The world is a strange place: we often accept someone’s fear of heights or fear of spiders as ‘something normal’. However, when it comes to the fear of balloons phobia, people usually laugh about it. As far as the “silliest or most irrational” fears go; Globophobia is high up in the list. Even Oprah Winfrey shocked her audience by admitting to having experienced the fear of balloons phobia.
To a person suffering from such a phobia, life can be quite difficult. In this guide, we shall study the fear of balloons phobia in detail.
What is Globophobia?
The word Globophobia originates from the Greek words Globo meaning ‘spherical in terms of balloons’ and ‘phobos which means deep dread or fear’.
People suffering from this phobia feel morbid fear at the thought, sight, touch or even smell of balloons. Most individuals, however, are only afraid of the sound made by the popping of balloons. As with any phobia, the symptoms of Globophobia vary depending on the roots of the fear. Some people might be able to withstand balloons while they are deflated. However, the moment one starts to inflate them; the sufferer feels anxious. In many cases, individuals are afraid of hot air balloons but can stand smaller balloons, water balloons etc.
Causes of fear of balloons phobia
Like with most phobias, Globophobia originates from a negative experience with balloons in one’s childhood. The phobia is common in younger children and gradually diminishes with age. In some people though, it may continue well into adulthood.
A child might have experienced a balloon popping or exploding in the face. S/he then recalls the same fear each time one sees a balloon. Most kids feel fearful about attending birthday parties or fairs on account of the association of these events with balloons. When other children realize this, they tend to tease or bully the suffering child. This leads to more terrifying thoughts about balloons.
Balloons are usually associated with noise; additionally the kind of noise they make is similar to a gunshot and is typically unexpected. This is a perfect stimulus for people who are already overanxious or in a heightened mental state. Even the squeaking sound made by a balloon can be frightening to such a child.
Globophobia is often combined with the fear of clowns’ phobia. Clowns and balloons go hand-in-hand and, for a child attending an event having both these elements, the fears might merge together.
Symptoms of fear of balloons phobia
To an individual suffering from such a phobia, a continuous internal movie plays in the mind. This usually involves seeing a balloon exploding in the face.
At the thought or sight or sound of balloons, the phobic displays following anxiety symptoms:
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Palpitations which can be perceived to be chest pains
- Kids start to cry, run or hide; they come up with excuses to prevent an encounter with balloons. This means refusing going to parties or fairs etc.
- Shaking, trembling and sweating are other physical symptoms.
- Gastrointestinal distress like nausea might be present.
Overcoming the fear of balloons phobia
If you or a loved one has Globophobia, then you are not alone. It is a very real and common phobia and many individuals suffer from it. Thankfully, there is help. The first thing you need to do is talk to a therapist or a loved one about it. Talk therapy can help you rationalize your fear.
Most people understand that balloons are not dangerous; however they feel powerless over their fear. By gradually exposing yourself to balloons you can overcome the phobia. You could start by seeing pictures, holding or touching deflated balloons. Then, once you are comfortable with this, you can actually progress to encountering inflated balloons. This technique can be done in the form of self help therapy or even with the help of an experienced therapist.
NLP or Neuro Linguistic Memory manipulations are also effective as they can help you get to the bottom of the phobia. (These basically involve seeing yourself and your fears as if you are a third party, or having an out of body experience and viewing a cinema.) These methods can gradually help you face balloons and overcome your Globophobia permanently.