Can anything cure my lifelong fear of cotton wool?

November 16, 2019



Some people have a fear of spiders or heights, but I live in terror of the white fluffy stuff – and others are afraid of buttons and bananas


Excerpt- "Perhaps in later avoiding the soft toys, I was avoiding unpleasant feelings of envy. However, knowing the origins of a phobia doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to address. The fact remains that, 46 years later, the stuff still gives me – in David Foster Wallace’s memorable phrase – the howling fantods.


I ask Cooper if my phobia is clinically recognised. “Yes,” he explains. “A phobia is an irrational fear of an object or a particular situation that elicits an anxiety response, so it could be anything.” It’s not just the understandable, relatable ones, such as spiders or heights; it can be a fear of sponge cake, fresh fruit, knees, even yellow things. In a way, because these are such everyday, benign and faintly amusing objects, this makes them somehow more stressful and certainly more embarrassing."


Photograph by Alex Lake and Liz McBurney/The Observer


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