Papyrophobia

17.3.13


I can see you all being slightly baffled  at the title of this post. What does it mean? 

Well it's a phobia. Not just any phobia. A phobia I have. 

Papyrophobia is defined as a pathological, irrational fear of paper. 

It could either be a clean sheet of paper or crumpled paper or even the size of the paper. Others who are suffering with Papyrophobia fear the ripping of paper and even wet paper.
Mine is the latter. Wet paper, wet tissue, wet newspaper… All make me truly shudder. And I can't even say the word s-o-g-g-y. Urgh!
Some people can't stand spiders or snakes. Or maybe heights. For me it's walking into a toilet cubicle and finding wet toilet roll on the floor. 
It's hard to say where it really started. I remember having swimming lessons at the age of seven and being truly freaked out by the dirty wet tissues that had fallen from the sleeves of other swimmers when they changed. 
It's got worse as I've got older. I don't like going to public swimming baths or even public toilets. I really struggle at festivals and on nights out. 
Moving to London intensified it. 

When it rains there seems to be wet newspaper EVERYWHERE. I find myself walking round on my tip-toes just so I don't have to walk with my foot fully on the ground just in case the worst happens and some gets caught on me. And it has happened… 
One evening I was heading home from work tip-toeing about in the rain. Stepping on the escalator I realised there was something between my foot and flip-flop. 
Looking down I saw it was a piece of newspaper. WET newspaper. 
What happened next involved me looking like I was having a massive fit as I tried desperately to shake it off, shrieking. 
Londoners are used to weirdos doing very strange things and often ignore. But the sight of me doing some crazy dance had them sniggering though a couple of kind souls actually did ask if i was OK. I wasn't. But was when I managed to get to the bottom and scrape it off my foot onto the wall. 
Then there was another time when I was heading to Victoria station, again in the rain. 
I was pulling my suitcase when it suddenly became very heavy and hard to pull along. I glanced down to see wet newspaper had been caught up in it. And there was a lot. 
Yelling, I abandoned my suitcase and took a few steps away from it, terrified that some of the paper might actually get stuck onto me. 
What am I going to do? I thought to myself. 
I began to panic, There was no WAY I could get the paper off myself. I mentally was trying to think what was actually in my suitcase, was it really worth anything, could I just abandon it? 
All these (crazy) thoughts were passing through my mind when a nice man, obviously sensing my distress came over. 
'Are you OK?' he asked. 
'Er, yes, I just don't like wet tissue, and there is loads caught up in my suitcase,' I say. I felt like I could cry.
'I'll sort it out,' the stranger kindly offered. Relief flooded through me. 
I turned away as he does the job. 
'All done,' he said, bringing the suitcase over to me. 
'Thank you so much. I don't know what I'd have done without you. Can I buy you a coffee to say thanks?' I said.
The man smiled at me. 
'I've got to get on,' he said. 
He was polite but I could see in his eyes what he really meant: 'There is no chance I would take a coffee from you, you utter mentalist.' 
I didn't really blame him. 
Another time I was in a bar in Liverpool when my friend Shauna said we had to leave.
'You wouldn't be able to cope with the state of the toilets,' she said. 
I shuddered as I realise what she meant. 
There are countless other stories but this post is freaking me out just writing it! And I obviously can't illustrate it with too many pictures because I wouldn't be able to ever look at this post again… 
Phobias are mental. I think it would be a lot easier if I just didn't like spiders… 
Do you have any phobias? And do you think I am crazy?!  

12 comments:

  1. Its no crazier than having a spider phobia! London must be terrible though, there's always paper everywhere!

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    1. Thank you for making me feel normal Vic! There really is always paper everywhere... Nightmare!!

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  2. Definitely not crazy at all, it's always least obvious ones that I find most normal. I have couple of odd ones, firstly a phobia of tall buildings (I believe it's called batophobia), namely looking up at them and being terrified that they will fall on me. Even more specifically, I am terrified of electricity pylons, to point that looking at them in the distance makes me nauseous. The second is Charlie Chaplin, I have no idea how it came about. My mum has a fear of polystyrene, we're an interesting family.

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    1. Oh wow, tall buildings! I can understand this - when I was in New York i couldn't look up for too long! And I can totally understand about Charlie Chaplin - creepy.
      I think our odd phobias make us interesting and endearing!

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  3. I love your wet tissue phobia. ;p

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  4. Reading your post made me wana cry, coz I have the SAME problem n m so sick of it n shy to even tell people about it !! I some how took the courage to google it now n out popped ur post. I'm glad I found someone like me but now I'm so sad for both of us :( (

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    1. Oh no, poor you!! It's horrible especially as no one takes it seriously!

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  5. I totally know how you feel. I suffer from the same phobia. Wet tissue paper is literally my worst nightmare. I cant eat at places where tissue is littered everywhere and I especially hate going to clubs or bars where the toilets are a hot mess with wet tissue all over the floor. Its a ridiculous phobia I know but I've been suffering from it for as long as I can remember. I've been the butt of many of my friends' jokes, and have since earned the nickname Tissue Issue Girl.

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  6. Omg for since i can remember I've dealt with this I thought I was the only one who suffer from this phobia it is the worse I hate it people really don't understand man I hate public restrooms but its worse when I wear like tennis shoes but when I wear slippers it doesn't bother be as much I don't know its pretty weird

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  7. Oh, my gosh!! I have suffered from this phobia my entire life. I finally looked it up today, and your post came up. Having this phobia is the worst because no one understands it...

    When I was young and my family would eat out at a restaurant, the used napkins littered everywhere on our table, the grease-stained paper, it would all freak me out. Especially when something was greasy, wet, and torn. Unfortunately, my brothers realized this and would try to touch me with the paper, causing me to shriek and jump up from the table. My parents then got upset at me because I was making a big deal "over nothing". It's good to know I'm not the only one who suffers.

    Unfortunately, the school cafeteria was even worse because no one knew about my fear, so wet paper was EVERYWHERE. Even the milk cartons. I couldn't drink from them because when you opened them, the cardboard where you were expected to put your mouth was soggy and fuzzy. I shudder at the very memory.

    Also, is it just me, or does it freak you out when someone peels the wrapper off of a plastic bottle, and there's just the sticky residue left with bits of the wrapper? It honestly makes me want to throw up.

    Anyway, thank you for your post. It was very encouraging for me (even if the pictures did make me gag)!

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  8. Oh my god I am so happy to have stumbled across this blog! I, too, am burdened with this phobia. At times I found it difficult to read, especially about the newspaper on the *shudder* bottom of your foot.
    I have the added stress of also being afraid of stickers, which suddenly became more real to the members of my family, and not just in my mind, when my sweet, beautiful, innocent two year old niece came up from behind me with a sticker in her hand and attempted to put it on me saying "Here you go, Auntie!" and my immediate reaction was to scream "Get that away from me!" at her and violently push her away from me with both hands. As her little butt landed on the floor her eyes were wide and startled and filling with tears. My brother-in-law got up in my face and my sister just looked at me with a weird little grin and said "Oh my god, you were serious about that." I felt horrible. I'm usually much more in control of my reactions.
    On an end note, this is a difficult time of year for me: Spring. Layers and layers of garbage slowly being exposed in melting snow. The sun is shining, the air is warm, and I'm stuck inside staring wistfully out my window because I find it impossible to go outside without a reason. I look like a fool walking down the sidewalk like it's a giant hopscotch board, staring at the ground. Of course I am also outside in my yard obsessively collecting and throwing out every tiny piece of freshly uncovered trash -- hands double gloved, of course -- so I don't have to look outside and obsess about it.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing and I'm glad to know I'm not alone!

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