - and especially gas stoves. (when I was 7 I was in the hospital with a little girl who'd had a gas stove explode in her face. After 10 reconstruction surgeries she still had about a dozen to go) So what does my current apartment have for a stove? Yup... Gas. bummer, huh?

2) fear of heights. No idea why, I just am.

3) Having anything tight around my neck. Maybe I was hung as a horse thief in a past life? LOL!

I think that's it. My dislike of flying isn't at all unreasonable IMO so I don't list it under a separate phobia. It's just a white knuckle response to an extention on my fear of heights :)


Silverstar said...

There are a number of people who have phobias of large dogs, which is unfortunate because some of them are such big sweethearts. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with one. (Sounds to me like "Raisin" wasn't trained or socialized properly)

Steve said...

I don't know what sort of fear this would be, but I can't be blindfolded... fear of being blind?

Regarding dogs, I'm with Silverstar. I have three dogs between 80lbs and 110lbs and they're all big couch potatoes. I've met lots of people who are afraid of big dogs and it's almost always because the dog wasn't well socialized.

I could tell you stories about people who don't like big dogs. Some funny, and some kind of irritating! :)

Adina said...

Oh, Linda , the Raisin story is awful!!! I have had large dogs all my life and I have always respected the size and of course , the animal in them . Since nowadays I settled for a kitty , I only remember the joy a wet , cold nose waking me up first thing in the morning brought me for years !!!
I am terrified of closed spaces . And snakes . I guess a closed up space with snakes in it would do me …LOL!!!

mdmhvonpa said...

I FEAR NOTHING! Women swoon at my approach, men cower and beg to be more like me. Babies cry and little boys ask to become my ward. I AM INVINCIBLE and fear no force in the universe .... except the Mrs. She can crush me with a glance. Do I have Wifephobia?



Well, we'd sure be a SORRY pair at a weenie roast then...between your fear of fire and my fear of suffocation from smoke! LMAO




Dogs are a bit like people...if you have a bad experience with ONE that's barking at you/mauling you, you are most likely going to be cautious of the next one that does the same! But frankly, people scare me more than large dogs do...LOL




So I guess a quick game of "Pin The Tail On The Donkey" is out of the question??? LOL Well, that and a firing squad, too...




My CAT is far more terrorizing than a large dog...she hides in wait to attack me!

I guess you didn't see that awful airline movie last year about snakes then?!? LOL




NO...I wouldn't call that a phobia. I'd simply refer to it as "humble respect" and leave it at that...LOL


Have myelin? said...

I have an irrational fear of owls. Their eyes can see down into the depths of your soul, argh... I hate the way they rip flesh with their talons and beak. :-[ That's one.

Hate mice, snakes and spiders. That's two.

Raccons that chase, that's three. I don't understand why they're outta the zoo.

Finally...whacky thyroids. That makes four!

Thank you Brain Cheese for your erm, "lecture" (LOL!) on phobias! I do recognize the fear is unreasonable but are we really sure? LOL. I mean being chased by a crazy racoon is a valid fear! :-[

Miss Chris said...

Spiders! Aack! Give me snakes, scorpions or whatever but NO SPIDERS!



Raccoons??? Really??? We have so many of them roaming the city, they are taking over. And they are NOT afraid of people! No human phobias for the coons...LOL




I suppose living in the DESERT makes one less fearful of scorpions! But I think I've seen waaaaayyyy too many movies about them, so you keep 'em down there!