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Most people have at least one mild phobic anxiety (like fear of small places, fear of water, fear of cats, fear of snakes, etc.). In fact, most of us have several. For example, I’d rather be a cannibal’s shish kebob or a shark’s bait than to ever be trapped at an elevated height, in a MRI torture chamber, with a snake. Some people are afraid of the dark – no problem for me. Some are intimidated by large crowds – I think they’re cool Some are scared of cats – I have 6. Some run from the room screaming at the sight of a mouse – I’d like to be their friend. But, tiny, closed in little places, demons without limbs, and heights terrify me.
It’s amazing to me to think that there are people out there who associate with snakes, or who fly in planes, or who can have an MRI without yelling, “Call the whole thing off! Get me outta here.” Yes, yes, I did. (The technician talked me off of my emotional ledge and we went on with the procedure.)
Most of us just avoid the things we hate the most and our lives are none the worse. But there are people who’s fear interferes with their day to day lives. I read a story once of a woman who was afraid of spiders – her fear became so great that she darn near stopped leaving her apartment. I’ve also heard of people who are so afraid of storms, they hide in their basement the minute they see clouds.
People who have anxieties to this extent desperately need to talk to someone. There’s help available, right there for the asking. These people are at a much higher risk for heart disease than are other people, with fewer anxieties.
Several studies have suggested that anxiety and anger are associated with an elevated risk of sudden cardiac death. This is when death occurs within one hour of the onset of symptoms; it’s usually associated with a lethal heart rhythm disturbance.
If there is anything in your life that, on a regular basis, causes you distress or anxiety – look into treatment. See your family doctor – he or she will be able to point you in the right direction.
Make each moment count double,