Herald and Journal
Herald & Journal, January 25, 1999

To phobia is panphobia itself


There seems to be a phobia for everything. In fact, a fear of everything is called a panphobia.

Many women might think that men suffer from gamophobia - a fear of marriage. Some people might suffer from audraphobia - a fear of men, or gynephobia - fear of women.

If a person has a fear of heights - acrophobia, can a fear of gravity - barophobia - be far behind?

Maybe a person who refuses to get a job isn't lazy after all. Maybe that person has ponophobia or ergasiophobia - fear or work - or hypengyophobia - fear of responsibility.

Criminals might be said to be afflicted by dikephobia - fear of justice. God-fearing people could be called theophobic, and many of them may believe that hadephobia or stygiophobia - fear of hell - are good phobias to have.

There are those who are afraid for their health. A person who has nosophobia or pathophobia has a fear of disease. A fear of medicine is pharmacophobia. Vaccinophobia is a fear of vaccination.

Of course, if a person develops phobophobia - fear of developing a phobia - it's already too late.

Superstitious people might display signs of triskardekaphobia - fear of the number 13. Or maybe they have phasmophobia - fear of ghosts.

I just thought of something. Perhaps the greatest quote by President Franklin D. Roosevelt was from his first inaugural address. When referring to the Depression, he said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

If he said "The only thing we have to phobia is panphobia," would that phrase have as much effect? Maybe not.

People who have mythophobia - fear of myths and stories - may not be able to bring themselves to read this column. But then, if writers and reporters had graphophobia - fear of writing - no one else would be reading it either.

If at first you don't succeed . . . live with it.

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