I’ve had this form of phobia-induced anxiety for as long as I can remember, and it cannot be cured no matter how hard I try. It is not commonly heard, or even known by many. “Put yourself in that environment and face those fears head on,” my friends told me. Yet despite facing it almost everyday, it hasn’t gotten any better.
What I have is ornithophobia – the fear of birds. While there are others out there who pay to feed birds, I choose to stay away from those feathered creatures, no matter how cute anyone says they are.
If it’s hard to imagine having ornithophobia, I’ve got you covered.
Imagine strolling down a park on a cosy Sunday morning, while you’re plugged in to soothing jazz music. You glance up at to admire the pastel blue sky, and a breeze brings you relief from the heat. At this moment, a flock of birds fly past gracefully. It’s a picture perfect moment. What is the worst that could happen?
A bird standing at the bottom of a tree trunk, looking up to where it should belong.
It walks slowly out of the shade, looking determined to join the team. Before soaring, it turns its head to make eye contact with you. It’s as though it’s sending a signal that something big is going to happen. I freeze, unable to think of what I should do next.
The feathered creature then charges up its wings. In a few moments, it takes off as quick as a plane.
This is what happens during a typical Sunday morning for me, while those without this seemingly irrational fear would enjoy their Sunday breeze.
It is not just because of how much germs they have on their claws, or how much of a pest some of them can be. In fact, this remains an open questions to me – an answer I’ve been searching for years as well.
I have no memory of any horrifying encounters I had with them, neither can I point out a single factor that is the cause for this fear.
It doesn’t just apply to the neighbourhood mynahs that we see – I feel this way towards every single feathered creature.
Every time one of them is nearby, a massive wave of terror flows from the tip of my toes to every curl up my hair. An unexplainable surge of energy charges up my body, yet my legs can’t seem to move away from them instinctively.
It’s like a scene from a movie where the robbers and the police stare at each other after a long chase. The air is tense, and both are waiting for each other to make the first move. It flaps its wings as it flies across, without any warning, right beside your ears.
There is nothing you can do – you remain vulnerable as though your entire being has been anchored to the ground.
Everyone has fears.
It can be as simple as the fear of heights, or as complicated as the fear of small, clustered holes. Yet, these stem from the thoughts you create. In the same vein, fear is therefore a choice.
While I have yet to conquer my ornithophobia, I’m determined to do so. I’m certain that I will emerge victorious someday, and I hope you find the courage within yourself too.