My Fears and Anxieties from A to Z: Part II

WiresYesterday, I presented a list of my fears from A through M. Many different types of fears made the list — from the more serious (like anxiety itself) to the more whimsical (like joke-telling).

Now, here are the rest of my alphabetical anxieties:

14. Nausea. It’s unpleasant and (unfortunately) quite common for those of us with anxiety disorders. Yuck.

15. Overanalyzing. Once I get started, it’s all downhill from there on bad days. Why does my head hurt? Never mind the fact that I just stared at a bright computer screen for three hours and my eyes are fatigued; it’s probably a brain tumor. If it’s a brain tumor, how will I know? Should I go to the doctor for this? Will I need to undergo tests? CAT scans? An MRI? How will I afford that?

16. Powerlines. In second grade, I was standing outside on the sidewalk with my parents and neighbors after a nasty thunderstorm caused a neighborhood blackout. Hopeful that power would be restored before that night’s episode of Full House aired, I pointed with excitement to the top of a telephone pole above that was lighting up. I thought it was a streetlight coming back on…until I heard the snapping and crackling of raw electricity. I ran at the speed of light as the power line attached to the sparking pole fell in front of my parents’ house.  (Almost 20 years later, I still have a hard time walking underneath the really high-voltage lines.)

17. Quinoa. It’s not that the ancient grain itself scares me, but I’m always worried about mispronouncing it again. This is what happens when you read about a food on the internet and ask for it in the store without ever having spoken the word aloud. Excuse me, can I have some kwin-OH-uh, please? Where do you stock your kwin-OH-uh? Why don’t you understand me, grocery store clerk?

18. Restrooms. There are plenty of reasons to be wary of public restrooms — germs, unsanitary toilet seats, the risk of someone stealing your purse from the inner door hook — but my fear is different. And perhaps strange. And perhaps quite indicative of emetophobia. I am always worried that I’ll hear someone vomiting in another stall. I can’t stand that sound.

19. Sirens. When I was a kid, I would run and hide whenever the local fire department sounded their alarm.

20. Turnpikes. Long stretches of limited-access toll highways with very few exits — maybe one every 20 or 30 miles, say.  It’s a bit claustrophobic. Sort of like being trapped in a big cardboard box and only given the opportunity to climb out every half hour or so. Or something like that.

21. Undertow. In the ocean, an undertow paves the way for a subsequent and deadly rip current.

22. Vomiting. I’m getting gaggy just thinking about this one. Obviously, vomiting is unpleasant for just about everyone. But for some of us, it can be a real phobia to the point where phobics can only refer to vomit and nausea as “v” and “n”.

23. Webs. You know, the kind that spiders spin. Especially when I walk right through one without realizing it at first.

24. X-rays. Specifically dental x-rays, that is. This fear is two-fold: I hate those sharp little films they make you bite down on, and I have a hard time dealing with that Panorex machine circumnavigating my whole head.

25. Yoga classes. They say yoga is great for anxiety, right? In the past year, I’ve attended four drop-in yoga classes…and had panic attacks in each of them. Yeah. Just wanted to throw that out there. (For the record, doing yoga on my own — in my own home — feels fantastic.)

26. Zinc. Yes, zinc. The mineral. Were you expecting zombies here? Anyway, I mistakenly took a zinc pill on an empty stomach before. Yuck. Don’t do this. Also, see my entry for the letter N.

What’s on your own list of fears or phobias? Do you have any fears or anxiety triggers that seem humorous when you share them with others? (That’s how I feel about my fear of mispronouncing the word quinoa!) Do you have any unusual fears that you just can’t get others to take seriously?

Creative Commons License photo credit: danncove99

My Fears and Anxieties from A to Z: Part II

Summer Beretsky

Summer Beretsky enjoys writing about her experiences with anxiety, panic, and Paxil. She had her first panic attack as an undergrad at Lycoming College and plenty more while she worked toward her M.A. in Communication from the University of Delaware. She contributes to the World of Psychology blog here on PsychCentral and has written for the Los Angeles Times. You can follow her on Twitter @summerberetsky.

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APA Reference
Beretsky, S. (2011). My Fears and Anxieties from A to Z: Part II. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 6 Dec 2011
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