View Full Version : Weird phobia
08-21-2007, 08:02 AM
This is a weird phobia and I really don't know why or how it started. I feel terrible about it because it seems I'm judging people but I simply can't help it. So here's the name - Apotemnophobia - fear of amputees.
Honestly - where and how do these freaky phobias start?!?! Sure, I have a fear of heights, I can rationalise that because if I fall I may get injured. I used to have a massive dental phobia, yay for me, I've conquered that one! I have social anxiety, I can even rationalise that. Clowns and costumed ppl freak me out - ok, that's odd too. But such an intense phobia of amputees??? It's not their fault and that only makes me feel worse about it. A very dear friend of mine's husband is an amputee, and on the occassion I've spoken to him on the phone my head fills with visions of it and it results in me shuddering and feeling ill. Even writing this has made me feel ill! I have no idea why this started but I remember from a very young age, 5-6, being scared then.
<span style='color:red'>Hiya, Phoenix</span>
<span style='color:blue'>I think I can almost relate to this one. When I was young and visited France for the first time in the early 'sixties, I was struck by the awesome number of old men, amputees, "left over" there from the First World War. (I later learnt just how France was bled white by that war, compared with most other participating countries.)
It didn't leave me with any real "phobia", thank goodness, but I was ten at the time. You on the other hand were much younger, and more impressionable, when this sort of thing hit you.
I do want to reassure you that you have no need to feel bad or guilty about it. You are not actually "judging" anyone, Phoenix. You're just reacting on a deep, emotional level to something which is slightly shocking and sad to behold.
And the reason you are having such strong reactions is, as you realise already, because it stems from an early childhood experience.
Is this seriously affecting your life? Is it something you want or need to take some form of action to deal with? If so, there are options open to you, but "no pain, no gain", you know? It'll take some work on your part to get to the point where you can feel easier about the whole subject.
And, the other thing I wanted to ask, is this a phobia that rises in intensity with other, more generalised, anxiety levels in your life? If so, they would be what you should concentrate on first, I would think.
Anyway, thanks for telling us about it. Apart from anything else, it does demonstrate that there is no rationalising what are in any case irrational fears, so please don't try to do that, and please don't worry yourself about it any more than you really feel you have to, OK? :)
All the best, Phoenix.
08-21-2007, 09:02 PM
I just wanted to let you know that you really, honestly don't have to be embarassed or feel guilty about your fears here. In fact, if you can work up the confidence to talk it out with someone, it may not be a phobia at all in time. From your post, it sounds like you are apt at attacking your challenges- so have faith that you can do so at least one more time! Good luck :D
08-21-2007, 10:37 PM
I had a think about this issue after I posted and I remembered a man my father used to be friends with. (A challenge in itself as I have limited childhood memories) He had fingers missing on one of his hands and it scared me - why I don't know. This is the only memory I have of this man - seeing his hand coming toward me and freaking out (Silently) over it. I don't know why it scared me so much but probably, in hindsight, this is where it originated.
It's not a debilitating phobia in the sense I can't leave the house because I'm scared I'll see an amputee somewhere. The social anxiety is the one that keeps me housebound. But if I am out and see one, I can't look and it makes me anxious. I will avoid standing close to an amputee and if I do get stuck next to one in a store checkout line or something it makes me feel physcially ill. Even on TV or movies it gets to me and I've held a lifelong fear over losing a limb or even a finger or toe.
Thanks for your words Gord and blondeandblack - I know consciously I can't help it and I'm not necessarily judging the person. Still, subconsiously I feel bad about it. As it stands now I can push through the phobia by using distraction or avoidance techniques. Oddly enough, although animals with amputated limbs make me a little shuddery when I first see it, I can easily overcome this and accept it. Seems to be only people with amputations I can't get my head around.
08-25-2007, 10:28 AM
It's very good that you can admit it, it's a good step.
I heard this advice once from someone, it takes some guts but it seems to help. If you see someone in the street ( with her it was young people who hung around in gangs, she was terriefied of them and always took huge detours to avoid them) that frightens you, go up to them and ask the time. as simple as that. It turns them very human, people who are exctly like you , nothing to be afraid of or to take detours from.
I hope this helps, it takes some gut but I heard it's a good start...
I hope you'll be okay!
<span style='color:red'>Laughing Out Loud, Lucia!</span>
<span style='color:blue'>What an excellent piece of advice! So short and simple, and so effective!
Also, Phoenix, remember to look them straight in the eye! When you smile and look someone dead in the eye, you will see the real human being in them. :)
"Sorry to bother you, but could you please tell me the right time?" Smile. Eye contact. You never know, you might even be able to strike up a little conversation with them as well once your anxiety begins to dissipate?
All the best
08-26-2007, 08:09 AM
:) :) :)
HELLO MY FRIEND,,,, PHOENIX,,,,, I SEE NOTHING ODD ABOUT YOUR PHOBIA,,IT FRIEGHTENED YOU AS A CHILD AND NOW AS AN ADULT YOU REALIZE IT COULD BE YOU.........
I HAD A SIMIALIAR EXPIERENCE AS A CHILD,, WHILE DOING A DANCE PERFORMANCE AT AGE 5,,(,MY DREAM TO BE A DANCER lol ! ) THERE WAS A WOMAN , IN THE AUDIENCE WHO HAD AN EPILEPTIC FIT,,,,I WAS SO PERTRIFIED BY WHAT I SAW,,AND THEN THE AMBULANCE COMING TO TAKE HER AWAY ,,,WAS JUST TOO MUCH FOR MY LITTLE MIND TO PROCESS,,,AND I HAD THIS FEAR OF SEEING THAT AGAIN,,,,,EVEN WHEN I WORKED AT HOSPITAL AND HAD TO FACE THESE SIEZURES,,,I ALWAYS GOT THAT SAME FEELING OF FEAR,,SO YOU ARE VERY NORMAL ,,,,REALLY PHOENIX,,,,, FLORENCE :rolleyes:
08-27-2007, 12:09 PM
Hi Phoenix :)
I don't think it's weird. I don't hear about it much but it's not weird. This fear is totally real.
When 'he' lost his leg, the only time it really bothered me was when they wheeled him down the corridor in the bed and I looked down and saw something missing. What a strange feeling that is. Almost as if I had separation anxiety and it wasn't even my body part!
All this time, if he asks or suggests that I was sick by his amputated leg, I'd shrug it off and say of course not! But in all honesty, it is hard to look at and when I had to care for his wounds, it was extremely hard to touch. My stomach turns, I get the chills and it repeats everyday. So the fear of amputees, although yours goes much deeper than mine, it's totally understandable.
And Flo is right. Despite what you may think, you are normal ;0)
09-12-2007, 03:35 AM
Dont feel bad, ur not doing it on purpose. Everyone is scared of something. Take care, cheers... xxxfreakyxxx
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
http://dl9.glitter-graphics.net/pub/435/435079del3a54cfa.jpg ('http://www.glitter-graphics.com') Freaky
Speaking of limbs my in-law works in hospital and regulary has to carry body parts down to the mortuary he said its a really strange feeling when you see the person after. but he tries to imagine himself if it happened to him . The people who need to have limbs removed are really quite glad because if they didn't they wouldn't be alive in most cases.
Its not strange though pheonix ! when my grandad first had his legs off due to gangerene I think i was around 4, i wouldn't go near him but once i realised it was still my funny old grandad i would run up and sit on his knee and ask for rides on his wheelchair it was great fun.
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