Irrational fears plague Cards


Melissa Bushong

English teacher Jessica Walpole has an unusual fear of balloons. She hates having balloons in her home.

Hailey Boger, Reporter











A rubber balloon, a box of Cheez-Its and a simple bird perched on a wire. They may appear to be totally unrelated objects, but in actuality they are fears shared by some people at SHS.

To put it simply, a fear is something that one is afraid of. Some of the most common fears are spiders, snakes, heights and crowded spaces, according to However, sometimes people have unusual or irrational fears. Just about anything, no matter how silly it seems to be, it could be a fear to someone.

According to guidance counselors Tricia Bender and Erin Shimp, fears come about in ways that can vary from person to person.

“Fears can be manifested by anything,” Bender said. “It can be something you’ve experienced… just the unknown sometimes can manifest into a fear.”

Shimp adds that fears can also be triggered by traumatic events, particularly when one is young. Sometimes, people don’t even have a reason for their fears.

There’s also a difference between a fear and  a  phobia. While a fear is just something that scares people in general, a phobia can cause panic attacks and similar reactions when dealt with.

“I think you see more physical attributes that can go along with a phobia,” Bender said. “Compared to a fear, where you just don’t like it and you’re gonna stay away from it.”


While hanging out at her friend’s house one day, junior Jaela Johnson’s friends decided to play a harmless prank on her. When Johnson reached into the  pockets of the jacket she was wearing, she felt one of   her biggest fears on her fingertips – Cheez-Its.

“I freaked out and took the jacket off and started crying,” Johnson said.

Johnson has no real reason for her fear of Cheez-Its. She just hasn’t liked them ever since she was a baby. She doesn’t normally cry when in the presence of the snack, but being around them is enough to make her anxious.

Sometimes, if someone gets in her face with Cheez-Its, she can “get physical” by pushing or shoving them, but otherwise, she just tries to keep her distance from them.

“They’re just disgusting, and they stink,” Johnson said. “I try to stay as far away from them as possible.”

Johnson  has  never  tried to get over her fear of Cheez-Its  and  doesn’t  think she  ever  will.  She would  get rid all the Cheez-Its in the world  if  it were her choice, not leaving any for others to enjoy.

“I’d    burn  up   all   the   Cheez-Its    in  the    entire   world   so  that  nobody could have them,” Johnson said.


Walking into her class one day, English teacher Jessica Walpole  caught sight  of something that made her blood run cold. In the hands of one of her students was a round, colorful balloon.

“He just kept   holding  it  near  his  stomach  at  his  desk and I just thought it was going to pop at any moment,” Walpole said. “I felt very nauseous and very sweaty.”

Because of her fear of balloons, also known as globophobia, Walpole tenses and gets nauseous at the mere sight of them.

While she’s a little  better  around  helium balloons, it’s the rubber balloons that really make her tick. In particular, she hates the sound the balloons make when people hold them as well as the  possibility that they may pop.

Although Walpole can’t pinpoint the exact reason why  she’s terrified  of balloons, she  believes it  may  have started in  the  fourth grade  when a balloon popped and  it got in her eye. She thinks her fear of clowns may also  contribute  to  her  fear of balloons.

Walpole believes she’s getting better being around balloons, saying she let her student keep the balloon he was holding, but in large quantities they still make her uneasy.

“My  daughter  is  about  to  turn 3,”  Walpole said. “I  will  not  allow  rubber  balloons in  my  home.”


Sitting   on   the   couch   as  a  child,   senior Angie   Roy   was   getting   ready to   watch a   movie  with her grandmother. Little did she know that the movie, “The Birds,” would trigger a fear of birds that she still has to this day.

“If there is a bird, I will not go around it,” Roy said. “I will avoid it.”

Roy’s fear of birds, or ornithophobia, is so strong that she won’t even leave her own house if there’s a  bird outside.  She   tends   to just avoid   them   in   general. Even   when   going   to   the zoo,   she doesn’t like to go near the bird exhibits.

“If there’  like a highway  underpass  and  we have   to   go   through it,   I’ll   roll   all   the   windows   up,” Roy said. “Birds just chill under there.”

It’s  not  as  much  of a  problem  if the birds aren’t very close to her,  but she says that if someone held a bird in front of  her, she would likely scream and run away. Even so, her fear doesn’t affect her to the point where it interferes with her day to day life.

Roy doesn’t  think   she  will   get   over  her  fear of   birds   anytime  soon,   and   hasn’t   ever   tried to.

“I don’t know how (to get over the fear,)” Roy said. “Just how do you get over a fear?”