Phobia – (n) an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. Gasps. Deep breaths. Wide eyes. All these features accompany phobias. Different people have different fears yet we all seem to have something which gives us goosebumps and makes us run the other way.

You might have a fear of dogs or cockroaches and so walking down a street can be terrifying because you might encounter a stray dog or a gigantic cockroach. You may fear flying and so you avoid travelling via planes. However, other phobias may be less common and not only are they harder to deal with because few people experience this fear, but you may occasionally be mocked for having such a fear making it even harder to deal with.

So what do you do if you have a weird phobia? Firstly, don’t feel ashamed of this fear. If you yourself can’t even accept that it’s something you might need help with, how can you begin fighting it? Secondly, challenge yourself.

Phobias can be hard to deal with and the first thing one is tempted to do is suppress the fear. Try introducing elements from your phobia into your everyday life so that they start to seem normal as time goes by.

You can also try and find out why you have this phobia. Did you have a horrible experience as a child? Did you watch a movie or read a book which could have had a negative influence on you? You might not know anyone who has the same phobia as you, unlike for instance people who have more common phobias, but don’t give up! Talking about it helps even if nothing can be done to really help you. You never know, you might end up finding out that someone close to you shares the same fear and you can help each other out.

Before you think I’m some expert, I’m not. I just happen to have a weird phobia myself. I have what is known as bovinophobia, a fear of cows. Of course, if your phobia controls your life, you can always seek professional help.

Written by Claire Caruana.