by Heidi Nelson
From getting the creeps from crawlies to freaking about flying, fears of one kind or another are fairly common. Many celebrities even suffer from phobias. Within the ordinary spectrum, Johnny Depp is wigged out by clowns, Scarlett Johansson can’t handle cockroaches and Carmen Electra stays away from bodies of water.
But the world of phobias is stranger than you might think. Billy Bob Thornton is a chromophobic—which means bright colors make him yellow-bellied, and believe it or not, he also fears antique furniture. David Beckham has a very orderly phobia—he’s afraid of disorganization and untidiness. Then, there’s Woody Allen, afraid of such odd things as sunshine, deer, children and many more.
While there’s nothing funny about being afraid, it’s hard to stifle at least a chuckle at perhaps the two most deliciously ironic phobias out there. Fear of long words is labeled hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia (eek!), while the fear of having a phobia is known as phobophobia.
Aside from the regular, empirically proven therapies, people seek all kinds of quirky treatments for their phobias. In some cases, patients imagine watching a movie of themselves experiencing their phobia to distance their fear. Still others swear by tapping acupuncture points while thinking about their phobia. And, of course, many turn to hypnosis—there’s even a self-hypnosis audio CD touted to quell fears. Of course, if you’re hypnophobic, this might not be your best option…