Life with Phobia: Mid-to-Late Stage
Mid-to-Late Stage Ichthyophobia
I can’t search ichthyophobia online without pictures of fish flooding my screen so I’ve learned to not search. I’ve learned to avoid it, to scroll fast past anything on my screen. I move quickly around the market, I run past the tank on high street, I become alert at the smell of frying fish, I run, I cry, I escape.
There’s no way I could be at this stage in my process of unlearning, of listening to, of facing my phobia without all the years of avoidance and triggers and collected memories regarding fish. There’s no way I could be doing this work without having established the kind of relationship I have with myself, with my inner child, inner teen, and intuitive process. Maybe other people can pursue release from their phobias without having cultivated those relationships with self but I personally don’t believe I could get this far in my healing.
I used to think fish were an isolated fear, that it was just fish, that it didn’t mean anything more than what it was—fish. I didn’t know that fish is only a mask for the deepest pain that I could hold. I’m still learning what fish is a mask for, I’m learning that fish is a mask for a lot of different things, that there are a lot of layers, that not everything is as cut and dry as —> this is why. I’ve searched for the why, I’ve begged for the why, but there was no way for me to see the why even a few months ago. I don’t think I’m even trying to find the why anymore, I think I’m here trying to slowly move towards fish. To find our similarities instead of getting trapped in our differences. The terror is still present, but I feel like there’s newness to our relationship.
I move towards the fear, I walk into the water, I open my arms.