Living With Irrational Fears

There are certain things that we all are afraid of. Physical injury or death are near the top of the list for just about everyone, and I’ve always heard that public speaking is most people’s absolute number one fear. However, some of us struggle with other fears that aren’t so normal or logical and it causes us additional anxiety that is usually unwarranted. Others might look at these fears and shake their head in confusion, not understanding that what seems like a minor deal to them is an almost earth-shatteringly terrifying thing to us.

For me, I’ve always had a strong aversion to insects. It doesn’t really matter what kind, but the idea of any of them touching me sends shudders of revulsion down my spine. If I’m sitting around and notice one even vaguely near me, I have to suppress a powerful urge to jump up and make a loud exclamation. When I happen to see one that’s actually on my person, I can’t suppress that urge and quite a show ensues.

Without a doubt the worst of these is any of the flying variety. At least with the ones on the ground you have a great deal of control over whether it is able to get close to you or not. When it comes to flying insects, however, the odds switch the other way around. They have far more mobility than we do and are able to pick and choose where they go with little difficulty.

My fear of these isn’t completely unfounded. When I was young I stayed with my father in Alabama for the summers and he owned a rather large, wooded property. We would wander around through the trees trying to find ways to entertain ourselves, and on one such day I wandered too close to a nest of angry wasps. They weren’t particularly pleased with my presence and proceeded to drive me off. It was terrifying and painful.

Knowing this, when we started hearing things about a new insect from Asia called the “murder hornet“, the details of the thing caused my heart to beat faster even while I knew that they aren’t in my area. They’re two inches long and can easily kill a person if they choose to swarm them. This isn’t really a common occurrence, even in Asia, but to a person with a fear of insects the idea of a cloud of two inch flying death machines is enough to put a lump in our throats.

It is only a matter of time before these insects make there way down here to Southern California, and I’m not looking forward to the first time I see one. If small insects scare me already, the first time I have to see a massive flying hornet buzzing around me I’m probably going to completely lose it. It doesn’t matter that it likely has no interest in me and that my fear of it is irrational at best and ridiculous at worst. It’s a flying insect that can sting me.

This is just one example of an irrational fear that many people have. For those who don’t suffer from such things, it might seem unreasonable, but if you have such a fear then you totally understand. Maybe one day we can get over it, but for now we have to just keep on going through life struggle to deal with these admittedly minor problems.

What do you think about irrational fears? Do you struggle with one or more yourself? Or do you look at people with silly fears and wonder what’s wrong with them? Sometimes we just struggle with things that don’t make sense, but knowing that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with.

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