The fear of certain numbers is actually quite common. The fear of the figure eight itself causes a fear that can sometimes go beyond the actual number. This particular fear is called Octophobia. This fear may have a root in superstition or it could have everything to do with a feeling that you will never be able to escape. There may be impending danger associated with the number and everyone who feels this fear considers their phobia to be legitimate and perhaps without remedy.
What Causes Octophobia
The fear of the number eight may be thought of as a number that is less than perfect. The number 7 is considered God’s perfection by many and the number 6 represents imperfection and to some a sign of the devil. The number 8 may be viewed as the opposite of perfection, but it can take on a sinister “Hotel California” feel (check in, but never leave).
This happens when you view an ice skater beautifully tracing a figure eight in the ice. As they take one corner after the next it can seem as if they will never escape from this systematic ritual. This can be heightened with auto race events that feature drivers managing a difficult figure eight course. There is even a racing league that uses the figure eight course that refers to itself as F.E.A.R. (Figure Eight Auto Racing). In this case cars will crisscross each other and some vehicles will likely be struck in an almost demolition derby fashion.
The common threads of the fear are linked to danger and to an inability to escape.
For some the fear comes as a result of childhood incident although there are many who develop the fear as they allow their minds to study the flowing loops that never seem to end.
Symptoms of Octophobia
A casual glance at a figure eight may not elicit a strong reaction for many Octophobes. However, if they continue coming across the number they may fixate on the loops and feel a sense of intense panic as they feel incapable of escape.
Other symptoms include…
- Elevated or irregular heartbeat
- Breathing hunger
- A profound sense of dread
- A feeling you are not in control
- Other forms of psychological distress
As with all fears it can be argues that this fear is irrational. Some who have this fear would agree, but they still may be at a loss as to how to resist the feelings of fear. This is where additional help may be needed.
How to Overcome Octophobia
There are prescriptions that can be taken to help alleviate some of the fears experiences by octophobes. However, many of these can only be taken for a few months at a time because they are habit forming.
Many will suggest things such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Others suggest hypnosis in an effort to suggest to your subconscious that there is really nothing to fear from the figure eight.
No matter what therapy may be used it is always helpful if there is at least one person willing to act as a support person for the individual working through their fear.