Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, May 13, 2016

Fear Of Friday The 13th: Paraskevidekatriaphobia

 Friday the 13th

I am a teacher.  I can tell you when the moon is full, I can tell you when it is Friday the 13th just based on the behavior of my students.  I am not a scientist....but I can read behavior.  I should be able to, I have been doing it from almost 30 years.  So, I decided today to do a bit of research on Friday the 13th and found out that there is actually a phobia for it.  Imagine that.  Today, May 13, 2016 is a rare is the county Spring Football Jamboree, the beginning of finals, and the close of the school year....and oh Lord are the kids wile.  I have always been fascinated in superstitions and why people believe them.  I know from my relatives that there is some bad karma surrounding any Friday that lands on the 13th day of the month. There’s even a name for the irrational fear of Friday the 13th: paraskevidekatriaphobia. The joke is that if you can pronounce the name, you’re cured of  the phobia.. What a fun word.  I thought I would take a look at what exactly paraskevidekatriaphobia is, why people suffer from it, and if they can be cured.  Thanks to the National Alliance of Mental Illness I discovered that "Paraskevidekatriaphobia goes by another, equally hard to say name, friggatriskaidekaphobia. The origins of friggatriskaidekaphobia can be traced back to Nordic myth. Frigg, the goddess of wisdom, is where we get Friday from. Atriskaideka is derived from Greek meaning three and 10, equaling 13. Paraskevidekatriaphobia, on the other hand, is derived from Greek with the first half, paraskevi, relating to Friday, and dekatria relating to the number 13.  To find out why people suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia we have to look at phobias themselves. Phobias are irrational fears of any activity, situation, or thing. It’s estimated six million people suffer from different phobias in the United States alone. Phobias can alter a person’s ability to function and enjoy life. Fear of Friday the 13th might have to do with the fear of the number 13, which has been called an unlucky number for hundreds of years. Some point to the number 12 for blame.  The number 12 is a complete number and has various implications: There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. As for Friday, some believe that because Christ was crucified on that day, it is unlucky, and some biblical scholars, according to National Geographic, believe that Eve was tempted by the forbidden fruit on Friday.  These religious and number implications lead many people to do their best to avoid the date whenever it appears on the calendar. This leads to drops in business transactions, flights, hotel bookings, stock market buyings or sellings, and much more.  What I really wanted to know is can people be cured of this....really?  Like the many phobias you have probably heard of arachnophobia, agoraphobia, or claustrophobia(something that plagues me), to name a few — paraskevidekatriaphobia is something that can be treated. Both physical symptoms (panic, terror, rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating and trembling) and psychological symptoms (being afraid even if you know it’s irrational, doing whatever you can to avoid doing what you’re afraid of, running away from a phobic situation) can all be diagnosed by a medical professional.  With many phobias, desensitization therapy — exposing the person slowly to the thing they’re afraid of until they aren’t anymore — is used, but with Friday the 13th, that’s not really applicable. Instead, one might try cognitive behavioral therapy, which examines and changes thoughts and behaviors that contribute to the phobia symptoms. Doctors might also prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (antidepressants) or beta-blockers, which slow the production of adrenaline, one of the key components of fear, along with treatment to get you over your phobia."  It is not a laughing matter....especially if you are the one suffering with it.  If you or someone you know is affected by paraskevidekatriaphobia, the National Alliance of Mental Illness  or Mental are both valuable resources to learn more about phobias and to find help.

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