My Cynophobia - fear of dogs
(Cardiff, Wales, UK)
I have no idea what started it, but I can remember a time before I was Cynophobic. There are some woods near my house which my family and I used to like walking in. A dog walked past us with its owner and I remember just watching it walk past. I couldn't do that any more.
I suffered from some anxiety disorders last year, along with depression and low self esteem, and some people believe that phobias are linked to that.
Now, if I see a dog, I will literally freeze, stare at it and walk away from it, as far as I can. If I am in my house and I have to go outside, I won't go if there's a dog in the street, even if it's on a lead.
The quickest way home from school is through the woods I mentioned previously, but I refuse to walk that way because there are dogs there, so I have to walk the long way home on my own while my 'normal' friends walk the quick way. Most of my friends have dogs so I've started dreading going to their houses, and make any excuse I can not to go. I'm not going to my friends' birthdays this Summer because of it.
If I see a dog on the TV or the internet my heart will race and I'll feel afraid. It's ridiculous and I know it is, but I'm hugely afraid. I've never been attacked by a dog but I have been chased numerous times, and my dad's been bitten.
My life is completely controlled by this phobia. I won't go anywhere if there's even the tiniest chance that a dog will be there. What doesn't help is the number of owners nowadays who let their dogs run wild - it's not fair on people who don't like them, let alone people who fear them.
I know one other person who had Cynophobia but they got a dog and they got over it. People always say, 'it's OK, my dog won't bite, he's quiet as anything', but they don't need to bite. I'm not afraid of that. I'm just afraid of the dog itself.
One day I'll get over it. I'll have to, because otherwise I will never be able to have a normal life.