Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is a word that may be difficult to pronounce but many people around the world suffer from this very real phobia. The word is a combination of two Greek words: hexiekatohexintahexi meaning six hundred and sixty six and phobos meaning deep fear or aversion.
People are often afraid of symbols like swastika or Wiccan symbols which simply instill fear in the human mind. In the Christian world, the number 666 is deeply feared as it is considered to be the sign of the Satan, Devil or Anti Christ. The number has a superstitious enigma attached to it. People with the fear of 666 avoid talking or reading about it. Some Christians even refuse to buy a product if the barcode has a 666 on it. Many go to the extent of avoiding stepping out on June 6th or 6/6 since they believe it is the day of the Antichrist.
Let us study this phobia in detail.
Causes of Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia
- The Biblical verse in Apocalypse revelation states that 666 is the number of the beast referring to Satan or Antichrist. This could be the cause of the mass hysteria about this number.
- The funny thing about Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is that no one really knows what the actual symbolic meaning of the number 666 is. Many numerological studies have given plenty of interpretations but none of these have been substantial and nor have they been proclaimed as true by the Church. In short, 666 is like the shadow in the night that makes people fear the unknown. Somewhere down the line, someone said that 666 was the number or sign of the Satan but the Church never proclaimed this as true. God fearing Christians believe that the number 666 appears on the forehead or the hand of the sinner.
- There are different causes of specific phobias and often the anxiety or fear is a learned or acquired behavior. A child may have heard or seen an adult being afraid of the number 666, and may go on to display similar fear him/herself.
- Phobia can also be conditioned through association. A traumatic event around the day or discussion about this number could lead to a fearful association about it.
- Movies, books and pop culture can also instill a fear of the number 666. A person who is already stressed or anxious may believe the events in the fictional work about 666 and permanently develop a fear of it.
- Later, the fear may cause the phobic to display an irrational response to it which may embarrass him. As a result, he will try desperately to avoid the number that causes further anxious response. In such a case, the phobia will develop due to avoidance behavior as the phobic tries to ‘reward’ him/herself by behaving fearfully. By avoiding the number 666, the phobic believes he is ‘rewarding’ self. This makes him feel better as he realizes that by avoiding the number he is making the fear go away- resulting in him trying to avoid it more and more.
- Like many types of phobias, the fear of the number 666 could also be linked to another, deeper psychological issue. It may also be linked to fear of number 13 or Triskaidekaphobia.
Symptoms of fear of the number 666
Like with other phobias, the fear of the number 666 can lead to a full blown panic attack characterized by the following symptoms:
- Trembling or shaking
- Increased heart beat
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling like choking
Often the physical symptoms can feel like one is having a heart attack. Phobias often produce different symptoms in different people and the same is the case with Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. Severe fear or anxiety can also lead to a fear of fainting, fear of dying, a feeling of detachment from the body. Experiencing these symptoms can be very unpleasant and could make one feel out of control. It is no wonder that many phobics are under constant stress. They are often left feeling vulnerable and their fear can take over their day to day lives and also affect their relationships.
Specific symptoms of Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia
- People actually change their house number if it has the numbers 666. President Reagan and his wife, following his presidency, changed their street number of their house in California from 666 to 668.
- Phobic may drive around a bit longer before parking just because the odometer has the numbers 666 on it.
- If the bill at a restaurant or grocery store reads $6.66, many have it changed by adding or removing items.
- Often, people try to find connections in between events or bad happenings with discussions about 666.
Treatment and ways to cope with the fear
There are many things you can do in order to get over the fear and learn to cope with it.
- Talk therapy – While you can always talk to someone you love and trust, it helps to speak to a professional. A professional will hear about your anxiety without judging. S/he will then help you come up with techniques you can use to overcome your fear. Your general practitioner or medical doctor can help you find a suitable talk therapist near you.
- Relaxation techniques – Relaxation techniques go a long way in helping one cope with anxiety and panic attacks. Try guided meditation, positive affirmations, visualization techniques etc. Deep breathing exercises can also help.
- Learn to manage panic attacks – There are a number of ways in which you can do so. You could try deep breathing or simply tell yourself that you accept the situation. This is actually a lot less exhausting than trying to tell yourself not to get afraid.
- Read up – Reading about the phobia can help tremendously. You will know there are others like you and you might even find forums of people discussing the phobia.
For very severe cases of Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, there are treatments like cognitive behavior therapy, NLP, hypnotherapy etc. available as well. Seek a registered practitioner in the therapy of choice with whom you can discuss your treatment fully and find a solution for your deeply entrenched fear of number 666.