The Birth of a Phobia


It seems as if everyone has at least one phobia planted in their brain. I’ve never come across someone who doesn’t. It’s pretty interesting to think about how phobias begin and how they evolve. Are we just destined to develop them, one way or another? Is there any way of avoiding it? Or are our brains hardwired to process visual and emotional stimuli in a way that can blown it out of proportion, when one of the two stimuli is negative?

For instance, it’s pretty fascinating to me that a seemingly normal thing or experience, can bloom into a big ugly phobia. But maybe it’s just the right combination of things going on in the brain. So if as a child you were standing knee deep in a lake and you looked down and saw a dead and decaying fish floating close to you, you maybe would just think it’s gross and jump away. But pair that with a loud clap of thunder, or cutting your foot on a rock underwater as you looked at the fish, or an adult yelling at you for something – right at that moment, and BAM. A phobia of fish is born. I’m just guessing, I’m not sure and didn’t do any research before writing this, but that’s one way I think phobias come about. A combination of visual stimuli, and a strong or negative emotion right along with it. I know there are much more sinister and traumatic things that easily cause phobias. But I’m more interested in the seemingly mundane and ordinary, getting warped in your mind.

You’ll notice that many of the phobias that people have, don’t seem to make sense at all. That’s why most people say it’s an irrational fear. And even they will admit that it is not logical or rooted in reality. It’s almost like a glitch in the way our brain processed some information at some point, and it’s very hard to get past it or think otherwise.

I have a phobia of shallow water, and shadowy things lurking just beneath. I need to be out in very deep water to be comfortable. (for some people it’s the opposite) I hate being in a little boat, and you float up to the edge of the shore, and start seeing the shapes of things down below . . . shudder. And getting into a lake to swim? I would much rather go to the end of a dock and jump into the deep, then have to walk in through the shallows. In fact I have perfected a method of getting in, if I have to walk in. I usually have a float of some kind, like a Noodle, and I’ll walk in just a bit, crouch down, then propel myself out as far as I can, and as close to the surface as I can, and kick hard to get the hell out of there! Weird, I know. And I haven’t figured out yet what started it!

So what do you think? How do you think phobias begin? What are some of yours?

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