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My fear of exhaust fans - Printable Version

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My fear of exhaust fans - rosalee - 07-24-2008 11:14 AM

Hi. I have been searching high and low for info on a fear of exhaust fans and can't find a thing. I can't believe there is no one else out there. I am very gradually getting better as I approach my 30s, so it doesn't affect my life as much now, but I still freeze when I see one and start sweating, feel sick, heart starts beating etc. I am not afraid of it "sucking me up" as everyone asks me, nor did I have a bad experience with one when I was young - it is just a really bad reaction that I can't control or explain. I recall the first time I saw one at a family friends' house when I was little - I just froze and began crying and couldn't walk under it. It's the sound and look....for a long time I couldn't even walk past the boxes in the hardware with the pictures on them. Even when they are turned off, they are bad - but they are worse when they are on. It is a habit to look at the ceiling in any room I walk into, particularly in any bathroom. Now I am older, I can finally tolerate the square air conditioning grids unless they are very noisy. I still have nightmares where I am crying hysterically with exhaust fans near me. Possibly related is my slightly lesser fear of any hole or grid in a swimming pool - I think it's the idea that maybe there is a fan somewhere in the works. It is less of a problem now as older-style bathrooms are replaced by nice air conditioning but in places like Europe (especially England), there are lots of old buildings and bathrooms with evil dirty old fans that I can't go near without the terror gripping me. Is there ANYONE out there with anything remotely like this? I really understand people with phobias of supposedly silly things - you have no control over it, even when you are thinking to yourself, "This is silly".


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - mw_tx86 - 07-24-2008 03:14 PM

Hi Wave
I don't have your phobia or know of what it is called but I do understand the scary feeling you get while being near your phobia. Do the automatic bathroom vents make you uneasy when you turn on a public restroom light?


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - rosalee - 07-24-2008 04:00 PM

mw_tx86 Wrote:Hi Wave
I don't have your phobia or know of what it is called but I do understand the scary feeling you get while being near your phobia. Do the automatic bathroom vents make you uneasy when you turn on a public restroom light?


Do they ever! Sometimes in hotel rooms I wait until daytime to shower so I don't have to turn the light on (if there's a window so I can see). If it is a particularly scary one ( I never know til I look at it and hear it) then I will just go to the toilet when I go out somewhere. Don't even get me started on those environmental holiday cabins that have a big pit underground to store and break down the toilet matter and have a fan in them to keep the smell down there. Just the hum I can hear in the bathroom is horrible and I will never use one. These are quite rare though. At one hotel in Switzerland, the toilet had a little exhaust system built in so that when you sat on the seat it kicked in! Can you believe it! Needless to say, it was unplugged and I did lots of hovering rather than sitting, just in case! It still freaked me out. Man, this is weird...! It's nice to hear people say they understand it, though.


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - mw_tx86 - 07-25-2008 07:50 AM

That would be horrible to have to live with your phobia in every day life and so unexpectedly. I moved to the city just to get away from my chicken phobia lol. So far so good! Hang in there!


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - Mr Ian - 07-25-2008 02:17 PM

Hi Rosalee and welcome to the forum Wave

Can't say I've heard of exhaust fan phobia. The object of a phobia is often of little consequence - other than how often it might feature in your life. The focus of interest rests in how you manage the anxiety of the phobia; the palpitations, the sweaty hands, the sense of fear, etc. Sounds like you're making some headway yourself and I hope you continue to do so. If there's anything I or anyone here might be able to help you with, please feel free to ask.

But if you'll indulge me a little, (because I'm a nosey git) - you say you have no idea on its possible origins but there is a possible relationship to your lesser feel of swimming pool grids. Do you think this pool grid fear is lesser because you'd actually have to get into the pool to be near it and you either have more control over that or you can avoid it altogether? Or do you find yourself able to still go swimming and just having a mild fear?


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - rosalee - 07-25-2008 04:06 PM

shappy Hi and thanks a lot for the welcome! I don't mind nosiness - even though it is a horrible fear (like any), I still find it really interesting and intriguing to think about and try to understand, especially since I know it's so unusual.

In regards to the pool fear - I don't think it's because I have more control. I say lesser just because I have less of a reaction to those than exhaust fans. When I think about it, one reason might be because the water is a sort of barrier between it and me (when I walk past an exhaust fan on a wall, say, I always have to brush that side of me "clean", as if it has contaminated me by some sort of invisible...um...vibes?). The other reason is because they look less threatening and I can't hear them, and yes, I will swim everywhere else except right over it, plus I am always uncertain as to whether they are actually a "sucky-uppy" vent as I call them.

I really have to emphasise that there isn't any way I can clearly define the degree of fear I will feel until I see the particular vent or fan. There is always some fear, but it will range from absolute terror, to scary but tolerable if I avoid it, to being conscious that it's there but as long as I try to ignore it, it won't worry me too much. But the last one doesn't happen often - it has to be a pretty small type and I have to be dying to go to the bathroom and have no other choice!

As I say, it's getting better now. When I was young, my grandmother had one in her bathroom, and I was always over there, so I realised I just had to find some way of dealing with it. So I used to say hello to it and I made it my "friend". Whilst I spoke to it, I wasn't scared of it. Weird huh!!


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - Mr Ian - 07-25-2008 08:44 PM

Quote:When I was young, my grandmother had one in her bathroom, and I was always over there, so I realised I just had to find some way of dealing with it. So I used to say hello to it and I made it my "friend". Whilst I spoke to it, I wasn't scared of it.
That made me smile - kids are so resilient and resourceful - and you were no exception! :laugh:

So why don't you talk to them now?


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - rosalee - 07-26-2008 07:58 AM

Mr Ian Wrote:
Quote:So why don't you talk to them now?

:lol: Ha! That's a great question! Not much to say? Waiting for them to speak first? We really do "grow up" in lots of ways, don't we, even in the way we think and deal with things. Or do we just get more boring?

This is a completely unrelated tangent but I have all these theories and one is that when we were cavemen, we only lived until we were about 20. Which means that possibly when we weren't out hunting for food or hiding from dinosaurs, we were playing games and acting more childish. As time has gone on and we live longer, society and life around us is making us act more "grown up" at a certain age. Who's to say we weren't meant to just muck around, run places, climb on walls etc until we each get sick of it at a different time? Sometimes I want to skip or sit on the train station ground in the morning as I am waiting for my train but I don't because people around me will think I'm weird. Told you it was completely unrelated! Just my random ponderings.....


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - stashy - 08-11-2008 05:05 PM

I am exactly the same with exhaust fans.
i hate them.
everyone i know thinks im crazy because if it.
but i really cant go anywhere near them


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - rosalee - 08-11-2008 07:13 PM

Stashy....are you serious???? I have never heard of anyone else with this, ever! Tell me more - any idea when it began? What kinds do you hate and what kinds can you tolerate and is it getting better as you get older? What do you hate about them?


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - laura621 - 08-15-2008 06:16 PM

OMG i have the same phobia! do u know how good it is to meet someone else! I'm in Melbourne, Australia and i have a panic attack everytime i have to walk into building 17 at uni! This is amazing. I'm on medication to control it, i have no idea why i'm scared of them - nothing happened, it's not a fear of them doing something to me. It's pretty specific, it's the sound more than the sight - doesn't matter if there on or not, prefer them not to be. It's ab absolutely horrible phobia and its getting both easier and harder to avoid it. My dad and i were talking, a fan cover did fall when i was about 1 but his not even sure if i was in the room. My parents noticed it before i could talk! i would point and scream if i was put anywhere near them. Well....please post back! i'm a psych major and STILL no one seems to know what the hell it is, where it came from. Apparently there is a good method to help phobias if your not sure of the origin....ill find out for us - it's written in my book.

Laura


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - laura621 - 08-15-2008 06:19 PM

sorry, me again - also have the pool thing...not so much air conditioning and ceiling fans i can tolerate. i HATE machinery noises, and i'm also claustrophobic (no windows = usually means fans). The pool is okay-ish, i can get into a spa now but NEVER near the filter edge.


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - Meow - 08-15-2008 06:43 PM

Have you been reading lots of horror stories about pool drains and whatnot? I'm not going to go into detail about them because you might get worse.

It's a good thing your phobia has decreased over time, but I can't help but ask since it seems to have originated in childhood; if there was some evil badguy you feared that looked like an exhaust fan; or maybe it looked like some kind of monster or thing that actually hurt you once.


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - laura621 - 08-17-2008 10:24 AM

nah, absolutely not. Apparently the cover fell in our bathroom whilst it was on and i may have been near by - don't know. No-one really knows, but mum used to see me pointing at it all the time, thought i was interested until i started screaming the closer she took me. No one knows, but it drives my boyfriend crazy. I've been trying to find out more, but no-one knows anything about it.


Re: My fear of exhaust fans - rosalee - 08-18-2008 02:28 PM

laura621 Wrote:OMG i have the same phobia! do u know how good it is to meet someone else!

Wow, I sure do! I can't believe it! It is also pretty amazing that you have the pool one too. Any other things that really worry you or just exhaust fans and pool holes? How about normal air con vents or those vents that blow air out of the side of buildings (also to do with air conditioning). I didn't even know you could take medication for a fear - or is it more for anxiety, rather than an actual fear? Does it help? This is really interesting!