It Is Not a Fear, It Is a Phobia: Time to Hear Their Side of the Story

People don’t have any idea about how is to have a phobia. Phobia is not synonym of fear, because fear is a feeling possible to control, however this doesn’t apply to phobia. Phobia is stronger, it is considered a disease. It is an irrational and uncontrollable thing that can happen to anyone at any moment of life, no one choses to feel it, and who has it, wishes that was able to control it. It is something that makes us feel like a kid for only a few minutes, but it is enough to ruin the rest of our day. There are many types of phobia as well as there are many levels of it, everyone has your trauma, with or without explanation, it is important to respect. For Bia Matera, people divide fears in acceptable and unacceptable and that just don’t make sense. Fearing is normal as Camilla Napolitano explained “Every person has a limitation, mania, way of living… The fear is a personal thing to everyone”.

There are many ways to interpret a fear. Some see as a bad thing that brings disable and stuck sensations, which makes us have the idea we are inferior, weak and delay comparing to people. Crying was a common reaction to these situations and not only experiencing it, but seeing a video or photo. The feeling of impotence for not being able to fight against it is suffocating to Isabelle Bolani, who has fear of lighting, or it made Aria Park felt stupid and force herself to see universe (the thing she has phobia) videos at home “I almost passed out”, which she was embarrassed to tell others about it “No one talks about fears and when they do, they don’t have the same as mine”.  Fearing is related to a kid thing and nowadays everyone wants to be seen as brave no matter what. Bruna Miato summarized the idea of having phobia “Rationally, I know it is a stupid fear, but, on time, I just despair”.  

Others interviewers see it from a different point of view. Brunelle Dubieux, who has duck’s phobia, doesn’t see her phobia as a bad thing, only her own thing. The same idea as Maria Allice Freire, who justified that there is a story behind it. For Débora Lima, who has phobia of spiders, is a body alert, a danger warning. Some girls think that it is not necessary to overcome their phobias, but to learn how to deal with it that is how Milena Alvarenga accepted hers. Gabriela Salinas confessed to not feel pressured to lose her bee’s phobia “Everybody knows how tough it is to me”. Débora Romanini revealed to feel neglected, because when she panics, people don’t do anything and minimize her sensation. On the other hand, the pressure not always comes from the outside, Letícia Yarmalavicius reported that she also pressures herself to overcome it. Camila Alvarenga, nevertheless, found a way to overcome it by doing a tattoo of a butterfly (the reason of her phobia) on her nape and it is in love with it.

Camila Alvarenga’s tattoo

The difficulty of accepting a phobia is directly related to others’ opinions. Most of the girls informed that people laugh about it with comments that reduce their real effects as “chicanery” or “overreact”. That is how we concluded that people usually want results and changes and don’t do what they can to help.  Giovanna Prisco narrated that people open a lot of pictures of clowns to show her knowing she feels terrible. At school, a classmate of Maria Allice Freire sat behind her just to whistle all the time and everyone supported him “People laughed while I cried about it”. Manuela Barbosa also commented that she is afraid of telling people about her phobia, fearing they will do something that make her feel that way. Stephani Santoro clarified “Who is reasonable, respect. Who isn’t, provoke”. Luckly, Milena Alvarenga seems to have experienced the second option, as she guaranteed that from the moment she says she has phobia and treat as a serious subject, people don’t ask anything else. As well as Anna Paula Dechechi that, when she tells about her phobia, people also tell about their fears “It is not the same thing as phobia, but it is good to know that I am not the only one”.

However, as I said, they are the exception here. People just don’t understand and neither try. Giulia Quintanilha believes that they will only change that when they witness a situation or it happens to them. However, it is important to emphasizes that we don’t ask you to understand it, but respect, which involves not to treat as comedy show. It is sad to think that something that make someone cries can make other laughs. Letícia Rodrigues was sad to point out “It bothers me when people minimize my phobia” which can be calling “drama” or “lie”. Karolina Sobral blurted “To debauch and mock my fear annoy and hurt me”. Milena Alvarenga listed another stressful situation: associating her cockroaches’ fear to the fact she is a woman. Lígia Menezes affirmed “I have a phobia and no one can reduce my feeling”. Débora Lima questioned why it was so difficult to understand that it isn’t nice to her to look for something that makes her terrified even being so small, while Camila Alvarenga was passive “I understand that is a funny thing when I tell about my phobia, so I just don’t care anymore”.   

It is extremely disrespectful when someone obligates other to overcome a phobia and not only doesn’t work, but make the situation worse, because the girls challenge theirselves, which is constantly distressing and frustrating. Nothing will reduce this feeling, as Malu Freitas exemplified “It doesn’t work to say it won’t hurt me”. The idea of overcome has to be an initiative of the person who has phobia. Anna Paula Dechechi, for example, concluded that she doesn’t need to face her phobia, only avoid to be in these situations. In contrast, Isabela Mori felt she needed to overcome it. As she sees our mind as our enemy sometimes, she reinforced that we have to say to ourselves “enough” and command our lives, so she looked for help and learnt some methods to relax “With Yoga, I am a new person. I reborn”. Mariana Chiarelli agreed that phobia is something to face “I know I need to overcome it and I also want to study and know the reason for that. I don’t want to feel this forever”.   

The interviewers were asked about what they would like to say for people who don’t respect their phobia. Camilla Napolitano was controlled “Think about the thing you fear the most (being real or not) and remember that a person lives with it and no one takes it serious”, Mariana Chiarelli was rational “You can’t judge if it is right or wrong if you don’t know how it feels”, Milena Alvarenga was sarcastic “Take care of your own life is a good thing”, Andressa Rosa simplified “Stop” and Aria Park was fervent “I hope you feel the same way one day”. In opposition to that, Giselle Gonçalves wishes people never to feel the phobia sensation, because it is despairing. Having phobia also make these girls accept better others who have it, they may not understand that specific phobia, but they understand how it feels “it’s an empathy feeling” mentioned Manuela Barbosa, “I don’t contest neither expect to change others’ phobia” explained Maria Allice Freire and Anna Paula Dechechi tries to not reproduce the same inconvenient comments that she hears. Camila Alvarenga finalized “I just think that our fears can’t prevent us to live”.