So this morning I was reading a Fashions of Star Trek tumblr (What? Come on, that’s clearly awesome) and saw a picture captioned “Sorry about the lamp, trypophobia sufferers.”
And I was like, “Huh? What’s trypophobia? What’s wrong with the la- OH.”
And I realized that whatever that word meant, it might explain why I was vaguely creeped out. I’ve always had an intense aversion to certain textures – maybe this “trypophobia” thing was the explanation.
So I googled it and it turned out to mean “fear of holes”. But despite the fancy Latin, it isn’t officially a thing: the term actually originated on Urban Dictionary and isn’t recognized by any other dictionary or book.
But despite the internet recognition, a grassroots campaign to get the disorder officially recognized, and a 4,000-member facebook support group, all attempts at a Trypophobia wikipedia page have been deleted for being a “likely hoax“. (Really, Wikipedia? And then you turn right around and list “Monkeyphobia, as named by Lord Monkey Fist on Kim Possible“? You should be ashamed. Look at your life, look at your choices!)
And I get that there haven’t been any studies published yet. But at least 4,000 people believe they have this oddly specific phobia, and many have legitimately intense variations of phobic reactions. Isn’t that worth looking into? Heck, I don’t even care about the official ‘phobia’ label as much – I just feel strongly that Trypophobia exists as a phenomenon and is super interesting. I’m sad there’s no research.
Here’s a test.
The creators use scratching as their metric. I didn’t feel itchy, but I was still pretty uncomfortable, so… hmmm. (Caution: The pictures get more and more intense, so just stop as soon as you feel uneasy. Trust me on this. And if you’re not down with gross medical pictures, stop at 1:52.)
What do you think?