It’s Time To Overcome Your Strange Phobias On Face Your Fears Day

Emily Brown


It's Time To Overcome Your Strange Phobias On Face Your Fears DayFX/Pixabay

Have you ever shuddered at the thought of eating peanut butter or felt nauseous at the sight of a book? There are all sorts of unusual and unexpected phobias out there, so on Face Your Fears Day experts have revealed some of the best tips for getting over them. 

For people with triskaidekaphobia, aka fear of the number 13, it’s unfortunate that Face Your Fears Day falls on October 13, but that’s all the more reason to try and overcome the phobia.

Everyone’s afraid of something, whether it’s heights or spiders, enclosed spaces or clowns, and while it seems like some fears have been with us since birth, others can develop after a particularly frightening experience.

ClownNishant Aneja/Pexels

Some phobias are more unusual than others, and it can be hard to understand why people are afraid of things that couldn’t obviously threaten the life of a human. Fear of heights? It makes sense, you might fall. Fear of a book – aka bibliophobia? That can be more difficult to comprehend.

Adam Cox, a Clinical Hypnotherapist from London, explains that phobias typically develop in two main ways, the most common of which is when they are learned from a parent or sibling that has the same or a similar phobia. The second is from a sensitising event, for example a fear of dogs can come from an early experience with an aggressive dog.

Adam told UNILAD that phobias of things that seem ‘harmless or friendly’ can be confusing, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real. Some of the phobias Adam has helped people overcome include a fear of balloons, and even fears of love or intimacy.


UNILAD went on a mission to learn more about some surprising phobias people have, and found Chloe, an 18-year-old from Pennsylvania with a fear of claymation – like Wallace and Gromit.

While many of us spent our childhoods laughing at Wallace being taken for a walk in The Wrong Trousers, Chloe never liked the style of claymation and believes her phobia developed over the years. Now, she ‘HAS’ to look away from the screen if it’s on, or else she starts to feel sick.

Aardman Animation

Elsewhere, Shannon Nguyen, from Orange County, California, discovered her fear of sloths after hanging out with a friend one day, when the friend joked that she looked like a sloth and pulled up pictures on Google for comparison.

Upon being faced with numerous pictures of sloths, Shannon immediately got chills all over her body and was unable to look at the screen without getting uncomfortable.

If you too are afraid of sloths, look away now:


Shannon told UNILAD:

I believe the phobia sparked when I was surrounded by multiple pictures of the sloths online and the facial features of the sloths with their eyes made me so freaked out, especially with their small heads and oddly shaped body and arms.

I personally avoid all videos or pictures of sloths on social media or tv… I can tolerate cartoon sloths but any real life sloths I would scream at the sight of one. There was this one TikTok I came across last year where it was slowly crawling on the streets towards a person and I jumped and put my phone at a distance in order to scroll past it.


Shannon probably won’t be able to watch any David Attenborough documentaries any time soon, but she hopes she’ll be able to get over the fear in time so she can join in with the more general opinion that sloths are ‘cute and adorable’, rather than ‘screaming’ whenever she sees a picture of one.

Lauren Rosenberg, another fear and phobia relief expert, said that unusual phobias come about in the same way as ‘common phobias’, explaining:

The person is scared of that particular thing because it reminds them of a big danger and therefore the subconscious mind learns to protect the person. The subconscious mind does not have any logic and lives in the present time so the person will still be scared as they get older if it is not dealt with.

Lauren has helped people deal with fears including labels, bananas, apples, holidays and shapes, and recommends that people work on their fear and get rid of it in order to enjoy the freedom from it.


17-year-old Kou, from the Philippines, developed her unusual fear of earrings when she was a child, before her seventh birthday. She believes the phobia was sparked by seeing earrings on display in the ‘very messy’ home of her aunt, and Kou ‘never liked looking at them’ as she thought they were dirty, and the thought of wearing one made her ‘gag’.

Kou refuses to wear earrings unless someone else is willing to put them in and remove them for her, and only if they remove it from her sight immediately afterwards. She feels ‘uneasy’ seeing earrings ‘placed down on any surface’ and can be made uncomfortable by other people’s ears.

Like Shannon, Kou hopes to overcome her fear and finally be ‘brave enough’ to be able to hold an earring in her hand.

Adam said he would ‘absolutely’ recommend people try and get over their phobias, as trying to avoid the trigger can actually make things worse.

He explained:

A recent client with a fear of blood has delayed essential surgery for over a year as he couldn’t face the idea of a blood test. Not only is it useful to get over phobias but it gives a huge feeling of accomplishment and increased levels of confidence once you’ve face your biggest fears in life.

When it comes to facing your fear, the hypnotherapist recommended three tips, saying:

Firstly, learn about the reality of your fear as many phobias are rooted in ignorance.

Secondly find someone that loves the thing you fear, as they will give you a different insight and perspective into your trigger.

Thirdly, it makes sense to slowly desensitise yourself by confronting your fear it a safe and supportive way.

Adam CoxSusannah Ireland/Adam Cox

Lauren pointed out that once you have made the decision to overcome your fear ‘you are already halfway to letting it go’.

She added:

Working on getting rid of your fear does not have to be complicated.

Phobias might sometimes seem impossible to overcome, but whether it’s the sight of Wallace’s clay smile, a slow-moving sloth or lots of really small holes that makes you feel nauseous, there’s no better time to attempt it than Face Your Fears Day!

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Topics: Life, Psychology

Emily Brown
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