Is there anything that you are afraid of? Anything that you try to stay away from? Everyone has their own set of fears. Sometimes there is a reason for those fears, sometimes not. A phobia is a persistent, irrational fear of an object, activity, situation or person that leaves a someone with a compelling desire to avoid it no matter how much reassurance of its safety this given.
What happens if someone encounters the object of their fear? They could feel dread, nausea, or breathlessness. They could sweat excessively or lose the ability to think or speak clearly. They could lose control and become angry. Detachment from reality is a possibility, as is a full-blown anxiety attack.
One of my favorite television shows is Monk. Sadly, the series has ended. If you ever watched any of the episodes, Iím sure you are at least casually acquainted with his many phobias. He was scared to death of several things. Some of these feared objects are common phobias or fears, like his fear of snakes; some of them were not so common, like his fear of milk.
Phobias are an excellent way to make your characters unique. Give him or her a strange phobia to set him apart from all of the rest and show how it affects his daily life and interactions with others. There is a list of phobias longer than you could ever imagine. Over time, I will try and cover them all.
The extreme fear of chickens is called alektorophobia. Those who suffer from this phobia arenít just afraid of being around chickens. This fear also extends to chicken eggs or feathers. A fear of contamination because chickens eat their food off of the ground is also present. There are a few that fear even cooked chickens, but most of the time this phobia manifests itself around uncooked or live chickens.
Your character has alektorophobia. This doesnít slow life down much, as it is easy to avoid chickens, dead or alive. Then his uncle dies and leaves him a million dollars. Before he can receive his inheritance, there is one thing the will states that he must do - he must stay at a chicken ranch for one week and take care of the chickens himself. Will he be able to do this?
This next phobia would definitely make life interesting and challenging. Vestiphobia is an overwhelming, irrational fear of clothing. In todayís society, walking around unclothed all the time just isnít socially or legally acceptable. People who suffer from this fear may insist on wearing loose, over-sized clothing. If they suffer from an extreme case of Vestiphobia, they may withdraw from society completely and live out in the middle of nowhere so they can run around naked all the time.
Your character with Vestiphobia is blessed to live in a society where clothing is optional. Then one day he walks through a time portal and goes back to the time when the Pilgrims had built a colony in the New World. Clothing was definitely not optional, it was a requirement. What happens?
Coulrophobia is fear of clowns. A person who suffers from this phobia would definitely not want to visit a circus. But there are more ways than going to a circus to run across clowns. Filmmakers and authors - for example, Stephen King - have made use of this abnormal, exaggerated fear of clowns. A person who suffers from coulrophobia could also fear covering up oneís facial features with face paint, feeling that someone who hides their face is up to no good.
Your character has coulrophobia. It isnít hard to avoid clowns, unless your family works with the circus. Your characterís parents just happen to be part of the biggest circus around. And their best friend is the clown. How does your character deal with this? What is the underlying reason for his phobia?
Peladophobia is a fear of bald people. Your character has peladophobia. So all she has to do is avoid relationships with people who have no hair. This is easy to do, until she walks into work one day and finds out her boss has been replaced - by a bald man. Even worse, this is a guy she went to school with who had a crush on her. Could he be the reason she has this phobia? Or will he be the one to help cure her of this fear?