Saturday, February 24, 2007

Irrational Fears

For reasons most of you know, I have been, lately, trying to come to grips with "fear." While I'm still stewing on solid answers on how to deal with rational fears, I'll share with you now the fact that I've come to recognize a few of my own irrational fears.

For the record, I consider a "rational fear" something that could possibly happen, and something I may be able to prevent: A car accident; an injury; food poisoning.

An irrational fear? Something's that not bloody likely to occur, but that I still put mental energy into: I might plummet to my own death after a sudden lapse in sanity that causes me to hurl myself off of a tall building.

I also worry that I might lose my sunglasses, jewelry, and/or car keys over the same building. I might also throw those things into any sewer grate. Because, what if I did?! Huh?

Think that's bad? Here are a few more.

1. I hate diseases that have no symptoms. Duh, I also have no symptoms! Help me pick out my casket, I'm a goner.

2. Choking at home, alone. This never actually crossed my mind until I accidentally saw an episode of 30 Rock, in which Tina Fey and another woman talk about how this is a single woman's No. 1 fear. On the word of a sit-com, I incorporated it into my list, and devised a choking plan: Run out into the driveway and hope someone finds me. I'll keep a "Hello, My Name Is" label right at the door, to grab on my way out.

When someone eventually walks their dog past my driveway, I'll be lying there, lips turning blue, and "Hello, My Name Is Choking!! " pasted across my forehead.

3. Peanut Butter.
I worry that, after spreading peanut butter at work, I will not clean the butter knife well enough, and a coworker with a peanut allergy will die from my negligence.

I do not, as far as I know, have a coworker with a peanut allergy.

4. I never touch my nose while I'm driving. I fear that if I so much as scratch my nose, I'll be hit head-on by a Mack truck, causing my finger to jam right through my brain. The EMTs will then pry open the wreckage with the Jaws of Life, and declare the cause of my death: Picking Nose While Driving. I'd be so embarrassed, even if I were dead.

I'm not the only person that has irrational fears: My mother fears mile markers. You know, those little metal posts along the highway. "They'll go through my neck," she says, shivering from the idea of it.

Melissa hates icicles; she just made Joey go outside and knock them all of the soffits. Why? Duh, they'll fall off the house and impale her kids! If they don't fall through their bodies entirely, they will, at the least, lodge themselves into one of their eyes. They must go!

Stop now, stop that rolling your eyes! I know darned well you have irrational fears, and I want you to tell them to me right now! I'll factor them all into my own thoughts on fear and anxiety.

Or, at the very least, I'll feel a little less crazy. Power in numbers, and all that jazz.

Spill it, kids. We're all family.


  1. I wish more people had your irrational fear of nose-touching whilst driving. I've seen enuff nose-picking in downtown KL to know malaysians take it as a hobby to while away the time.

  2. I'm afraid of skyrides at the amusement park. And ski lifts. Really afraid. Last time I went on a skyride - I cried the whole time.

  3. Nothing to spill here. Perfectly perfect, thank you. ;)

  4. I get 'Sunday Night Panics' where I lie in bed for hours thinking about what dreadful things could happen, convincing myself that they will. Illnesses with no symptoms are up there, along with burning to death because I forgot to put a key in the door so I'd be locked in with no hope of escape.

    Last weekend I convinced myself some gun-toting criminal was going to shoot us in bed through the window and then worried about whether I could climb over James's lifeless body to get away if I somehow survived. I've started counting to ten when I feel it setting in but so far, no dice.

    It's official: I'm more nuts than you.

  5. When I'm chopping vegetables for dinner or something, I might reach up to scratch my nose (at least I'm not driving!) and when I do so, I'll somehow slice my entire cheek open and the flaps of skin will just dangle, my teeth and gums peeking through. Utter craziness.

  6. Okay here goes.

    I am afraid that at anytime my appendix may burst and I wont get to the hospital in time and then what?

  7. Edina: I need a hobby too...but I'll pass on that one.

    Wendy: While I love rollercoasters, I don't like free-falling sky rides either, and would have cried along with you. It's been years since I rode straight up, seemingly a mile into the sky, to drop to the bottom and end up on my back 100 feet away. I thought I might die from anxiety on the way up, but there was no screaming "let me off of this thing!"

    ChezBez: ha! My other irrational fear: That none of you would have irrational fears.

    Sveny: Oh, those are good! Does James know he doesn't make it, in your scenario? It sounds like he sleeps on the "sniper side" of the bed!

    I remember calming my son when he was little and couldn't control night panic thinking. We illustrated an index card with 10 things he loved, as alternate ideas for his brain to chew on. He often slept with that card in his fist.

    My night panic topics involve slicer blades, razor blades, paper cutters, x-acto knives, and fingertips. Worked around those things too many years, and still fear them.

    SS: You told me this once before, and I worry about it now too. Just so you know you're not alone, though I worry more about sticking the knife in my eye.

    FrugalMom: Yes, that could happen! My advice: Never venture out of your house, ensuring that you're never more than 15 minutes away from the hospital. I think you'll have plenty more than 15 minutes warning before the bursting occurs. Appendicitis is not pretty, as I remember it.

  8. Anonymous9:36 AM

    When I go to the bathroom in a public place, I'm sure to wash my hands, not because I should, but because I'm always concerned a hidden camera is doing a "Dateline" special on if people really wash their hands in public restrooms or worse, Chuck Berry owns the joint. Kinda stupid, I know.

  9. Anon: Oooo, yeah! Hidden cameras and two-sided mirrors!! Gahhh!!!

  10. StFarmer12:02 PM

    "The worst of all fears is the fear of living."

    Theodore Roosevelt
    Source:An Autobiography, 1913

  11. I've been terrified of sharks ever since reading a report on them in 5th grade. Terrified ... and I live nowhere near an ocean!

  12. Stfarmer: Teddy was a smart guy, yes? I myself love living.

    CrazyMe: Did you have the nerve to watch Jaws, then? I remember jumping in the theater so that I sent my popcorn flying, annoying the heck out of my high school date. I'm more afraid of spiders than sharks, and could never, EVER, watch Arachnophobia.

  13. Driving on the freeway next to a semi makes me sick; all I can think about is what if his tire comes apart and comes though my windshield, what if he starts to fishtail and hits me, what if he loses control and here I sit right next to him just waiting to become a metal pizza with Mexican topping, what if he changes lanes and doesn’t see me next to him and rams me into a concrete wall… it just goes on forever.

    Oh my gosh, my verification was "slnutjj" the noise my body would make when squished between a semi and a concrete wall!

  14. Hey, thanks for commiserating, but it's worse than you think. Please don't laugh at me! What I meant by sky rides are these.... (are you laughing at me? I think I hear you laughing...)

  15. AZ: I rush by semi's for some of those same concerns...then I worry that I'll get a speeding ticket for acclerating past them

    Wendy: Oohhhhhhhh, THOSE sky rides, that makes sense, along with the ski lift. I'm still not laughing tho; my fear of heights make those slow-moving rides torture for me. I do NOT want to look over the edge and admire the view (I might throw my jewelry over the edge, too)

  16. Those are not all irrational! There are so many real things to fear these days, it can be overwhelming. I work at a tv station, so I hear every little thing that happens and it can drive you crazy!

  17. I share almost all of the fears you listed (not including the mile marker one, although I'll think of that every time I'm on the interstate). My worry about choking at home is a little different - I know you can give yourself the heimlich by pushing yourself against the back of a hard chair, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to push hard enough. You know, because it'd hurt. And then I'd die, but my ribs would still be intact. So there.

    I'm also afraid of getting trapped in an avalanche. The thought alone puts my stomach in knots. Considering that I don't ski and live in Tennessee (where snow is virtually unheard of), it's pretty unlikely.

    PS - we're on the same track with posts today.

  18. sneezing...

    I have a fear of of sneezing while I'm driving....

    can you imagine the possibilities?

  19. So many I wouldn't know where to start! I guess most are related to dropping dead of a . . . disease with no symptoms! No -- maybe that's not quite right. Dropping dead (or becoming incapacitated in some way) of one the various diseases whose symptoms are described in detail on pharmeceutical companies' TV commercials. Why do they sell sickness that way? As if there's not enough to worry about.

  20. I always picture cars on overpasses flying off and over the edge and threatening those of us below them at the time. I also see people going to fast around curves and mentally picture them continuing through a guardrail onto the other side of traffic.

    I have a terrible fear of things falling off of trucks that are carrying things on their beds, but this is totally rational. Just yesterday in driving out to PA, we passed one that had dumped a dirt moving machine or something off the like off it's bed on the highway no less than about 5 minutes after we had a conversation about my fear of this (really freaking weird). And another time in CU, we were getting on 74 and a semi making a turn onto the ramp had just dumped a huge piece of heavy machinery (hubster said it looked like a giant generator or something like that) off it's bed. If a car had been next to it (likely on the double lane on ramps) surely the people would have been crushed to death. Finally, friends of the family had a steel pole come off a semi years ago. It smashed through the driver's side window, dislocated the husband's jaw and smashed into the side of the wife's head. She survived with the addition of many a metal plate in her head, but it was touch and go for eternity it seemed. Totally rational fear!

  21. You're not crazy...when I used to wait for the Long Island Rail Road I used to get scared that I would jump onto the track right as the train was coming...I would get so scared I would back up to the middle of the platform as the train came while everyone else moves forward towards the train...strange but true!!!

  22. JLee: How....comforting, dahlink. :-D What's the craziest thing you've ever heard, that we should start worrying about?

    Jag: That is an interesting fear, considering your circumstances. I just pulled off I-24 to take a bit of a hike in Chattanooga to relax. My fear of heights was reiterated, I was shaking by the time I DROVE up lookout mountain. How do you people drive in TN?!!

    Mary P: I hear ya! Ahhh-chooCRASH!

    Lisa: What's a little diarhea, sexual impotence, rectal bleeding, or blindness, if your birth control pill works better?!

    Mal: See?! See, you're right! God, I just got caught for miles behind one of those car-moving trailers. 80mph looking at 2 cars that were going to crash onto my hood any minute. I hate those things.

    Brown English Muffin: This town is too small for trains and subways, but they do make me a bit anxious too. I might jump on to the tracks like that guy in Ghost, then wander around for eternity, kicking cans and cigarette machines.


Back talk! Comment here!