Fear of Clustered Holes: Trypophobia Experience

Do clustered holes of lotus seeds, insect's eggs, rings of octopus give you weird feeling inside? Do you feel disgusted by them?

If yes, you are not alone. Scientists discovered that such structures are feared by plenty of people around the world. They call it trypophobia. The term came to existence in 2005. Before we go into details, I promise you that below no picture of clustered holes exists. I am aware of the discomfort that one experiences from them.

Those who have no idea what we are talking about, try image search with they keyword trypophobia. I apologize for the hassle. Unknowingly, I have been suffering from this phobia for a very long time. Image of clustered holes will make me scared of visiting this page forever. But I will explain what this thing exactly is and the reasons that trigger the discomfort in us.

History and Academic Research

The idea of trypophobia was brought to limelight by Internet users long before 2005. They formed groups and discussed how the pictures showing clustered holes gave them an uneasy feeling. They tried various methods to get it recognized, but since they did not have academic support, their efforts were ignored by the media. Just 3 years ago, vision scientists Geoff Cole and Arnold Wilkins from University of Essex showed interest in the phenomena and decided to conduct their research using Trypophobia.com. To their surprise, at least 16 percent of their participants reacted to the pictures shown to them. The scientists noted that the participants experienced unusual fear and even reported bodily reaction. Among the participants, there were those who minor reaction. But after some more exposure to the pictures, their fear grew deeper, hinting fully developed trypophobia. Those who never reacted showed lesser interest in looking at them.

How to explain why the pictures cause such reaction? The scientists believe that the structures of clustered holes have high contrast energy found also in patterns of poisonous reptiles and insects. When our ancestors were cavemen they saw them as danger and this is what programmed us, the present day humans to react to high contrast energy of trypophobic structures. Research is still on. We have to wait for what other explanations the scientists will give us. I am not quite satisfied with their answer to "why".

Symptoms of TrypohobiaBelow are the known symptoms of trypobhobia:
  • Fear of falling inside the holes
  • Feeling as if the darkness of the hole is attracting the body
  • Something crawling on the skin
  • Feeling itchy
  • Getting dizzy
  • Anxiety
  • Looking at the structure for a long time and them attempting to damage it
  • Abnormal heartbeat (Palpitation)
As you know by now, I suffer from this phobia. However, I don't seem to have all those symptoms. I will not deny that the pictures make my back, head and feet itchy. Even remembering the title gives me the same feeling. I don't find the explanation of the scientists satisfying because the patterns don't remind me of poisonous animals. Instead they bring back the memory of scars. The patterns seem to give me the feeling of that dark brown thick skin forming from healing wound. In brief, the lotus seeds or eggs stick to my skin like a scar. Other times, they remind of small pox and seed like acne from AIDS. I would say that my brain interprets the pattern as some kind of disease. Probably, others suffering from this phobia feel the same. Otherwise, there would not have been photoshopped images showing lotus seeds stuck to the skin. Yes, it was intentionally done to speed up the reaction in the patients.

How to Get Rid of It

Psychological help is available for people like us. Depending on the symptom, the therapies maybe anything ranging from behavioral to cognitive. You can read about them here. Don't worry, that specific page does not have those scary images.

I tried creating a therapy of my own. It did not go anywhere. What I do know is that revisiting the same trypophobic picture within 72 hours makes me somewhat immune. But as days pass by, the symptoms come back. Immunity against new pictures is fully impossible. The only thing that seems to work is forgetting the term and all the pictures.

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