What is Trypophobia: Fear of Holes (Causes, Symptoms, Treatment)
Trypophobia is a fear that is not widely-known, though vastly experienced. To put it simply, it is the fear of holes that can be quite debilitating for the victim of this fear. One of the latest studies showed that at least 16 percent of Americans suffer from trypophobia, but what bothers me is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has not recognized this as a legitimate psychological mental disorder.
Digging Deeper Into Trypophobia
You might think this fear is irrational, but the truth is that many researchers have noted that the fear might stem from a positive evolutionary human trait.
Researchers have found out that trypophobia may be associated with creatures such as the blue-ringed octopus or the deathstalker scorpion. Several spotted creatures are highly poisonous, which could explain why a cluster of holes could instill fear in a person.
In short, it seems that all human beings possess this fear, but most of us keep it contained while others have a more intense experience with this fear. Still, there is some debate whether this is a real phobia or not.
The official definition of a phobia is the overwhelming and sometimes unreasonable fear of a thing, environment, or even a situation that is usually not dangerous. Still, the person with this fear will feel anxious and will attempt to avoid the culprit of his or her frustration at all costs.
Trypophobia fits that criteria, especially because a cluster of holes is not usually associated with something dangerous. Something as common as a fresh loaf of bread or a brownie can cause fear in a person suffering from this type of phobia.
It should be easy for you to see how trypophobia could be debilitating for a person, as a normal stroll through a park or a grocery store could become a nightmare.
How to Fight Trypophobia
Most people want to overcome this fear. No one wants to experience anxiety attacks all the time. Frequent anxiety attacks will produce an excess amount of cortisol; this is a stress-hormone that the brain produces when it senses danger.
This is a natural response, but it should not happen often. The body is supposed to return to its normal state after the stressful situation. Excess cortisol production can lead to all sorts of health issues like insomnia, high cholesterol, and a high risk of developing clots in the blood system. This is true of all phobias, but all phobias are not as common as clustered holes.
For example, the fear of heights can be easily avoided by simply staying on the first floor, but holes are not so easily avoided. A person might see a honeycomb flashing its hole-like appearance around the home, or he or she might see a picture of holes while scrolling down his or her social media account.
First Step to Deal With This Phobia
The first thing that you should do in order to tackle this fear is to identify whether you have it or not. This is simple because all you have to do is pinpoint the types of things that scare you, like the aforementioned bread, brownies, or bubbles.
The Second Step You Want to Take
What you want to do now is keep a journal. The journal is meant to help you identify your type of phobia and how it affects you. What you are going to jot down is all of your triggers. Separate each of these triggers, and make sure that you write down the type of reactions that you have to each one of them. Reactions can range from nausea, anxiety, to trembles or even dizzy spells.
The Third Step You Can Try
Another important step that you want to consider attempting is the act of tracing back your fear. This requires a lot of self-reflection and a good memory, but it may be possible to unlock the incident that might have triggered your trypophobia. Getting to the root of the issue could be quite helpful as it allows you to confront that moment.
Fourth Effective Step to Consider
One of the most effective ways to confront a root incident that triggered your phobia is to learn about it. Say the situation or object that caused you to fear a cluster of holes is a snake. Try to learn more about the snake. Learning about the snake might sound counterproductive, but it helps the mind demystify the creature.
Fifth Step to Take a Stab at
You should consider confronting the fear directly. This should be done in the comfort of your home, but confronting your fear may be effective. The idea is to look at images that frighten you. Try to keep looking at that image even if it is making you uncomfortable.
Take a deep breath as you watch, but do not lose sight of the image. This type of therapy is called exposure therapy and has been known to work. The goal is to gradually see the symptoms of trypophobia diminish over time as long as you continuously force yourself to be exposed to images that cause fear.
Sixth Step That Might Work for You
Give yoga or any other meditative practice a shot. Meditative practice seems to help the brain rework itself, especially if it is wired to be scared more often than not. Meditation helps you develop the skill of taking yourself out of a situation so that you worry less about how a moment can affect you but rather how it can affect you and those around you.
It is important to at least take a few yoga classes or meditative classes to help you get this technique right.
Seventh Step Should Definitely Work
The last thing that you can try is just seeking help. All you have to do is talk to a psychologist or a mental health therapist that specializes in phobias. A person with this type of experience should be able to help you overcome these extreme emotional responses to fear. Do not be afraid to interview the person you are considering before you go ahead and hire him or her. This is important because the comfort level you feel with this person will be essential during therapy.
As you can see, trypophobia is something that should not be taken lightly. Sadly, many professionals are not taking this phobia seriously enough to conduct more research on it, but at least there are people like you and I, who are not afraid of calling this phenomena what it is: a real phobia. Still, there is hope that some day it will be recognized. There are a lot people suffering from this fear of holes, and identifying it might help the sufferers work through this issue.