- SILENT BUT SALIENT
Dear readers(in Lady Whistledown’s voice) who am I kidding? This isn’t the Bridgerton!
Phobias! What are they? And what in this whimsical earth do they have to do with mental health? Well, I’ll have you know that though not acknowledged by many, phobias have a contribution to mental health and though silent, can be salient and detrimental too.
I’ll begin by dictionary defining a Phobia or should I google it?… Google it is!
As per google, a phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. I don’t know if it’s just me that noticed the word fear but I can’t help but point out how much fear does contribute to unstable mental health. There are three main groups of phobias which include: Specific (simple) phobias, which are the most common and focus on specific objects. Social phobia, which causes extreme anxiety in social or public situations, and. Agoraphobia, which is the fear of being alone in public places from which there is no easy escape.
To the naked eye, a phobia isn’t something too important to someone whose mental health hasn’t been affected by a phobia, a phobia is trivial to them but until you walk a mile in the shoes of someone who has been through that, you can never know for sure.
I’ll share a personal experience; I have a phobia for cockroaches, a huge one!! Like I can even go into a state of shock and as someone who has had to deal with depression and anxiety and then add on a phobia, you can only imagine a recipe for disaster. It was such a detriment to my flimsy mental health at the time that my recovery coach made me include it in my treatment plan. Needless to say, I’m still recovering. Although I thought I was crazy for reacting the way I did to that phobia until I met others like me. I have this friend who has a deadly phobia of turkeys , like he can’t even bear to see them on television. I did witness him flip out one time when there was a documentary of turkeys on the television and it was in that moment that I realized that I was not crazy and it was normal to be overwhelmed with your phobia. So if you’re out there and you can even faint from your phobia or-like me-you go into a state of mental shock, it’s normal and okay even if other people make you feel crazy for feeling the way you have to.
Although it is normal to feel and react to your phobia the way you do, you can also recover with the help of cognitive based therapy for the sake of your mental health . Another experience I’ve had with phobia is one of recovering from it. I was so phobic towards dogs! Omg! It was not sexy but with the help of rehab and therapy, I was able to recover from fearing any dogs-mostly because it was a requirement to get along with the dogs at rehab or you weren’t leaving the place- but regardless, it helped and now I love and adore them creatures.
Phobias can cause anger issues in some people or bipolar even as they may stem from a traumatic experience, for example, I grew to fear dogs because of a traumatic experience I had with them as a child but then I allowed myself to heal and I’m pretty sure that even the cockroach phobia will go away too….baby steps!
With these phobias, sometimes it’s all in your head and charity does begin from home. So you sometimes have to get out of your head and think positive.
And if you’re out there and have a phobia that is constantly nudging at your mental health, or you know someone whose mental health is threatened by phobias no matter how trivial, do reach out and seek for help because they maybe silent but phobias are very salient to mental health concerns.
Nsiima Chloe Elizabeth
Is a second year law student at Uganda Christian university. She loves to write, watch movies and find new things.
Fun fact: she was diagnosed with depression in 2021 and embarked on a recovery journey and uses what she learnt from her recovery to help others struggling with mental health.