“Isn’t everyone scared of mold?”, you may ask? And yes, to an extent, I suppose we are. I mean, who actually enjoys seeing that furry, fiendish fungi encroaching an otherwise perfect strawberry, for example? It’s enough to make even the strongest of constitutions squeal, throw said strawberry on the floor and run for the hills, arms flailing.
But – believe it or not – there are those that have an even greater aversion. They suffer from either a loose form of Mycophobia – a fear of mushrooms – or, as Phobia Guru and Harley Street Therapist Adam Cox tells MoldBlogger, “Mysophobia, which is a fear of germs.
“An intense fear of mold definitely meets the criteria of being a phobia”, he explains, “but interestingly it doesn’t have a name.”
One of the greatest issues surrounding the phobia is the fear of contamination – the most common cause of OCD worldwide – based on the concern of illness or death. Of course, as we already know, the presence of mold is not something that should be taken lightly and can lead to disease, but for an actual phobia to develop this fear has surpassed a healthy level and must be addressed. An affected person will become obsessed with the idea of germs spreading and, depending on the severity, refuse to step foot back inside the house until all traces have been removed. Yet as this is not a healthy belief, they may never believe that the problem has been adequately dealt with – resulting in a vicious cycle.
The fear may also arise from the desire to be obsessively clean or a need for symmetry and may feel discomfort at the knowledge that mold exists in their environment. Again, no one would be happy with this reality, but someone who suffers from a phobia of mold will be unable to deal with it in a logical way.
“People that have a phobia of mold have often heard that there are dangers to breathing in the spores of the mold … and will subconsciously imagine the spores entering the lungs or getting in their eyes”, Adam explains.
“You might find yourself obsessively cleaning, avoiding places that you believe to have mold or might be at risk for having mold and spending excessive amounts of money on professional cleaning supplies or cleaners”, International Fear and Phobia Expert, Lauren Rosenberg, tells MoldBlogger.
“Phobias typically develop because of some type of past trauma or bad experience, or an underlying fear of something that’s unknown or misunderstood by you” she continues. “It might be something you’ve always dealt with, or something you recently developed. No matter how your fear of mold developed, or how you’re dealing with it now, remember – there is a way to overcome this fear. You do not have to live with it forever, and you do not have to let it inhibit your life in any way.”
Di Angelo, a life coach at Guardian Angel Care, tells us about a client he had that developed a fear of mold “out of the blue” – subconsciously linking the “overgrowth” of mold to an “overgrowth of negative habits” that had “built up over the years” in their own relationship.
“The idea that fears are actually subconscious channelling isn’t new but is often over looked”, he explains. “There’s psychology patterns but there’s also communication between the rational mind and subconscious which may not seemingly gel.”
“Fortunately, it’s a simple phobia to treat and most phobics are free of their fear in just one or two sessions”, Adam says.
Are you affected by a phobia of mold? Get in touch!