Snakes, spiders, needles – those are typical phobias.
But Jason Mitchell’s fear?
“I was just terrified from the very first sight of this alien.”
The well-known ‘80s alien, E.T.
“If the movie comes on TV, I get flashbacks. The heart starts beating. I start sweating a little bit. Those scenes are burned into my brain,” Mitchell said.
And he isn’t alone when it comes to unique phobias. There are all sorts and numerous books written about them.
Some you may find bizarre: there’s a fear of numbers called arithmophobia; fear of the moon is called selenophobia; and even aulophobia, which is the fear of flutes.
“Really getting at the beliefs that roaches won’t kill you, E.T. won’t kill you, you won’t die from this.”
Doctor Drew Curtis is a counseling psychologist and the author of Abnormal Psychology: Myths of ‘Crazy.’
“We have ideas of people who have phobias as crazy, and we rarely think of them as suffering from the disorder,” Dr. Curtis said.
While his first encounter with E.T. happened when he was just eight-years-old, Mitchell still suffers as an adult.
“Just give me a second. Take my time. God…at least you didn’t put his face on there.”
“This sounds kind-of counter-intuitive, but you would expose the person to what they’re scared of,” Dr. Curtis said.
So they would have to face their fear?
“Yeah, sure. Simply stated. Face your fear.”
“I’m afraid to face my fear, I guess you could say,” Mitchell said.
Dr. Curtis says turn to a therapist. You can also get anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications.
Another recommendation? It’s simple: breath and count to 10.
“One instance in your life could have a profound effect on your mind forever. You never know what that might be, especially when you’re young,” Mitchell said. “It may even just be something that you think is insignificant, but it can really affect them in a profound way.”
Mitchell vividly recalls the first time he saw E.T. He says it started in the third grade, when Sister Mary Lucille had him watch the movie on the last day of school.
As for those phobias and fears, experts say they are learned behaviors and not all of them are bad. For example, you learn as a child not to put your hand in a light socket.
Fears like that one are meant to protect you.