All posts by sez15

Thoughts on Thaasophobia

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In Technical Terms

There are countless phobias to describe the fears that people have; some are rational, while others seem very irrational. For example, two of the most common phobias are arachnophobia: the fear of spiders, and acrophobia: the fear of heights. These seem rational because both are linked to danger. Spiders can bite and harm you, and falling from a distant height can result in death. Other phobias are less common and are seen by some as being completely irrational. For example, my best friend has sidonglobophobia: the fear of cotton balls. (I was shocked that there was actually a name for this.) Cotton balls cannot harm you in any way, so in my eyes, there is no reason to fear them. Another uncommon and irrational fear is thaasophobia: the fear of being bored. It is common for people to feel discomfort when bored, but some people experience this uncomfortable feeling even at the thought of being bored. It probably seems irrational to many people because boredom cannot harm you, however, no one necessarily chooses what they fear.

So why might someone fear boredom? Typically strong fears form due to a previously traumatic experience. For example, I knew that the 10a drivers were never very cautious, but I never expected to get into an accident. Nevertheless, after being in an accident due to the negligence of a 10a driver, I have started to get anxiety about other people’s driving. I hate the feeling of not being in control because I never truly know whether the other person is paying attention or not. The fear of boredom, on the other hand, might not necessarily be from a “traumatic” experience. I cannot think of a moment in which boredom felt traumatic and a person became afraid of it. It could have been a moment in which a person was forced into something that made him so bored, he began to fear ever feeling that way to that extent again. One time I had to sit in the lobby of a dorm building for four hours during move-in week to help anyone who was unable to get into their rooms because of keycard issues. Of all the people who moved in, only three of them needed help during the entire four hour shift. Knowing I had the same job the next day gave me a feeling of distress because I did not want to have to go through that level of boredom again. It was not necessarily a traumatic experience, but it did create a bit of discomfort.

What are the symptoms of thaasophobia? I said above, anxiety is the most common symptom, as it is with nearly all phobias. Anxiety can be minor, such as worrying, dread, and stress, but it can also affect a person much more and cause sweating, rapid heart rate, and nausea. The level of anxiety varies on the intensity of fear. Therefore, if I were asked to work that boring job during move-in week again, I would be dreading the thought of sitting in that lobby for another four hours. And while that is just one example of a slight case of thaasophobia, it can arise in many others as well. (More information here.)

 

I’m Bored of You

“Never become involved in marriage.” Philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard voices this opinion very strongly in his case, The Rotation of Crops. One might suggest that Kierkegaard has his own case of thaasophobia. Throughout his entire work, he summarizes his avoidance theory on boredom with multiple examples such as friendships, marriage, and work.

Kierkegaard believes that one should not get married because it is important to be able to break off a relationship at any moment, particularly at the moment in which it becomes boring. He stresses that even friendships can be dangerous, and a key step in avoiding boredom is ensuring that no friendship is too close not to drop whenever necessary. In addition, he does not agree with the idea of taking a position in the workplace that is not easy to leave. It seems as though he is driven to escape all forms of commitment in fear that he may get bored of it. He is so afraid that he could become bored with his wife, friends, or job position that he avoids putting himself in that situation to begin with. Distance is ideal in order to cope with thaasophobia.

A good use of Kierkegaard’s theory is shown in the song “Bored of Your Love” by Meg & Dia. The song is about a girl who is breaking things off with her boyfriend because she has decided that she is bored of his love. While she sings about being bored, he sings about being in love with her.

“I’m bored of your love.

(I’m in love with your love.)

I’m bored of your face.

(I’m in love with your face.)

I’m bored of your random all over the place attitude.

I’m bored of you.

(I’m in love with you.)”

 

It is interesting because it is as if she has no interest in him; meanwhile, he is professing his love for all things about her. He might be all-in with their relationship, but she does not want to be bored of him anymore, so she realizes it is time to break it off. She is so against committing to him that she even denies his request of going on one last date:

“(Can I take you out just this one last time?

We could pretend I never met you.)

 

Well I’d love to, sounds like a lovely time,

But I’m sorry; I just can’t let you.”

 

She goes on again expressing that she is up to her neck in the boredom and she cannot take it anymore. The girl in this song fears the boredom that is entailed in her commitment and she deems it necessary to just cut all ties. She leaves as soon as the relationship bores her, similar to the way Kierkegaard would act in this situation. Thaasophobia is relevant to commitment in that it controls the way people react. While most would choose to work on the relationship, thaasophobia makes a person want to avoid commitment in order to ultimately avoid boredom.

Facing My Fears

Think of the most paranoid person you know. Now multiply that by 10 and you have me. It wasn’t until recently that I started to pick up a paranoid state of mind. Like I said before, a recent 10a accident instilled into me a fear of other people’s driving. I’m also currently taking a class on natural disasters, and the thought of Yellowstone National Park being the largest volcano in the world (with the ability to kill off the entire world) makes me nauseous. Even the smallest things—like trying sushi for the first time—make me anxious. I am not entirely sure why all these fears have built up over the years.

Going to college at Pitt was a big fear of mine. I was the only student from my high school graduating class who decided to go here, and the idea of not being able to make friends here made me nervous. My best friend at home and I are really weird, and I assumed that people in college would think I am too weird to be friends with. I do not think that I fear boredom to the point of claiming that I have thaasophobia, but I definitely do fear boredom to some extent. I was afraid of not making friends in college and in turn, I was afraid that I would be bored, spending every day by myself. There are many times in which I love the idea of being alone, but lack of social interaction makes me feel like I am going crazy.

Fortunately, I did face my fear of going to a school four hours away from home, without knowing anyone. I have made an abundance of friends here, and they do think I am really weird, but they embrace it anyway. Attending the University of Pittsburgh was something that I really wanted to do, and I was determined to not let my fears get the best of me. Now, I have a similar situation as well. I plan to go to Barcelona in the fall semester, but I do not know a single person who is going. On a side note, I have never even been in an airplane, so this study abroad experience is going to be a huge deal for me. My friend, Tiffany is currently in London, and she says all the time that it is great, but it would be significantly more enjoyable to have these experiences with people that she cares about. She finds some of the excursions boring. I fear that, by not knowing anyone else who is going to Spain, I will become bored too, even though I know that the trips and sights there are going to be amazing. Part of me thinks that I am being totally ridiculous because I probably will make awesome friends and the places I will go to are going to be awesome. However, there is also another part of me that is freaking out because as Tiffany quotes, “It is not about where you are, it is about who you are with.”

Although I fear the idea of leaving the U.S. and only being with strangers for four months, I am still forcing myself to do it because I feel that it is important for one to face his fears. I know that I am being a little bit irrational in thinking that I will not make any friends abroad, considering I will be living in an apartment with multiple other students. Some people might let the fear of boredom linked to new experiences keep them from what they really want to do, but I plan to get out of my little bubble of fear and do what I want, with no regrets.

Do You Ever Get A Break?

Dean is a senior in high school. He is the class president, quarterback on the football team, captain of the basketball and lacrosse teams, and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, Spanish, and yearbook clubs. When he is not playing a sport, he is either doing something for one of his clubs, working on his homework that is not due for another week, or catering to his cheerleading captain girlfriend, Cali. Dean is always ahead of the game when it comes to schoolwork and his activities. His friends often wonder how he can keep up with all of his obligations, as they can barely keep up with their one or two clubs.

Somehow, Dean manages to keep up with all his commitments, though he rarely has extra time to waste. He typically goes home around 10 pm each night, just in time to grab a snack and go to bed. He then wakes up at 6 am, even on the weekends, and starts his busy day. Lately his family has become frustrated with the lack of face-to-face communication and stopped him to find out why he is never home. The answer was obvious; with so many activities under his belt, Dean does not really have time to be home until it is time for bed. Concerned of his work overload, Dean’s mom reached out to her psychologist to try to get to the bottom of why he puts so much on his plate.

The psychologist told her that Dean has thaasophobia. He fears the idea of being bored, so he makes sure to participate in as many activities as he can in order to avoid ever getting bored. This way, instead of coming home around 6 pm and watching tv in void, he can keep himself active all day until he can justify going to sleep.

Dean is not the only person who does this. There are plenty of people who fear boredom and rack up their lists of activities to ensure boredom never will arise. Sometimes though, they might also do this for fear of how people view them. Doing nothing all day can be considered pathetic, and no one wants to be viewed in that way. In this case, Dean may never really get a break, but this is because he does not want one. A break means he has nothing to do, which means he will be bored, and this idea makes his stress level rise. He is not doing anything wrong, unless he is running himself too thin. If that is an issue, finding help against thaasophobia is important.

Never Thought of it That Way

Thaasophobia may not be a common phobia, but I believe that at some point, all people have experienced the symptoms that are linked to it. No one enjoys the feeling of being bored, and when you know you might have to do something boring, some feelings of discomfort are most likely going to occur. These feelings might be indirectly induced by many situations, including boredom from a commitment, new experience, or even a lack of commitment. Many people probably have never thought of the fear of boredom even being a phobia, but it is a very possible phobia. Since anxiety is the main symptom connected to thaasophobia, there are ways to help treat it with medicine. Though some people may not be able to fight thaasophobia on their own, I believe that the best thing to do is force yourself to fight it and embrace boredom for what it is.

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The Pieces of Me

Time for a Change

 haircut

Haircuts are an interesting topic. For some, it might be a common, routine part of life. For others, it could have meaning, such as an important change. For some it might even have a deeper meaning like that of a donation for a great cause. Depending on one’s views of a haircut, it can affect one person completely differently than the next.

Miley Cyrus is a great example of a haircut having meaning. This CNN article quotes Miley saying that she would not be acting as Hannah Montana in her SNL skit because she “murdered her.” Tired of being compared to her former character, Miley made the decision to cut off the majority of her hair and color it so she would look completely different. For regular people (like myself) a haircut does not typically have that much meaning, but it does have some.

My whole life, I have planned on growing my hair out as long as it would go. When I got to college last year, I met a girl on my floor (who is now my roommate) who has hair that reaches the small of her back. I was in love with the length of her hair and even put on my bucket list: Grow hair to the length of Rachel’s. I started taking vitamins called Biotin that help support healthy hair, nails, and skin so that my hair would grow faster. I rarely got my haircut, though, and that was probably an issue as to why my hair never seemed to grow very quickly.

Now, my hair has not grown to the length of Rachel’s, but recently, it has gotten long; it has reached the middle of my back when it is straight. Though I thought I wanted my hair to be even longer, I have become rather annoyed with the fact that it takes 20 minutes to blow dry and another 20 to style. As a college student, taking that much time to do my hair every day is not efficient. I got bored with the maintenance that my hair required, so I decided that it was time for a change.

This weekend, I went against my hopes and dreams of growing my hair to be the length of Rachel’s, and I allowed my hairdresser to cut eight inches off the length of my hair. I have gotten so bored with having the same hairstyle and the same long routine of getting ready that I realized that it was time for a change. Sometimes the best thing to do when you are bored of something like a hairstyle or color is to change it. Even the smallest change on something you find boring can make it seem better.

This type of change should not apply to huge decisions, however, such as a divorce or moving or job choice. One should not decide to get a divorce because he thinks he is bored by the person he is with. Ultimately, important life choices involve commitment that should not be affected by boredom unless it is to the extreme.

 
Think it Over

work stress

Work can be one of the most stressful parts of every person’s life. Stress can arise from school work, job-related work, and even house work. While some people do not like any part of stress, others are able to work better when under pressure such as a short time limit or high expectations. I, for example, work better when I have limited time. When studying for tests, I procrastinate because the pressure of knowing that I have a short amount of time to learn something makes me focus a lot more than if I had a week to know it.

Contrary to myself, some could become easily frustrated with the amount of pressure that unfolds with different types of work. In an article by Cynthia D. Fisher titled “Boredom at Work: A Neglected Concept”, she points out the idea that people might experience qualitative overload. This concept arises when something is too difficult to concentrate on and the lack of willingness to concentrate results in the person becoming bored by the activity.

I can relate to this. Though stress usually forces me to be more focused, sometimes it can push me in the opposite direction. If I am too frustrated with the difficulty level of something, my mind will get tired of trying and I will get bored of the lack of results. Sometimes in situations like this, it is best to just take a break. Focus on another task for a while until your mind has time to relax from the stress.

In the bigger picture, it is not viable to make a snap decision and change something huge in your life such as your job. If you get bored at work, it is important to step back and analyze the situation to its entirety. Do not quit a job because of one stressful day. Likewise, one should not decide to get a divorce without clearly thought out decisions. If you are bored with your relationship, you should take the time to figure out what is wrong and try to fix it.

While making changes to boring things can be effective, sometimes it is best to face boredom head-on. Work and relationships are commitments that deserve more thought than a drastic change. When boredom comes from stress, it is important to act rationally through all decisions made.

I’m Not Even Hungry

eating food
The first year of college is an extremely stressful change for most students. Often times, people go to food for comfort. This is why the first year of college is associated with the term “Freshman 15” due to the amount of unnecessary calorie intake by freshman students. With dining halls full of unlimited food, it can be extremely difficult to not eat that extra handful of fries or that tempting piece of peach pie with a dollop of soft serve on the side. A lot of times, kids are not even hungry at this point and just eating because of accessibility.

Not only is accessibility a problem in itself, but combining that with empty time can create an even bigger issue. When students have nothing to do, it is common that they find comfort in eating, even though they are not even hungry. Eating food is an enjoyable action that makes you feel like you are at least doing something instead of just sitting around and being bored.

A student, Megan, said that sometimes when she is bored, she likes to eat crackers. She keeps a box of crackers in her kitchen at all times so that she always has something small to snack on when she has nothing else to do. It has gotten to the point where she grabs crackers just out of habit now. Her boredom has created a habit that she barely even notices anymore.

Personally, I also struggled with snacking for no reason as a freshman last year. I would see my roommate make food and want something just because ‘why not?’ There really is something comforting about having food in your hands when you are bored. I almost believe that this phenomenon could be related to a smoker needing a cigarette. Before the craving of smoking, people who smoke can even have a physical addiction where they find comfort in just having a cigarette in their hands. Sometimes it feels wrong if I am not close to a food to snack on as I work on homework or write a paper.

As a sophomore now, I have learned that eating while bored can affect a person more than I ever thought it could. I may not have gained fifteen pounds last year, but I definitely did not lose any weight, even while going to the gym 3+ times a week. There are still times now in which I am sitting on the couch thinking to myself that food could ease me out of my boredom, but I am rarely even hungry when I try to ration the idea.

Simply eating because you are bored and have easy access is not a good combination. Boredom is kind of a feeling that is a gateway to other feelings. For example, discontent can come from not being satisfied with food in your hand if that is what you really want when you are bored. The crucial takeaway here is that you fight this kind of boredom. It is not right to let yourself be controlled by a feeling like that of being bored. Combatting the type of boredom that leads to negative emotions is an important step to conquering other types of boredom as well.

 
It’s All in the Music

one song

Everyone has certain songs that can be listened to for years on end without getting tired of them. Everyone also has those songs in their iPods that are skipped every time shuffle decides to play them because they are sick of hearing them. It is interesting the way that different people react to songs. One song may never get old for one person while another person might have gotten tired of that same song after a week of hearing it.

Many people also seem to obsess over a song for a period of time until they cannot stand it anymore. I do this quite often, as I love to learn all the lyrics to a new song I like. I will play it over and over again until I know all the words. Eventually, I become exhausted by the song and have no interest in it while other people still love it. Currently, my two new favorite songs to play on repeat are “Dayum, Baby” by Florida Georgia Line and “Rewind” by Rascal Flatts. With summertime approaching, I have been listening to a lot of country music, and I am nowhere near being bored by it yet.

My music tastes seems to vary by season. Over the winter, I listened to a lot of punk rock, acoustic, and alternative music. One of my favorite bands, Mayday Parade, came out with a new album, and I played it over and over again so that I could learn all the songs. Now that the weather is changing, I have gotten tired of listening to semi-depressing music because the weather is no longer as depressing. Country music has a lighter, summery feeling, so dark music like that of bands like Mayday Parade and Emarosa are no longer appealing to me at the moment. Songs that I listened to nonstop two months ago do not bring the enjoyment that these country songs bring now.

Sometimes I get into a rut where I want to skip all my songs because I overplay so many of them. When you really love a song, it is difficult to not play it multiple times a day, but when you do play it that often, it will most likely get boring quickly. My roommate, Rachel loves the theme song of the show ‘Friends’. It is not a terrible song, but she would play it out loud 18 times a day, and I do not know how she did not get bored with it. I was tired of the song after the fifth play. On the contrary, she complains about me playing the same songs everyday too, so it all depends on personal taste.

Boredom is completely reliant on preference. This applies to more than just getting annoyed by certain songs that others do not. For example, many people think that accounting is the most boring class that business students have to take, but it is my favorite class and I cannot wait to pursue a job in the accounting field in the future. If it were boring to me, my perspective would obviously change. Sometimes it is hard to appreciate the views of others when they are not in alignment with your own.

Essentially, the different aspects of life that bore some people but excite others are what makes us our own persons.  Without boredom, people would not have the depth they do, and everyone would be very similar and bland.  Boredom is necessary for appreciating each and everyone’s differences that make them who they are.