When you bear in mind the number of people who suffer from phobias and other connected conditions such as depression and anxiety, why are people so reluctant to understand and appreciate the struggles of sufferers? Independent estimates suggest that 350 million people around the world suffer from depression but still it remains a hidden illness? Is it simply a case of out of sight out of mind?
Those who have suffered from a phobia will be well aware that very often there are other underlying mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. These particular conditions can bring on a whole host of phobias relating to situations which a person would never have given a second thought in years gone by. We hear of individuals who have flown by aircraft for many years and then suddenly they develop a phobia of flying.
Many experts believe that physical ailments, such as a broken arm for example, attract attention and sympathy because people can physically see the problem. The situation in relation to phobias and mental health conditions, which can very often have a more detrimental effect on an individual's life than any physical illness, is very different. In many ways it is a case of "out of sight, out of mind".
If you ask phobia sufferers what kind of comments their conditions attract one phrase which is repeated time and time again is along the lines of "pull yourself together and get over it". Could you imagine telling someone with a broken leg to walk home? Would you send someone with temporary blindness out into the big bad world with no help? Of course the answer is no, so why do individuals feel the need to dismiss the suffering of those with phobias?
In many cases it is down to ignorance, a total misunderstanding of the situation and thankfully, from their point of view, a lack of experience. When you bear in mind the number of people who suffer from depression and anxiety, along with an array of phobias, the chances are that individuals who dismissed your phobia will at some point develop their very own. Will they dismiss their own condition? Will they expect sympathy and assistance? Will they regret dismissing the pain and suffering of other phobia sufferers in years gone by?
Living with a phobia sufferer
It takes a very special person to live with somebody suffering from phobias, to know when to cuddle them and comfort them and when to dish out tough love. Those living with phobia sufferers will also see a major impact upon their lives through no fault of their own. However, for some reason those living with phobia sufferers have even fewer helpful resources available to them.
While there are a number of recovery programs available, as well as help and advice, the fact is that no one phobia sufferer is the same. They are different individuals, they think differently and they react differently which makes treatment more vital than ever at the earliest opportunity. It is very easy to "go in yourself" and cut yourself off from the wider world which itself is unhealthy and can lead to significant depression and more anxiety. Without treatment this can very quickly create a vicious circle but thankfully help is available, treatments are being developed all the time and more people than ever before are recovering from phobias and learning to live again.