What Are You Afraid Of?

I’m a scaredy-cat, afraid of all types of silly circumstances.  The phrase “scaredy-cat” as defined by http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com means, “someone who is frightened when there is no reason to be.”  And probably 99% of the time I am afraid, I probably have no reason to be.  

I'm ready. Crouched. Kitty claws out. Eyes wide.  On alert.  So what are we fighting? huh? What's a dishwasher? Scaredy cat on patrol.

I have a small problem with anxiety.  It creeps up on me and just won’t leave me alone.  I also have nightmares.  I wouldn’t be so scared of things if I didn’t dream about them later.  Dreams haunt me.  I can control what I think about during the day, but I have zero control of what I dream about at night.  Which leads to an irrational fear of many things.

Maybe it’s just a small quirk that I have.  But, then again, maybe I’m not alone.

I’m a member of the AARP (for my job).  Today, they put out an article of the 10 most common fears.  I’m almost too afraid to even go through the list and look at the pictures.  But, I’m also too intrigued not to.  So let’s see how my fears match up with the top 10!

1. Public Places — Agoraphobia.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 3.2 million Americans live with agoraphobia.

Being an introvert, I am slightly uncomfortable in large public places or around large groups of people.  I think it’s a self-esteem thing, because I’m afraid that people are watching and/or of what people will think of me.  (Like they really care!)  I like going new places, but I exhaust myself after time and want to go back home to relax.

2. Spiders — Arachnophobia. If you’ve got arachnophobia, you may perceive the critters to be much larger than they actually are.

TRUTH!  Spiders ARE huge!  I don’t like spiders.  I don’t like pictures of spiders.  I don’t like fake plastic spiders.  I won’t kill a spider.  I don’t want to be in the same room as a spider.  I can just image in crawling on my and my skin literally shivers.

3. Dogs — Cynophobia.  People who have had a traumatic experience with a dog — as in being bitten or chased — can develop a fear of canines called cynophobia.

I love my pug.  But, I don’t like big dogs.  And my translation of big = anything that is bigger than my 120lb-self.  That not only includes dogs, but horses, cows, large pigs, elephants, rhinos, snakes, ROUSs, etc.

I also know friends who are afraid of cats due to a traumatic experience. And in my travels to Asia, most Asian people are terrified of dogs!

4. Blood — Blood-injection-injury phobia. Symptoms include fainting, trembling, feeling of choking, tingling in the extremities, rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure.
Fainting = yes; Trembling = yes; Feeling of choking = yes; Tingling in the extremities = yes; Rapid heart rate = yes; Increased blood pressure = yes.  Miserable = yes.  At the doctor, dentist, eye doctor, women’s doctor.  
5. Heights — Acrophobia. Acrophobia, from the Greek meaning “summit,” can cause people to experience a panic attack in a high place and become too scared to get down safely.

Interesting story.  I never thought I was afraid of heights.  I ride roller coasters, have been to the top of the Empire State Building, walked across a swinging bridge in the Philippines.  But, sometimes your body takes over control and you can’t help it.  
When I worked at Glorieta Summer Camps in New Mexico, we took the kids to the ropes course.  They have a very tall tower that you can climb.  The tower lets you balance on a cord, walk across a bridge, hop over wooden posts.  Me, thinking that I wasn’t afraid of heights was one of the first to go.  I climbed up the tower just fine.  But, when I reached the top, I froze.  My body went into panic mode.  My heart rate increased, my legs wobbled, my breathing stopped.  I thought I was going to pass out and throw up.  I literally could not  move.  My physical fear took over my mental drive to conquer the tower and I had to come down.  It was a sad day. 
6. Flying — Aerophobia. Up to 40 percent of people have some fear of flying, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
This is one fear I have overcome, thankfully!  My first flight was to Orlando when I was 12.  My ears hurt so bad that I cried.  A lady in front of me gave me some chewing gum and taught me the importance of clearing your ears with the pressure changes.  The second time I few to Cancun, I almost had a panic attack due to the intense turbulence.  After those two experiences, I have my freak out moments, but I’m not scared of getting on a plane anymore.  
7. Falling Phobia. According to a study published in International Psychogeriatrics, walking and balance problems, being overweight, and certain medications can create a genuine basis for the fear.
I can’t ever think of a time that I’ve been afraid of falling.  
8. Social Phobia. Those with a social phobia feel anxiety and self-consciousness in any setting where there are other people.

Going back to being a introvert, social phobia is one of my fears.  In smaller crowds I’m fine (groups of 1 to 3).  Any time I’m with more people than this, I freeze up and don’t speak up.  If I don’t know someone very well, this will also cause social phobia.  I’m just afraid of what people think of me and how they will perceive me.  I’m afraid to be myself unless I’ve grown really comfortable with you.  I have a fear of offending people with my opinions.  I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make anyone upset.  
9. Small Spaces — Claustrophobia. People with claustrophobia often describe it as feeling trapped with no way out.  

This one has never bothered me very much, unless I over-think it.  On a related note, I am terrified of elevators.  I’m afraid the doors are going to shut on me or that the cable will break.

10. Travel — Hodophobia. The anxiety could stem from being in an unfamiliar place or being away from home.  

I LOVE to travel! I’ve never been afraid of it. And that must be a God-given peace, because if you consider everything I am afraid of, I should be one of those people who never wants to leave home.  I’ve always been one to jump at any chance to travel the world.  I’m so independent that I’ve not been afraid to live or travel alone.  I always want to go and see new places.  I can’t image life without traveling.  The world has so so much to offer and I am afraid that I won’t have life enough to see all that I want to!

I’m a scaredy-cat 6/10, maybe 7 out of the top 10.  

How do I deal with it?  By remembering that my God is bigger than all my fears.  I may seem childish, but that’s what I have to remind myself.

John 14:27

What are you afraid of?


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