Katsaridaphobia. Also known as the fear of roaches. I suffer from a moderate form of this phobia. It does not keep me from normal activities or disrupt personal relationships but it is very real to me nonetheless.
As with many phobias, mine is rooted in a past traumatic experience which was later exacerbated by another experience years later.
I grew up four houses away from my paternal grandmother, in the same neighborhood in which my dad grew up. One balmy summer night when I was about 7 or 8 years old, my mother gave me the task of walking to Mudda’s house to fetch the daily newspaper. When I arrive, Mudda is standing in the front doorway with the paper in hand.
As I am walking back in the middle of the quiet deserted street, I feel something on the back of my neck. Thinking it was the tag from my t-shirt, I reached back to tuck it back in only to end up with a huge cockroach in my hand. I let out a blood curdling scream as I take off running down the street, dropping the newspaper in the process.
My mother is standing in the door yelling, “What’s wrong?! What’s wrong?!” When I finally make it to where she’s standing, the tears are streaming down my face and in between breathless gasps for air I tell her that a roach was on my neck.
My mother’s reaction to my panic was that of a mother’s reaction to a bothersome child. My tears and fear seemingly annoyed her and she demanded I go retrieve the newspaper I’d tossed in the street.
And so it began. And so it remains to this day. You can run me a country mile with a cockroach.
About 5 or 6 years ago I was attacked by an angry group of yellow jackets. I was cutting the grass one summer evening when little Anthony from across the street asked if I had seen his pet rottweiller, Paco. I stopped and the mower came to rest next to the mailbox.
As I stand there chatting with my 7 yr old neighbor, there’s this buzzing near my ear and without giving it much thought, I fan it away thinking it was a fly or something equally harmless.
Well, to my horror, moments later I am surrounded by these nefarious little creatures stinging my arms repeatedly and buzzing around my head. In a panic, I take off running down the middle of the street, screaming like a banshee, in an attempt to escape the brutal onslaught. Then…I fall, as if being attached by the yellow jackets wasn’t enough torture, scraping both knees and bumping my forehead on the asphalt.
Had someone been lucky enough to record it, surely they would have won the grand prize on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Unbeknownst to me, the mower noise disturbed the yellow jackets’ nest which was in a hole in the ground next to my mailbox post.
Since that day, I have no love for the pollinating evil creatures. NONE! Only fear.
Hands around my neck make me extremely uncomfortable to the point of panic.
One night a girlfriend and I went out to a nightclub in Stone Mountain, GA and I wore the ‘hot as fiyah’ cat suit in the picture to the left. Being in my mid-20s, I had grown accustomed to the visual ogling from men in response to my derrière so much so that I stopped noticing when it occurred.
On this particular night, a young man decided that only looking just wasn’t enough for him and he grabbed my ass, cupping it as if it was a basketball and he was Lebron James trying to make a lay-up. I, not so politely, move his hand away asking him who the fuck he thought he was and telling him to keep his hands off me.
The next think I know, one of his hands (presumably the same one that cupped my ass) is around my neck and he has lifted me off the ground leaving my feet dangling like a rag doll. I do not recall what he said to me, if anything, but I do remember the fear.
This guy lifted me off my feet with on hand wrapped around my neck!!!!! The thought of it still makes me queasy.
I have shared my experience with the last two men I’ve dated, both of whom were initially shocked then proceeded to tease me about it. One would even fake coming at my neck with his hands in a choking fashion. Yeah, dude…not funny. Even in an intimate encounter, if he moves his hands on my neck, I tense up and squirm while moving his hand.
Will I ever get past the phobias? I don’t know. How will I get past the fear? I don’t know. What I do know is they are all very real to me.
Do you have any phobias? If so, what are they?