Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Thoughts about Fear

Mirty learned a new word this week in her blog travels and she makes a very interesting point about said new word. Since the new word has to do with a phobia, she also posted a list of unusual phobias, which I looked at so I could see how many I could check off, like it was a great collect-em-trade-em-race-em challenge.

I was disappointed to see that one of my top 3 (and definitely my most unusual) phobia was not on the list. So I did a little googling and discovered the name of it:

Mycophobia - Fear of mushrooms.

Yes, I am irrationally and all-consumingly afraid of mushrooms. I have been reduced to a quivering heap of tears after getting mushroom gunk under my fingernails when cooking Peter dinner. (That was at least 5 years ago and I haven’t touched a mushroom with bare hands since.) My brother once caused a large-scale meltdown by chucking a mushroom into my bowl at a pick-your-own-stirfry bar. When we had a yard, if a mushroom dared set up shop in it, I’d dispatch Peter to send the fungal interloper to the afterlife.

Where does a mushroom phobia like this come from? Childhood, of course. When I was about 4 or 5, I was watching Supe’sOn!, the monster movie extravaganza that appeared on the local UHF channel every Saturday afternoon. (It was hosted by Super Host.) One day, my tender sensibilities were apparently shredded by a Japanese monster movie called Attack of the Mushroom People. Now sure, that review makes it sound like a boring Japanese version of Reefer Madness but the film had a profound and lasting effect on me.

I have a strong visual of the shipwreck and of the survivors only having a couple of candy bars between them. I remember the island being full of mushrooms and thinking, even then, that mushrooms looked pretty gross. I sure didn’t think I wanted to eat them. But then the idea of people turning into mushrooms was too much for my little brain to process. A life-long phobia was born on a Saturday afternoon.

In digging around for the clinical name for my phobia, I learned that there is hope!

Go ahead, have a look. I can only imagine that this is a case of content management software run amok. Swap out something serious and debilitating, like agoraphobia or aviatophobia or claustrophobia, and drop in the searched-for phobia, all to sell your crappy hypnosis product.

Consider the following statements:
· “Known by a number of names - Mycophobia, Fear of Mushrooms, and Aversion to Mushrooms being the most common - the problem often significantly impacts the quality of life. It can cause panic attacks and keep people apart from loved ones and business associates.”
· “To add insult to an already distressing condition, most mushrooms fear therapies take months or years and sometimes even require the patient to be exposed repeatedly to their fear. We believe that not only is this totally unnecessary, it will often make the condition worse. And it is particularly cruel as mushrooms fear can be eliminated with the right methods and just 24 hours of commitment by the phobic individual.”
· “For anyone earning a living, the financial toll of this phobia is incalculable. Living with fear means you can never concentrate fully and give your best. Lost opportunities. Poor performance or grades. Promotions that pass you by. mushrooms fear will likely cost you tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your lifetime, let alone the cost to your health and quality of life. Now Mushrooms Fear can be gone for less than the price of a round-trip airline ticket.”

Gee, can I imagine my life without mushroom fear? Just what is the fear of mushrooms keeping me from accomplishing? Sharing a pizza with Peter, maybe, but I think we’re both okay with that. If I had to eat a mushroom to save Peter’s life or tromp through a field of mushrooms barefoot to win a million euro, I know I could do. I have a hard time thinking that my phobia has kept me from living a productive and healthy life.

Now, it does make eating out a bit tricky sometimes. On our honeymoon in Scotland, we had dinner in a restaurant in a remote village. The menu choices were limited if you didn’t want a slab of meat and I was forced to order “the stuffed mushrooms without the mushrooms.” Yeah, it’s the sort of order that makes the chef come out of the kitchen to have a look at the weirdo.

Life is all about picking your battles. It’s also about finding a way to be comfortable in your own skin. I happen to believe that mushrooms are the evil spawn of Satan and I’d cross the road to avoid having to look at one. But it’s okay because I’m okay with that.


At 14 December 2005 at 06:58, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Personally I am not afraid of mushrooms, just mushroom clouds.

At 15 December 2005 at 05:49, Blogger Arbusto said...

Good thing you didn't see "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" or you'd never be able to eat Italian or hot dogs because we all know you can't eat hot dogs without ketchup.

At 15 December 2005 at 21:00, Blogger Barbara said...

You are scaring me now!! Actually I would say that I have Atychiphobia (fear of failure). However, it hasn't stopped me from failing over and over again!!

At 15 December 2005 at 21:11, Blogger -Ann said...

One day, I will have to blog a list of all my fears. I certainly have enough. Mushroom clouds would be on there, as would fear of failure.

Fear of tomatoes, I'd least I've been spared from that. I did see "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes", for my 12th birthday, I had a slumber party and we wanted horror movies, but were deemed not old enough, so instead we got to watch Killer Tomatoes and some weird movie about exploding frogs.

I'm not afraid of hot dogs, but I can't eat them since I got food poisoning (also on my birthday) a few years ago from a hot dog at the county fair.

At 21 December 2005 at 18:03, Blogger Lyss said...

I hate mushrooms too. I don't know how people eat them- they're FUNGUS. Athlete's Foot is also a fungus.

At 10 November 2008 at 09:37, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the basic cause is a type of anxiety disorder, it is important to note that agoraphobia is by no means a hopeless situation. Agoraphobia arises from an internal anxiety condition that has become so intense that the suffering individual fears going anywhere or doing anything where these feelings of panic have repeatedly occurred before. http://www.xanax-effects.com/

At 6 February 2009 at 22:28, Blogger James Walsh said...

I enjoyed this - I, too, have a paralyzing fear of mushrooms! I think I'd be traumatized by that movie, but I'm also morbidly curious.

I actually ate wild stuffed mushroom ravioli accidentally at a fancy dinner. i didn't realize what I'd eaten until I was halfway through. I had to face down my fear and just deal since freaking out wasn't an option. I survived - but I won't be doing that again anytime soon.

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