Around twenty years ago.....I worked around a person who came to admit one day that they had a fair number of phobias. Being from Bama.....I know of the business surrounding phobias and have some brief understanding (probably six lines at best) of the science over the topic of phobias. As one professor explained in a class one day.....phobias are real, but they could be just as much imaginary, if a person desired them that way. That kinda stuck in my mind.
Most people I know.....have at least one phobia. The most popular one is spiders or snakes. I've run across a few guys who had a phobia about relationships, or fear of heights (I get this one if I have to climb on the roof of some two-story house). I've come across a number of women who had a phobia about insects, or cockroaches.
This co-worker though.....admitted to roughly a dozen-odd phobias. They'd even gone to a mental health doctor and the doctor had written this stuff into their military health records. I kinda asked at this point.....did the doctor really confirm this stuff or did they write without any evidence? Well....yeah, it was mostly just agreeing but without any evidence. I didn't see what good this mention in the records would do, but they must have figured it'd help them down the road.
Most of these alleged phobias of my co-worker....I've forgotten. The two that stuck out in my mind were fear of darkness, and fear of scents or smells. Working in a vault was a daily problem for this individual to handle and they kept a flashlight around with them constantly....in fear of the lights going out. Maybe once a year....electricity around the base would cease and the emergency lights would flicker on and this person would be in a huge panic to get out of the building....into the sunlight. The scent thing would drive us in the shop crazy.....we'd be asked if we switched after-shaves, or started using a new soap. If we were painting.....this individual would have to leave the building for a day or two before things would be acceptable to work in the shop again. Someone came in one day after getting a new car, and our scent-freak spoke out that they could smell new-car-scent on them.
There are literally thousands of phobias that are recognized today: fear of virgins, fear of bald guys, fear of getting a fever, fear of Chinese people, fear of lusty and beautiful women, and even fear of people uttering foreign languages (walking a French airport would freak them out greatly).
I've gotten to the point where I can sense when someone is showing anxiety and panic attacks over a phobia. I'll just ask a question and try to draw them into a calm state of mind.....take some deep breath moments....sip some water....and try to just get over it. The simple stuff isn't ever a problem. When they kinda hint that they got problems in taking medication (which the doctor told them to take).....or they got some issue with flying in a plane and we are ten minutes into a two-hour flight, well.....it's too damn late to solve this issue. I'm more into a direct-mode and telling them to suck it up and just get on with what they got to do.
Lacking patience or understanding with people with phobias? No. I can understand a few of these. But some start to make me laugh.....like a fear of beer, or a fear of anything new. It's irrational and I just don't have the patience to play games with some guy on these issues. Life is pretty short, and if you are standing around and worrying about big-breasted women or worrying over a fear of cats.....you'd best clean up your act and enjoy what you got.