Ayla is 21-years-old and is in her final year, studying Screenwriting and Film Studies. Ayla decided to get involved with Student Life to share her experiences in the hope that it will help and inspire others.
Everyone has a fear or phobia of some sort. This phobia might be of something physical; spiders, the dark, exams, or even heights. For others this phobia might be so intense that it stops them from living their everyday life; a fear of open spaces (agoraphobia), or a fear of social situations, for instance.
Although the terms ‘fear’ and ‘phobia’ can interplay, it is thought that a fear is a short reaction to perceived danger, usually relating to an object or animal. A phobia, on the other hand, causes a prolonged sense of anxiety in the individual, usually resulting in a panic attack, and is triggered by a situation or even the thought of it. Phobias can make individuals feel depressed or even more anxious because they feel like they can’t overcome them. So, if you’re looking to tackle a phobia, here’s just a few ways you can take that first step!
When it comes to phobias people have a hard time opening up about them because they feel ashamed or embarrassed. However, telling someone can make it seem a lot less scary than you think it is! I would recommend talking to a counsellor or therapist about your phobia, especially if it is affecting your life. You will probably realise that your phobia is very common and a lot of people have been through the same thing!
I recently heard of something called ‘Graded Exposure Therapy’ (I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds!) Exposure Therapy is a form of CBT in which the individual is gradually exposed to the phobia. This usually involves steps that are repeated until the individual starts to feel confident about each step. You could even write your own small goals and targets that you could do to help you overcome your phobia. But remember, the steps must not be skipped!
Overcoming a phobia is a big thing and you can’t do it alone. When conquering your fear, perhaps take a friend or family member to support you. Someone who makes you feel safe and at ease. Realistically, what’s the worst that can happen?