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:
An 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.
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)…