Design

What’s Your Irrational Fear?

Deep Dark Fears

Whenever I take a shower, I always keep one eye open. Even when I’m washing my face or shampoo drips into my eye. That way, I’ll be ready to break out a kickboxing move if this ever happens.

The comic series Deep Dark Fears is a collection of illustrations about people’s anxieties. Even if you don’t quake with terror over the thought of zombie doppelgängers, hearing other people’s worries can make you feel slightly better about your own…

Deep Dark Fears

Deep Dark Fears

Deep Dark Fears

Deep Dark Fears

Share your random fear in the comments, if you’re feeling brave…

P.S. Do you have a phobia?

  1. Whitney says...

    I have this really bad fear of dirt at random times (like now) but it’s weird because I’m not a clean person. In fact I’m very untidy which doesn’t help when the fear kicks in. This one time (today. Tues 22 March 2016) I was walking home because I forgot my buspass. Something happened with my clothes and they started chafing and I wanted to go to the next bus stop and sort it out. On my way there I remembered it wasn’t a bus stop most people go to. I started really anxious thinking of the dirt that could have piled up there. The closer I got the more intense this feeling got. It was terrible, especially when I didn’t live in a place where the streets are anywhere near decent so I kept skipping over bird poo but I got so whiney on the way there I ended up crying. I don’t remember when this began but I think it was when I watched this gruesome movie a couple years back.

    Even now I’m in bed but I can’t stop moving cause my skins so irritated.

  2. Rachel says...

    I’ve been behind on my blog reading this week but felt a compulsion to chime in here- my irrational fear is breaking my ankles, particularly while walking down stairs or any sort of incline. I had two bad ankle sprains playing basketball in my early teens (on the same ankle, and on the exact day two years apart, May 7!) so I think that’s what sparked it. I live in Colorado where things like hiking and climbing are very popular, but I am so afraid of snapping an ankle on my way down that it often keeps me from going with people I’m not that close with. In college i visited a friend in Scotland, and she took me to the William Wallace freedom tower outside of Glasgow. Walking down that windy staircase almost brought me to tears! Also, I’m not very into shoes with much more than a 2-3″ heel. I am extra cautious about irregularities in the sidewalk, and suspicious dark spots on concrete that may or may not be black ice.

  3. Alice says...

    I have two phobias, and in both cases it’s not about fear or trauma, just intense and anxiety-triggering disgust. My phobias are:
    Tomatoes. Yes, I know. But it is a registered phobia and quite common to have with a specific vegetable or fruit, called Lachanophobia.
    Jewellery. Really. I’m disgusted to touch or even see someone wearing it, specially gold. A NASCAR pilot recently came out with it and it is in process of being considered a regular phobia.

    I hope that helps someone going through this bizarre stuff. You are definitely not alone!

  4. Jennyg says...

    I have a fear of balloons! It is crazy and makes me look even crazier when I’m piercing my ears shut in case they pop. I actually love balloons I’m just afraid of them popping unexpectedly. I call it ballonaphobia.

    • Johanna says...

      It’s a legit phobia! It’s called globophobia, and I’m a fellow globophobe. Kids birthday parties are nightmares for me.

  5. These are so fascinating and funny to read!! Some of these I share (someone hiding in the bathtub in a dark house when I’m alone… fish and unseen slippery things in murky lake water… being sucked out of an airplane window).

    One I haven’t read yet (and hope I’m not weirdly alone in) is my fear of randomly being stuck by a dirty needle and getting infected with AIDS or Hepetitis. It started in middle school where someone told me people would hide used needles in the coin return of payphone booths (was this even a thing in the 90’s?!?!?!) and ever since then I’ve been paranoid that I would get stuck by a dirty needle at random – on the bus, picnicking in the grass at the park, at a concert, in crowded spaces in general. I’m even scared of getting my blood drawn at the doctors or giving blood for this exact reason!!!

    When I write it out like that, it sounds insane.

    • Natalie says...

      Becky,

      I totally heard that urban legend when I was a kid, too. I don’t think about it as often as I used to, but it’s totally a lingering fear – I’m not afraid of needles, but I’m afraid of them being in places I wouldn’t expect and getting stabbed by an infected one, for sure.

  6. Kristen says...

    Revolving doors freak the HELL out of me. Even if there’s no one else coming from the other side or it’s really wide and slow, I’m scared I’ll get a limb trapped when it’s turning! AHHHH I’m anxious just writing about it!!

  7. Michelle says...

    I am terrified of being buried alive. I am a registered organ donor, and I’m all for the helping people part of the deal, but its mostly so that when I go in the ground I am 100% not waking up.

  8. Lori says...

    EVERY time I walk into our bathroom, I look behind the shower curtain… just in case. I also keep one eye open while washing my face, etc.

    • Whitney says...

      I do that too. I hate it when the shower curtains are drawn shut. Sometimes when I’m home alone I have to check every room in the house but for some reason when that happens I purposely leave the toilet alone thinking ” because it’s the last place I check thats it’s at!” (I still have no idea what “it” is but yeah…

  9. For some reason I am terrified that one day we will realize someone has been living in our creepy basement. Also snakes. I hate snakes more than anything else on this earth. I cannot even see a picture of them.

  10. Hahaha! This series is hillarious! Thanks for sharing with us. My most irrational fear is the toilet flush on public restrooms. I don’t know why, but that sound gives me the creeps!! I have to wait till I’m about to get out to flush and run away as fast as I can :D

  11. Leah Gail says...

    My irrational fear is very random…

    I played on a recreational adult volleyball team and was terrified of the ball hitting me in the eye socket and creating a vacuum that would suck my eye out. When I did get hit in the eye-region, I’d also worry that there was delayed damage and I’d wake up blind in one eye.

    A couple years ago, I read an article about a baseball player losing an eye after getting hit in the eye socket and felt oddly vindicated.

  12. Avery says...

    I know being afraid of heights is a thing, but I have a related fear that I’ve never encountered in anyone else– fear of steep upwards travel. I used to have dreams all the time that I’d be driving up a road or taking off in a plane completely vertically, wondering what no one else was afraid we’d tip over backwards. When I’m driving the car up a steep hill, I always have to work really hard to stay cool.

    And there’s a movie theatre in Toronto with a reallllllllly steep long escalator and a movie screen at the top angled to match the angle of the escalator that I cannot ride on without staring at my feet and holding my husband’s shoulder. If I look up, I feel like I’m travelling completely vertically and just NO.

    • Jen says...

      I have totally had the same kind of dreams!

    • Andi says...

      I was just going to post this same fear! Mine is primarily for driving up steep roads, and my dreams will often include some terrifying near vertical drive. Thank goodness I don’t live in San Francisco or near mountains.

  13. Julie says...

    Last year my city had a pretty serious problem with nuisance bears. Now whenever I have to walk nearly in the morning (on garbage collection day especially), I’m constantly on the lookout for bears. Even though it’s winter and they’re hibernating, I can’t help but wonder “what if?”

  14. emma says...

    I live with my son who is now 16. When he was little, I was terrified I’d die in my sleep and he would have not be able to ask for help and would have found himself alone with his dead mother and therefore scarred for life. I was so afraid that I couldn’t get to sleep unless I had arrangement with someone who would call me every morning to check If I were alive. This went on like three or four years…
    On the other hand, I had a huge arachnophobia (couldn’t even see pictures or drawings) but since he’s born THEY just make me uncomfortable. (Because I felt I had to play it cool, I guess)

  15. Caitlin says...

    I have to sleep with my hands closed in case a ghost tries to hold my hand while sleeping. It’s so silly as I don’t really even believe in ghosts. Yet every night, I go to bed with my hands tucked under my head, holding onto a pillow or the blanket.

  16. Samantha says...

    I have many irrational fears, but this is the most ridiculous one by far: When I see a girl that looks like she could be my boyfriend’s type (blonde, pretty, fit) I get this deep fear that he will meet her and like her and leave me. So I get very anxious thinking about how I really hope they never meet. And it’s not like I’m not blonde, pretty and kinda fit myself, or like my bf doesn’t make me feel loved or desired. I’m just really afraid he’ll go crazy for someone else and leave me:(

  17. If I ever felt like I was going insane, I would re-read this post. These are great!

    I used to have the irrational fear that the pergola over our deck would collapse. I would wake up at night if the wind was too strong or I heart a suspicious noise. Seriously, this kept me up many nights. Until one night my husband and I woke up and found our pergola collapsed on top of our deck! I never even heard it happen! A bear pulled on a very large feeder we had hanging there and decided to pull the whole thing over.

    It’s now rebuilt and I’ve never had that fear since.

  18. 1. The concept of infinity scares the bejesus out of me. Totally unthinkable. 2. I can’t understand how anyone would want to go on one of those cave exploring trips where at certain points along the way you have to shimmy on your back between massive rocks to get through to the next part of the path. No way in hell in sandwiching this precious body between or under anything so incredibly heavy. What if there were an earthquake at that exact moment??? 3. Falling asleep on my back. I may wake up with someone trying to suffocate me. Yikes.

    • ariana says...

      Word! The Universe? So large and inconceivable.

  19. Ha! These are great! I feel so much less weird!
    I have a few:
    1. While my fiancé is out of town, the world will end and I’ll have to run for it on my own. I’ve slept with jeans and shoes next to the bed before!
    2. That my legs will get a mind of their own on the top of a tall building and I won’t be able to stop them from making me jump off.
    3. That I will look out on my back deck after it snows to see foot prints leading up to my sliding glass door and firmly planted like someone was looking in.
    Ah!

    • Julianna says...

      1. Sometimes when Im laying in bed waiting for sleep, I think what if I woke up in the middle of the night and the front door was just like hanging wide open!

      2. What if there is a massive earthquake while Im at work and the bridges I take home across the port all break and I cant get home to my loves.

      All of my other fears are all too rational so ya…(insert crying laughing emoji face here)

  20. Twyla says...

    I have an irrational fear of walking over grates on sidewalks. I’m terrified one is going to give way and I’ll fall a thousand feet. I can’t even look down them.

    • Barbara says...

      So do I! I will JUMP out of the way if one happens to sneak up on me lol

    • Kristine says...

      Me too!!! Will force everyone to avoid iron grates. Not easy in NYC, New Orleans, Charleston, San Francisco, LA!!! I will stand and wait for people to pass before I move forward.

    • Clare says...

      I have this fear, too! I aways walk around them. I’m also scared of falling down concrete stairs and cracking all my teeth out. Psycho.

  21. Loesie says...

    Butterflies. Birds (no matter what size!). Driving on steep roads and then ‘falling’ all the way down. Needle pin turns.
    Clowns.

  22. Brit says...

    My greatest fear is that I will be stuck in a job (and a life b/c that is where most of our time is spent) in a job that I hate. That I will just be stuck in the rat race, living paycheck to paycheck, forever complaining about my boss/customers/policies/etc. until I retire and look back like what have I done with my life? I just had a woman who retired from my job tell me she did that and it shook me to my core.

    • Rachelle says...

      I have borderline panic attacks about this every few months. Just this feeling of what am I doing with my life – am I really just going to work 40 hours a week with a few weeks of vacation a year and maybe a week or two off every time I change jobs FOR THE NEXT 35 YEARS until I retire?!?!?! I can’t do that! And then I sob and wish I was back in college because I had no idea how good I had it.

  23. I’m absolutely terrified of anyone touching my achilles tendons…it doesn’t make me feel sick, or ill, just like I might actually die if someone does it!

    • jessica says...

      me too!!!

  24. I often times am afraid I will fall down the down escalators. This fear gives me such anxiety when I’m on them I actually get dizzy therefore increasing my chance of falling! I typically take the stairs when I get a chance. I especially hate the Smith 9th St. subway stop.

    • Loesie says...

      yes! Totally recognize your story.
      Try riding the subway escalators in London… I had to look down all the time!
      Love that city so much, but those escalators…

    • Yes. Couldn’t agree more! My husband and kids think I’m a loon.

  25. I cannot look in the mirror in the dark, still afraid of that “Bloody Mary” tale! Also, scared of driving in alleys in case someone comes speeding out on a bike from one of the driveways!

    • Me too with mirrors at night and Bloody Mary! I attended a traumatizing sleepover in the second grade and this fear has been with me ever since.

      I also jump onto my bed at night, in case something’s under it waiting to grab me … even though I now have one of those beds with built-in drawers so it’s impossible for anything to be under there…

  26. Ellen says...

    These fears are all much more interesting than mine! My greatest fear is definitely either (a) having a window unit air conditioner fall out of my apartment and cause some kind of damage or (b) having a window unit air conditioner fall out of someone else’s apartment and land on me. They just seem too heavy to be hanging out there in the air like that…

  27. okay that poop comic totally made me laugh at my desk at work. totally agreed with the mind reader though! i always catch myself when im thinking of something totally weird. i have a really stupid fear of walking on wet tile/wood floor (anything slimy) barefoot. i know it’s so silly, especially in indoor pools or shared showers but i always think im stepping in someone’s pee…. so awkward

    hammyta.wordpress.com

  28. in my old age i’ve become maudlin and dramatic: i worry about my husband getting ill (he has a family history of sickness etc) so any little thing that happens i want him to go to the dr.

    i also have a massive fear of running out of a gas or getting a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.

    • Carmen B says...

      Me too. I’m terrified of being stranded somewhere due to car problems.

  29. anabanana says...

    Hotel Carpets…yikes!

  30. Tonya C. says...

    I live alone and before I go to sleep I have to check the coat closet, linen closet, bedroom closets, and under my bed. If anyone is “lurking”, then I’m alert to fight. My fear is being attacked while I’m asleep and defenseless. Oddly, I don’t check the above “danger” zones when I have company. :)

    • Lol. You’re not the only one.

    • Christine says...

      Me too! If I am particularly scared (like I watched a scary movie), I’ll even check the scary spots with a knife in hand. Ha. I’m such a dork.

  31. Ashley says...

    I work in an office on the second floor, with an escalator leading directly from the lobby to our reception area. At night, when the receptionist leaves, she turns off the escalator and closes this huge accordion over the top of the escalator and locks it for security. In the mornings I have this crazy fear that I’ll be going up the escalator and realize she left it on but closed the top, and I will be running back down the escalator forever! I think about it so much!

    • Ashley says...

      Been thinking about this all morning now, and I have to add…
      Someone rubbing my eyebrows backwards. Looking at the baby monitor and seeing someone else’s face staring right into the camera. And I share with other readers the fear of something in the toilet bowl jumping on my bum (especially at night).

    • Natalie says...

      Oh my gosh, yes… The baby monitor one! I don’t have a baby (and likely never will) but my imagination is WICKED and I often think about how scary that would be to see something or someone other than your baby in the monitor. *shudder*

  32. Madeleine says...

    I live in Africa so I’m afraid of a lot of creepy crawlies that always get into the house somehow (parktown prawns, rain spiders etc…) I’m also petrified of toads and in particular I’m scared of stepping on one while we walk the dogs at night. Lastly, I’m very scared of the bottom of the ocean….if that makes sense….

  33. Janani Krishnan says...

    When I’m in the swimming pool I’m always worried sharks or whales will suddenly appear (through the little water holes in the pool)!

    • Julianna says...

      ME TOO!!!! Hahahaha love how silly these all are.

  34. I hate driving over causeways. I’m so afraid I’ll end up in the water if I swerve the miss a squirrel or something. For the longest time I was so grateful for my old crank windows in my VW but now I have a car with power windows and so I slow down to old lady speed on bridges. I need one of those windshield-breaker-thingies.
    ALSO when I was in college, I could not fall asleep the first night until I figured out a way to get out of my room if there was a fire. My Junior year I was in a building that EVERYONE said, “If there was a fire, everyone on the 4th floor would die.” I was on the third floor BUT STILL.

  35. Mkw says...

    Why is it that this paranoid person had to also read through all the above fears? I just collected new phobias! Caves; snakes; and driving over water when my car goes in and my electric Windows/locks short out. Trapped! Aghhhhh. (I grew up in land-locked North Dakota. Now travel with a special hammer to break car windows. Not for vandalism. For my peace-of-mind.) Oh. And I am afraid of bats. Especially under toilet seat covers. I know. Dumb. But that last fear was related to me by an elderly friend who had this happen on a trip to bathroom late at night. Now… Anyone else collect a new fear from this post? Sorry.

  36. H says...

    I’m afraid spiders (or any bugs) will crawl into my privates while I’m going to the bathroom.

    • Amy says...

      at first your fear sounded generic, but then it became very specific. definitely made me lol! :)

  37. Lauren E. says...

    Totally agree with those who’ve said seeing someone standing behind me in the bathroom mirror. Also, even if I’m the only one who’s been in the apartment for hours, I will check behind the shower curtain when I go into the bathroom. JUST IN CASE.

    • Natalie says...

      Oh, I’m with you on all of these 100%.

  38. Ana says...

    I loved reading everyone’s fears; we have so much more in common than we think! I am Team Fear Of Someone Lurking In The Mirror; Team Fear of Ankles Being Grabbed When Getting Up In The Middle Of The Night; Team Shower Curtain Of Doom; and Team Should Never Have Seen “I Am Legend”.

  39. Becca says...

    Lakes. The lake we went to growing up, specifically, but all lakes in general. The bottoms are so slimy and so gross that I wore water shoes to avoid touching my bare feet to the bottom. And they are self-contained so who knows what weird things lurk under the murky surface. Lake houses are musty and dark and like something out of a horror movie. And don’t get me started on the woods that usually surround lakes – terrified. I would basically not sleep for the entire week’s vacation and I stopped joining my family as soon as it was acceptable. I just went back to my specific nightmare lake for the first time in years with my husband/daughter/friends – still not a fan.

    • Hayley says...

      OH MY GOSH, LAKES! Lakes for sure. I am getting all shivery just thinking about those slimy bottoms. I don’t like not being able to see where my feet are stepping.

  40. Connie says...

    These are so comforting. Really. I have trypophobia, which is apparently coined as the fear of clustered holes (We’re talking barnacle-like patterns, rashes, etc.). It makes my heart race and my stomach get flip-floppy. I had to type it into google to figure out how to spell it, and of course, cruel google posts images to accompany the definition…so, yeah. I only figured out it was an actual phobia a few years ago. Before that, I was the only person I knew who had that. It was sort of unburdening to realize there are a bunch of us!

    I’m also pretty freaked out by horses, and really heavy rain (But I think that one is really just a wild fear of having to spend money on a new roof on our house if things leak).

    • YES. cannot see anyyyyything with little holes or dots. gives me the chills all over my body. it’s horrific and makes me feel sick!
      hammyta.wordpress.com

    • Ellen says...

      Oh my god! I never knew my irrational fear of certain textures had a name! The first time I remember having trypophobia, I was a kid and I saw a rock that had the creepiest texture of little pockmarks and I was so grossed out, I couldn’t get the image of it out of my head for days! I’m glad to know that I am not the only person who has this reaction.

    • I had never even heard of this phobia and then I made the mistake of googling it and now I’m scarred for life. I want to throw up.

    • Rachelle says...

      I wouldn’t say it’s quite a phobia for me, but the skin pictures in the google result definitely give me the heebie jeebies and I’m a bit woozy thinking about it. I’ve always felt super strange about eating lotus root tempura too, but it’s so good!

    • Natalie says...

      I agree I should not have googled this at all it made me nauseous! Totally gross and scary.

    • this fear of mine is HUGE. I remember when I was a teacher and discovered a student had this same fear – the first time I heard anyone else had it! Why is it soooo terrifying?

      Definitely never googling it. BLEGHHHHHHHH NO

    • Beck says...

      @Meg – just did the same thing, I now know not to google phobias ever again!!

  41. Bridges! Driving off of one! My heart races every time I have to drive over one!

  42. Anna says...

    I have acrophobia and balthophobia (fear of heights and depths).
    But my random fear is connected to David Lynch’s Blue Velvet scene where a guy finds a cut off ear in a meadow. I saw just a glimpse of that scene as a child and have slept with my ears covered ever since. Even if it’s a record breaking hot summer night. Arrrgh, you David Lynch.

  43. These are fantastic! I am so terrified of spiders it’s ridiculous. While driving one time I started screaming over a spider. My poor husband could barely keep the car driving I was dreaming out so bad.

  44. Stacie says...

    Ah, yes, I feel the same way in the shower! And I’m also terrified of clowns…

  45. Samantha says...

    When I go to the toilet, I’m afraid a snake is going to bite my bum. I’m now 31 but I did grow up on a farm in Africa where this was a possibility. A frog once came out of the tap while my sister was having a bath. Her phobia, of course, is frogs.

    • Laurie says...

      A frog appeared in my toilet one time — and we live in suburban Maryland, not Africa! I still don’t know how that happened, but now I’m scared one will be there and I won’t see it before I sit on the toilet. I’m also afraid of high bridges. The Chesapeake Bay bridge terrifies me. Even more so since someone was recently pushed off it by a tractor trailer!

  46. Rachel says...

    I’m afraid of sleeping in a room with real life looking dolls (i.e. American Girl dolls). I’m always afraid they’ll come alive and watch me during the night. I know it won’t happen but it freaks me out to no end. I blame my dad for letting me watch Child’s Play when I was a kid.

  47. nohatnogloves says...

    I do not like flying. I am afraid of something terrible happening to my children. I do not hang my hand over the side of the bed at night. Otherwise: sane and functional human being. The first two are reasonable, the last is nuts. Nobody would get under my bed in case they choked on dust. It is my master plan…

    • AuntHo says...

      Hand off bed! Hand off bed! I CANNOT. I haven’t ever really considered why it freaks me out, and I’m not going to (!), but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

  48. Shirin says...

    I travel a lot, for work as well as for pleasure, and I always sit at the window so that I can rest my head and sleep easier.
    I often have irrational thoughts about the window or the whole side of the plane disappearing and getting sucked out of the plane.

    I often wonder if the seatbelt will keep me inside the plane if this ever happens…

    • Amy says...

      Dude… right after reading your comment I saw a report about a guy getting sucked out of a Somalian plane. CREEPY!!!

  49. I think that when I sleep and my foot hangs over the bed, that a monster will come and drag me away. Secondly is my biggest one, that when I swim alone, there is a monster frog in the drain of the pool, waiting to swallow me or attack me as I swim over the drain. EEK!

  50. Elspeth says...

    It is just so interesting reading these!
    I am also not a fan of leaving the wardrobe (closet to you guys) door open as I sleep! I actually dream about it if I don’t close it!! Isn’t it funny how so many of us are like “but I know it’s unfounded and could/will never happen”. We acknowledge our own irrationality and yet have the fear, funny, huh?!

    • Fiona says...

      When I was really little, I used to be afraid there was something in the closet — and then when I was six or so I realized that if I just LEFT THE CLOSET DOOR WIDE OPEN (I could see right into it from my bed), I would never worry about something hiding in it because, see, empty! Also worried about something under the bed grabbing my ankles when I got out. As a grownup, I have a platform bed with storage drawers, so no worries!

  51. This post is so interesting! I also have some rather irrational fears and I know they are silly but I have them all the same. I have so many like locking the doors from inside but fearing they remain unlocked from the outside. I also have a fear that somebody or something supernatural is standing in my room in the dark when I’m in bed. For this reason I always face my bedroom doors before I fall asleep, even if I feel really uncomfortable and the whole side of my body goes numb. Only when I fall asleep would I move position. Haha. This is more so the case when I wake up at 3am. There’s just something about that time that gives me the creeps! I also can’t look at the end of my bed in the dark or in any mirror after some creepy stories that I’ve heard. Also, I too always immediately lock my car doors and check my car backseat and behind the seats in case a crazy person is hiding there. *realises I need help*

  52. Callie says...

    This is more of an irrational fear, but I really can’t stand being near the office supply thing that looks like a claw that removes staples! I know it’s bizzare. Also, recently I’ve become afraid of a) having to live somewhere with dirty, dark carpet and b) low ceilings that slant inwards!!

    Great topic and love the honesty!

  53. Callie says...

    This is super weird, but I really have a weird emotional reaction to the little claw office supply item that removes staples and looks like a claw. Also, recently, I’ve been getting scared of having to live in a place with dirty carpet and low ceilings that slant inwards (I know how crazy that sounds, but it’s the truth!)

    Great topic and love the honesty!