Keith Wagstaff of Vice News reached out to me about understanding his phobia of statues. Along with other anxiety experts, I provided my thoughts on how this fear might have developed and what to do about it. Here's an excerpt:
I’m afraid of a lot of things. Spiders, loneliness, dying in a fiery car crash. It’s stuff I should fear, because, justifiably, I don’t want to bleed out under a charred Kia, phone bereft of texts, a tarantula creeping slowly toward my face.
My fear of statues makes less sense.
Technically, it’s called “automatonophobia,” although researchers and psychologists don’t really use those fancy Latin terms. Instead, they would call it something like a “specific phobia of statues or things that resemble human beings.”
Wax figures creep me out. So do ventriloquist dummies. But for some reason, marble statues scare me the most. Once, walking through the Greek and Roman galleries at the Met, I became so terrified could barely move, an entire room of men with dead eyes and smooth, lifeless skin fixing me into place. Somehow I managed to escape, my social anxieties the only thing to keep me from curling into a ball in the Temple of Dendur.
Read the full article for more.