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starrystorm
08-05-2018, 09:54 PM
Hi. I'm writing a secondary character who has presented herself with enochlophobia, or the fear of crowds. I would like her to be as accurate as possible and not offend anyone (which is why I waited so long before posting). It isn't major towards the plot, but it goes along with the theme of finding what you fear and what you can take. So these are the questions:

1) Is enochlophobia the right term? I've heard other words that mean the same thing as well.

2) What are some (inaccurate) phobia cliches I should avoid.

3) How long does it take to recover. I know in the movie The Truman Show, Truman was facing his fear at the end and looked okay with it. Is it that realistic? I do plan on her trying exposure therapy a few months before the story begins, and at the end, she faces her fear to save the MC.

4) The character is in a collapsing tunnel. A mob is trying to escape. She is at the back of the tunnel, the farthest from the exit. Since she is afraid of crowds, would she stay behind (or slow down) or would she try to save herself? Basically, would phobias slow down a need for survival? Sorry, if this was a stupid question.

5) If she had some kind of pill or mark that could almost erase the fear, would this be cheating? (She refuses to wear/eat the medicine because it makes her feel like an outcast/in pain).

I know there are other threads like this, but they didn't have exactly what I was looking for, and the Internet is no help either. Sorry for the amount of questions.

aspirit
08-05-2018, 10:17 PM
Hi! This is entirely my personal opinion.

The term "enochlophobia" is unfamiliar. The description sounds like a form of "social anxiety". A character who'd use the more technical-sounding term sounds as if she's well enough off to both afford and commit to regular treatment for her phobia. (In real life, that's often not the case.)

Phobias are unique for each sufferer. I guess bad tropes or assumptions are that someone can be teased out of a phobia by unsympathetic people and that phobias aren't debilitating or even dangerous at times. For example, stress can cause long-term physical damage when it can't be managed well.

The conclusion for Truman was unrealistic as a happy ending. It reminds me of Free Willy. People think survival traits will somehow kick in when dropped into a drastically new situation without training. More often than not, that's untrue.

Maybe it was better for Truman to leave the lie regardless of what happened afterward. Maybe that woman who motivated him and a few show execs helped him hide away until he learned how to live outside the show. More likely, Truman died soon after he entered the larger world.

Your fourth question is tricky, because it depends on specifics. Yes, she might stay back from the crowd despite an urge to escape. Alternatively, her perspective of the crowd might shift so that she can push through. What can make the difference is how she developed the phobia.

I would be annoyed if she could take a magic pill that makes her fear go away without consequences. I'm not sure what's meant by it making her feel like an outcast or in pain, though. I would've thought that's how she felt around crowds without the medicine.

cornflake
08-05-2018, 10:22 PM
Hi. I'm writing a secondary character who has presented herself with enochlophobia, or the fear of crowds. I would like her to be as accurate as possible and not offend anyone (which is why I waited so long before posting). It isn't major towards the plot, but it goes along with the theme of finding what you fear and what you can take. So these are the questions:

1) Is enochlophobia the right term? I've heard other words that mean the same thing as well.

There are probably a few, depending on the specific, but sure?

2) What are some (inaccurate) phobia cliches I should avoid.

I dunno, is that a thing? That the people don't get it's irrational, maybe? Though sort of depends.

3) How long does it take to recover. I know in the movie The Truman Show, Truman was facing his fear at the end and looked okay with it. Is it that realistic? I do plan on her trying exposure therapy a few months before the story begins, and at the end, she faces her fear to save the MC.

Truman didn't have therapeutic intervention, and I don't know I'd consider his fear a phobia. He was told his whole life how dangerous it was to leave and saw his father drown in the waters he was told were terribly dangerous. As to how long it takes to be able to not have an extreme reaction when faced with the whatever, depends. In general, phobias are one of the easiest things to 'cure,' in psychotherapy, given a willing patient and a decent clinician. Some people can take months, some people can take two sessions, depends on the person and the issue (how long, what it entails, their feelings about it, etc.).


4) The character is in a collapsing tunnel. A mob is trying to escape. She is at the back of the tunnel, the farthest from the exit. Since she is afraid of crowds, would she stay behind (or slow down) or would she try to save herself? Basically, would phobias slow down a need for survival? Sorry, if this was a stupid question.

This again depends on the person but most people have a pretty strong survival instinct, especially in a scenario in which there isn't time to ponder. If you're in a stuck elevator and have a fear of, I dunno, firefighters, and they come to get you, and you've been sitting there, talking to, looking at one, who wants to take your hand, you're probably going to have trouble with that. If you've got a paralyzing fear of kittens but are fleeing a rampaging gunman and there's someone holding a kitten as you run by, you probably won't notice, if you see what I'm saying.

5) If she had some kind of pill or mark that could almost erase the fear, would this be cheating? (She refuses to wear/eat the medicine because it makes her feel like an outcast/in pain).

Cheating?

I know there are other threads like this, but they didn't have exactly what I was looking for, and the Internet is no help either. Sorry for the amount of questions.

I don't know if that was helpful -- it'd probably be more handy to start with what you need and work backwards than forwards.

Siri Kirpal
08-05-2018, 10:42 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

The term I've heard is agoraphobia, which is technically a fear of open spaces, but amounts -- at least for the one person I know who's had it -- to a fear of crowds.

I'm not afraid of crowds, but I have had to deal with acrophobia (fear of heights) and also now defunct phobias of dogs and telephones. I still don't like dogs or telephones, even though I'm no longer phobic of them. And I think that may be common, that even once the phobia is gone, the person may dislike whatever the phobia was about. So I wouldn't expect your character to suddenly grow a fondness for football games, rock concerts or political rallies.

I've never had therapy for any phobias, but note that I'm done with the dog and telephone phobias, but not the fear of heights, which I have much less exposure to.

Hope that helps.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

WeaselFire
08-05-2018, 11:06 PM
I'd answer, but I'm afraid to... :)

1) Agoraphobia.

2) No idea. If it's just agoraphobia, look up the term and the various symptoms, go by those.

3) Minutes, days, years, never. It's a phobia. Every one is different. What do you actually need to happen?

4) Depends on the person. 10% will stay in any case, phobia or not, simply because it's polite to let others go first. 10% will kill anyone in the way to get out, the survival instinct is that strong. The rest are varied. Again, what do you need for your story?

5) If she refuses to use it, it doesn't matter what the medicine/mark/talisman/etc. is, does it?

Jeff

blacbird
08-05-2018, 11:16 PM
It also may be useful to clarify what you mean by "phobia". While, strictly, it means a fear of something, the term also gets used as an intense dislike for something, rather than a fear of it. The most obvious example is "homophobia". I suffer from "aeroplanophobia"; I ain't afeared of 'em, I just hate flying in 'em.

As for "enochlophobia", I didn't know what that meant, either. I thought it might be a fear of Enochs. If you need to use a very esoteric technical term not known to many readers, you need to define it right up front somehow. Don't be sending your readers to a dictionary.

caw

MS KIKI
08-05-2018, 11:59 PM
Have you tried listing all the symptoms together and then googling to see what phobias come up?

starrystorm
08-06-2018, 02:19 AM
Thanks for all the replies, I didn't expect to get so many. Sorry if the quoting is weird. I'm still getting the hang of this website. *ALL QUOTES ARE EDITED*




The description sounds like a form of "social anxiety".



More likely, Truman died soon after he entered the larger world.

Your fourth question is tricky, because it depends on specifics. Yes, she might stay back from the crowd despite an urge to escape. Alternatively, her perspective of the crowd might shift so that she can push through. What can make the difference is how she developed the phobia.

I would be annoyed if she could take a magic pill that makes her fear go away without consequences. I'm not sure what's meant by it making her feel like an outcast or in pain, though. I would've thought that's how she felt around crowds without the medicine.

Thanks for the reply. I know what social anxiety is like, so I don't think she has it. She's more afraid of getting trampled, or closed in on, or lost

As for the Truman thing: :ROFL: What a dream killer!

Thanks for answering the fifth question. That was the response I was looking for. And by outcast, I meant I was planning on making the pill she takes leave a mark on her arm and everyone could see she had a phobia and she didn't like that.

starrystorm
08-06-2018, 02:22 AM
Sorry about the quoting, I'm still learning.


Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

The term I've heard is agoraphobia, which is technically a fear of open spaces, but amounts -- at least for the one person I know who's had it -- to a fear of crowds.


I've never had therapy for any phobias, but note that I'm done with the dog and telephone phobias, but not the fear of heights, which I have much less exposure to.

Hope that helps.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal


Yes, I've heard of agoraphobia before, but I thought it included a lot more than just a fear of crowds, so I wasn't sure on the term.

The expose experience makes sense. Like exposure therapy.

Siri Kirpal
08-06-2018, 02:43 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

It was more than exposure in my case. Sorry I didn't make that clear. I do a lot of yoga and meditation, and one year into my practice the dog phobia broke quite dramatically.

In case you need to know, phobia (at least for me) is a very physical sensation. High heart rate. Wrench in the gut. Sometimes I'll get that now, even if my mind is (apparently...and even to me) completely calm.

I don't know that I'd take a pill to release the phobias and especially not if it made me an outcast. But it wouldn't bother me to see that someone took the opposite view.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

starrystorm
08-06-2018, 02:49 AM
Cornflake-- Thanks for the survival instinct tip. It's what I was looking for.

Weaselfire-- what I needed was for her to stay inside the tunnel so the MMC could figure out he had powers that could save her.

blacbird-- Yes, it is a fear phobia. Yeah the Enochs threw me off too. I looked up what it meant. I don't think she's afraid of that. :o I have it explained when she first encounters a crowd/mob.

MSKIKI-- I know she's afraid of crowds because she just came to me like that. It fits well with the story too.

WeaselFire
08-06-2018, 11:10 PM
Weaselfire-- what I needed was for her to stay inside the tunnel so the MMC could figure out he had powers that could save her.

Don't need a phobia for that. Confusion, crowd injuries, potential collapse of the opening... Lots of reasons to hold back.

Jeff

Debbie V
08-07-2018, 03:00 AM
Whether she'd stay or go would depend on what scared her most. Also where the fear comes from may matter (it could be very simple--separated from parent by crowd as young child). I have some of the same phobias as my mother because when mama is scared, child intuits there is a reason. But I'm scared of spiders because of experience. Next relates to what Siri said--what coping skills does she have within herself to get through the fear? If she can push through and understands the danger, she might try. She might try either way, but be unable. Or follow the pressing crowd at a distance or have someone else to save/help. It's all in how you set it up.

Lone Wolf
08-07-2018, 07:56 AM
I heard the difference between a fear and a phobia is - taking spiders as an example - fear of spiders means if you see a spider you will be afraid of it, you might also worry about say, spiders hiding in your shoes at night; but a spider phobia means you feel fear and anxiety at even an image of spider - thus it's more irrational, widespread and debilitating.
Not sure if this is relevant to your question at all

cornflake
08-07-2018, 08:48 AM
I heard the difference between a fear and a phobia is - taking spiders as an example - fear of spiders means if you see a spider you will be afraid of it, you might also worry about say, spiders hiding in your shoes at night; but a spider phobia means you feel fear and anxiety at even an image of spider - thus it's more irrational, widespread and debilitating.
Not sure if this is relevant to your question at all

Not all phobias are the 'can't look at a picture of whatever or will have a panic attack' type, though some people are certainly affected that much and level of distress in general can speak to whether it's a phobia. In *general* -- phobias are irrational. Also in general, the people know they're irrational.

Like the Truman Show thing -- he was afraid of the water because he'd been told all his life how dangerous it was, and saw his father drown. The ocean is not an irrational thing to then fear. It'd be odd if someone wasn't scared of the ocean if they were told it'd kill them their whole lives and saw proof. If someone has a fear of submersion in water that extends to the bathtub, that's irrational.

Like your example, if someone is scared of snakes, that's not irrational; snakes can bite and be unpredictable and they're not a common thing for most people, and people are afraid of the unknown. If you're out walking and encounter a snake and get all 'AAAAAhh!!' that's probably a rational fear response. If someone is holding their non-poisonous, small pet snake and you back away hyperventilating, or if you see a picture of one and freak, that'd be more indicative of a phobia type response, because it's irrational. The small pet snake being held by someone used to holding it (or the picture) is very unlikely to harm you in any way.

lianna williamson
08-11-2018, 12:33 AM
Ditto cornflake. A phobia can grow out of a rational fear, but expresses itself in far less rational ways. For example, I'm afraid of heights and confined spaces and sharks. But those are all rational fears, and they don't stop me from doing things I really want to do (like flying in airplanes or swimming in the ocean), so I don't consider them phobias.

I have two phobias, one of which (dead bodies) is based on a rational fear. This one does interfere with my life: When my cat kills mice, I shut myself in my bedroom and am too scared to come out until someone else not me has disposed of the corpse. If no one else is home and I can't just hide in there all day, it's like I'm in a horror movie: inching along, eyes wide open, almost in tears, jumping at every tiny sound, looking around wildly for the horrible thing I know is here somewhere.

My other phobia (fear of balloons) is based on an irrational fear. I am fine with Mylar balloons, and a little uneasy but basically fine when rubber balloons are being used as decoration and no one is touching them. But anyone touching a balloon scares me so much I can't stay near it; I feel like something is literally pushing me away from it, the instinct to run is so strong. I have noped right out of little kids' birthday parties many times.

starrystorm
08-11-2018, 03:12 AM
lonewolf--I've taken psychology classes, but I guess I'm still interested in learning. My character does get nervous when someone talks about going to a mall or riding a subway.

cornflake--She's most afraid of getting trampled. I've read some articles on mobs like that, and frankly it's quite scary. She knows it's irrational and will sometimes force herself into positions to face her fear, but then get nervous.

lianna--Thanks for your input. First-hand is always the best research.

So would everyone say her fear of crowds/getting trampled is irrational?

aspirit
08-11-2018, 03:50 AM
I think fearing a panicked mob is reasonable, for whatever that's worth. Keep in mind, I live with high levels of anxiety and might not represent the typical reader.

cornflake
08-11-2018, 06:49 AM
I'd say a fear of getting trampled from a panicked mob is reasonable -- that happens easily, and the situation is unpredictable.

A fear of getting trampled by a crowd while, I dunno, there's just a small bottleneck entering a theatre at the ticket-taker's stand is irrational, as that's unlikely to happen as long as the crowd is normal, just moving slowly, and it's not a general admission concert people are going to rush into.

starrystorm
08-11-2018, 04:57 PM
So it wouldn't be a phobia because it's rational? I do make her on a street when a mob rushes through because the police are running in.

Or would it because just the thought of being in a crowded place scares her to the point of avoidance? Although she is getting better at controlling her fear.

Siri Kirpal
08-11-2018, 10:15 PM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

A fear of being trampled in a panicked mob isn't unreasonable. Avoiding crowds all the time because they make YOU panick is.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Snitchcat
08-13-2018, 06:14 AM
My doc calls "fear of crowds" anxiety-fuelled / anxiety-related agoraphobia. They also state that agoraphobia is a form of anxiety. Everyone reacts differently. But the core I've found is that there's nothing wrong with the crowd; it's just one's perception of the crowd. That's the irrational bit. Often, the irrational is uncontrollable and has no basis in fact, but is the result of how a person feels, and what they're dealing with.

Sometimes, one person fears the crowd, while another's fury is triggered by a crowd (invasive of personal space), etc.

The rational bit about being trampled by the crowd is quite legit. That's related to a survival instinct.

Regarding medicine. In some cases, it's usually medication for anxiety. Depending on one's severity of anxiety, dosage can be once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once before bed. Or just once a day, immediately after breakfast.

But I agree with the others: depends on what you need for your story.

Bolero
08-19-2018, 07:47 PM
Having read through the thread, I was wondering if it has to be so strong as to be a phobia. During my life I've lived rural where most people knew each other and the biggest crowd would be a supermarket queue and I've lived in London. I certainly had to take a deep breath to get from the train to the tube station when I first arrived - I waited until the rush was down to the stragglers and tagged on the back. Wasn't feeling fear just caution and unfamiliarity - I didn't fancy being in the crowd. I later got used to it and got really fast at weaving through a slow moving crowd. Now I am living rural again and have for years and have a mixed response to crowds. If I'm not in a hurry, I wait for the worst to pass and join on the end, if I am in a hurry I can do the weave through thing.
Now, you are talking collapsing tunnel, which is a good spur to make you get a move on, but if she is seeing people tripping in the rush to leave and the start of major pile-ups, she just might be standing there with her back to a wall looking back at the tunnel, across the crowd, trying to pick a balance of dangers - has the worst of the crowd falling and trampling passed is it safe enough to run away from the collapsing tunnel. Might happen like that too with a phobia - but not a phobia expert. Am getting a vivid mental picture from your scenario though.

jennontheisland
08-19-2018, 08:28 PM
I think what you're describing isn't so much a phobic response but a somatic response to a danger. Fight or flight are typically noted, but freeze is entirely common. A character under threat could freeze and stay behind, maybe even hide (small children may default to this) even if her brain is screaming at her to run. Or she could barrel through as fast as possible with no thought for herself or others and nothing in mind but OMGGTFO: flight. Or, she could, but this might be odd, start swinging, at others or the falling bricks: fight (this one would obviously need some sort of characterizing explanation).

starrystorm
08-19-2018, 10:44 PM
Yes, well, I do need her to get trapped in the tunnel, so the MMC can learn he has powers and that his friend was more powerful than he thought.
I just didn't know if I should make her blame a phobia/anxiety for it. You don't actually see her in the tunnel, this is all from the MMC's POV as he's trying to get the FMC out because she was closest to him. The girl with the phobia/anxiety is away from them when it collapses. Also, if she has a phobia of crowds/agrophobia/enochlophobia, and didn't take a subway to get to their destination, why would she ride it back? Maybe she's just saying goodbye to the MMC and FMC...but they are all heading to the same place. Just my rambling.

Thanks, I do think she might have some sort of anxiety now that I'm reading these replies. Of course, I don't have to directly state what she has, do I? Or can I just show it?

Snitchcat
08-20-2018, 07:56 AM
Thanks, I do think she might have some sort of anxiety now that I'm reading these replies. Of course, I don't have to directly state what she has, do I? Or can I just show it?

Showing it would be a great opportunity to further involve the reader.

Harlequin
08-20-2018, 12:17 PM
you can just show it.

crowds in the open I'm fine with, but crowds in confined spaces (parties, raves, pubs, concerts) I have a bad reaction to--the anxiety without the phobia. Strange vision (like looking through the wrong prescription glasses), mental disassociation (everything feels unreal and disconnected), sometimes hard to breathe.

Lilyann Kyle
08-05-2019, 04:59 PM
when I was 9 or 10 my dad and aunt took me into Glasgow. it was the middle of summer and the streets were over crowded, my heart started to race I couldn't catch my breath and I just wanted all the people away from me, I was terrified, people kept bumping into me I thought I was going to die, I just started screaming and crying, and this all came on suddenly. I'm 39 now and I still hate big crowds, I have never been to a concert and try to avoid going to places I know there will be big crowds, its harder now cause I have 2 young children who want to go to softplay and the zoo and fun fairs, for the I can occasionally face my fear and take them but in all the hustle and bustle I still panic and have to find a quiet area just to take a minute and calm down.
I know I didn't answer any of your questions but thought I would share my fear of crowds to give you a small incite into actually having a fear of crowds

AW Admin
08-05-2019, 06:04 PM
Phobias by their nature are irrational and limiting; a person with a phobia builds their life around avoiding the phobic item.

So if you're arachnophobic, you might obsess over inspecting your living space to make sure that there aren't any spiders.

You won't voluntarily leave your safe space because there might be a spider.

This is a sliding scale kind of thing, too. But a phobia, vs a rational fear (if you live in tarantula country, you're going to check shoes, for instance, before putting them on, because yes, there is a reasonable fear of a spider) means restrictions to normal life that are not shared by your peers in general.