Fear Factor

Fear Factor

One day, Xiomy Sam is living her normal life, and without warning, killer clones of her family come to attack her. Sound familiar? This was the plot of the blockbuster movie “US” directed by Jordan Peele, and the worst fear of junior Xiomy Sam. 

Debating the validity of an irrational fear can be difficult. Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat, like a clone.

“They copy your every move and use your identity like a toy. I don’t want to be treated like that,” Sam said.

Fear presents in a range of severity, whether in social anxiety, or running from a cockroach. Irrational fears are also known as phobias, overwhelming, irrational, and persistent fears that lead to avoiding the object or situation. It can be a fear of a specific thing or of a social setting, and is more extreme than a fear, often requiring some sort of aversion therapy. 

According to VeryWell Mind, approximately 15 million American adults are affected by irrational fears and about 30 percent of those with social phobia have a severe case.

From fearing a killer clone to being afraid of a regular old bug, phobias stem from childhood traumas and bad experiences. Though Sam does not normally run into clones, it impacts her mental health and levels of anxiety. 

“I’m not the act in a play, and thinking about that gives me serious anxiety,” Sam said.

Senior Sydney Goergen is afraid of swinging objects and ceiling fans. As a kid she went religiously to her local gym. She would swing and jump from ropes into the ball pits, but one day Goergen walked into her gymnasium and felt her heart start to race, her palms start to sweat, and a sick feeling bubble in her stomach. 

“It was just like a switch, one day I was fine and the next I felt serious anxiety. My anxiety eventually got worse so I stopped going,”Goergen said.

Being afraid of string and swaying objects affects all aspects of her life.

“I had to get a fan that doesn’t have the strings because I wouldn’t sleep in my room because of them,” said Goergen

Everyone has fear, but not everyone has phobias or irrational fears. According to a survey by Gallup News, the most common fears are the fear of heights and fear of the dark. 1 in 5 people are afraid of spiders or snakes.

When thinking of the fear of insects, most would think of spiders or cockroaches, but sophomore Marianne Duncan runs from dragonflies

“I don’t know why I hate them so much, they’re just creepy,” Duncan said.

Duncan used to be afraid of scorpions and when her sister told her that dragonflies were flying scorpions, her fear grew. 

Senior Melissa Neidhardt has a similar issue, but opossums instead of dragonflies. When Neidhardt was little, she was chased up a tree by an opossum. She got so sweaty and so afraid that when she sees an opossum or hears about it, Neidhardt freaks out.

“Now every time I see one of those opossums I gag and run away. My heart beats so fast and I feel like I’m going to throw up,” Neidhardt said.

Everyone is afraid of something, but in extreme cases, it can be hard for those deep rooted phobias to be weeded out. Not many are willing to reach out for treatment. According to VeryWell Mind, only about 40% of people with social phobias are being treated. 

Not only this but many dealing with a phobia have a lack of support from family and friends.

“My family was confused at first, They didn’t understand and made fun of me for it, but now don’t tease me as much,” said Goergen.