We are all irrationally afraid of something. For instance, seeing a bear in the wild doesn’t bother me, but a mouse will have me running and screaming.
Fear is a healthy response that our bodies need in order to keep up safe, so why does a tiny rodent that is of no danger to me elicit a feeling of terror?
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a phobia is an “extreme, irrational fear of a specific object or situation.”
Phobias may be irrational, but that doesn’t make the situation or the fear involved any less real for the person suffering.
If you’re finding yourself to be one of the few people staying as far away as possible from the beach, or any large bodies of water this summer, you too may have a phobia.
Thalassophobia is “an intense fear of the sea; a clinical phobia characterized by extreme and irrational fear of the sea.”
While it seems like everyone is itching to head towards the ocean, it is actually not uncommon to be deathly afraid of it.
Specifically, many people are terrified of the vastness of it, and are frightened by the idea of being far from land or in water so dark and deep that they have no idea what could be lurking below.
Standing on the edge of an underwater cliff might be exhilarating for some, but people with thalassophobia are probably made very anxious.
Even seeing a particularly spooky underwater image can send chills down their spine.
Phobias are thought to be a combination of nature and nurture.
While you may have inherited your fear of the ocean from your mother, who shares your fear, it can also be triggered by a negative experience.
If you had a scary ocean experience, you could still be nervous around deep water to this day.
If these photos still leave you on the fence, picture this spooky scenario:
You’re out on a boat and decide to go swimming off the side. You’re totally safe and can get back on the boat at any time, but you’re out in open water, hundreds of feet over your head, and you have no idea what could be swimming just underneath you.
Does that scenario make you nervous? If so, you may be thalassophobic.
On a Reddit thread dedicated to thalassophobia, a user shares:
I went out on a friend’s pontoon and we stopped in the deep area to jump in for a swim. They had some goggles that I was using. I looked down at my feet and I could see them clearly. PERFECTLY clear. My perfectly visible feet, though, had this backdrop of the darkest black I had ever seen.
If this story sends chills down your spine, you may have uncovered your deep, dark fear.
A lot of the fear is based on the possibility that unknown creatures could be lurking underneath your feet.
Perhaps an enormous whale is swimming right underneath your tiny boat, just waiting to tip everyone into the cold, deep blue.
Or perhaps you’re at the beach and still have two feet firmly on the ground, but don’t know if minnows or crabs could be swarming around your toes.
Both are examples of thalassophobia, striking in totally different scenarios.
If you can relate to any of these stories, or if any of these photos give you the creeps, you may be one of many people who suffer from this phobia.
Do you have thalassophobia?
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