127 Things That Freak Me Out

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Things That Freak Me Out

A List

For Sharon Who Wants Me to Make This Into a Book

For the purposes of this list it is important to understand that what I mean when I say something “freaks me out” is that it causes an irrational panic, involuntary physical shudder or turn of the stomach, general distress, or in some selected cases an alarming bridge-jumping anxiety.  Most of the time you will never know I’m freaking out or diverting a panic attack.  In some cases it’s obvious why I might be anxious about something – like when people wear white saggy tube socks – and in other cases – such as standing on cliff edges – your guess is as good as mine. 

I have generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, as well as misophonia.  So if you don’t have any of these things and you wonder what it’s like – this will give you a little taste of how uncomfortable a lot of ordinary things are to people like me.  On the other hand, sometimes I have a lot more fun than other people because everything is SO FUCKING WEIRD.

  1. Muscular spiders
  1. People drinking water or other cold beverages out of mugs instead of glasses
  1. Cheap poorly designed metal forks – I will admit that they offend me as much as they bother me to touch and eat with.  What excuse is there for poorly designed silverware?
  1. Returning merchandise – even if it’s faulty and clear that it should be returned and obvious that no clerk will fistfight me for trying to get my money back
  1. The sounds of people eating
  1. The sound of cotton balls being squished
  1. Vibrato singing
  1. Grown women who sound like little girls
  1. Putting clothes on in the wrong order
  1. Dull pencils
  1. People in socks without pants on
  1. Tube socks
  1. Saggy socks
  1. Baseball caps worn very high on the crown – very hard to resist the urge to blow on them to see  if they fly away
  1. Getting food from buffet situations – it’s not the germ factor, it’s something I can’t even explain to myself
  1. Group activities of almost any kind where someone calls them “group activities” – I can become ornery and dangerous when pushed to participate
  1. Spittle collecting in the corners of people’s mouths when they talk
  1. People wearing shirts but nothing else
  1. Turtlenecks – I’m convinced they will choke me to death the second I let my guard down
  1. Putting my hands in gloves
  1. When my skin gets really dry – makes me want to crawl out of it, as do many things on this list
  1. Feeling breath on my skin – so blow on it at your own risk and remember that I’m good with my fists
  1. The sound of people breathing – loud breathing in particular but sometimes it’s any sound of breathing, a very hard anxiety to live with
  1. Grown ups drinking milk – this is a sick and wrong thing.  It makes me shudder.  It brings to mind phlegmy mouths which ALL people get when drinking milk.  If you drink milk in front of my and then try to carry on a conversation I will either leave immediately or plot my revenge on you
  1. Pranks of any kind – you’ll be sorry if you play a prank on me and I die of a heart attack, though probably not as sorry as I’ll be
  1. Cutting off pieces of carcasses – in cooking applications.  I have never tried cutting pieces off of human carcasses or wild animal carcasses but I almost passed out cutting the tip of a chicken wing off
  1. The thought of people eating meat – philosophically I’m okay with it but secretly I find it really distressing
  1. Meat breath – it’s a thing people who eat meat get that I imagine only a lifelong vegetarian could smell but it causes me to back away
  1. The smell of fish – yes, even fresh fish smells like fish if you hate the smell of fish
  1. Finding half a worm on my dinner plate
  1. Using a cutting board that meat has been on
  1. Floss breaking in my teeth
  1. Visible tooth rot
  1. fuzzy teeth
  1. loose teeth – mine, yours, everyone’s – if you show me or you talk about it I will claw the walls to get away
  1. dentures
  1. getting dental x-rays
  1. cotton tubes the dentist stuffs in your mouth during root canals
  1. Squeaky noises
  1. people mindlessly humming
  1. people mindlessly whistling
  1. Repetative noises
  1. Competing noises
  1. long nails on men – especially when just a couple are long
  1. really long nails on women – it’s hard for me to stop fantasizing about what it would feel like to rip them off which makes me uncomfortable because things like that are called “assault” according to the law
  1. plastic surgery
  1. being pregnant – I still have nightmares about it
  1. other people being pregnant – for god’s sake don’t be offended, I have a very visceral panic about people being pregnant
  1. women having babies – the whole topic distresses me for a number of reasons both rational and unhinged
  1. overpopulation
  1. people who love having babies – I can’t even talk about this it weirds me out so much and presents the big unsolvable mystery of how I came to have one on purpose
  1. people who love spending all their time with kids – WHY? I can’t even talk about this
  1. People chewing with their mouths open
  1. crunching noises
  1. slurping noises
  1. squelching noises
  1. the feel of the shower water on my boobs – fuck you for being normal!  It hurts but it also gives me the same sensation that a snagged nail does
  1. dishes washed with dishcloths
  1. using someone else’s towel
  1. Taking off a pair of socks and then putting them back on – I have a lot of socks so I never have to do this even if I fail to get my laundry done at the appropriate time.  I don’t like to give you too much power over me or anything, but let’s just say that if you ever need to torture me for information, this is the thing to start with for guaranteed results
  1. Using pillows others have slept on
  1. snagged nail
  1. people I don’t know standing too close
  1. mullets – I have used exposure therapy to work on this and have used CBT to learn to “appreciate” them in the wild
  1. pants that are too tight – and no this isn’t because I’m a prude or an old lady
  1. Crossing bridges
  1. standing on bridges – because some day I’m just going to jump off of one the compulsion is so strong and creepy
  1. cliff edges in any situation – (see #67)
  1. taking plane rides
  1. being underground in close spaces
  1. windows that can’t be opened
  1. disco pants
  1. competition of any kind – I can’t handle competitive behaviors or games or sports or – you know – LIFE – anxiety is a real sonofabitch
  1. the sound of football games
  1. wind chimes – makes a black hole of nothing open up inside me when I hear them
  1. being aware of the moment you slip from consciousness to unconsciousness
  1. vomiting
  1. all things relating to vomit including the thought of vomit – emetaphobia is what it’s called
  1. Escalators – convinced I will be caught and killed by one some day and have never told anyone that before
  1. any unidentifiable rash, ache, pain, or medical mystery
  1. people who are super gentle and calm and quiet and never ever swear – I get the irrepressible urge to BREAK THEM which is a terribly stressful compulsion
  1. religion
  1. people yelling – PTSD
  1. hospitals
  1. being touched unexpectedly – come up behind me and surprise me with a hug at your own risk
  1. doctor exams
  1. any carpet that is tacked down to the floor
  1. wearing slippers
  1. the smell, taste, and texture of cold butter
  1. watching people put cold butter on bread and eat it
  1. wearing socks to bed – other people wearing them to bed also freaks me out
  1. wearing anything to bed that you’ve been wearing all day – particularly if such garments were worn outside
  1. dizziness
  1. nausea
  1. mayonnaise
  1. pulling – (oil as toothpaste and please let’s never talk about this again)
  1. the word giggle – makes me feel violent
  1. the word chuckle – see above note
  1. clowns of ANY kind – are there truly people out there who love clowns besides people who ARE clowns?
  1. balloons
  1. games of ANY kind
  1. magic tricks/shows
  1. Las Vegas
  1. potato bugs
  1. ticks
  1. anything that burrows under your skin
  1. stickiness on hands
  1. [redacted] – you can’t handle knowing about this one
  1. super saggy pants
  1. grown men wearing baseball caps backwards
  1. camel toes
  1. moose nuts
  1. kids with colds
  1. people spitting phlegm on the ground
  1. old sponges (more than one week old is pretty old)
  1. collections of teeth lying around – my child saves all the teeth he loses (see image at top of page) and I will suddenly see them and I can’t describe how it makes me feel which is why I can’t account for why it gave me so much pleasure to photograph them even though the whole time I was having the FEELINGS
  1. tongues –  all of them.  Let’s not talk about them ever again.
  1. gristle  – biting down on it, which I had the misfortune of doing when a relative who shall remain nameless forced me to try a hamburger (knowing I was a vegetarian kid) over 30 years ago and I’m still haunted by that experience
  1. Styrofoam squeaking – makes me want to kill people
  1. threads or fibers you can’t shake or get off of you no matter what you do – panic inducing
  1. flannel sheets
  1. sitting with my back to the door of a public place
  1. parties
  1. tasting condiments by themselves – don’t ever ask me to taste a spoonful dressing or dip please
  1. washing stemware and glasses in general
  1. sinks full of dirty water
  1. carolers – one of my most well-known anxieties

*Milk as an ingredient in baking or in black tea is fine.  Milk for babies is pretty much the thing mammals DO.  So those milk applications don’t bother me.


  1. Anxiety girl says:

    51. There are exactly 51 items on this list that freak me out, repulse me or just are in the ‘I just can’t take it’ category. Some of them merely annoy me. I have to admit that there are a few I found… well… interesting. But I don’t mean any offense and trust me, I understand, even if I can’t imagine that particular thing bothering me. Phobias are tricky. I know that, I have quite a few myself. For example, I absolutely can’t bear swinging and spinning things, even happy kids swinging in commercials freak me out, often to the point of panic attacks. But any repetitive motion can set me off, plus speeding. I’m sorry about the long rant but it felt good to write about all this which most people just don’t understand.

  2. angelina says:

    I can’t take offense at anyone finding some of this list “interesting”, especially from people in my own tribe. The thing about people like us is the infinite variation on weird things that garner strong negative emotional responses that most people can never relate to. Rant away! I haven’t been coming to my blog often these days so I apologize for the long response time.

  3. angelina says:

    Haha! A few things. But this list isn’t even complete. Welcome to life as a person with hyper-sensitivity to sensory input. Also, I’m mentally ill, and the anxiety issues contribute to this list as well.

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