One of the biggest issues people with mental illnesses are facing nowadays is dealing with the fact that a lot of people have turned mental illnesses and made them a part of common, everyday vernacular associating it with normal situations and habits. For the sake of this article, I will be focusing solely on phobias. When the word phobia is mentioned, fear is the word that comes to mind. However, there is a difference between a fear and a phobia.
Fears can be rational, for example, a person afraid of sharks has a rational fear. However, phobias are irrational fears that cannot be reasoned with as easily. For example, someone has agoraphobia which is basically a fear of being in public spaces where chances of quick escapes aren’t possible in some cases it happens to the point that the person refuses to leave their home. It doesn’t logically make sense to be afraid of such a situation, however, for the person with the phobia, it’s there. Of course, a lot of people with phobias do realize that their thinking is irrational, however they cannot move beyond it. There are different kinds of phobias, from more commonly known ones like Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) to more unusual ones like Selenophobia or lunophobia (fear of the moon) etc.
There are different reasons why a phobia can manifest. A lot of them have some links to a person’s past experiences or traumas that can be linked to the object of the phobia. In some cases, it can be genetic because their parents might have a history of mental illnesses, and it can be learned as well from a young age. So, these phobias regardless of how normal they may appear to us, can be what cripples those that suffer from it. So, empathy, respect and understanding is key.