Fear is the Enemy

I have an anxiety disorder. Call it Mysophobia, Bacteriophobia, Germaphobia, or OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), I’m just freaked out about getting myself getting into contact with bacteria or getting infected with a virus. What’s funny is that I didn’t know that this was a disorder until recently. I thought everyone was fearful of bacteria. I thought everyone washed their hands ten times a day. Since quite a number of people find it amusing that I’m such a way, I thought I’d take the time to observe and analyze my behavior for which I was able to come up with a following list:

1. I worry about germs transferring onto my pants and hair whenever I’m at a movie theatre. I think about the people who sat before me: ‘Where were they before sitting here?’, ‘Were their clothes washed? What if they were sweaty?’, ‘I wonder if they had washed their hair? What if they had lice?’, ‘What if they farted?’ (Not that I shower before going to movies, which is why this is an issue for me. I don’t want to be a hypocrite!)

2. When I go to a restaurant, I worry about the silverware being contaminated or not being washed thoroughly. I imagine the places they have been… such as in another person’s mouth… or in the dirty sink along with food wastes.

3. I cannot tolerate my hands after going grocery shopping. When I would fail to keep antibacterial wipes in the car, I can’t help but feel like my hands are rotting away. Although I can’t see anything, I can almost feel the colorful micro organisms having a picnic on my skin.

4. When I was traveling with a cast on my foot, I felt so insanitary that I made my husband drive five miles just to find a place where they were selling antibacterial wipes. Not that it’s a problem for him, it’s just that it had to be at midnight when he was dead tired just so I can wipe it couple times before going to bed.

5. It is extremely rare that you will catch me cooking chicken or pork… I can’t prepare raw meat because I’m horrified at the thought of having a contact with bacteria. If it’s prepackaged, I will do it (only if I absolutely have to)… without touching it, of course.

Honestly, I can’t think of one person who does not have some type of disorder, because the truth is that everyone’s different and unique, which is perfectly normal. Thanks to researchers and psychologists who like to place labels on everything, we now have a term for every little detail of our lives that should be embraced and respected rather than being categorized and criticized. If you are skeptical, below is an excerpt from Wikipedia’s Phobia List:

  • Ablutophobia– fear of bathing, washing, or cleaning.
  • Acrophobia, Altophobia – fear of heights.
  • Agoraphobia– fear of places or events where escape is impossible or when help is unavailable
  • Aichmophobia– fear of sharp or pointed objects (as a needle, knife or a pointing finger).
  • Algophobia– fear of pain.
  • Agyrophobia– fear of crossing roads.
  • Androphobia– fear of men.
  • Anthropophobia– fear of people or being in a company, a form of social phobia.
  • Anthophobia– fear of flowers.
  • Aquaphobia- fear of water.
  • Chorophobia- fear of dancing.
  • Decidophobia- fear of making decisions.
  • Ergophobia- fear of work
  • Halitophobia- fear of bad breath.
  • Come to think of it, I’m actually terrified of blood. I started having a really strong physical reaction to it once that the doctor had to give me a shot. Perhaps I should’ve been placed in a psychiatric hospital long ago. LOL

    My take is that you have a choice when it comes to things like this. You can either choose to overcome it or continue to avoid it. As for me, it’s gotten much better after “living” with cockroaches in New York. I learned that the most effective way to overcome a fear is to having a direct exposure to the factor causing the fear itself. In other words, when you go face to face with your greatest opponent, that’s when you will experience victory. It takes courage, but if you don’t do it, you will forever be trapped in your bubble, limiting yourself from achieving bigger things in life. As for me, I’ve decided to tackle one at a time, starting with my bacteria friends. I’m going to try to love them instead of hating on them… by… eating yogurt daily! haha.. JK. I’m going to stop imagining where things have been before. Let bygones be bygones, right? This will not only prevent me from continuously nagging the hubby to wash his hands but help me venture into more extravagant recipes involving poultry and such.

    So, what are YOU afraid of?

    List courtesy of Wikipedia, Photo credit: Google Images

    © 2010 – 2011, Tomi. All rights reserved.

      9 comments for “Fear is the Enemy

    1. August 24, 2010 at 6:25 pm

      fear of holes. forgot what it’s called. I wear hoodies to movie theaters. #5..there are disposable gloves you know. i’m a genius. and #4? I feel sooo sorry for oppa. poor oppa! hahaha

    2. PT
      August 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      i don’t like salamanders or beetles. they creep me out.

    3. houstonmuneca
      August 24, 2010 at 6:59 pm

      Wow, are you serious!? I kinda feel bad for you:( But also glad that your taking this challenge head on!!!! Dont be afraid and I’m sure that you have a good support team behind you. You do need some bacteria in your body, some are good for you!!!! Just remember the general rule to wash you hands often:)!!!! Well, good luck and btw, my fear water in the ocean!!!!!! Coz, i cant see the bottom:(

    4. August 24, 2010 at 10:42 pm

      fear of being constipated? ahahahaha.. i am just kidding.

      I have musophobia. (if you had a chance to hear my story, you would know exactly why I have that).

    5. Quynh
      August 26, 2010 at 5:48 am

      I think I’m also partly OCD, everytime I see some dirt in the bathroom I have to clean it immediately….or my room and my environment has to be always clean and when I go to restaurant, I was my hands before and after meal…I also tend to brush my teeth after each meal, even in the restaurant bathroom…I can quite identify myself with the description above :).

    6. August 27, 2010 at 8:31 am

      oh i dont like earthquake. whenever there is one, it changes my heart rate. not good.

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