Fear behind the phobia

What makes the scares, scary


Photo by Abby Elliott

Photo Illustration

Story by Aislyn Echols, Staff Writer

Most people are afraid of at least one thing in their life. What they are afraid of can vary from person to person, but the reason behind the fear can be the same throughout. When it comes to fear, people only see what is on the surface, but they often ignore the root of that fear. Scarring events in a person’s past or just an unnerving feeling are only some of the possible reasons for a flight or fight instinct to kick in.

“I’ve just always been afraid of [spiders],” junior Brice Hacelwood said. “[Nothing caused my fear], I’ve just always been afraid of them.”

Most people believe that fear is just something that they are born with. Some fears may date farther back than our minds can remember, but to be born afraid of that thing since birth seems unusual.  

“Phobias are not born. They’re not innate. Phobias are learned,” psychology teacher Maurice Oldham said. “We condition ourselves through classical conditioning to be afraid of something. Basically, if you’re afraid of a dog or a spider, you have associated that with a feeling. Somebody either told you to be afraid or told you it was dangerous, so you have become afraid of that particular object or event, based on that.”

Past events are one of the main causes of fear. Having something traumatic happen in their life can make people more cautious and fearful of the things that caused the incident. 

“[I am afraid of scooters] because when I was 12, I was riding my scooter and fell off and broke my wrist,” sophomore Katie Starr said. “Now, I’m too afraid to get back on them.”

Not every fear derives from physical trauma. Some fears come from the exposure to someone or something that had imprinted on that person in a negative light. Watching horror movies or seeing that person or thing doing something bad can cause a permanent scar on that person’s physie.

 “[I’m afraid of spiders because] they’re just creepy and crawly,” Starr said. “[I saw a movie where spiders] come down from the ceiling and the ground, and they’re everywhere. They’re really small, and you may not see them [because] they’re really fast.”

The battle of the mind over the body can cause a phobia to be more than that person believes. Some fears can derive and be driven from unrealistic accounting of that thing or person that makes that fear more than what the person believes.

“[Spiders are scary because they] are creepy and can kill,” Hacelwood said. “They can fight people and give them death from their poison. I know that some of this is only from movies and stuff, but it’s very scary to think about.”

There will always be fear, but people can overcome their fear. What they are afraid of now, may not scare them in the future. Not letting fear stand strong and over power a person can help them conquer their fear.

“I don’t think that I will [get over my fear of spiders],” Hacelwood said. “If I do, it will definitely take a long time.”