Monday, May 02, 2005

Katagelophobia: Fear of Ridicule

I know that many things I lack.
I also know that I can't go back.
When stupidity has tainted my name,
Here I run, cry and hide in shame.

A lot of sane and average people do not like ridicule, especially if it is aimed at them. It quite normal, really. However, when one gets teary-eyed, trembles or even vomits, you know there is a problem with that person.

Katagelophobia has been defined as fear of ridicule, however, such a brief definition is nowhere near concise, much less, accurate. A lot of people confidently reveal their fears, ending the terms with -phobia. However, psychology defines phobias as a fear of an entity with negative physiological effects. In other words, simply fearing closed spaces does not make you claustrophobic. If your heart rate quickens abnormally, your adrenaline levels reach levels higher than normal, you feel like throwing up when thinking of cramped spaces or worse, you threw up in a tight place, then you do have claustrophobia.

I am not a psychologist myself and I don't carry an ECG machine with me so I cannot really determine of I have any phobias. I do know certain facts which I am not rally predisposed to diagnosing as symptoms of a "fear with negative physiological effects".

I never really liked being ridiculed and whenever someone pokes fun at me, I cry. As embarassing as it is, this has gone on for my first eight years in hell, er, school. When I stepped into high school, I gained enough sanity to hold my tears back, at least until I get to the safety of my room. Eventually, I began shrugging off snide comments directed at me. I do accept constructive criticism; there is a difference between constructive criticism and unfounded name-calling. I thought I was strong, heck, I would have gone bungee-jumping had I found an opportunity to do so.

When I was in my second year in college, something terrible happened. After a certain event, I found myself alone. I had no one to lean on; so used was I to having a companion that losing one creates a large low-pressure void that threatens to swallow everything out of existence. I was battered with the same amount of problems as before but now that I have no support, I alone took the blows.

This has made me strong, in a way but it has also made me weak. Now, I face mundane concerns, like academics, by myself; I never leaned on anyone anymore. However, I found myself back as a frightened kid. Where before, I would have looked down from a great height, I'm now afraid to even come near the edge. Where before, I confidently walk under ladders, I now hug the walls, suspicious that the ceiling might collapse at any moment. Where before, I walked at the middle of the road, I now stalk in the sidewalk, even though no cars are in sight.

All my fears came back to haunt me and I feel my heart rate increasing. I guess I still hover below the threshold between normal and abnormal fear. However, something happened last night. I found out that I have sent an email to the wrong address. Instead of sending it to a single account, I have sent it to a mailing list. It realy is quite embarassing for some and now that I had the time to look back, I guess I acted really irrational then. I have no idea why I threw up two minutes after I opened my inbox; I don't know what made me shut the computer down and hide under my sheets. I definitely cannot explain why I burst into tears over such a simple event.

Fears, and emotions, in general, are, by nature, irrational. I thought I was strong but I guess ignorance is really bliss.

I feel bad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...; You saved my day again.