Everybody has at least one, even if they will never admit to it. Some people have a lot more than one. Most of them are mild and not to life altering or disturbing, but sometimes they can stop life its place.
I am talking about phobias.
I have two phobias: Acrophobia and Parasitophobia.
My fear of heights is not too bad, just an occasional bout of vertigo if I am too close to a ledge or walking across a narrow bridge. I still can ski (go on ski lifts) and rock climb (with harnass & rope) without too much trouble, although bouldering does give me the creeps if I have to leap across a chasm of more than 8 inches.
Basically, I just force myself to just do it and then when I am past the height part, I am fine. Heights do not haunt me. Though, due to my acrophobia, I will not parachute, jump out of a plane, hang glide off a cliff, or bungee jump.
But parasites, well that is another story.
I can face almost any kind of bug, spider, or creepy crawly with no fear. I am not afraid to take a spider outside or remove the black widow. But give me a tick or a blood sucking leach and while I can remain calm enough to dispose of it properly, I am so *freaked* out and grossed out that I will be a mess for at least 12 hours afterwards with bad dreams, the shakes, and talking about it incessantly.
Yes, it is true. I have for years insisted that the only real argument against a good God is parasites. I understand the need for mosquitoes, as when the females are not breeding & needing blood to feed young, most of the time mosquitoes are plant pollinators. One may argue the usefulness of leaches and lampreys in keeping a wound or shark clean.
But there is NO good argument for fleas, ticks and lice, especially ticks.
From a design perspective, mosquitoes and fleas are quite elegant in their own ways. But a tick is NEVER elegant. They are ugly, little mofos of evil. Flat when not full of blood, terribly distended when full of blood, 8 legs curved to grab on and not let go. Disgusting, evil, little horrible creatures. And they transmit disease. UGH!
Same goes for lice of any variety.
My phobia of biting bugs started very young, I can remember being 3 or 4 years old and having bouts of insomnia while I itched and worried that bugs were biting me under the covers. In all of my childhood, I can only remember one dream that did not involve biting bugs, all the rest were about me getting bitten. I would then wake up and itch, which would start a chain reaction of wakefulness, itching and biting bug paranoia.
This fear of parasites that bite is not unfounded. I must be juicy, as I can be wearing all the bug repellent in the world and have ingested tons of vitamin B, but I will still be a flea & mosquito magnet. I can walk across carpet, grass and sand that may not have a single flea, but it will travel a mile or more to come and bite me. Same with mosquitoes.
Then the bite will itch, swell, get red, ooze clear liquid, and continue to be an infected, itching wonder for up to two weeks. A doctor once informed me with a straight face, “You are allergic to bug bites.” No. Imagine that.
Flea and mosquito bites are not as bad as they used to be, as after many trials of various calamine lotions, aloe creams, and other anti-itch ointments, I have discovered the wonders of Benadryl cream which is an itch-be-gone wonder. I even rub a bit of Benadryl cream (with vet permission) on Scruffy’s bites when his Frontline is not working as well as it should to keep the bugs from biting.
Ok, so fleas and mosquitoes are mildly excused on the grounds of pollination, elegant body & flight design, as well as the modern wonders of DEET based repellents and Benadryl creams.
But there is never an excuse for ticks. Ever.
There is also never an excuse for ticks when one has done a tick check of the dog, one’s self, bathed the dog, got into bed and then have the danged tick jump ship off the dog to crawl over to you. That tick ended up being flushed down to the Bishop sewer system after being beaten into submission with the pointed corner of a hardcover novel. An hour and a half later, at 2:38am, I spotted another tick attempting to take up residence on Scruffy’s back leg. That tick met an untimely death in the toilet. Off to sea with you!
Then the paranoia set it. Full stop. I could not sleep for fear of more ticks. Every sensation became an itch, which became a fear of a new tick, which caused me to turn on the lights, give poor Scruff a full check, and then take myself into the bathroom to disrobe and look in the mirror for ticks on me. Silly, but true.
Then there were the nightmares. Not nice. Not lovely. Not noble.
I am not afraid of the diseases that ticks or other bloodsucking parasites carry, I am not afraid of caring for the bite, it is the effrontery of the horrible, ugly, little insect to suck my blood without permission for no edifying purpose, and then cause a wound that will swell and itch for days, as well as triggering bad dreams about 20 foot ticks. Evil little beasts.
Hmmm… Upon thinking about it, Mother Earth must have a humanaphobia.