It is very rare and uncommon, but the fear of bananas or bananaphobia does exist. A very famous case about such a phobia has been reported in the Daily Mail. According to this news report, a woman had been scared of bananas all her life, so much so that she could not stand being in the same room as them without feeling nauseated each time. Thankfully, her story ends on a happy note as she was able to completely conquer her fear of bananas.
Causes of Bananaphobia
Only a handful of people are known to suffer from the fear of bananas from all over the world. Most cases begin in childhood, when one has been forced to eat bananas by parents or caregivers to an extent that leads to stomach distress or vomiting. Bananas often have a slimy texture and not all people are fond of its flavor or odor. Many claim that the texture of over-ripe bananas is akin to eating “slugs” The brain learns to revisit those ill-feelings over and over especially when one experiences stress or an anxiety causing situation, such as watching someone eat a banana.
Some children develop a fear of this fruit after having slipped and fallen over slimy banana peels. As a result, one might have been laughed at by other children. A woman Bananaphobic recollects having developed it after her brother played a prank on her in childhood. He slipped a banana into her bed and she tends to recollect the cold, slimy feeling experienced after she squashed it unknowingly. She describes the feeling ‘akin to touching a slimy snake or an eel’.
Bananas are actually quite healthy and a great source of potassium. But, to a bananaphobic, they can cause great deal of anxiety and even walking past them in stores can be traumatic.
Symptoms of fear of bananas
People with bananaphobia experience many anxiety symptoms.
- As stated before, the Bananaphobia is so extreme in some cases, that the sufferer is unable to even walk past banana carts kept in the produce sections of grocery stores.
- Children tend to throw crying fits upon seeing them.
- Children as well as some adults experience a gag reflex each time they see someone eat a banana or when they happen to be in a room having bananas. Vomiting, nausea and gastrointestinal distress are common symptoms in such cases.
- Some phobics tend to have a full blown panic attack.
- Just like an arachnophobic experiences great terror upon seeing a spider, a bananaphobic experiences terror at the sight of banana. S/he imagines being choked or even dying. Sweating, trembling and shaking are common symptoms.
- The phobic also tries to flee (or conversely stays rooted or paralyzed in the spot) upon seeing a banana.
Unfortunately phobics cannot always avoid bananas. Some are even working as chefs and waiters and their jobs demand that they handle bananas from time to time. In event this happens, many tend to indulge in obsessive compulsive behavior such as frequently scrubbing their hands over and over to get rid of the smell of the fruit.
Overcoming the fear of bananas
Self relaxation has helped many phobics overcome the fear of bananas. Many understand that their fear is irrational, and this is the first step in finding a permanent cure for this phobia.
The key is to visualize the feared object while staying calm in the process. For example, closing your eyes and visualizing a banana away from you while practicing deep breathing can help you relax. Naturally, this will not cure the phobia overnight, but it can be a good place to start.
Expert hypnotists have also handled such cases and many have brought positive results. Hypnosis gets to the root of the phobia to prevent panic attacks that come with it each time.
Self relaxation and visualization can gradually help one get desensitized and overcome Bananaphobia once and for all.