Sugar and Spice Advice – Black Cats and Other Phobias

Black Cat
Black Cat

Halloween is a week away. Ghouls, ghosts, and
zombies come alive on Halloween. Witches conjure
evil brews, while Dracula hunts for someone tasty
to eat. And by all means, don’t let a black cat cross
your path or you have just invited bad luck into your life.

Halloween is great fun for many. The streets come
alive with people in various costumes hunting for
some Halloween goodies. It’s all the time for ghost
stories and hexes, and superstitions. All harmless,
right?

Not all phobias are related to Halloween. And some
phobias are turned more into jokes and puns. I think
we have all indulged in the thought that something bad
is going to happen on Friday the 13th. Most think it’s
a fun superstition, and some take it a little seriously,
but many consider the fear of the 13th to be very real.

Now think about another superstition that hospital
staff indulge in- the full moon. Many hospital workers
find that the full moon causes more emergency room
visits, higher acuity patients, and a flood of odd
cases to come in the sliding doors. I know I have
heard co-workers invoke those beliefs after a busy
night. The pull of the moon on those nights affects
the tides. This much is true. But bring the crazies out?
Doubtful.

There is actually an entity named “The Stress Manage-
ment Center and Phobia Institute.” Their statistics
show that 21 million Americans feel some anxiety
about Friday the 13th. Some people go so far as to
alter their personal and business decisions, and even
their travel plans.

I can’t remember which hotel I was in but as I was
standing in the lobby waiting for the elevator to
take me to my floor, I noticed that the elevator num-
bers jumped from 12th to 14th. I asked the bell hop
about it and was told that some people felt the num-
ber thirteen was bad luck and so they didn’t list it.
Was there a 13th floor? Of course, there was. In count-
ing properly a person doesn’t jump from 12to 14 un-
less counting by twos. However, it seemed to calm
patrons by not having a number 13 posted.

Some fear is a good thing, some as being afraid when
someone is chasing you. This triggers the fight or
flight response making you faster and stronger.
But, unfounded or exaggerated fear can cause panic and
paranoia and is considered a phobia. Common phobias
are a fear of heights or enclosed spaces.

Phobias are a condition of the mind which can cause
physical reactions like rapid heartbeat, shortness of
breath, and tremors. When this occurs phobias are
serious and no longer fun. Phobias  can be debilita-
ting.

Here are some helps:

Recognize triggers and respond
appropriately. Anxiety can bubble up when certain
things are present. Anticipate your reaction to those
stimuli and take steps to stop them early. If you feel
anxiety coming on, take a walk, concentrate on your
breathing, or focus on a peaceful thought or object
that gives you comfort.

Stay nutritionally balanced. Huh? What has that got to
to do with this? Things like sugar, tobacco, and caffeine
can also worsen anxiety. Eat a healthy diet, and avoid
using food or drink as a way to handle the phobia.
Find healthier ways to combat your fear, like writing in
a journal, exercising, praying, or meditating.

Find a support system. Talk to a family member or
friend. If you are embarrassed talking with someone
like this about your fears, get the help of a pastor,
counselor, and some other neutral person who is a
good listener.

When phobias impact your quality of life and you
live with frequent bouts of anxiety start working
to manage them so they don’t manage you.

SUGAR AND SPICE ADVICE is brought to you by SUGAR
and SPICE DESIGNS, purveyors of find handcrafted soaps,
           bath salts, greeting cards, and beanies.

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