I don't want to make light of this issue for anyone who suffers from a debilitating phobia, but I might be developing one of my own. I am definitely feeling a deeper understanding and empathy for people who have such a disorder. There are some specific phobias to which I am beginning to relate.
After being pelted with what can only be described in today's terms as a polar vortex of blizzards, white out conditions, ice storms, cryoseisms, and sub zero temperatures, I haven't left the house in days.
To realize the gravity of this situation, you have to understand that I'm not one who can normally stay in the house for more than an hour without developing a restlessness. It's not that I need to go anyplace or even that I have anything to do, I just need an outing to see or experience what's going on in the world on any given day. I need changes of scenery and find that spending an hour wandering around a store, visiting with friends at a coffee shop, or going to the gym will alleviate this problem for me.
I am currently being held captive by the weather. Travel of any kind, and this includes walking, has been treacherous and almost impossible. There are daily reports of traffic pileups on the major roads and highways near us. Besides that, it's been brutally cold. I hate cold. I'm always cold, so opportunities to become even more cold are not welcomed.
If I were to be totally honest, it's not that I couldn't go outdoors, it's that I have no desire to do so. Why would I want to? It's dull, dreary, gray. Did I mention it's cold? It's snowy and were it not for the occasional bit of lovely scenery (during the ice storm, after the whiteouts and so on), I could hibernate. Yes, I could be a bear. Bears know how to survive. They eat whatever they want, then sleep in their huge warm coats. The best part is that when they wake up, it's warm outside and they've lost up to forty percent of their body weight without any effort. I'd like to be a bear.
There's a kind of tranquility, a contentment that comes with hanging around the house. Sure there are things to do. There are always things to do. But they don't really matter. Even if you only do one or two things a day, you get more done than you would have if the weather had been better and you'd been distracted by fun activity options. On the other hand, I haven't felt motivated to do much.
As I said, I've gotten to the point where I do not want to go outside. Let me just reiterate. I don't like to be cold! I don't even want to be cold while I'm in the process of going someplace where it might be warmer.
So I've thought about how people develop phobias. For example, agoraphobia keeps people housebound. It is not a phobia in and of itself but one which develops from other factors. Perhaps it could begin in winter with frigophobia... a fear of the cold, or chionophobia... fear of snow, or maybe even cryophobia...a fear of ice and extreme cold.
Many phobias develop in childhood and how they're dealt with might make some difference in how well people cope throughout life. I had strange experiences with cold and snow wayyyy up north in McKenzie Island during my formative years. Perhaps it's taken this long to manifest itself.
So after listening to weather reports describing the upcoming week, it's unlikely that I'm going anyplace. Let's hope that if and when it gets warmer, less snowy and less icy, that I'll be able to push myself out the door once again in an attempt to continue my normal walkabout activities.