When is a phobia not a phobia?

I was watching an episode of "Obsessed" on A & E online when I realized I really couldn't watch it. While it speaks to my inner OCD tendencies it was set a little too close to home for me. OK, the lady on the show doesn't like germs - I mean seriously doesn't like germs - but I am actually not that crazy about germs myself. I am a person with hand sanitizer in every vehicle, in my purse, on my desk (you get the picture?). Off went the show.

I was perusing a list of phobias on The Phobia List and was intrigued to say the least. For instance, Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of long words. You would be afraid even to say the the name of your syndrome. How do you get help for that?

I have a friend who confessed to me as we were walking down the street once that she was afraid of clowns - Coulrophobia according to the phobia list - and as we walked along who turned the corner and came toward us but someone in a clown costume. Now I ask you, what are the chances of that!???

Some phobias would be easy enough to avoid, Auroraphobia- the fear of Northern lights or Consecotaleophobia the fear of chopsticks, for instance. Just don't go to Alaska or Chinese restaurants. Some would be a real downer, Euphobia, the fear of hearing good news, as an example. This would at the very least be a problem when people are sitting around telling jokes. "I've got some good news and some bad news." "No, no, only give me the bad news" kind of takes the punch out of a joke.

As a person prone to motion sickness I think that Aeronausiphobia, the fear of vomiting secondary to airsickness, is a legitimate concern. One held by many seat mates I have had over the years as well. As a mother I can advise young parents that Ephebiphobia, the fear of teenagers, is not to be underestimated.

When is a phobia not really a phobia? Lilapsophobia, the fear of tornadoes and hurricanes, seems pretty darned normal to me. It's all of those people without Lilapsophobia who are out there chasing big storms with their home video cameras or leaning into the surf in a raincoat on The Weather Channel. These are the people acting all smug about conquering Lilapsophobia and throwing it in our faces.

The mother of all phobias is Phobophobia, the fear of phobias. Well, that is something I need to ponder.

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