I have a confession to make… I’m a germaphobe. Yup, that’s right, I freak at the thought of germs. By the way, they’re everywhere if you didn’t know. But I’m happy to report that after being on the GAPS™ diet for about 9 months now, it’s actually going away!
This article isn’t about my problems so much as it is a way to help your local germaphobe through this world. Trust me, you may not see germs everywhere but to the germaphobe the littlest things drive them batty. So since I am now half germaphobe, half normal person, I thought I would share some thoughts on this to help you to understand the interesting way our mind works. If you’re a germaphobe reading this I mean this to be silly and hope you will laugh with me.
Germs. What are they?
I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes with this first question because it seems like such a simple answer. If you said that, you are not germaphobe – congratulations! Yes, scientist and doctors tell us that germs are little bacteria guys that live in our gut, existing on doorknobs, and even up our nose, but if you’re like me there’s a whole scary world that the PhD’s miss.
Germs are icky, gross things that we don’t want to touch at ALL.
Okay, I’ve officially gone juvenile on you guys, but keep in mind the very essence of a phobia is irrationality. That’s why phobia’s consist of very broad, general ideas and things that we fear. So to someone else our fears just appear a little weird, but to ourselves this little thing is connected by a thin thread to that thing that scares us. So phobias tend to only makes sense to us.
Now the words icky and gross may have different connotations for you but for a germaphobe it’s broad – gigantic. I’m going to attempt to give you a taste of where germs lie for a germaphobe beyond the usual things you would probably agree are dirty, like public restrooms.
A small list:
Can you see how simple things we usually do can trip up a germaphobe? I’m sure I could think of many more examples (far more bizarre), but I want to focus a little on how you help people through this fear.
Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.
If there’s one thing I am sure of, it’s this: We need to get rid of the idea that getting over fears is as easy as 1-2-3 or by making a conscious effort we can make it stop.
Depending on how you grew up you might want to challenge me on that point – and that’s okay – but first hear me out. A GAPS patient has a toxic gut and toxins are effecting their brain. It affects us all in different ways but usually it’s just like we get stuck.
It’s like you’re driving a stick shift car and the stick gets stuck in one gear. No matter what you do, it won’t budge.
That’s going to frustrate the GAPS person because they feel like no matter how hard they try, they can’t stop it.
So are you saying they don’t need to do anything?
Absolutely not! You still need to try and calm yourself down, cope, and even try to get it under control.
But do not beat yourself up if you fail!
Give yourself reasonable goals to try for and reach for them. Just remember that without a mechanic you aren’t going to get the stick shift out of that one gear.
Unsticking yourself from your germ phobia.
Getting your phobia to a place where you can beat it is relatively easy. It only takes 2 things:
I can say that for me, it’s truly working, I am no longer consumed with thoughts about germs throughout the day. If I touch something that used to almost give me a heart attack, I can relax and calmly wash it off or not even worry. I pray the same can be for you my fellow germaphobes. It’s no fun to be stuck, fearing everyday life – but keep up your courage and hope. You will get through it.
Did I miss something in my article you think is important? Then please comment below, I love hearing from you!
Have a fear you would like to understand? Email me your question at: hannah(@)gapalicious.com or leave a comment below.