October 2022 

When I think of the month of October, two things automatically come to my mind: Fall foliage and Halloween. As a kid, I loved dressing up for Halloween and going door to door collecting as much candy as my white pillowcase could hold. On the other hand, I dreaded encountering the large spider web decorations that triggered my arachnophobia. Even now, the thought of encountering spiders makes my skin crawl (sorry for the pun).

In this issue, we discuss phobias. What they are, the different types, and recommended treatments. Plus, I share my own experience with anxiety and some ways to reduce attacks.

Remember, the more we talk about mental health, the better it is for everyone.

With passion, purpose and hope.

  • C


An estimated 19 million Americans have a phobia that causes difficulty in some area of their lives. For me, it’s arachnophobia (fear of spiders) whether they're itsy bitsy or full grown tarantulas. I know I’m bigger than a spider but when it comes to phobias, logic doesn’t make any difference.

A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal. Phobias are more pronounced than fears. They develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.

While phobias may seem puzzling, they are actually very common and treatable. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), specific phobias affect 19 million adults, or 8.7% of the U.S. population. Furthermore, women are twice as likely to suffer from phobias than men.

There are three main groups of phobias: Specific (simple) phobias, which are the most common and focus on specific objects. Social phobia, which causes extreme anxiety in social or public situations, and. Agoraphobia, which is the fear of being alone in public places from which there is no easy escape.

Much is still unknown about the actual cause of phobias, however some causes may include:

  • Negative experiences developed as a result of having a bad experience or panic attack related to a specific object or situation.

  • Genetics and environment. There may be a link between a specific phobia and the phobia or anxiety of a parent — this could be due to genetics or learned behavior.

  • Changes in brain functioning also may play a role in developing specific phobias.”

The ten most common phobias are:

Acrophobia: fear of heights.

Pteromerhanophobia: fear of flying. 

Claustrophobia: fear of enclosed spaces. 

Entomophobia: fear of insects. 

Ophidiophobia: fear of snakes.

Cynophobia: fear of dogs. 

Astraphobia: fear of storms.

Trypanophobia: fear of needles.

Nosophobia: fear of developing a disease.

Arachnophobia: fear of spiders.

Most people with phobias tend to avoid them, For example: When selecting a vacation spot, I won’t travel to a destination known to have an abundance of arachnids. Someone with claustrophobia will most likely opt to take three flights of stairs versus an elevator. 

While people may assume agoraphobia is simply a fear of open spaces, it's actually a more complex condition. Agoraphobics are generally afraid of situations where escape might be difficult or that help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong. 

A person with metathesiophobia, or the fear of change, is likely to avoid changing jobs or always dine out at the same restaurant. It is sometimes associated with trypophobia, the fear of moving.

Symptoms associated with phobias can range from mild to severe. Panic attacks are a common response, according to Mental Health America. Other physical symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Racing or pounding heart

  • Chest pain or tightness

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded

  • Hot or cold flashes

  • Sweating

Many mental health professionals recommend psychotherapy to treat most phobias and agree exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are the most effective. These forms of therapy focus on changing a person’s response to the object or situation that they fear.


How many times have you admitted being stressed out to someone and their response was “just breathe?” I personally do not find this comment helpful. I’m pretty sure I breathe whether I’m stressed-out or not. In fairness to the well intentioned, taking slow deep breaths has been proven to reduce anxiety. So does meditation, yoga, walking and exercise. However, these tools may not be everyone’s cup of tea.


As someone with ADHD and high anxiety, slowing down long enough to meditate or practice yoga is not in my comfort zone. When I’ve attempted either, a voice in my head keeps saying “is it over yet?”

At the advice of my therapist, I took a different approach to reducing my anxiety by identifying my “stress triggers.”  

Once I realized that my high expectations were at the root of my anxiety, I started to make changes in my daily life.

For example:

Instead of making multiple appointments on a single day, I spread them out. Avoiding overscheduling has been life changing.

Instead of putting ten things on my to-do list, I put a maximum of five and I’m okay if I don’t get it all done.

I’ve changed my expectations and accept that there is no such thing as perfection. Trying to be perfect is a sure fire way to increase stress since perfection is impossible to achieve. 

Lastly, I’ve learned the importance of setting boundaries and saying no to others. I used to think this was selfish. It’s not. It’s simply part of self care and essential to mental health.

Anxiety can be normal in stressful situations. However, when anxiety starts to encroach on your daily life, it’s time to face the beast head on and find your own ways to calm it.

Check out our July 22, 2022 blog to learn about the common signs of anxiety and depression.

By Candace Schoner, Candace is a freelance writer and host and producer of the podcast, Speaking Candidly with Candace.


Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022

This bill reauthorizes through FY2027, expands, and modifies programs, grants, and activities that focus on mental and behavioral health.

Specifically, the bill reauthorizes and modifies

  • the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances Program,
  • the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant,
  • the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant,
  • the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Grant,
  • the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline program,
  • grants related to suicide prevention, and
  • grants to support the behavioral health workforce.

Additionally, the bill expands access to opioid and other substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.



“Powerful and poignant, this book is for anyone who has struggled with mental health challenges. As a therapist myself, I value the bravery with which these people share their personal experiences to help destigmatize mental health for others. Let’s talk about it all.” ;

– Lori Gottlieb, author of “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone”


Blinded by Addiction

Trauma coach, Jennifer Shakespeare shares her experience falling in love with an addict and how his suicide opened her eyes and changed her life.

Click here to listen


Speaking Candidly with Candace is always seeking guests for our weekly podcast. Our goal is to change how people think about mental health problems through compelling stories and expert advice from mental health professionals.

Apply to be a guest on our show.

Benefits of Being a Guest

  • Share your experience and knowledge with others while promoting your brand or business.
  • Conquer your fear of public speaking
  • Promote your book, blog, articles, workshop, etc.

Learn more about our mission.  

If you feel you are in a black hole, don't give up. There's a way out. 
- Stephen Hawking
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Schoner Communications · 340 Riverside Avenue · Charlottesville, Va 22902 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp