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girlofscience's avatar

Why am I irrationally afraid of amputation?

Asked by girlofscience (7556points) September 7th, 2008

I consider myself a pretty rational thinker, and I know how uncommon amputation is. I do not participate in any unusual activities that would put me at risk for needing to have a limb amputated. However, I am really, really afraid of amputation—to the point that it almost interferes with my daily life. I spent at least a half hour every day thinking about how afraid I am of having a limb amputated at some point in my life because of some freak accident. Then I become afraid that, since I am so specifically afraid of amputation, I am putting myself more at risk because of the irony that would be associated with having amputation happen to the person who is most afraid of it. Why do I fear amputation so much?

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29 Answers

syz's avatar

Look further – while it is more common to fear people who have suffered amputation, these also include the actual fear of having a limb amputated

girlofscience's avatar

@syz: That is for people who are afraid of amputees, not afraid of becoming an amputee.

wildflower's avatar

Perhaps you’re a religious person and…...

girlofscience's avatar

@wildflower: I am an atheist.

Anyway, I have read this website before, and I can’t remember how or why I was linked to it!

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marinelife's avatar

I am not sure it is important to know why you have this fear. There are different causes of phobias. I do think that you may want to look into treating your phobia, because anything that impacts your life daily to that extent is affecting your quality of life.

I am phobic about spiders, but I don’t think about them every day or have anxiety that I might encounter one in the future. If I did, I would have to try and treat that, because I don’t want to lost that time in worry and anxiety.

Take care.

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augustlan's avatar

Irrational fears are just that…irrational. I’m with Marina on this, the phobia is taking up too much of your daily life, and you should get some counseling to help you deal with it. My phobia is heights.

NecroKing's avatar

I think the reason why you’re afraid of amputation is that…well it strikes you psychological, you’re afraid that someday you might get an unfortunate accident and yu might lose a limb, my phobia is…...(no body laugh) cookies.

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Spargett's avatar

You’re totally right. You could suffer an accident which would cause amputation. You could also be eating my a stray alligator.

Pick whichever one you’d like to control your life.

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poofandmook's avatar

This thread turned unreadable much quicker than some of the others. Congrats, GoS.

I’ve never heard of that before. I’m phobic about bugs, especially these. In fact, even getting that link on Wiki had me digging my toes into the floor, looking around my chair, and sent my heart racing. It also affects my every day life, especially at night while trying to sleep. If I knew of a way to help, I would tell you. Maybe you’ll tell me if you find a way :\

MrMontpetit's avatar

Why not be afraid of amputation? Having one less limb would suck.

marissa's avatar

Before I ‘answer’ your question, I want to say that I agree with everyone that has suggested you get therapy, if this is really impacting you the way it sounds it is.

Perhaps when you were a child you had a bad experience, overheard a conversation, saw something involving someone having to have a body part amputated and even though you don’t remember the ‘event’ that terrified you, you have continued to feel the terror clear into your adult life. It could have even been something that had nothing to do with amputation, but something caused you to associate it with amputation.

If there is such a thing as past lives, perhaps you had to have a limb amputated in a past life. (I’m not making a case for or against past lives, I’m considering all possibilities that I can think of.)

Perhaps it is disturbing you more why you have this issue, rather than the issue itself and it is causing you to think about it more than perhaps someone who has a fear of car accidents (because that would seem a more probable thing to happen statistically).

Mr_M's avatar

I’m sure you are taking good care not to become a diabetic, right?

anthony81212's avatar

I am irrationally scared of static electricity and getting shocked by it..

galileogirl's avatar

Necro, lemme get this straight, you lost an arm fighting so you take up a different kind of fighting? Dude it sounds like you have a phobia about going through life with all your limbs.

Girl of science: It might alleviate your fears if you carry around a cooler full of ice. Then if you did lose a limb, you could pack it in ice until you get to the hospital. Don’t give in to your fears, be proactive!

arnbev959's avatar

I am irrationally afraid of paralysis, specifically quadriplegia. It started in 5th grade gym class, when we began a ‘gymnastics’ unit. Our gym teacher, Mr. Green, gave us a “heart-to-heart” talk before we started, telling us that we had to do exactly what we were supposed to, otherwise we could become paralyzed for life. He told us about a girl who he knows who did a cartwheel while waiting for a bus and fell, and when she woke up she was in a hospital and hasn’t been able to move anything below her neck since.

I was scared to death. I was afraid to do anything at all during gym class, and every time I passed a bus stop I shuddered. Since then I’ve gotten better, but it’s still my greatest fear. (One of my only fears, actually.) The thought of not being able to control my own body is terrifying. It keeps me up at night sometimes.

I’m sorry. I know this doesn’t really answer your question.

scamp's avatar

@petethepothead I understand your fear. My brother was a quadriplegic for the last 20 years of his life. He relied on a ventilator to breathe. When I would sit next to him, sometimes I noticed that I was breathing in time to the ventilator. It worked slower to my breathing and soon I found myslef feeling kind of panicky. Since then I have been nervous about not being able to breathe, or losing that ability.

But this feeling only comes and goes once in awhile, and dosen’t last very long.
@girlofscience If you have this fear daily and for the length of time you say, you should definitely seek help. It’s beyond irrational fear and is becoming an obsession.

galileogirl's avatar

pete: If you spend your life worrying about what might happen, you can’t enjoy what is happening. Starting about the age of 16, I occasionally had a waking dream where my mind woke up but I couldn’t move or open my eyes. Then the panic would prevent me from breathing and I had to physically fight to move and breathe, so you can imagine how I felt about paralysis. Three years ago I woke up in the morning, severely numb on the right side. When I tried to get up, I found I was unable to use my right arm and leg. When it actually happens you find you are more focused on dealing with it than sitting around bemoaning your fate.

augustlan's avatar

@gg: What was the cause?

augustlan's avatar

I’m so sorry to hear that. Were you able to regain any use of the affected limbs?

galileogirl's avatar

I type 2-fingered, left hand but can shift/control key with the right. 20% right arm,thumb/index finger a little. I need a brace on right leg. I drive with minor mod to steering. I was told I should think about retiring but was back to school on time, 60 days after that morning, 30 days after I got out of the wheelchair. You’d be surprised how much you can get out of being stubborn, nothing heroic, just the personality of a mule.

Hope's avatar

I understand that these fears are genuine and difficult to live with. As an amputee I can tell you that I have an excellent, extremely active life and that my missing leg has very little impact on my happiness or range of activities. I know that misses the point though, which is the fear and anxiety, but I hope it helps a little.

Fx234's avatar

Did you ever find out?
Sometimes our recurrent thoughts are what become our realities. A premonition.
Hopefully this wasen’t the case… Was it?

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