I once had a friend who was terrified of escalators. I cannot remember her precise reasoning but I do recall it was from an experience in her childhood. Perhaps her shoelace got caught on the escalator or it might just have been that she had a gruesome fall. Whichever incident took place caused her to fear riding escalators and, later, became a phobia. As Collins English Dictionary describes, “a phobia is an abnormal intense and irrational fear of a given situation, organism, or object” (Collins 2009). In my friend’s case, she had intense desires of avoiding an object; the escalator. She was afraid, and possibly still afraid, of repeating her childhood demise. In high school, we had a theatre class together and took a trip to a black box theatre in Kansas City. In the building where the theatre was in, there was, as expected, an escalator. The girl I knew couldn’t even look at the escalator without horror. Instead, she took the stairs.
My point to all of this is that phobias have a psychological impact on their victims. Knowing there was going to be an escalator in the theatre’s building made this girl exceptionally anxious. She panicked and couldn’t stop thinking about what would happen. A phobia, as a result of physiological alteration, is a mental disorder and, as such, is an internal conflict. Individuals with phobias are consistently reminded of these fears and develop plans to avoid them. The real fear that was created was placed there subconsciously. Meaning, these individuals are unaware that they have created this fear and the instinct to avoid it. They are victims of themselves. Now, every time they are faced with this certain situation, their conscious is battling their subconscious.
phobia. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved October 26, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/phobia