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This is a question Irrational Fears

My mate Dan is afraid of turning his back on a flushing toilet. "It'll suck me in", he says. Can you beat him with your own true story of an irrational fear?

(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 13:24)
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This question is now closed.

Firey nuclear destruction, as it happens
I grew up in the 70s and 80s, living in fear of the four minute warning, literally a few miles from the UK’s nuclear weapons factories at Burghfield and Aldermaston and the cruise missiles at Greenham. Reagan was president. We were doomed.

I could just about live with this, if it weren’t for the fact that I’d seen a TV programme about witches. One of the stories featured a mad old hag who lived in a cave in the North of England several hundred years ago. She had made several uncannily accurate predictions, the last of which before they threw her on a great big bonfire was that the world would end in 1981. Bloody great. You know what that means: I’m going to die a virgin.

My brother’s best mate Giles had seen this programme too, and claimed to have read in Mad Old Bastard’s Almanack that Armageddon was due on September 12th. A Saturday. The world doesn’t even have the decency to end on a school day. Giles was so confident in his boast, that he actually bet us money that he was right.

As the End of the World approached, was I worried? Was I terrified at the thought of facing destruction on Biblical proportions with my cherry still intact? Too blummin’ right I was. For starters, my attempts to leave this mortal coil without my virginity were foiled by two simple factors: a) none of the girls I approached believed a word that I said, leaving me with a post 12/9 reputation for being “off my head” and b) I was a teenage geek of huge never-gonna-lose-that-cherry proportions. And I was blissfully unaware of point b).

Come the big day, I was a bag of nerves. It was actually Battle of Britain weekend, commemorating the one time in the twentieth century where we managed to save the known world without American assistance, and we went on a day trip with the Air Cadets up to RAF Abingdon for the airshow. The cream of NATO’s airbourne fighting forces screamed overhead in close formation, when they really should have been preparing to face the Red Menace that was pouring over the German border as we spoke.

I watched planes.

I went home.

I went to bed.

I woke up on Sunday 13th September 1981.

I was still alive. The world had not ended. Presidents Reagan and Brezhnev had both stubbornly kept their fingers off the button. It was, I remember, a rather pleasant sunny day. It felt good to be alive.

I felt cheated. Somebody was going to pay.

And the next day, at school, it was Giles. To be honest, he paid up his bet with remarkably good grace for someone who’d been nailed in his first lesson for not doing his homework. He was rather proud of the fact that Mr Wallace had told him “That’s the worst excuse I’ve ever heard, boy”.

And as for the end of the world: “Give it a couple a days. These things take time.”

I found out only last year that Old Mother Shipton had said the world would end in EIGHTEEN eighty-one. A whole youth wasted digging a fallout shelter in the garden, when I was one hundred years out.

I'm still waiting.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 13:41, Reply)
I'm afraid of internal parasites, but I guess that's not irrational.
The irrational one is a friend of mine, who is afraid of both claymation and chickens.

Claymation I can understand, as it's a little freaky sometimes, in the sense that some people think clowns are a little freaky. But chickens? I've no idea. I don't even want to know what Freud would say about that.

Anyways, we took her to see Chicken Run without telling her what it was (Let's go see a movie. Which one? Oh, doesn't matter, Tom'll get the tickets, we'll get the food, and we'll just go see whatever he got), and 5 minutes into the movie she actually *ran* out of the theater, screaming and sobbing and scaring the unholy shit out of the many little kids present.

Chicken Run is a claymation movie about chickens, for those who don't know.
(, Wed 28 Jan 2004, 0:43, Reply)
Knees
My flatmate doesn't like knees. He thinks they're wrong. He worries that the femur will slip off the lower leg bones.

Now that you've read it, think about your knees. What are they doing? Are their little cartilaginous surfaces floating over each other. Rubbing away. Rubbing away. One false move and out pops your femur. Knees. Kneeeeees.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 17:58, Reply)
A friend of mine had a fear of stickers.
and she worked in xtravsion back in the days when every video had a sticky price tag on it, this wasn't so bad as she had taught herself to ignore them.
But then one day the managent decided to use plastic sleeves instead of stickers, so she was ordered to peel the labels of every video in the shop.
So i get woken up early one morning (about 11am, I was a student then) and she's crying down the phone at me, thinking she's being murdered I dash up to the shop and find her being sick into the toilet.
so I made her a cup of tea and peeled all the labels off for her and served customers and everything while she had a lie down.
Even with zero experience i was able to assume the post of video shop employee with 100% accuracy

This story is 100% of truth
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 16:21, Reply)
oh yes. something i specialise in = )
huge fear of spiders
a fear of walking on or touching rubbish in the street
a *massive* phobia of chewing gum. watching people with it makes me feel ill, i have to watch where i walk constantly so i don't step on any. that would probably make me physically sick
a fear of asking for help from strangers, though i am getting over that
fears around returning items to stores / asking for refunds
a fear my old school, from the horrors which went on there
a fear of a certain bus stop near me, and people with a certain name, as the last time i saw a person i *really* didn't want to see it was at that bus stop
a fear of the whole of leeds train station, especially the ticket collection booths, and to a lesser extent, all train stations, due to not paying the train fare once 3 or 4 years ago and getting caught
i used to have a fear of the court we kept the rubbish bins in at my old house due to a nightmare i had once of putting the bins out, and it falling over and spilling rubbish everywhere which i then had to clean up, and as i mentioned i hate touching rubbish
a fear of other people's old hair - like if it's on a cushion or something and i'm expected to sit on the cushion
a fear of the whole of liverpool as it's where someone who badly hurt me lived
a fear of the whole of denver for similar reasons, though i'm less likely to need to visit denver than liverpool
a fear of bouncers, they intimidate me, especially as i'm only 5'2"
a fear of weighing scales, though more what they'll tell me i weigh
a fear of public transport - because they're usually so dirty and full of rubbish, plus i expect the people on them to make fun of me
a fear of having people moving around behind me when i dont know what they're doing
a fear of crowds
a fear of loud, noisy, busy, crowded places - especially pubs and clubs. not helped by the fact these places have floors which are usually covered in cigarette butts - see the fear of dirt and rubbish
a fear of becoming my parents - suburban, middle class, decent income, 2 cars, 2.4 children; mediocre, soul destroying and the equivilent of already being dead to me
a *huge* fear of childbirth
a fear of items entering my vagina. it causes large amounts of physical pain, you see. no, i haven't had much sex recently
also due to the one above, a fear of being made to have a smear test. they keep pestering me to go have one you see.

EDIT: oh jesus, this is gonna be on my profile for ever now, isnt it?
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 14:43, Reply)
Buttons, coathangers, sweetwrappers, circles
At uni I shared a house with a guy who was was scared of:
a) Buttons (Seriously, all his clothes had Velcro, zips or ties)* **
b) Coathangers

His girlfriend was scared of :
a) Sweet wrappers
b) Circles (WTF caused that, I have no idea.)

* Many years later he came to stay and my then flatmate had a huge jar of buttons on a shelf in the living room. In the morning we woke to find that he had found a paper bag and put it over the top so he could get to sleep.

** Also he used to pinch my records and leave the lieing about in his room out of their sleaves. I simply stuck a button on the wall with Blu-Tac next to my record collection. He never "borrowed" another record.

(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 13:34, Reply)
teeheehee
I had a fear that, when ice-cream vans played their music, it meant they'd run out :-D

*runs away, diving for cover*
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 22:21, Reply)
war of the worlds - the musical
i guess it started with that bloody ooolaah noise the martians make. scared the hell out of me as a kid. to this day pretty much any of the songs from the album give me the willies.

no grown man should be scared of a david essex record.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 14:14, Reply)
Am I just wierd?
I literally cannot eat toast whilst wearing a jumper. I just can't face up to it. Not sure why. Maybe it'll stick to me if I drop it.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 22:54, Reply)
phobias... I have them all....
escalators. I can go upstairs on an escalator. not downstairs.

metal cutlery. I ALWAYS carry plastic cutlery in my handbag in case I have to eat out anywhere.

copper coins. will go to any length not to touch 1ps or 2ps, in case they dissolve my hand.

People touching my computer screen makes me have cold sweats.

The strangest? Not so strange really. If my hands get cold, I'm sure my fingers are going to snap. (Fingers in general freak me out, to be honest.) How do I keep them warm on cold days? Wearing gloves? Oh no. Putting hands in pockets? Of course not.

Tonight, I was waiting for a bus from Manchester city centre. Holding a hot water bottle to keep my hands warm. It's logical. It's cold, so a hot water bottle is my friend.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 20:58, Reply)
Bridges.
I've recently developed gephydrophobia. It's quite unnerving to cross a bridge and have to physically stop yourself from jumping over the side by walking into the middle of the road to stay as far away from the edges as possible. I'll end up getting run down by a car. The last time it happened, I very nearly dropped to the floor to crawl along the road. I wasn't drunk. I was very frightened.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 13:58, Reply)
Noisy eaters
And it's not just a mild dislike, I have to actually leave the room or I'll be ill.. My Grandad was the worst culprit, and also a mate eats like a starved pig.

Weird huh?
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 13:37, Reply)
Atoms.
I'm not afraid of nuclear war, only the left over atoms. I'm afraid they'll gang up on me.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 13:37, Reply)
Dwarves
I am scared of dwarves. I was in a McDonalds recently and a bloke tapped me on the small of my back. I turned around and it was a dwarf. I actually had to be sick.

It is not nice.

DrP
(, Thu 29 Jan 2004, 10:13, Reply)
Eating strange numbers
I can't stand eating biscuits in sets of odd numbers. So I always eat 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 at a time.

I tried to rationalise this once and now I'm ok eating prime numbers (1, 3, 5 etc)...

But that still makes me a bonefide loon job! If I eat an entire packet, I'm counting all the way...
(, Wed 28 Jan 2004, 15:33, Reply)
You should always
breathe out as much air as you breathe in (and vice versa). Sometimes, a little adjustment is necessary to maintain a healthy balance and this is best effected through the nostrils. THAT's why I used to make those "funny little sniffing sounds" when I was a young'un. Similarly, one should make the same number of right and left turns, to avoid getting "twisted" - when climbing several flights of stairs, for example, which might otherwise result in several consecutive right or left turns, adjustment should be made by a sort of doh-si-doh manouver at each turn. Pay attention: the path of your life must be a straight one...
(, Wed 28 Jan 2004, 9:39, Reply)
Oh yeah....
and one of my work colleagues has an irrational fear of...

THE TAJ MAHAL.

Whenever she even looks at a photograph of it she feels sick. She has to look away. God knows what would happen if she ever went to India...

the Taj Mahal! Why? Why? But it's true!!
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 22:24, Reply)
nightmare
I couldn't watch family fortunes up until about the age of 14 - I had recurring nightmares about the big yellow X (accompanied by the trademark noise) that appeared on the screen whenever someone made a wrong answer! I dreamt that they were alive and waiting for me at the bottom of my stairs.


It was all quite distressing at the time.

Honest

:/
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 21:09, Reply)
I had a very complicated fear as a child...
We had three bathrooms, one for each of the three floors. I was scared of going to the bathroom on the second floor because i though a huge lobster would be in it. (random, i know!)
anyways, i wasn't scared of the first floor toilet because i thought the lobster would want to go higher than that - and i wasn't scared of the third floor toilet because i didn't think the lobster could get that high.

it was all based on fiction really. but i'm still scared of that damn lobster.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 20:51, Reply)
animal from the muppets
bear with me (or not - frankly it's a shit story)
I had a recurring nightmare when I was a lad. Starts out lovely with Donnie and Marie Osmond floating into my bedroom like angels and giving me a lovely Osmond plate. Then Animal from the muppets comes up the stairs and he opens his fur and he's made of bricks and he starts pulling himself to bits and throwing the bricks at me. But fortunately he breaks the Osmonds plate and I throw the pieces back at him and he runs away. Nowadays I'm only comfortable if there's a drum kit between us.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 16:28, Reply)
i hate closing the curtains
when it's dark outside, and i can see my reflection clearly in the glass. this is partly because i am very ugly, but also because of a fear of either seeing a movement reflected behind me or else someone outside my window. Somehow, thugh, I had no qualms about leaving the windows open.

i was shitscared of this for about fifteen years, despite living on the eleventh floor of a tower block for ten of them. i only got cured of it when i moved into my current house, where my ground-floor bedroom backs onto a pitch-black garden. I confronted my fear, baby. Aw yeah.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 14:38, Reply)
Yorkshire TV Logo


Who was scared of this one?

I used to think that some massive great yellow thing would come and stab me in the chest!

Remember the opening to 3-2-1, where the flying 'V' plunged into Dusty Bin? That produced the worst nightmares of all!

I have a feeling this might be the "Ice Cream Van" of this topic. (Edit: Or maybe not!)
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 13:39, Reply)
Old china dolls with glass eyes scare me
but that's not really irrational.
They'd kill me given half a chance.
I know it.
edit: and I don't really like being underground, or in a big crowd.
I'm also scared of spiders, although not to an interesting extent.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 13:34, Reply)
The fear of not making sandwiches
and having made them, actually eating them.
.........in simpler terms my girlfriend(as was) had to make sandwiches every day and not eat them.
She couldn't NOT make them:
'Something terrible happened the day I didn't make them'
She couldn't EAT them:
'Something terrible happened the day I ate them'
Angry boyfriend hated the waste of food and the irrational,mystic,superstitiousness of it all.Wondered why perfectly intelligent adult being had perform daily rigmarole.
Berated,ranted and rebuked to no avail.
Then just gave up and started making them for her.Soft as shite I am when you get down to it.
(, Wed 28 Jan 2004, 15:36, Reply)
oh and i have a geniune fear:
this is that one day i'll hurl myself over the edge of something very high up...

...just to see 'what happens'

will i fall? will i stay aloft? will the world let me die? am i really so insignificant?

it stems from childhood. i'm drawn to the edge. any edge.. lakes, ponds, tables, clifftops... mostly high clifftops... the finality of gravity can be something not to ponder when drunk and therefor unsteady on ones feet.

wondering 'what will happen if...' is my greatest fear.

thinking too much is my second greatest fear because it creates my first.
(, Wed 28 Jan 2004, 13:54, Reply)
Oompah Loompahs
My little brother used to be terrified of the Oompah-Loompahs from Chocolate Factory Movie... especially when they sang. I ring him now whenever the movie is on just to let him hear the songs.
(, Wed 28 Jan 2004, 11:26, Reply)
Didn't used to
A friend of mine, when I was doing 'A' levels in Lewes, had an irrational fear of walking over manhole covers in the pavement. Well, not when there were only one or two, but when there were three in a row. Apparently, it's very bad luck.

Anyway, on one fine day out in Brighton, I'm walking along with him, when he notices I'm about to step onto the third cover. What does his intrepid mind come up with as a suitable solution? None other than to push me into a main road, causing a couple of cars to nearly run me over and instead smash into each other.

Still can't walk over them to this day.
(, Wed 28 Jan 2004, 9:24, Reply)
Junior High
Way back in junior high I knew a kid who was afraid of mayonaise and the tune that is played at the beginning of Twentieth Century Fox films (you know, when they show the giant 20th CENTURY FOX statue/building thing with the searchlights.

I can understand mayonaise, I mean its kind of gross and white and goopy, but the theme always blew my mind.

This is totally true. The kid's name was James Dye and we would chase him around the school going "dun dun da dun da dun dun da dun da dun da da dun da da da da dunnn!".
(, Wed 28 Jan 2004, 1:28, Reply)
Picking my nose,
when I was young I believed that if I picked my nose, I would end up hollowing out my head, thus causing my skull to collapse in on itself.
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 23:41, Reply)
More bizarre ones....
I have a couple of weird fears:

1. Sharp knives. The thought of skin being sliced open. I don't mind watching medical stuff *after* they have made the incision, though.
2. The marks left on rice pudding after the bubbles have burst. Makes me think of empty spots without their pus. First time I saw "Dr Who and Zygons", which had skin marks like that I nearly threw up.
3. Barnacles. I think if I put my hand on them they will rip it to shreds and eat me.
4. Bone dry towels. I feel as if they are in my mouth and squeaky. Don't ask.
5. Finding a razor blade in a bar of soap while I'm washing the hard way. Having my skin sliced.

I feel ill now. I'm going to sit down for a while...
(, Tue 27 Jan 2004, 23:40, Reply)

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