Fears & phobias (or how to get a pet hamster)

Mouse!!! Oh, ignore that. It was just a dust bunny.

Good afternoon honorable judges, ladies and gentlemen, fellow 4-H members, family and friends.

My mother, and anyone else here who had that knee-jerk reaction to the possibility of a mouse skittering around them, probably suffers from musophobia.

Fears and phobias are part of human nature. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a phobia is defined as an exaggerated, usually illogical, fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.

Some common phobias people have include: mice, spiders, heights, snakes, bats, and the dark. All of these can have danger associated with them, so the fears aren’t necessarily unfounded or irrational. Many students often have a fear of strict teachers, final exams, homework and Mondays. Although my mother, the teacher, says that being well prepared for class will ease these, I don’t think anything prepares me for Monday mornings.

I can understand people suffering from these common fears, but other phobias seem fairly strange. For example, Ablutophobia means you are scared of getting clean. I just call this ‘little boys’. If you suffer from this, grab a stick of deodorant or a really big bottle of perfume. People working with you will thank you.

Nomophobia is short for no-mobile-phone phobia. This is the constant fear of not having any cell phone service. According to researchers in the UK about 50% of people have it. Mom says she sees this in the junior-senior high all the time, and is probably the reason why I won’t get a cell phone until I can pay for it myself.

Somniphobia is a fear of falling asleep. It’s mostly from nightmares, so grab your favorite teddy bear and a warm glass of milk. If all else fails, climb into mom and dad’s bed.

Bilophobia means a person is scared of books. Unless a stack of them is about to topple on you, what is there to fear? My book fear usually centres around my parents taking them AWAY from me.

Alliymphobia is a fear of garlic. Maybe there is truth behind the stories about  vampires?

Ancraophoba is a fear of wind. This one might at first appear to be an odd fear, but anyone who has tried to drive in southern Alberta during a Chinook would certainly have a fear of the wind, as it’s been known to topple fully loaded semi-trucks on the Trans-Canada. Even the winds here in the summer can be pretty strong, and I’m always on the lookout for tornadoes.

Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t get close to anyone with Haphephobia, They suffer from a fear of being touched.

Coulrophobia is generally found in children; it’s a fear of clowns. Some phobias are just so sad. Thanks Hollywood for portraying clowns as evil.

How does one deal with a phobia? Are there ways to overcome a phobia? The answers to these questions are YES! Step one: realize that you have a phobia. Step two: confront your fears. If you feel your phobia is serious, then go to a doctor or counsellor. Step three: repeat your coping strategies for facing your fears. Chances are, they will work eventually. Many people do overcome their fears. One just has to try.

Thanks to 4H, taking my own advice, and prodding from my parents, I am conquering glossophobia – my fear of public speaking. All I did was believe in myself and try.

Oh, and one last thing, to help my mom get over her fear of rodents, I’m going to get a pet hamster.

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