Vignette: The phobias we live with


Underneath the outward pretense of each human lies a variety of the deep-seated fears acquired through time. Throughout the course of life, frequent exposure to painful circumstances develops a particular fear, which may possibly inhibit a holistic view on life itself.

There are no distinct symptoms in each phobia; although the intensity of fear may differ according to each individual. Generally, people with a phobia experience similar symptoms – uneasiness, preoccupation in fear, and lack of making discerned judgments, to name a few. The phobias in this article are universal, phobias we can relate with regardless of different backgrounds and perspectives in life.

This is not your typical scientific health journal where phobias are duly plastered upon paper along with empirical information and its symptoms as well as supposed possible treatments. Instead these are fears all may relate to in some manner; fears that go deeper into the depths of human nature.


Kakorrhaphiophobia: Fear of failure or defeat

People are born into a world where the primary concern has become the pursuit of excellence, unfortunately manifested through how much money one earns and how much one has in their bank account. Otherwise, when one doesn’t have a Cadillac to drive, but a Hyundai Tico to go to the supermarket to buy a cucumber, one is marked as a failure, whose main characteristics are incompetent and inefficient. The unending stigma and pressure coming from this kind of society, creates irrational fears.

In contrast, imagine a world where each and every good act, regardless of how great or small the contribution may be, will amount to acknowledgements and compliments. Just imagine, because it is not this place called Earth, or Mars, or Pluto. Because in this kind of society, everyone is endlessly hammered by the word “success” that it becomes part of their very being.

Almost always every person wonders if one’s actions will lead to the door of success and the efforts would grant the key to open that very door. Yet, what is success in the first place? If a person entitles himself with a medal of success, just by being able to buy a can of tuna, shouldn’t he be called successful? Maybe everyone’s just trying so hard to be successful because nobody, especially in this century, unfortunately remembers the real meaning of failure.


Athazagoraphobia: Fear of being forgotten

What if the constant desire to succeed is (subconsciously) for us to be remembered, hoping that one’s trace of existence would not be effaced from memories of people, incessantly exerting effort in trying to make a difference so that everyone else might notice. Nobody wishes to be forgotten, and this is manifested in the celebration of birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays that constantly remind everyone of each other’s existence.

Who prefers to receive cold ignorance during birthdays? Look around and see the establishments, monuments, art works, books and other traces of the past; perhaps we are truly driven by a fear of being forgotten. As social beings there will always be this natural need for recognition, to be noticed, to be remembered. To be remembered is to be connected and to have connection, a true connection, is the ultimate goal for mere social beings like humans. There seems to be nothing wrong because maybe, we are by nature made to be loved and appreciated by others, incapable of living alone.


Monophobia: Fear of being alone

As human beings, the innate desire to be connected with others is essentially vital for proper functioning. However, unhealthy craving for camaraderie and a dependence on others and objects as a means of happiness poses an alarming problem for the individual, and this is common for people with this phobia. While the thought of having peaceful “me-time” from a world full of stressors is undeniably comforting, there are those who cannot accept even an apprehensive second of total reclusion. Yet this phobia reflects man’s innermost fear of being in a forlorn state. A state in which one fears what is to come when one is left to himself, no companion, no aid, pure vulnerability. What are friends are for? we ask, and our nature of being human dictates our necessity for a companion.


What now?

Fear upon fear, it is inevitable. Although “phobia” indicates irrational fear, it doesn’t automatically make the fear aberrant because some phobias are sensible and relatable (except for the fear of being stared at by a duck, and others). Admittedly, within fear, bits of truths of human nature lie inside; the essence of which we all are bound by.


One should remember that the fear itself is created by the mind, and to have mastery of one’s mind is to have mastery over one’s life.  What one thinks he’s afraid of can only be so true as long as the person believes so. Yes, all are bound to these fears, but the extent of which they control one’s life is up to the person in question. One is only as strong as how they think they are, and to believe in life beyond fear is a life that is well.

Mia Baguisi

By Mia Baguisi

Kim Ho Jae

By Kim Ho Jae

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