Mottephobia Affecting Life
by Rebecca C. B.
For many years I've suffered from what some call an "irrational" fear of moths, Mottephobia. I know I haven't always had this phobia, and I can recall what I believe started it.
I was around 9 or 10 years old, and I had gone into my basement looking for a dress that my sister wanted. I went to a rack of old clothes and started shuffling through them, when I came across a sweater. As I moved it, three moths flew out. They flew right toward me, and around me. The way they moved their wings and how fast they went plunged me into my first panic attack. I was on the ground, arms over my head, crying and screaming like crazy, when my mother ran down. She rushed me upstairs and I told her about the moths. She said they were probably more afraid of me than I was of them. I highly doubted that.
I'm 17 years old now, and I've never stopped being afraid. About four years back, me and a few friends were walking across an empty field. Past the field was some tall grass and trees. We decided to go through there, too. As we walked through the grass, moths came up. They were surrounding me, and I ran like hell. I kept running until I fell, out of breath. My friends came up to me and asked what was wrong, and when I told them about my fear, they laughed. They knew I was serious, but it was funny to them. Most girls are afraid of spiders, not "silly little moths". They couldn't understand how I could be afraid of them.
When I went home that day, I got on my computer and searched "fear of moths". I learned that it was colled Mottephobia, and that I wasn't the only person with this fear. There are so many websites for people afraid of moths. I felt a lot less crazy.
I have tried explaining this phobia to many people; my family, my friends, my boyfriend of three years. No one really understands.
I feel like I attract them somehow. In the summer, as soon as I walk outside, I see a moth. In the winter they hide in my house for warmth. Once, while I was at my boyfriends house, a moth flew right over my head. He killed it, which I thanked him for. Ten minutes later, two more moths came. I ran into the bathroom until he told me he had killed both of them. He tried making jokes, like "they were probably coming after me for killing their friend", but I wasn't very amused. I honestly feel like I can't get away from them. They always show up.
It's awful when I'm with a group of friends, and a moth flies overhead, and I scream and scream until its gone or someone kills it. "It's only a bug. It's smaller than a mouse. It can't hurt you." That doesn't make my fear go away. It's something I can't control and it's something that haunts me.
I live a normal life. I don't stay inside from fear of moths. But when I'm out and about, and one comes along, I turn into that 10 year old girl in the basement, screaming and crying until someone helps me.
I'm afraid of other things like big beetles, being alone in the dark, and creepy noises at night. But they aren't phobias. They're just tiny fears.
Moths send me into panic attacks. They strike up a feeling of absolute fear in me. Its unbearable sometimes.
The only thing this phobia has given me is empathy. I used to wonder how any person could be afraid of the number 5, and laugh at people being afraid of mirrors. As I've grown older, I understand how they can be afraid. It's the same way I'm afraid of moths.
People with phobias can't "just control it". They don't choose their fears. They may be unthinkable, they may seem harmless, but our fears are real.