Today’s challenge is to name three legitimate fears I struggle through and to describe, to the best of my ability, why I have/feel them. I do realize that I named a few fears in my post a few days ago listing 20 facts about me, but these are different, and tend to be the bigger, more insidious fears in my life. Also, I am trying to be more specific with fears and separating them from my anxiety, although they are, naturally, connected.
Fear of being angry
Angrophobia is the fear of being angry. Now, obviously a phobia is an extreme or irrational fear, and I cannot in good consciousness use that word in my self description because of it. However, I want to acknowledge that this can be a strong fear that many people suffer from.
I don’t like to be angry. Thankfully, I haven’t been well and truly angry more than two or three times in the last six years. When I’m angry, I feel like I lose myself. I can’t think, can’t reason, can’t function. I just splutter, or feel like I could punk Hulk in the face and win that fight.
The last time I was angry, I was so lost to the emotion that I ended up crying afterwards: I just couldn’t function from it. What made it worse is that I became angry up to the point of violence, and only barely managed to keep myself from crossing that line. That’s something that I hope never to feel again, because losing myself to that heat, that anger, is one of the most frightening things that I’ve experienced. Who knows what I’m capable of when I’m that angry and out of the reach of reason? I don’t know, and I don’t want to find out.
Mnemophobia is the fancy word for “fear of memories” and/or “fear of memory loss.” The second definition is usually in connection to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and, while everyone who has read my post about anxiety knows how the first definition affects me, it is the second that I want to elaborate on here.
Again, a phobia is an extreme fear, and I’m not sure I should apply it to myself, although it is more applicable to me here than it is with anger. I didn’t have the opportunity to meet all my grandparents, as my father’s parents died well before I was born. However, I have been given the opportunity to watch my mother’s parents decline in their old age. My grandfather died thanks to Alzheimer’s. My grandmother suffers from extreme dementia, to the point that I’m not sure she knows who I am anymore. Watching that happen, it’s terrifying.
My memories, good and bad, are such a big part of who I am. I have spent so much time and thousands of dollars to committing things to my mind, my memory, if you will. If I reach the point where that information is beyond me, is somewhere I cannot find it (or even think to look for), am I truly myself? If I can’t recognize the face of my sister, or best friend, or partner, can I recognize who I am?
There’s a moral and philosophical argument to be made here, but for the purposes of this post, let’s just leave it at this: I’m terrified of losing my memory because I don’t want to lose myself.
Fear of things thrown at me
Okay, so this one is a bit of a change of pace, but is still one that affects me pretty strongly. All my good friends know not to throw things to me, or near me, for that matter (or they apologize right after they do because they had a moment of forgetfulness, or they do it on purpose to “help you conquer your fears”*), but not everyone does. And, since I hide my true feelings pretty well, it can be a while before people realize that this is something that really bothers me.
This fear isn’t exactly ballistophobia (which is a fear of missiles or bullets), but that is the only phobia I have found that is close to what I experience. If I’m prepared for something to be thrown to me, I can, of course, handle it much better than if someone decided to surprise me, but I still get that rush of adrenaline.
“Why are you afraid of this?” you might be asking. The answer is easy: “I was in a head-on car collision.”
When I was in high school, but before I was driving, my father and I were in a head-on car accident on our own dead-end dirt road street. I was in the passenger side seat (a.k.a. “the death seat”) and the last thing I remember was gasping, staring at the sudden appearance of headlights that were too close.
I don’t want to go into too many details here, but that accident could have been much worse. We were all very blessed in the way it turned out. I was the worst injured with bruises, scrapes, a black eye that I essentially gave myself (what can I say? my instinct was to cover my face with my hands and the air bag helped one hand get there faster), and a small cut on one eyeball that wouldn’t be discovered for several days.
One of the longer lasting effects that accident had on me is that movement out of the corner of my eye startles me more easily. For the first few month after the accident, I hated being in a car at night because the headlights of other vehicles would jump-start my adrenaline, something that still happens when an unexpected flash of light in my peripheral vision provides. But mostly, I’m afraid of things coming at me in a fast manner. A.k.a., I’m afraid of things being thrown at me, to me, or around me.
Well, there you have it. Three legitimate fears that I have and why. Not sure how relate-able these fears are, but they are tied to my core. Day five done, now on to the next!
*note: Unless expressly asked by the person who feels the fear or told to do so by a licensed professional, you should not EVER try to help someone overcome their fears by making them scared. This does not make you helpful or caring, but makes you a dick, to put it lightly. So really, just don’t do it.