For as long as she can remember, Kudzai Dube was afraid of holes.
‘Not plug holes or doughnut holes, but groups of holes, clustered together,’ she explains to that’s life!
Seeing them would make her feel extremely uncomfortable.
’I felt goosebumps cover my arms and I wanted to cry.’
One time her brother, Tererai, called her to the computer to show her something.
‘It was a photo of a woman, but someone had photoshopped lots of small holes on to her body. It was as if her skin was made of honeycomb.’
He apparently thought it was amazing, but she couldn’t bear to look at it and burst into tears.
Doing some Googling, she soon discovered she had a rather common phobia - trypophobia. Triggered when the person sees clusters of holes or bumps.
‘A perfect example of a trigger is a lotus pod, because of the holes on its surface. Trypophobes are also scared of sponges and even crumpets,’ Kudzai explains.
‘If I can’t get the image of something holey out of my head, I have to jump in the shower to feel better.
'I even get the creeps if I see bubbly chocolate bars.’
Crumpets, sponges, and even rough-looking rocks can terrify her - which is difficult as Kudzai is studying to be a geologist.
‘I can’t help it – they’re so creepy and I just can’t shake off the anxious feeling. I never know when I’ll come across a trigger and I don’t think I’ll ever be cured.’
- Trypophobia is described as an intense or irrational fear of clusters of bumps or holes.
- Between 10 and 20 per cent of the population are believed to be affected by it.
- People with severe trypophobia can be frightened by something an innocent as a showerhead or a pancake with air bubbles, making daily life tricky.
- Some poisonous animals, such as the blue-ringed octopus, have circle patterns or pock-marks on their skin. It’s thought trypophobia could be linked to a natural instinct to be wary of things with similar markings.
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