Phobia through the ages


Expression Despair Hand Scared Fear Horror

Helen Chao

As children, we have all swept a cautious glance around the house when home alone. As the skies outside darken to an inky black, we wait in tense anticipation for the yellow searchlights of our parents’ cars to sweep across the windows. Some of us refused to be tucked in bed, sure that death was awaited us in the form of a hairy ogre lurking in the depths of the closet. The spider in the shower was sure to be our death sentence and the swimming pool was as deep as the Pacific Ocean, chlorine water ready to envelope and swallow us whole.

Nowadays, these fears litter our consciousness like dust from our childhood.

For some of us, however, our “fear” isn’t simply being scared of the dark; it manifests itself as agoraphobia, arachnophobia or claustrophobia. In this timeline, we’ll look at the development of the word “phobia,” an anxiety disorder in which the afflicted has a serious and extreme fear of certain situations and objects.