L. Cargill, Medical Laboratory Scientist, ASCP. Retired blood banker and laboratorian. Loves to write about a wide range of subjects. Enjoy!
Can a banana turn into a pearl handle revolver?
The strange case of my banana phobia
Even before I knew what a phobia was, I knew I had an intense dislike for bananas. They made me feel very uncomfortable. Bananas gave me the shivers. I saw them as pearl-handled revolvers pointing at me. Walking into a room with a banana in it was impossible.
I planned my whole day around avoiding bananas. I could not walk into the fruit and vegetable section of a market unless I knew ahead of time exactly where the bananas were. I panicked if I encountered a shopping cart with bananas in it unexpectedly. I had to leave the store.
I dropped my art class in college because I walked into the room one day and the professor wanted us to draw a bowl of fruit. You guessed it, there were a few bananas in the bowl. I walked straight to the admissions office and removed that class immediately. It was heart-breaking because I really loved the thought of being an artist one day.
The final straw came at work one day. I was minding my own business, feeding a specimen into a machine when a co-worker came and put her hand on my shoulder. I turned my head towards her and she had a banana in her hand! And it was right there in my face. I went screaming down the hallway trying to get away from the banana and the girl was chasing me - with the damn banana!
I could not catch my breath long enough to tell her to get away from me with that banana. I was dying and about to pass out. Another friend came along and finally got the banana away from me and I calmed down enough to go back to work. I had to make sure all the bananas were out of the lab though.
I finally decided that I would have to seek out treatment for this stupid phobia. The college I was going to had a psychology department and I went there looking for help. Fortunately for me, one of the professors was doing a study on phobias and curing them.
I enrolled in the study and learned the art of self-relaxation. The psychologist used hypnosis in our sessions to have me practice relaxing and visualizing bananas in a non-threatening way. I felt embarrassed to be a big sissy around such a wonderful fruit that I liked the taste of, but couldn't be in the same room with. It was weird and I think he may have snickered a time or two while trying to cure me.
The good news is that phobias are easy to cure. The treatment is amazing. Learning to keep yourself calm in the face of your irrational fears is so empowering. Self-relaxation is helpful in so many other ways too.
The only trick to curing a phobia is to learn to relax while visualizing your phobia. At first in non-threatening ways. Visualize the thing far away, so far that you can barely see it. After you learn to stay calm at that point, you can progress to bringing your phobia nearer in your mind's eye. Each time a panic attack begins, stop and calm yourself with relaxation techniques. Then start over. Eventually, you will be able to confront your phobia without having a panic attack.
Phobias can actually be cured in less than an hour. But it will be the hardest thing you've ever done or will ever do in your life. The technique is called dumping and I don't recommend it, but if you surround yourself with your phobia and prevent escape from it, you will have a severe panic attack, but that won't kill you and you can't sustain the panic reaction. Eventually—within an hour or so—you will calm down even though your phobic trigger is surrounding you. Your body and mind will accept that the phobia will not harm you and then you can get on with your life.
Imagine being deathly afraid of snakes and then locking yourself in a room with thousands of non-lethal snakes. The phobic thinks they will die, but in reality, they will not. Like I said, I recommend the slower treatment instead. It took less than a month to rid myself of the banana phobia by using the self-relaxation and visualization treatment. The hardest part of the treatment was to finally re-enter the fruit and vegetable section of a supermarket again. But I did it—and I am happily baking banana bread again.
Other strange phobias
So you think being scared of bananas is funny? strange? unusual? Well, there is no rationalization for any kind of phobia. The very definition means it is an irrational fear. People have phobias to all kinds of things besides the normal phobias like heights, elevators, snakes or driving over bridges.
Some recorded strange and unusual phobias include:
- The number 13 - Triskadekaphobia
- The number 666 - Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia
- The number 8 - Octophobia
- Belly buttons - Omphalophobia
- Atomic explosions - Atomosophobia
- The color white - leukophobia
- Rectal disease - Rectophobia
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of documented phobias. Some are recognized as real medical issues, most are not. Most are just a cruel trick your mind is playing on you.
No matter what triggers a phobia in a person, rest well. Phobias are curable. Unfortunately, people that are susceptible to one phobia often have recurrences of the same or different phobias. So watch out for the moon, you might get selenophobia.
Oh yes, and now, bananas are my favorite fruit.
Has it happened to you?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2010 Lela
Comments - What are you afraid of?
Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on February 22, 2012:
The definition of a phobia is "irrational" fear. It doesn't make sense to have a panic attack over bananas any more than having a fear of the number 13.
Now you should ask yourself, why were you searching for banana phobia?
LOL on February 22, 2012:
oooh myyyyy god!! I looked up phobia of bananas for a joke! and you came up?! OMFG?!?! you avoided bananas? ?? ?? ?? did you think they was going to come alive and eat you? they're inanimate objects!!! Just a yellow pointy fruit!! WTF???!!!
Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on December 16, 2011:
It's a difficult thing to get over a phobia. But it can be done. I know. I did it.
Tammy on December 16, 2011:
I have bananaphobia...I can;'t stand them can't even think about them, or look at pictures of them. I don't care if it's weird I'm never getting over this phobia.
Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on September 11, 2011:
Well, if your phobia interferes with your daily life as mine did, then seek the services of a nearby phobia treatment center. They work miracles and you'll never have to get the willies over a banana again!
Allison on September 11, 2011:
I think I may have a banana phobia... The pictue at the top of the page made me shiver. I cannot stand the thought of others eating bananas, or peeling them?! EWW... bananas are scary, ugly, nasty fruits... I cannot remember ever tasting one though...
Panic on October 03, 2010:
I'm one of the many people who don't like seafood. There's varying grades of fish haters, from not really enjoying it that much through to being physically repelled by it. I'm in the latter category and until earlier this year, I hadn't touched it for years. I'm the sort of person who feels repulsed even if someone at the same table is eating seafood - especially when it arrives on the plate looking the same as it did when it was alive! I don't know about anyone else, but the thought of tearing the meat out of the shell or eating a fish, head and all, just seems repugnant. Give me a slab of beef any day - at least it doesn't resemble the cow from whence it came!
Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on June 15, 2010:
You know ralwus, I did have a neighbor boy that I played with a lot. I have a scar on the inside of my thigh where I hit a nail on the way down from said treehouse. I even thought about it when I read your poem about it. If it wasn't you, it could have been your twin. I wonder if we had bananas in that treehouse?
ralwus on June 15, 2010:
Hmmm, maybe you had a neighbor boy like I was in a treehouse? You compressed it into that pudding brain you had then. LOL So glad you were delivered from the horror of it all. Uncircumcised? hahaha
Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on June 14, 2010:
Bananas DO have an agenda you know. That's why they grow upside down or something. Maybe as a child I played cops and robbers with bananas and one shot me. Or maybe I slipped and fell on a banana peel.
Do you have any plantain recipes? I love those things.
Audrey Kirchner from Washington on June 14, 2010:
How interesting and funny! They make my ears itch of all the stupid things but I still love them and eat them....I wonder if they are out to get me. Now I have visions of looking over my shoulder for wayward bananas!
Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on June 12, 2010:
I laugh about it too now. I told this story to a friend one day and we were both laughing so hard that tears were flowing down our cheeks! I swear it's the funniest phobia I've ever heard of, but when I had it, it was no laughing matter. Fortunately, I haven't succumbed to any other phobia and I'm happy about that too! Maybe it had something to do with uncircumcised guys! Don't know. Don't want to know.
Om Paramapoonya on June 12, 2010:
LOL I'm so sorry; I know it's kind of mean to be laughing at your suffering (although you have overcome it now). But the fact that you were only scared of unpeeled bananas makes it even funnier.
theherbivorehippi from Holly, MI on June 12, 2010:
This is so interesting! Wow...I never heard of such a thing. I could not live without bananas..lol I eat at least one or two a day. I don't think I have any phobias...how boring! I must develop one! haha
Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on June 12, 2010:
drbj - As far as I know no one ever threatened me with a banana or a gun. I do remember thinking bananas were out to get me for some reason! Doesn't make sense, I know.
Om - yea, only the unpeeled bananas made me crazy. I could eat bananas even then if someone would peel them before hand. Loved banana pudding and banana nut bread. But I just couldn't stand them with their peels on! Weird, huh?
Om Paramapoonya on June 12, 2010:
OMG that's so strange. Were you scared of only unpeeled bananas? Or were you afraid of chopped up bananas in salads and crepes as well? Just curious. I'm so glad you're over it and able to enjoy bananas now. :)
drbj and sherry from south Florida on June 12, 2010:
Hi, Lela - here is one more phobia to add to your list - phobophobia. The fear of phobias.
Loved your banana story and happy you resolved the problem. I'm curious - as a child, did anyone ever menace or threaten you with a banana? Did a yellow gun/pistol figure prominently at any time when you were small? Did a banana ever try to overpower you? Just kidding.