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Lilapsophobia

That's what they call it.  Or astraphobia, but my fear is more extreme than that.  My heart rate gets a jumpin' when I feel the energy of a storm approaching.  I get nauseated hearing or feeling the winds pick up outside, and then blow branches against the siding of my house.  My mind bounces terrified thoughts around every corner of my brain while I pace from room to room, fearing that sitting down would keep me from a quick response if a tornado was to hit.  I constantly look out windows up at the sky.  I check weather.com's radar image consistently, about every 5 or ten minutes.  It's gotten really out of control.  I especially hate it on days like today.  Easter Sunday.  When the whole family is around, here I am quietly doing breathing exercises to keep my paranoia at bay.  It didn't work though.  It never works.  They never say anything, but they can always tell.  If I was at home with my boyfriend, I'd be in the basement, on the couch surrounded by about 20 pillows, laptop at arm's length, and attempting to fall asleep in order to "sleep through it all."  And then, when the wind comes to a lull, and the clouds are no longer heavy grey or dark, or at least when I can see patches of blue sky between the clouds again, I feel like the biggest fool having reacted the way I did in front of everyone. 

I don't understand why I have this fear.  I've never experienced any kind of weather phenomenon, or have people in my family who were freaked out by storms when I was growing up.  I did, however, grow up in Southern California, where the weather was pretty much the same year around.  We had earthquakes here and there, but those haven't scared me at all.  I just wish I knew why my body reacts so frightfully and uncontrollably to something that is such a necessary part of nature. 

My boyfriend hates it, and can't understand why I can't just "get over it."  To tell you the truth, I don't know why I can't either.  He says if I educated myself more about why thunderstorms happen, and how tornadoes are formed (I.e. only under certain circumstances can there be tornadoes), then I shouldn't be scared. However, I HAVE educated myself, and I DO know how things form and under what circumstances they form, yet I still have this relentless fear every time the sky is overcast.  Yes, I said "overcast."  Sometimes that's all it takes for the anxiety to begin. 



I'm happy to know that there are other people out there with my same fear.  But, there must be an easier way to cope with it.  Does anyone have any ideas of how to eliminate this fear from my life permanently?



--Christine

chrislynnwagner chrislynnwagner 26-30, F 7 Responses Apr 4, 2010

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I too grew up scared of tornado's in southern california, but I have family in alabama and we moved there when i was ten. In almost every thunderstorm tornado sirens sceam (but that didn't mean there was a tordado, just that there might be) and so for years i would go crazy and plan drills every rainy day. My family thought that I was just being dramatic, and punished me when I acted "ridiculous". Oddly at the young age all of the negative reinforcement and the lack of tornado's helped me. I learned to go about my day in relative peace during thunder storms.

So yes. It just takes alot of bravery, and help from friends and family, and you can take a phobia, to a fear.

(I am in phobia mode again though because of the April tornados)

I have gradually developed a t-storm phobia in the last 5 yrs. Earlier in life, my feelings of disliking storms would wax and wane, but it was never like it is now. I have struggled w/ lifelong anxiety, and admittedly, t-storms (and many other things) did not bother me so much while i took antidepressants. However, I would rather be the t-storm phobe, nervous wreck that i am today than take those pills again due to side fx. Not worth it for me. Like i said, this phobia development was gradual. No big bang event that i'm aware of.

I know this is very difficult to live with, but make sure others are AWARE that mental health problems (including phobias) do not care how knowledgeable you are about a particular subject. Unless treated (through meds, CBT, or other natural approaches that some people get by with), the phobia/mental health problem always wins.

Tater, I am in the Piedmont of NC and am honestly considering relocating as well. I know this is "running from the phobia", but as i said, no more pills for me, and unfortunately, the natural mental health approaches only go so far in my case. I too, believe my t-storm phobia has increased since the awful spring of 2011.

Chrislynn, if this is a true phobia you are dealing with, it will probably need to be treated for life, but it won't necessarily be permanently cured.

I am the same way...... On days when they are calling for severe storms, I nearly have a nervous breakdown...... When the storms are coming this way, I about have a heart attack........ When they get ti where I live, I feel like I could die right where I stand........ And it's driving me nuts, for there is a Moderate Risk of severe weather not but about 150-200 miles from where I live as I type this, and the threat level is gonna be raised from Moderate to High Risk, I just know it is....... On Moderate or High Risk days, I feel like I'm moments away from a stroke....... I go into full-on terror, and if it materializes over where I live (NW NC) or anywhere near me and is set to move into my direction, I just lose control....... April 27, 2011 is a prime example........ There was a large EF3 tornado confirmed not 40 miles from where I live, and Ashe County, NC has dodged the bullet several time over the years, but I think our luck is gonna run out........ From 1998-2010, Ashe had been under 3 tornado warnings that whole time. In 2011 alone, there was 7, including a tornadic storm that passed over my house on April 10, 2011....... When I heard that roaring noise go over my house, my God....... I was literally on the edge of passing out....... I am strongly considering moving out of NC, because I don't think I can live in tornado country much longer...... I have been to the hospital twice because of this.......... I simply can't not stand it any more......

I only recently began to research this topic. We were affected by a tornado last April. Before then, I was not very "weather aware". Now, we have our "storm kit", weather radios, instant messages to our cell phones, and other precautions. That def. helps. But the sick feeling in my stomach still occurs whenever we have a forecast for severe weather, or I know that severe weather is predicted for areas where family members are. I have learned a lot about weather during the past nine months, why and how severe weather occurs. I want to take a Skywarn basic spotter training class. I feel like the more I can understand weather and be prepared, the less terrified I will be. Having a house blown down around you is NOT a good feeling. Not knowing where to go when the "Take cover Now!" warning is issued is NOT a good feeling. We are seriously considering having a safe room installed in our home. Maybe it's phobic or maybe just never wanting to experience that again...whatever. Hopefully, it will get better with time.

I am so glad that I am not the only one with this fear!! I can relate to literally everything you said!! My anxiety wasn't as bad until a few weeks ago when there was a tornado warning. Sirens went off and we lost power for 4 days (scary because I couldn't check the weather.) It's hard for me to even go outside when there's just the tiniest cloud in the sky. I get so nervous! We are supposed to have severe weather again on Monday and I can't stop obsessing about it. I'm terrified and filled with dread. People tell me all the time to "get over it" and I completely understand you! It's not that easy!! It's not like we WANT to have this fear!

I have had this fear become full blown as of this past summer and I do EXACTLY the same things you mentioned above. I can't believe it's taken me this long to find out there is an actual NAME for this phobia I now have. I was also kind of relieved to learn I am not the only one and have been searching all over the Internet learning more about lilapsophobia. It is definitely more than just not liking storms (as you mentioned above) My husband has even said to me before "Step Away From The Weather Channel" Reading your story has helped me tonight and I thank you for sharing it. I, too am doing what I can to try and remove this phobia from my life and will be glad to share any insights I find. Best of luck to you and thanks again for sharing.

i act the same way except im only scared when im home by myself. when i see that a storm is approaching i get so scared that i have a panic attack. i always hoped i would grow out of it but i doesnt seem thats happening. I dont know what to do. I always pray if i know that we could get storms that day. or i hope that someone will stay home. or i always go to a friends house but it just is such a pain to have to go through this.