Dodging fear: phobias

I remember the tiny hand of my four year old self reaching into the middle of the table during dinner, and rotating a flower pot 90 degrees, so that the price tag would face away from me.

I have always felt uncomfortable around price tags or fruit stickers, a strange phobia that I have found is not that uncommon. A few of my friends share this same disgust with stickers, yet others continue to laugh it off as a “made up” fear.

Many phobias get this type of response, which only increases the terrible feelings when one encounters their phobia. Most people have at least one common phobia, the fear of spiders, darkness, or being alone, but some people have an individual, uncontainable phobia of something you would never even think of being scared of.

Lukas Becker, a sophomore at ARHS admitted to being terrified and uncomfortable with lenticular printing, more commonly known as pictures that change when you tilt them.

Becker remembers having a journal when he was younger that had a picture of a dog on the front, but when he moved it, the dog would disappear. He got very upset when the dog left, and sometimes would cry. Becker deduced that this could have been a cause for his phobia to develop.

Now, Becker hates touching this type of picture, and remembers being taunted by them when he was younger. “Sometimes my brother would come up behind me with a sheet of it and he would rub it on my back,” said Becker. This resulted in shivering, yelling, and feeling as though he had lost control of his body.

Kippie Douglas, a senior at ARHS, hates hair. While attached to a head, it’s fine, but once it is detached, it’s a whole other story for Douglas. She experiences problems stemming from her phobia quite often in her daily life, sometimes creating stressful situations or uncomfortable encounters.

Douglas hates showering in any shower but her own, because of the fear that there will be hair in the drain or on the walls of the shower. One boy in many of her classes is aware of this fear, and often taunts Douglas with hairballs or loose strands of hair.

Douglas has a clear memory of when this fear developed into a phobia, and it is not pleasant. In eighth grade, Douglas attended the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Hadley, and she remembers how hair covered the floor as a result of the janitor never visiting her classroom. “When you left, your feet would be trailing hair like streamers,” Douglas explained.

Unlike Becker, Douglas often has to face her phobia in everyday life, and dodges facing her fears, because a phobia is often too intense to face.

Bethany Vickery, a senior at ARHS has a fear of smoothies and all things blended. Vickery cannot remember when this fear began, but notes that she has always hated when people blend their food, and avoids ingesting blended concoctions whenever possible.She would prefer if people would “just eat the individual things!” Vickery’s philosophy is that once anything is blended, it might as well just be water.

Vickery is bothered when her friends order smoothies while eating out, but sometimes her friends order smoothies on purpose, just to bother her. Her mother often tries to make her drink smoothies, but Vickery always stands her ground and refuses.

Strange boundaries are common in many phobias, causing many to think that other people’s phobias are confusing and unreasonable.