Pembroke Academy

PA faces their fears

January 31, 2020


Whether it be the fear of heights or spiders, snakes or public speaking, most people have some kind of visceral fear. 

An estimated 9.1 percent of Americans, more than 19 million people have a specific phobia. Without proper counseling, these phobias can disrupt lives and leave people paralyzed by fear. 

One of the most common phobias in America is acrophobia, or the fear of heights.

“I’ve been afraid of heights ever since I was a kid,” said senior Riley Kennedy. “I used to get up high and get dizzy because my fear was so severe I would sometimes even cry.”

Acrophobia, however, is fairly common, afflicting one in 15 people at some point in their lives. 

Kennedy worked on overcoming her fear and found her own ways to prevail.

“I’ve learned to avoid heights after dealing with a fear of them for 17 years, so it doesn’t affect my life as much anymore,” Kennedy said. “But there were times where I’ve had to miss out on beautiful views, or had to walk away from something because the height was too much for me to handle.”

Snakes are also big fear for Americans. Ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes, affects 56 percent of Americans. 

“I’ve been scared of snakes ever since I had a terrible nightmare about them,” said Mrs. Hardy, an Exceptional Services teacher at Pembroke Academy. “In the dream, a snake ate my dog and ever since, I’ve been so scared I can’t be around them.” 

Mrs. Hardy said she frequently checks for snakes to see if they’re lurking around the corner. “I can’t imagine living in a tropical area with a bunch of snakes,” she said. “I just couldn’t do it.”

Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is another common terror for people. Arachnophobia is the oldest and most common phobia in the Western culture. It currently affects 3.5 to 6.1 percent of the global population.

“I’ve been scared of spiders since I was a kid, but it got worse when I was bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider,” said Mrs. Boisvert, another teacher in exceptional services. “I could’ve died from it, and it haunts me to this very day.”

The Brown Recluse Spider is one of the most dangerous spiders in the United States. It’s venom is known to destroy blood vessels and causing a large skin ulcer. 

Other people’s fears are a little more idiosyncratic. 

“I’m afraid of people throwing up on me,” said senior Lacey Duggan. “I can’t handle puke to begin with, and the thought of it…I can’t.” 

Of course, the other most common fear is humankind’s biggest unknown: It’s the fear of death. 

Or the end. 

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