The Mayo Clinic describes phobias as an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of an object or situation that poses little real danger. Unlike the brief anxiety most people feel when they give a speech or take a test, a phobia is long-lasting, causes intense physical and psychological reactions, and can affect your ability to function normally at work or in social settings. I totally agree with this description!
Most of us have a phobia or two in our lives. I have several, the two most intense ones being fear of heights and storms. I have no idea why heights scare me so much. Storms, though, I think I do. I have been in tornados and went from the first puff of wind to the last of Hurricane Hugo. If you have never experienced either of them first hand, the fear of something like that happening again never leaves you. Don’t take this wrong, but seeing a tornado or hurricane on The Weather Channel cannot come close to letting you know what being in the real thing is like!
I just finished reading a really good book titled “Fear Itself” by Jonathan Nasaw. If you, like me, love a good thriller, this book is a definite read.
One of the special things about this story is that a main character is an FBI agent dealing with MS. Mr. Nasaw shows great insight into our struggles with this disease. The character’s problems of dealing with the ups and downs of MS, while trying to hold onto her job, is very well written into the story. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it, both for the MS connection and the story itself.
One of the other things about this book is Mr. Nasaw’s villain, Simon. Simon feeds off of the phobias of his victims. It made me think about all the days in our lives we waste worrying about things that will probably never happen.
Although everyone has phobias of some sort, those of us with a chronic disease, impairment or illness often let these keep us from enjoying our lives to the fullest. When we are diagnosed with one of these, most of us jump online and read as much as we can find about our particular problem. Usually, all we find is doom and gloom. These findings can often make us develop a type of phobia about our condition. Many times, these self-induced phobias lead to severe depression and loss of enjoyment of the lives we have. Many have alienated themselves from their families and friends. Others have sunk so deeply into their phobias that they feel no hope and take their own lives.
Although our struggles are hard and it often seems that for every step we move forward, we take two backwards, life is still good. There are so many things that even people with the most harsh limitations can enjoy.
I have been very fortunate to have a network of supporters in my family, friends and my online MS family. Even though I do get down on my pity pot sometimes, I never stay for any length of time because of this support.
It would be nice if there was a pill we could take to wash away all the phobias we have. But, until that day arrives, I will definitely stay off a mountain top during a thunderstorm! J