Seplophobia: The Fear of Decaying Matter
Did you know that glass bottles can last for a million years while plastic bags and styrofoam cups can last forever? In contrast, it takes just five days to a month for kitchen scraps to decay completely, do you have a fear of decaying matter?
Decay can be quite gross. Most people react with disgust and the gagging reflex upon seeing anything rotten. However, people with Seplophobia have a more intense reaction: sheer terror.
Seplophobia has a person shaking in panic when dealing with their fear of decaying matter. Are you asking yourself if it is possible to master your fear of decaying matter? Find out how to manage your thoughts and know this fear.
What Is Seplophobia?
Seplophobia is the fear of decaying matter. It is derived from the Greek “sep,” meaning “decay,” and “phobos” meaning “fear.” Seplophobia is also called Septophobia.
Seplophobia is a specific phobia, so it is a fear directed at a certain object or situation. This fear limits a person’s daily life and may affect their mental health. Do you hate touching soil because it may contain decaying matter? Do you start to tremble at the mere thought of anything rotten? Perhaps you have a garden but you don’t add compost because of this phobia. Your extreme anxiety may even lead to a panic attack.
Those are hallmarks of Seplophobia. No wonder Seplophobics take extreme measures to ensure that they are nowhere near decaying matter. Seplophobics may persistently worry about future events that involve decaying matter. This is called anticipatory anxiety. The sufferer also goes into flight-or-fight mode when encountering decaying matter.
When they think about the past, they may have intense feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, and hurt. Seplophobia can make a person fear decaying matter so much that they resort to avoidance behaviors. In severe cases, they don’t only avoid situations or objects with the decaying matter but also the thoughts about it.
Even when a person is not physically in contact with decaying matter, the brain can react the way it would in a fearful situation. This is because fear is a physical response to our patterns of thinking, the thoughts we attach to decaying matter.
If you have Seplophobia, you may show the following behaviors:
● Refusal to watch movies that show decaying matter
● Avoiding gardens and farms
● Do everything possible to avoid decaying matter
Every Seplophobia sufferer is different. The images, videos, sounds, and words that they associate with decaying matter are also different.
What Causes Seplophobia?
Seplophobia causes are the same as that of other specific phobias. At times, there may not be an apparent cause that generated the fear. But it is largely one’s genetic predisposition to anxiety disorders and traumatic events that work in tandem to develop Seplophobia.
People who have a family history of anxiety disorders or specific phobias are more likely to develop Seplophobia than others. They have a genetic predisposition to it. However, this alone is rarely a reason for a full-blown phobia to develop. But if genetics is combined with a traumatic event, it can turn into a phobia quite easily.
Some people go through an emotionally charged event involving decaying matter. For example, kids can develop aversions towards decaying things because of the smell or texture. This is reinforced when a caregiver shouts “No! Don’t touch that!” when kids approach rotten food. Eventually, that aversion can develop into a phobia.
What Are the Symptoms of Seplophobia?
The severity of the symptoms depends on the underlying cause of the phobia, the individual, and the intensity of their fear. It can range from a mild uneasiness to a full-blown panic attack.
The closer you get to decaying matter, the more anxious you will get. Seplophobia symptoms are similar to that of other specific phobias.
● Heart palpitations
● Chest pain
● Stomach problems
● Numbness or tingling
● Hot or cold flashes
● Feeling unsteady
● Feeling of choking
● Obsessive thoughts
● Difficulty concentrating
● Flashes of negative images of decaying matter
● Fear of fainting
● Fear of losing control
Self-Help Guide to Treating Seplophobia
When Seplophobia interferes with daily tasks, treating it becomes imperative. Don’t fret; there are several Seplophobia treatment options out there. Some of them can be done on your own while others require professional help. Here are some popular self-help techniques to curb the anxiety related to Seplophobia:
Meditation brings you back to the present. Since your attention is on all of your senses, you can let go of any anxiety.
Yoga is essentially meditation but with movement. With yoga, one concentrates on breathing and lets go of unessential feelings. In the process, you let go of the stress and anxiety caused by Seplophobia. Physically Activity Cardio workouts like jogging, swimming, and aerobics are recommended for those with phobias and anxiety. You come out smiling because your body releases happy hormones. These help counteract the negative emotions brought about by a phobia. Exercising regularly keeps you in a good mood and eases the pain related to Seplophobia.
Writing what you are anxious about can significantly reduce your stress. Vent your stress on paper.
Don’t forget to jot down the things you are grateful for. This will remind you of positive things and happy feelings.
Getting Professional Help for Seplophobia
If self-help techniques failed to make a difference, and the condition seems severe, seek help from a professional. It will take you to the root of the issue, so that you will be able to understand yourself and your deep-rooted issues better. Ask a licensed therapist or doctor for a Seplophobia test to verify the diagnosis. Although there’s not one Seplophobia treatment that guarantees an instant or complete cure, there are some techniques that work on most phobias.
● Exposure therapy aims at desensitizing you to decaying matter bit by bit until you are no longer anxious around it.
● Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) aims to bring rationality to your thought processes. It tries to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Here are more methods used to treat Seplophobia.
● Talking Therapy
● Dialectical Behavior Therapy
● Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
● Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
● Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Your psychologist will suggest a treatment option based on your specific condition.
How to Cope with Seplophobia
How long can a person avoid coming into contact with decaying matter? Avoidance is a quick fix, but does it do any good? No. Here’s why: When you rely on avoidance behaviors, your fear of decaying matter worsens with time. It then starts hurting you and limits your life. You are responsible for managing your emotions. To feel different, you will have to consciously change what you think about and how you use your body.
Here are some tips that will help you cope:
● Take a deep breath and relax. It may seem hard, but it changes a lot of things.
● Prepare your body for stressful situations by doing meditation and yoga.
● Gradually expose yourself to your fear.
● Don’t rationalize your fear.
● Keep positive thoughts handy. Imagine a happy place in stressful times.
Take your phobia seriously, but don’t allow it to take over your life.
Seplophobia, or any kind of phobia, can seem insurmountable. But with these tips and information, you can overcome your fear of decaying matter. Just don’t expect instant results, as all of these interventions take time. Eventually, you will be able to add compost to your flower beds without cringing in fear.