Thursday, December 1, 2011

Face your Fears, Take A Gap Year!

Got any phobias? Mine are getting that bad I started to develop a phobia about my phobias.

When I developed an acute case of arachibutyrophobia last week I finally acknowledged I had to take action.  Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth which is perfectly rational, I’m sure you’ll agree.  After munching my way through a toastie my vowels and consonants were overwhelmed by a peanut butter onslaught. Try explaining that in post trauma therapy sessions to a baffled counselor.

If you’re nodding in grateful appreciation that at last someone understands, take heart. All you need is perspective in your life again. Take some real time out, take a holiday or look at a gap year. Believe me, the only way to conquer your phobias is by facing them head on, and a gap year program is just the way to do it!

I realised my need was great when I returned home that same evening to find my other greatest fear was inching ever closer to my patio door. Zemmiphobia, the fear of the great mole rat. Those molehills in your garden aren’t just simple molehills you know. Measure them, there’s no way those feeble, squinting creatures could construct the monstrous mounds of muck that are closing in on you by the day.  Only one creature could do that. The great mole rat.

See what I mean? Here are some ideas to cure your personal phobias once and for all and engage in a little philanthropic activity at the same time:-

Helminthophobia – fear of being infested with worms

You need mud.  Take a trip to a Zambian village and work with a community building mud huts.  What could be more fulfilling? Visit the magnificent Victoria Falls while you’re out there and fix that other great fear lurking in the wings. Isopterophobia. Fear of termites and other wood devouring insects.

Alektrophobia – fear of chickens

What a terrible affliction.  For you, it’s got to be an Australian ranch in the outback. Learn all the skills needed for ranch work, cattle handling, tractor riding, grape picking and facing your demon chickens. Well, it didn’t say much about chickens in the brochure but the chance to visit Sydney has got to be worth it and every farm has chickens doesn’t it?

Chelonaphobia – fear of turtles

Here’s another two in one offer.  A trip to Costa Rica to assist in sea turtle conservation will not only help you to view these harmless creatures with love, you will also overcome your ovophobia (fear of eggs).  Spend time helping the turtles during the nesting season by collecting eggs on the beach and improve the survival rates of these harmless reptiles. You can even help to hatch the baby turtles and prepare them for release into the wild. As a stress relief after all this therapy try a little surfing at the end of the day. You’ll feel so much better for it…

Blennophobia – fear of slime

It’s Sri Lanka for this one.  Conquer your fear of slime working with Asian elephants – that means mucking out! - and learn a new set of elephant management skills. Take the opportunity to keep it real and work with children at local orphanages. By the way, if the dearth of Australian chickens failed to deal with your alektrophobia, you’ll be certain to face it here.

Whatever your particular phobia, be it spiders, water, needles or frogs, volunteer abroad, do some good, see the world and conquer your demons all in one go. I must confess I sadly failed to find a solution to my friend’s rectophobia.  I’ll leave you to work that one out for yourself.  You can’t win ‘em all.

Kate is currently battling her huge case of arachibutyrophobia. Wish her luck!

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