We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

pranks

I’m not sure if I actually have “social anxiety,” or if I just have anxious times while out and about, or if maybe I had it once, and am doing better now. But very definitely for a while this was a very serious concern of mine. Ever since I was a child and saw TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes, starring that dream team of Dick Clark and Ed McMahon, I became horrified by the idea that people would film pranks and then air them on television for the viewing public to see. Later, there have been plenty of other such shows, some meaner than others, and of course now there is YouTube and I’m even going to include improv groups who like to make “magic” in the form of awkward public scenes. Shudder.

I’m aware that I think legally, for the most part, they have people sign release forms to be displayed on television. But I am not sure what YouTube does to protect the average kid from being the target of such. Probably nothing. Look! I’m talking myself right back into having this as a strong irrational fear again! I know that this is statistically remote, but oh god, the horror. It is enough to make me never want to leave the house again. I can trust no one.

We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

no

In this instance, I once again firmly believe that I am experiencing a rational fear, and always have behaved this way. Is it so improbable that while cooking, a little burst of oil would alter the course of my life? Maybe a face wouldn’t melt into an unmanageable tangle of scar tissue, but imagine what that would do to an eye. I have felt it on my arm! It hurts!

If I have to fry an egg or goetta or something, I am nothing but a mess of flinching and I actually stand several feet away until I have to draw near again. I just can’t get over my certainty that the moment I let my guard down or am caught by surprise because somehow water got into the pan, the oil will go straight for my face. Asking me to fry up a food is met with the same sort of reluctance as if you had asked me to volunteer to risk getting repeatedly snapped by mouse traps. If I offer to fry food for you for any reason, it means I like you enough to be brave, even though this comic shows that I am a big ol’ coward.

 

We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

don't look

Mirrors, despite being my finest friends at times, are also my greatest fear at any given crazyperson moment. I mentioned before that I have an unease about trying to sleep within view of one. But sometimes even looking into one in the light can cause me to feel a sense of dread. It is a similar fear to when I get nervous about opening closed doors. The irrational fear that reality is not at all what I have thought it is my whole life is a fear that comes back to haunt me fairly frequently, in many forms.

So what if one day, I glance at the mirror, and there are two of me. What if one is hook-handed and murderous? Even what if it isn’t? What if there are interdimensional monsters? What if there’s a demon or something? What if anything at all?? What could be done? I’d have to either die right there or be a strong character and surprise us all as I make my own destiny. You gotta do what you gotta do.

We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

swallow it

I eat almost every day, so I should be an old pro at it. However, more than a few times, I just forget how to chew or swallow. Or I think I do? This is one of those things where it has happened enough that I worry about it a little too much, and fear that one day I will just choke because I suddenly am incapable of doing this very basic part of daily life. I have wondered if it is an actual medical problem, but I think if it were, then it would happen more consistently and not during a few seconds every once in a while. Sometimes, food just goes right down my neck while I am beginning to chew, and I sputter and fear death. Other times, I just can’t swallow, and then begin to panic because I can’t remember if it is something I should do automatically or if it is something we have to make ourselves do. Classic overthinking to make everything worse. Once, I even had a real panic attack thanks to a PBJ.

I can’t wait for food to just be a nutrition slurry, IV soup, or maybe a little tiny pill. That would relieve me of this burden.

 

We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

never leave

This is one of those installments that sound like I am making it up, but there have certainly been times in my life (one of the times I was probably legitimately being insane and the other times probably can be blamed on not getting enough sleep) where I have feared simply opening a door. Doors to the outside world were basically never to be opened unless I was leaving with someone, but even doors inside my own home would cause me some amount of scare. I started to wonder, a little too vividly, what would happen in this infinite universe if I opened the door and someone was standing there, where someone should not be. Or what if things were rearranged? What if there was an actual monster or a murderer? What would happen in this infinite universe if I suddenly slipped into a reality that seemed totally the same, until I opened the bedroom door and instead of seeing the living room, I was in an alien world? Then I started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to make it in that plot twist. I wouldn’t be able to assess this new situation and be capable and brave. What if I instead just went blitheringly insane?

The joke was on me of course because I pretty clearly had lost my mind already.

We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

Microscopic Bugaboo

A fear of natural bodies of water is so deeply ingrained into my life that I didn’t remember that it is an “irrational fear” until last week. Every summer, I have always shuddered in horror as millions of people cool off by taking dips in ponds, swimming in lakes and oceans, “go tubing” down rivers. All I see in these places, including rain puddles, are nests of germs, parasites, and single-celled organisms that could cause sickness or death. It doesn’t seem that irrational to me to not want any of these afflictions! But people act like I’m being crazy when I look at them like they’re crazy when they ask me to go swimming down at a swimmin’ hole. Why don’t I just ingest a petri dish laden with giardia and hookworms?? No thanks forever.

We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

FACE IT

Forever, as far back as I can remember, maybe as soon as I was self aware enough to realize that I have a reflection in the mirror, I have had this notion that how we look can change with our thoughts. Like expressing emotions, only a lot more than that. After a few years, my notion became more of a crackpot theory as I started to think that maybe our faces are a projection of our inner thoughts to the point that if we just concentrated, we would be unrecognizable even to people who know us very well. I thought this would be very handy if I ever needed to disguise myself and secretly worked towards achieving this skill, this skill that probably can’t actually exist but I’m never going to get all that time back, am I!

One of the negative side effects of getting myself to believe in this idea is that, as a result, I have never been comfortable with the idea of sleeping near anyone. At slumber parties, I would stay up the entire night not for fear of pranks, but because I didn’t want anyone to see me being asleep. At home, I wanted a locked door to my bedroom so that the only things creeping in to watch me sleep were monsters and Mirror Amanda. I can’t snooze in cars, and to sleep on public transit is laughable in that nervous, unfunny laugh kind of way. Even living with boyfriends, I will usually face away from them, sleep with my head covered up with a blanket or pillow, have my face buried in my arms, or at the very least, feel this sense of horror when I wake up to find that my face was visible.

What do I think will happen when I’m asleep? Do I think I’m actually a monster? Do I think that my face will become a blank, expressionless, actual mask? I really don’t know! I refuse to think about it any more than this.

We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

snow fear

I have seen documentaries and read articles about the Ice Age. There were a lot of great species of megafauna that obsess me here and there. I love them very much. What I have never loved, however, are the discoveries of woolly mammoths well-preserved in sheets of ice. Some of the mammoths still have mouthfuls of vegetation in place, as though they had been caught mid-chew. How fast did the Ice Age happen? How much time passes while eating one bite of food? Did glaciers come down from the Terrible North in mere seconds, trapping all living things and eventually dragging their bodies some of the way back?

Whatever the real answer is (I have so far refused to ever dig around for that information because I am frightened enough as it is), the fact remains that whenever the weather man speaks of a “polar vortex,” I get a little nervous. “Siberian Express” in the form of weather is a dreadful notion. Whenever I so much as see a flake of snow falling from the sky, I wonder if it is the start of our inevitable deaths by frozen ice. I watched footage from a few years ago when it was so cold and so windy that a lake appeared to actually produce glaciers and they ran ashore and broke the exterior walls of houses, and I feared for us all. It happened so fast that I could imagine in a few thousand years, new scientists would find perfectly preserved men and women encased in ice sheets, bites of scrambled eggs in their mouths, caught unexpectedly, too fast.

Horrible winter time. I will not relax until the spring thaw.

We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

a comic by amandoll

The women of my family all love rings. They lavishly adorn themselves with up to three rings per finger, like crazy people. Meanwhile, I can’t even wear a one. Many times so far throughout my life, I have been talked into “just trying on” one of their rings, and I can’t resist, because the jewels glitter. A ring is supposed to be snug so that it doesn’t fall off and you subsequently lose some of your riches. However, if a ring is even the slightest bit snug, the moment I notice, I am gripped with this panic. I scramble at my own hand and am all such as, “get it off of me GET IT OFF OF ME.” Normally, it comes right off, but not before I imagine my finger rapidly turning black and dropping away, stinking and fetid, like I’m suddenly caught in some medieval amputation procedure.

I regret it, a little. I know that rings can get in the way of many daily tasks. And I would hate to lose one, or break away the stone. But I enjoy accessories. However, I do not enjoy the feeling of being trapped, or the thought of losing digits. I keep stretching out my fingers and assuring them that they are free as I write this.

We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

 

Irrational Fear Comics: House Centipedes by Amanda Wood

 

It makes sense to be afraid of a centipede because they have the ability to deliver a nasty little bite. Some of them do, anyway. So you should approach them with some amount of care. I actually don’t mind most centipedes. I don’t really want them to be on me, or anything, but compared to this one specific type of incredibly common centipede, the House Centipede, I am practically long time best buds with every other centipede on earth, including those ones that are so big that they can eat mice.

The house centipede is frequently found inside of, you guessed it, a house. They are actually good critters because they hunt spiders and crickets and roaches, but unfortunately their appearance is so terrifying that I would rather live with spiders — and spiders almost terrify me into paralysis, too. But it is nothing like when I see a house centipede!

They have horrifically long legs which are also psychic antennae. I know that their legs are some sort of unholy feelers because if one is walking on a wall and I see it from far across the room, the moment my eyesight lands upon it, it stops. It FEELS my vision. It probably then feeds on my terror, or hones in on my fear so that it can make its way to nest within me when I am sleeping. I am marked when this happens, just like any of you! Have you seen how fast they are?? It is unnatural! Nothing on this earth should ever be even half as scary as these house centipedes are! However, I get the feeling that this fear of mine is “”irrational”” because everyone always tells me to calm down whenever I fly into a panicked outrage as I talk about them. Also, everyone else I know is able to kill them in cold blood, or even trap and release them. I never can. If I can make myself move at all it is in the opposite direction, out of the room, forever.