Fears, phobia’s, quirks or mental illness

deception passDon’t you think we all have quirks and things that scare us or things that make us nervous? Phobia’s. Mental illness’s. I’m wondering though if something really scares you, is there a difference to what they’re called?

I was watching a “special report” show of some kind or another and now I can’t remember the name of it but it had on all kinds of people who had terrible issues ranging from some who haven’t left their home for years to some where people can’t throw anything away. This one woman’s house was so cluttered and dirty that her kids had nowhere to sleep because all the rooms were full of trash and garbage and she ended up losing her kids to Child Protective Service and they are still in foster care because they had to condemn the house. It was really terribly sad.

I know that I’m not fond of bridges. I made a trip with my brother and I knew I’d have to cross that bridge I used in the picture and it literally gave me nightmares but how can you stay home from a trip because of a bridge? So I just sucked it up and dealt with it. By the time we got there I’d crossed so many other bridges that almost made me puke that this one was hardly anything. It was just so exaggerated in my head.

I’m also terrified of snakes. When we first moved where we live now I had this great idea to make all these flower gardens all over the place and the second year we were here I saw so many snakes that I literally didn’t go outside for a whole summer. I didn’t have any snakes where I used to live so it really did scare me. I think it was just the year for them and I haven’t seen any to that degree since. I wouldn’t let it bother me like I did back then though. I had to overcome it. I just couldn’t sit inside all the time. I guess that means then that it just scared me and it wasn’t a phobia or a mental illness.

This program I watched though, these people were really terrified of things that most of us wouldn’t even consider being afraid of. This one man hadn’t left his house in 6 years. He had everything delivered to him or he had his friends and family taking care of him and bringing him things. But what kind of life was he inflicting on those people? He would call his son on the phone and practically demand he bring him McDonald’s. The sad thing is, the son did it. So the doctor pointed out that all those people who thought they were helping him, were letting him think it was okay to live this way and they were in turn, enabling him to do so. This guy was afraid of germs. What he didn’t realize at the time was there are germs everywhere and even if someone brought him all his stuff, the germs were still already on the stuff. It was like some kind of light went on in his eyes when this was all pointed out to him. This doctor was also very nice. I wish I could remember what show this was and who the doctor was.

OCS’s were also really talked about. Like the lady who couldn’t throw anything away. She was afraid one day she would need something and then what would she do? So the doctor played the “what if” game with her and it really worked. What if you needed something you threw out? So what if you needed something and had to get another one? What would be the worse thing that would happen? Would anyone die? NO. You could see the light bulb go off  in  her eyes too.

One last man. He had such terrible OCD about leaving home that he kept turning around and going back to make sure he turned off the coffee pot and locked the door and that his dog was inside and many other things that he never did leave really. Another thing he kept thinking was he ran someone or something over so he’d drive a few feet and have to stop and check under his car. It sounds bizarre but this man was truly terrified. The other two people on the show kind of saw that the worst things they thought might happen, wouldn’t really be the end of the world but this last guy was nowhere near seeing it. The other problem is that this can lead to very bad depression.

What do you suppose the difference is in people? Some people can really see their fear and deal with it and move on but other’s just can’t. No matter how hard some people try, they just can’t get over what it is that scares them and it tears their whole life apart and then other’s just brush it off. Can you brush off your fears and carry on or do you sometimes just close the door and stay home?

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17 Responses to Fears, phobia’s, quirks or mental illness

  1. I think that mental illness binds us all. Illness sounds like such a bad word, but I think, diagnosed or not, we all have something that haunts us.

    • Joy says:

      You’re so right Eric. Don’t you sometimes wonder how some people can deal with it and other’s it just cripples? That year with the snakes, I literally couldn’t walk in my yard. I would take three steps and look around and I finally just gave up and went in the house. I wouldn’t even walk down to get the mail. Now I would but I couldn’t convince myself then that it wouldn’t kill me if I saw a snake.

      • pammy wammy says:

        I have the same fear of snakes.I dont think about them.I no they are there.I havent seen one up close and personnal in years.But I believe if one slithered in front of me,I would scream and run as fast as my legs would let me.I HATE SNAKES.And I always will!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. SKL says:

    I definitely had irrational fears when I was younger. I am also an extreme introvert, so my impulse is to avoid encounters with people I don’t know and like. But I can do what I must in order to conduct my business and raise my kids. I may feel awkward at times, but I get it done. I guess that is where the line is drawn – is the person unable to function independently in life?

    My mom gets agorrophobic (sp?) when she needs to go out. She wasn’t always this way, but it got bad when she was in a political job where she was frequently attacked over insubstantial things, lied about, etc. She’d have to attend meetings where she knew she would face this in public. Eventually she found it harder and harder to get herself out the door in the mornings, and this extended beyond work. I think she is getting better now but she’s been away from that job for like 20 years.

    I think people can get in a habit and if they have an addictive personality, that habit can become so entrenched that they need help to get out of it. I think behavioral psychologists can snap most people out of it if they aren’t too far gone and don’t have extreme disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, etc. But you’re right, people around them shouldn’t be enablers.

  3. There’s a difference though between phobias and OCD and regular everyday fears that most of us have. Phobias and OCD are often caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, like many mental health illnesses. That’s why there are pills that work for OCD. Sometimes you can’t explain to someone that they’re acting irrationally because it won’t help. Or, sometimes, people with OCD know very well how illogical their obsessions are, but they can’t get rid of them, and so they try to live their daily lives with turning the light on and off 7 times before they leave the house etc.

  4. Laura says:

    I have acrophobia, but in a pretty mild form, I guess. Acrophobia is the fear of heights. I can handle small heights, like climbing around on my kitchen counters (although that used to be a problem), and climbing on the ladder to work on my garage door opener. But that’s about it. Anything higher than five or six feet, and my body literally freezes up.

    It takes a massive effort of will to move one foot in front of the other. The thing is, I can get UP just fine. It’s coming DOWN that’s the problem. It nearly got me airlifted out of the Grand Canyon (which, I have to say, would have been seriously cool. Hey, I was ten, they were offering a helicopter ride), and I did absolutely freeze on the roof of my house, and my dad had to talk me down.

    Now, I know it’s there, and I simply deal. I force my way through it when I’m playing with Josh, because there are times when he’ll want me to come up on the playground equipment he’s on, and it’s a good 15′ above the ground. So I go up there, and play, but if you look close, you’ll see my feet firmly planted, and my knuckles will be white.

    I’m getting better… it seems like the more I do “high stuff” the easier those heights get. I guess I could try my brother’s cure. He was acrophobic, too, until he went into the Army. He joined the 82nd Airborne!!!

  5. Sue says:

    I am scared of things (spiders, mice) but they are not phobias. I don’t like seeing them, but I can continue on with life. Don’t let Joy fool you! She STILL doesn’t like snakes and doesn’t do her flowers for fear she might see one!!!!

  6. starlaschat says:

    I think a lot of people have different fears and phobias. Joy, you know I am not a big fan of the dentist. ;+) I have had to face my fear many times this year. Pretty stressful if I could never go to the dentist I would not miss it but I know that is not realistic. So I have to just go, Ive noticed going my fear does not go away but I can survive the feelings of fear. I’m also not a huge fan of flying and sometimes heights. Oh well. I have seen shows where they desintise people little baby steps. I actually think I did that in my own way with the dentist.

  7. Just a Mom says:

    I have fears but they are not phobias. I don’t like bridges and I despise snakes. But I can go on when I come across them. This year I was even able to successfully kill a snake in my driveway with a shovel!
    Anxiety problems run rampant in my family and with my husband. I have panic attacks every once in awhile but I can manage to get through mine with deep breathing and meditation. My husband has to use prescribed drugs to even get through the day with his anxiety. I think it all depends on the individual.

  8. nikki says:

    I have a thing with worms. Don’t you dare bring one near me I will freak the F*** out! IDK why! I’d rather hold a snake, that’s possible. I will never touch a worm EVER in my life! One day I had to go downstairs to do laundry in my old house and there was this container upside down on the floor so I picked it up. The lid wasn’t on so guess what was all over my floor??? WORMS!!!! OMG! I tried to corner them so they wouldn’t get away and I had to have my friend come over and clean them up for me. I’ll admit it’s a phobia, a weird one but I’m weird so what-EVER! Having a boy who loves to fish and puts worms in my fridge is like a horrible nightmare come true!
    I’ve seen people get hypnotized to get rid of their phobia’s…I have no interest in that!

    • nikki says:

      I also have a thing with the feel of paper! That very well may be categorized as a mental illness and I do wish I didn’t have that one! I CAN touch it, I’d just rather not, it gives me that feeling of nails on a chalk board. Weird I know! I pay Bailey to go through my mail and newspaper!!

  9. nikki says:

    This reminds me of a show I watched, or maybe it was the news. This women was literally stuck to her toilet. She never got off it in YEARS! Her “boyfriend” would bring her food and whatever. They had to to remove her by numbing her and I believe cutting her. IDK the details, it was awhile ago. I thought to myself…wth is that guy’s problem letting his so called girlfriend live like that???

  10. JavaQueen says:

    I wonder if it’s the difference between having a chemical imbalance or not? I have a chemical imbalance. I have OCD which is pretty much controlled by meds, I have depression, and severe anxiety. I’m working really hard to overcome this b.s. and the meds are working, but there are side-effects to everything, and what I experience is that yes, my OCD, and anxiety are getting more under control but I feel like a zombie. The depression comes in waves.

    I guess it’s better to be a zombie than to walk around counting my steps, washing my hands 1,000 times a day or thinking those bad things in my mind that DIDN’T EVEN HAPPEN but make my heart just stop at the mere thought of it.

    Example, back in the day- My huz and I took my son hiking and there were some pretty big cliff’s. We had a wonderful day that day. However, (this was before I was diagnosed) I layed in bed that night and every time I closed my eyes I envisioned him getting away from me and falling off the cliff to the point my heart would just STOP and I’d hold my breath and get panicky. I couldn’t imagine WHY I was doing this because we had a nice day, and we were home. He was sleeping in his bed and safe. I did this with several situations every day – I was just overcome with anxiety. The obsessive compulsive tendencies that I knew were wrong but I couldn’t stop and the feelings of worthlessness just wouldn’t stop hovering.

    I’m working it out still. I have my moments but the medication seems to be working … or at least making me much better than I use to be.

    I think everyone has fears. I guess I can only speak for myself. I have a lovely chemical imbalance 😉 Lovely.

  11. LVISS says:


  12. javajunkee says:

    my mom had the cluttered house so much that there was a path after we moved out. Just a path. It took us 2 years to clean that house out when we moved her out here by us. She learned it from her mom whose house looked just like it only 2 times as big. She claimed it was the depression…funny thing though she didn’t go through the depression. (at least my sister who did the math said she didn’t)

    she’s starting to do the same thing in the trailer. But this time she is confined to one level and no basement or attic.

    When we go camping or anything overnight I will double check everything like 10 times. It’s awful and I can’t stop it. I check the coffee pot to make sure it’s unplugged. I make sure the fridge and freezer doors are shut. I check all the windows …etc. I do all of this not one but several repetitions of it. It’s only when we are going to be gone for the night or days or whatever.

    I do NOT like tall buildings. I have this phobia…not calling it a fear because to me fear needs to be based on something that could potentially happen with a reasonable chance of it happening.
    I have this thought that runs through my head of somebody in my family falling to their horrific death out of a tall building with windows. I watch movies or shows and there are buildings with windows I wonder how have people lived like in these apartments and fancy high rises and nobody has fallen out their windows? We have people in smaller towns fall out 2 or 3 story buildings and yet these 100 story buildings it’s not like local news everynight you hear that somebody fell out a window.
    I love roller coasters that go winding and up and down over hills. You will NOT get me on one that turns me upside down. I dont like the thought of that either. Not really afraid of it…just don’t like the thought so not going to put myself in that position…..
    ………..now about the snakes. I am guessing since I am a snake owner not many of you are going to be spending the night with me?

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