Nothing to fear but fear itself

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

It’s Dec. 21, and if you are reading this, we’re still alive and kicking.

Talk about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world were hard to miss as 12-21-12 approached, but just in case this is the first you are hearing of what could have be the end of times, I’ll fill you in.

Because the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar ended with 12-21-12, some people began to interpret the date to mark the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Scenarios suggested the end of the world could include the arrival of a solar maxium, the Earth being sucked into a black hole, or even the Earth’s collision with a planet called Nibiru.

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NASA did it’s best to calm fears, saying that none of those things were possible, right now. I personally believe someone got tired of making the Long Count calendar and was banking on the rest of us simply picking up where he left off.

Nevertheless, the end of the Long Count calendar did cause fear for some. And even if you weren’t afraid of the end of the world, we are all afraid of something..

I have three big fears. Irrational ones. Sharks, the dark, and Michael Myers from the Halloween movies. Scientists call those fears galeophobia, nyctophobia and tetraphobia. OK, so there isn’t an exact Michael Myers phobia. I just used the term for fear of monsters.

But my fears are considered ordinary compared to some. Here are some far out phobias.

Thaasophobia is the fear of sitting. Phronemophobia is the fear of thinking. Chaetophobia is the fear of hair, and Anablephobia is the fear of looking up.

Feeling like the most normal person in the world, yet? No?

Well, you could suffer from vestiophobia. That’s the fear of clothes. Opposite that is andgymnophobia – the fear of nudity.

Phobias are exaggerated, irrational fears that are more common than you might think. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 19.2 million American adults suffer from specific phobias. That’s close to 9 percent of Americans.

So, if you got duped into having doomsday phobia on 12-21-12, just remember it could be worse.

You could have papyrophobia – fear of paper. That’s a fear actress Megan Fox professes to have. Or, you could have metrophobia – fear of poetry. Or geniophobia – fear of chins.

After reading about everything I could be afraid of, I’ll gladly grab my flashlight, stay out of the saltwater and hide under the bed on Oct. 31.

What are you afraid of? Share it in the comment section of the online version of this story at