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Don’t recall that phobia? Have no fear. I just made it up. Even as book and blog ideas have been rolling around in my head like loose marbles on an interstate for a while now, I have not been able to gather enough thoughts at one time to form a complete sentence. And, if I could, I tend to forget where they are by the second sentence or word, thus watching helplessly as the marbles roll in and subsequently out of my noggin. Until today. So, now what?
This whole time, I’ve been under the influence of Sonowwhatophobia. Those who have MS can certainly understand the concept. The question, “So, now what?” becomes as knee-jerk as punching the pizza delivery speed dial button. With each annoying symptom, new attack, battery of tests, onslaught of information, doctor visits, or medication changes and additions, the chance of developing Sonowwhatophobia increases. Nice, huh? So, now what?
I have noticed people living with MS have more than a few phobias in common and these fears usually come as packaged deals for many of “us”. Polyphobia. (Multiple fears) Oddly, while researching phobias, some MS fears did not appear along with the predictable ones. I was ready to call the Wikipedia people. The following a short listing the missing phobias those of us with MS can accrue:
Bendophobia: the fear of bending over, becoming dizzy, off-balance and busting your butt. Walmartophobia: the fear of being in Walmart on one end of that monstrous store and needing something on the other end, thus having to maneuver the length of a football field. Usually, just for masking tape or a can of soup. Knockophobia: the fear of running, walking or knocking into random stuff and people. Furniturephobia usually coincides with this one. Mysterybruiseophobia is a long one, but self explainatory: the fear of finding some odd new bruise and having to wonder for days just where in the world it came from. Attireophobia: the fear of clothing with back zippers, the notion of stepping into pants, hose or underwear without a face plant or hanging a toe, and anything which needs to be tied. Charadeophobia: the fear of having to act out the words you forgot.Butyoulooksogoodophobia: the fear of feeling like a gigantic cat hairball and having someone say, “But your MS can’t be that bad, because you look so good.” Thus, prompting a sarcastic reply, the urge to throw a shoe (slip-on, of course), or, if you are inclined to be a nice person, smile, cringe and go on. Believe me, depending on the course of my MS and the symptoms, more fears are probably lurking…So, what now?
I did discover some professionally acknowledged phobias which MS can prompt. These are very real, can be grouped into the polyphobic arena yet nonetheless scary: Basophobia, the fear of falling down. Thermophobia, the fear of heat. Getting hot turns “us” into concrete, triggering kopophobia, the fear of fatigue and also, asthenophobia, the fear of bodily weakness. Bathomophobia: the fear of stairs, even just one. Elevators, escalators, muscle stimulators, canes and wheelchairs ease this one unless you are boneheaded enough to risk atychiphobia, the fear of failure, just to prove a point. Ankylophobia: the fear of immobility and needing help. Put a star by that one. Glossophobia: the fear of speaking. MS can affect speech. Sometimes, by slurring words or by the inability to get out the words desired. Trust me, talking and walking like a drunk college freshman is only amusing to a drunk college freshman and most Reality TV stars. This phobia worsens when you aren’t drunk and have no dibs on a TV contract with “Snooky”. Trypanophobic: the fear of injections. I don’t have this one, but I have see those who do…it’s not pretty and can be traumatizing to the ones enduring shots or IVs. Soteriophobia, the fear of having to depend on others. That one hits a personal nerve. Gelotophobia: the fear of being laughed at. Nuff said. Macrophobia: the fear of long waits. If you have ever had to wait on a doctor or struggle with endless patience, plastered with “red tape” while your insurance play tidily winks to decide if they might cover a needed medication or procedure, label yourself macrophobic.
H.P. Lovecraft stated, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is of the unknown.” Well said. Wish I could have thought of that while all of my random marbles were rolling around chaotically.
So, now, you’ve probably guessed what. EVERYONE has fears. The healthy, the happy-go-lucky, the rich, everyday Joes, children, caregivers, NASCAR drivers, cancer and other disease patients, families and survivors. There are also those who cannot pay their mortgage or feed their families. Everyone is afraid at some point. Afraid of holes? There’s a fear for that. Afraid of nose pickers? There’s a fear for that. Afraid of knees? Yes, there’s a fear for that. Wasps? There’s a fear for that because I have it.It’s huge; Spheksophobia.
So, now what? No one is perfect. (Yes, there is a fear of non-perfection.) My best advice is to seek that which can guide you. Hunt for people with whom you can honestly commiserate, support and be supported. I am a part of a group of people, all of whom happen to have MS. We talk. We guide. We listen. We share. We gripe. We care. This blog is for them. You know who you are. So, now what? I’m gonna get outa here and hang with my family and MS family. Don’t be afraid to tag along and, as always, be kind in whatever you do.