Specific phobias are an overwhelming and irrational fear of objects or situations that pose little real danger but cause anxiety and avoidance behaviors. Unlike a brief moment of anxiety you might feel when you give a speech or take a test, specific phobias are long-lasting, produce intense physical and psychological reactions, and can affect your ability to function normally at work, school, or social environments. Specific phobias are among the most common anxiety disorders; not all phobias need treatment. However, if a particular phobia affects your daily life, various therapies can help you process and overcome your fears, often permanently.
A few years ago, I realized that I was afraid of clowns and thought it was a phobia. Surprisingly, there exists a phobia for clowns that is called Coulrophobia. Coulrophobia is the extreme, intense, irrational fear of clowns. It can be either just seeing it in pictures and videos or their presence. It is interesting how phobias were created or installed in our brains. Most of the time, phobias are created due to an early traumatic experience. When it comes to traumas, we don't need to remember what happened. Traumatic events supposed such a heavy emotional charge that the brain repressed the memory as a self-protective mechanism. According to the psychodynamic theory, repression is one of those defense mechanisms, and it is strongly tied with traumas and phobias.
I needed to differentiate between a phobia and a fear. I recognized that I feared clowns, but it was not severe. For instance, I was not afraid of watching videos or pictures of clowns. However, in the presence of a clown, I would feel uncomfortable and anxious. While evaluating my fear, I wanted to know where my fear of clowns originated. When I was very little, my older brother had the book IT by Stephen King; I guess from reading that book, I created a fear of clowns.
Cleveland Clinic Editors. (2021). Coulrophobia (fear of clowns): Causes and treatment. Cleveland Clinic., from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21835-coulrophobia-fear-of-clowns#:~:text=Coulrophobia%20(COOl%2Druh%2DFOE,fear%20of%20clowns%20is%20coulrophobic.