Why yes, I made it up.
It is a combination of “ichthyophobia,” the fear of fish, and “thalassophobia,” the fear of the sea. I have a fear of deep water sea fish and (what is strange to me) there is no official phobia name for this common fear! There could be no better example of under representation in society! Thus, as someone who is personally affected, I feel obligated to create some sort of title, a name, a declaration, a something, AN ANYTHING to represent those among us who share this phobia.
Ichthyalassophobian? Check it.
I’m not sure as to when I started fearing these deep sea critters. I never felt this compulsive urge to scream and protect myself before. It was like I was in a dream state… Until one day I woke up and realized “holy shit giant squid are fucking scary.”
I admit, I don’t have the fear quite rationalized within myself. I am an AVID player of Fish Tycoon, a guppy breeder, a goldfish and koi enthusiast, I work with zebrafish in my lab, and I LOVE seafood. Wailmer is one of my favorite water pokemon. I enjoy swimming (well… wading in the shallows contently, since I am five feet tall) and have no apprehension towards clear, freshwater rivers. There’s a lake near my house and I am perfectly content with gazing at its calm, rapidly evaporating demeanor.
Where did the fear arise from?
As a child, I loved ALL animals. I strove to be a veterinarian. I knew that my best friend in 3rd grade’s favorite animal was the monkey, but when there was a book giveaway, I stole the monkey book from her right from her hands because it was the only animal book in the box. Every time my parents took me to the bookstore, I wobbled straight to the animal section and begged them to buy me every animal related book (with pictures of course) that I could reach. They compensated my incredible thirst with The Complete Book of Animals by Tom Jackson.
The Complete Book of Animals had a shit ton of animals, no joke. Lizards, marsupials, frogs, bears, you name it. That’s where I learned about the pangolin, the axolotl, the echidna, and many more exotic and random animals. Among these animals were lovely sea mammals: DOLPHINS and WHALES.
I remember feeling ashamed while reading the sperm whale’s name, but otherwise I had no problems with these sea creatures. In fact, I distinctly recall my fascination with the unicorn of the sea: the narwhal. Elegant, I thought, elegant. However, no longer can I remember those passionate feelings of fervor and joy. Like a relationship that has grown bitter and hateful between two bickering spouses, I cannot imagine the sweet, innocent, childlike times where I once considered these marine creatures to be… Anything but irrationally dangerous.
So… When did it start? Perhaps I’ll talk about it later. For now, I am going to eat some microwavable snacks and reset my cookies and history so that Finding Nemo and deep sea fish related ads will not continuously pop up on my screen and make me want to live in an arid, desolate but safe desert.