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I have a pretty bad phobia of snails and worms (and worm-like creatures such as maggots. I have no idea where it comes from or why I have it... I would love to know. I've had it since I was a little child (since I can remember).
Also, it's not just a feeling of disgust like it is for other people, I don't just find them yucky, it's really a phobia... like other people have phobias of spiders or small spaces or things like that.
When I was a child, I used to totally freak out if we went for family walks on Sunday afternoons (a lot of families do that in my country) and it had rained and there were some snails on the way/street. The thought of accidentally stepping on them (I'm visually impaired and it's easy to miss these things for me) was extremely terrifying.
Through lots of hard training over the years, I have become a little more "resistant" and I don't panic as easily anymore. I can accept that I might step on a snail or worm without freaking out (though it still feels super stressful).
However, if a snail or worm comes too close to me (closer than 1-2 feet), especially if I sit on the ground or if they are on a table or anything like that, I still totally lose it. My heart starts beating like I was facing a Siberian tiger and I get this really, really extreme urge to immediately escape the situation. Obviously I know that my fear is completely irrational and that my behavior doesn't make any sense. It's not like a snail or an earth-worm is gonna kill or poison me. Any yet, I simply can't fight my physical reactions. Sometimes it gets so bad that my rational thinking completely turns off and I feel like a wild animal in a life-or-death situation. I just act instinctively. One time I remember in elementary school, a boy from my class somehow found out about my phobia and wanted to tease me about it by picking up a snail, putting it on his hand and trying to put it on me (he sort of ran after me). There were other boys that were standing around us and laughing. I first screamed at him to please stop it (it was more of a desperate, panicky begging than an angry screaming). When he didn't listen and got even closer, I punched him really hard in the face. I'm a very peaceful person and it's only time in my life I ever really hurt someone physically. I later got yelled at by my teacher and I tried to explain but to no avail. It had all happened so fast... my body reacted before my brain did.
So yeah... I really wonder where this comes from...0