Why am I afraid of holes?

Why do I have a fear of patterns, holes, or marks that repeat themselves? I get chills, very itchy, I can't breathe, and feel very anxious when I see eaten corn cobs, honey combs, repeated holes, or trees with bumps all over the bark. It's very disturbing to me. I've only known two other people with this reaction. How can I get over it? Exposure therapy?

THERE'S SOMETHING CALLED TRYPOPHOBIA, which is the fear of holes or clusters of holes. READERS: don't google it because you'll see some images that will give you the phobia if you don't have it yet.

No one know why it develops, and it isn't really an "official phobia," (i.e., there's no Wikipedia page for it) but all phobias develop in the same ways. One way is through a traumatic incident associated with a pattern. Maybe you saw something gross on TV while eating matzah (a traumatizing experience in itself). Or maybe you just saw a friend react to something with holes are learned vicariously to do the same. Then again, maybe you're just more easily grossed out by things. Truth is, it doesn't really matter that much why it exists; what matters more is how you handle it.

Exposure therapy is a good idea. I'd suggest you aim to tolerate being uncomfortable rather than eliminating your discomfort altogether. Make a list of 7 things that scare you from least to greatest. The first 4 you'll just imagine. The last 3 you'll actually be looking at live. Every day, take 5 to 10 minutes to imagine or look at the object. If you freak out that's okay, it'll pass. Just try and keep your breath slow and flowing, nothing else. Eventually you'll calm down, the itching will stop, and you won't feel anxious. When this happens, you can stop the exercise. Every week, move from one object to the next. Again, the point isn't to make your reaction go away, but to make you more tolerant of your discomfort. The rest will happen naturally. Lemme know how it goes.

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