Nothing to fear here

Students deal with phobias

Everyone has the day-to-day things that scare them: overdressing for an event, getting a shot at the doctor’s office, or seeing a spider in our house. However, for five percent of the US population, particularly for people aged fifteen to twenty, those fears are full-blown phobias: persistent, irrational fears of objects or situations.
“I hate it. I wish I didn’t have this. It’s not reasonable at all, and it keeps me from doing things I want to do,” senior Mackenzie Krys, who lives with aviophobia, or the fear of flying on an airplane, said.
“I have not traveled as much as my family has… my mom always wants to go on really cool trips, but we never do… my whole family took a trip to Italy and I didn’t go, because I was too afraid to fly.”
Krys isn’t the only McCallum student with this problem. While going to the dentist is a commonplace chore for most, it can be an incredible difficult ordeal for Hudson.
“There’s a lot of sitting down, refusing to get out of the house. When you get in the car, there’s a lot of refusing to get out the car. It takes a lot of effort to get out of the car and into the doorway. It’s just hard, because teeth are important. People see your teeth every day. So when you can’t even walk into a dentist’s office to make sure that your teeth are okay, it’s so hard.”
Hudson is one of the ten percent of the population that experiences odontophobia, the fear of visiting the dentist.
Freshman Henna Mcrae has a less common fear: mountain goats.
“I’ve had to go to places with goats, and I just have to avoid the places where they are.”

THE SHIELD: “Where does your fear come from?”

MK: “Probably the media, because I’ve seen a lot of plane crashes, and 9/11 just scared me so much.”

MH: “When I was really young, my sister had to have mouth surgery, and I don’t know why, but I had to watch. She was having four teeth extracted, and it just really scared me, and I’m really scared whenever I have to go to the dentist now, because my mouth is really messed up, so I’m really afraid I’ll have to get surgery like she did. I’m just waiting for that day, and I’m so scared. My dad is also afraid of dentists; he hasn’t gone to the dentist in twenty years. He’s so scared of dentists. “

HM: “I was at a friend’s farm, and she has goats, and we were sitting there, and we were playing with them, and they were really nice, and then this one came over and it attacked me, and it rammed its horn into my back leg, and now I have a scar.

THE SHIELD: “How do people react when they hear about your fear?”

MK: “They think it’s really weird. They’re like, what, how could you be afraid of
flying? Then they give me all these statistics; ‘Did you know driving in a car is more dangerous than flying?’ I know all the statistics, but I’m still afraid.”

MH: “I think a lot of them are kind of scared of the dentist, but not in the way that necessarily I am.  Some people are like, ‘I just don’t like going to the dentist, because you know, pokey things’, and I’m like no, you don’t understand.

HM: “They laugh and give me strange looks. I don’t think they take it very seriously. It’s a serious fear. They kind of dismiss it.”

THE SHIELD: “Have you ever tried to overcome your fear?”

MK: “I flew five times this summer. I tried taking sleeping pills, but I was so freaked out that it didn’t work, and I was so mad. I’ve gone to people and they’ve been like, ‘No, you just have to have a mantra, or just believe and become.’ It hasn’t [worked] at all. But as I get older, the last flight I went on, I was more calm; so I guess flying more would get me over my fear.“

MH: “I actually had a tooth pulled two Augusts ago, and they were like, the adult tooth is right underneath it, it’ll be fine, and it took an entire year and a half for it to even break the skin.  And so they were like, you have another tooth you need to get pulled. And I was like, “You’re not allowed to touch my mouth anymore. Ever again. You messed up last time, you had your one shot. It was so terrible.”

HM: “No, I’m taking it easy right now. Maybe I will in the future. I haven’t had to do anything goat related, I haven’t interacted with the fear, it’s kind of just resting right now.”

THE SHIELD: “Do you think it’s possible for someone to get over their fears?”

MK: “Yeah, probably. It just takes time.”

MH: “I mean, maybe a fear of spiders, because if you’re afraid of snakes, you can just try and go see a snake every now and then. But that’s just you being like, “Hey, I’m going to try to get over this”. But I’m required to go to the dentist. I’m a minor.  My mother makes me. I don’t really have a choice, I can’t be like, “Nah, I don’t really want to go.”

HM: “Yeah. I think I will try soon.”


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