Some things people are afraid of are easily avoidable, so most people do not see the need to get over their fears. As I read about phobias, the list of them are amazing. Did you know that erythrophobia is a fear of blushing? There is also a new phobia that people are dealing with; nomophobia which is the fear of being without a cell phone or computer, basically remaining out of touch with technology.

Ever since I was a kid, I have had this unreasonable fear of sharks. My mother thinks it was because she watched the movie Jaws when she was pregnant with me. Who knows where these unreasonable fears or phobias come from? Experts say most are caused from a stressful experience, a frightening event, or a parent or household member with the same phobia teaches the child to be afraid of it. I can understand people who have had a frigtening or terrible experience, but I have not had such an experience with sharks. Delving deeper into some research, more complex phobias are believed to be caused by a combination of genetics, life experiences and brain chemistry.

I live in a northern climate and there has never been a shark attack on swimmers or even divers in my area, so this seems like an unreasonable fear. This fear led to watching the Discovery channel show Shark Week every year in fascinated awe as I learned about these creatures. After living my life avoiding the ocean except to pick sea shells, I had an urge to try to get over this fear.

This summer I went to several gorgeous white sandy beaches in my province and even an inland salt water lake. I took my beach towels (learned quite quickly that you need more than one), sunscreen, bug spray, a wide brimmed hat, a book, some snacks and a blanket. My aunts and mother have chairs for the beach as they are seasoned beach goers. The first time was feelings of trepidation and panicked, but I ventured in, to the encouragement and eye rolling of my aunt and mother. I enjoyed playing in the waves so much I almost did not hear the song from Jaws every time I looked out into the ocean. Since then I have gone deeper even up to my shoulders, but still not too far from shore, and I do not have any panic moments when I head into the water. I will probably not go swimming in the ocean in southern waters if I had the chance, where there are in reality a lot more sharks in shallow water, and I feel like my fear is more justified in southern waters.

That is the key I think about fear, we humans tend to be able to justify our reasons to ourselves, but when others give valid arguments or facts why your reasons are not really justifiable perhaps a reconsideration of the situation is warranted. Don’t get me wrong, I think caution and protection against your fear is justified in different siturations, my point is that perhaps you need to know where the line in the sand for you is between justified and unreasonable.

For example, if people are fishing and putting bait into the water in the area, I would not swim there as the chances of getting bit by a shark is more, or if several people were attacked by a shark in the area I would avoid it as something is going wrong there as well. If there was an area with a seal population, for example, I would not swim there as one of the species of sharks during the summer and fall in my area is the Great White shark and I would not want their favorite prey right beside me, that seems like asking for trouble :).

But, at beaches where no one has even ever seen one and in an entire coastline where no one has ever been bit, my fear seemed unreasonable.

Have you ever experienced phobias, if so, are you or did you get over them? Are you even willing to try?

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