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Hello everyone! I'm back with another blog tour, and this time it's a special post about A SEMI-DEFINITIVE LIST OF WORST NIGHTMARES by Krystal Sutherland, where I deconstruct a little bit about the psychology behind phobias.

Before we get too far in, I wanted to preface this with what I would hope is the obvious, but still want to clear up anyway: I am not an expert in psychology whatsoever! Just because I took an intro to psych class my senior year of high school and the fact I think that psychology as a subject is really freaking cool, that alone (sadly) does not qualify me to talk about these topics in a manner where what I say is correct. The following is a compilation of research I've done on my own time, with source links provided at the end, simply because I think the subject is interesting. I especially cannot be one to diagnose anyone with a mental disorder or phobia, nor is this information intended to do so! I know those of you reading this are smart enough to know this, but I figured I'd mention it anyway.

That being said, please read all the way to the end of this post for an awesome giveaway for a shot at a hardcover finished copy of A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares! 

Phobias are, by definition, an irrational fear. Our psyche, since the dawn of human existence, has made humans naturally afraid of specific things as a general defense mechanism for our survival. The emotions of fear and anxiety are, ultimately, defense mechanisms. Whenever we get that twisting feeling in our gut of dread and fear, it’s most often because of something logical to be afraid of: poisonous spiders, aggressive grizzly bears, raging fires – because, logically, all these things are threatening to our well-being.
But when that gut-wrenching sense of horror is triggered by things that are, more often than not, completely harmless, a phobia arises. Often the perception of the danger is much greater than it actually is, and phobias can constitute as an anxiety disorder.
Everyone in Esther’s family has a phobia that will ultimately result in her death, a sort of family “curse” thanks to her grandfather. Her father has agoraphobia and hasn’t left the house (let alone the basement) in almost 6 years. Her twin brother Eugene fears the dark (nyctophobia), and her mother fears bad luck. Esther herself is doing everything she can to avoid finding out what her phobia is, aand so she keeps a carefully detailed list of semi-definitive worst nightmares with her at all times. Each of the phobias presented with Esther and her family can be broken down into one of three categories: specific, social, or agoraphobia. Sometimes, as in the case of Esther and her family, a person will start organizing their life around this fear that they have, and that can often impair their ability to live a ‘normal’ life.
In most cases, people with phobias know that they’re irrational, and very often want to overcome them – they simply just don’t know how to not be afraid of that thing anymore, and it isn’t as simple as facing a fear to overcome it.
Many things can cause phobias, and usually they develop within childhood and can disappear by adolescence. Experiencing something highly traumatic is the most common thing that causes a phobia to occur; for instance, if you experience an awful plane crash and survive, you may live with the fear of flying afterward. The other main cause of phobias is when they are learned, and this is the most common occurrence in childhood development of phobias. This is where someone learns by example, so to speak,
What are my phobias? I have a deathly fear of worms and caterpillars. Scoleciphobia has been my number one phobia since I was a really small child. I don’t know how or why I ever became so afraid of worms, but it’s to the point where I can’t even look at photographs of them without feeling queasy and stressed out. I’ve got vivid memories of visiting a science museum as a small kid, where an exhibit on bugs and insects allowed guests to handle various creatures. My mom decided to hold a millipede, and I was so scared of that little wriggly thing in her hands that I had nightmares about it for days afterward. This wasn’t the first instance of my fear manifesting, but it’s one of the earliest instances of it I remember. Ironically, one of my favorite picture books as a kid was Diary of a Worm; and I think the reason I was able to tolerate it is because it was a drawing, and not a realistic photograph. Even now as a college student, worms, caterpillars, maggots, and anything in that family continue to cause such unease and anxiety whenever I encounter them.
While scoleciphobia is my main fear, I also have an intense fear of needles. Though I can probably pinpoint why trypanophobia is so prevalent to me, I believe I’ve outgrown the fear as a young adult. When I was a kid, I would dread going to the doctor for a checkup because I knew it would probably involve me getting a shot. Even well into middle school, my fear of needles led to multiple occasions when getting blood drawn where I would have an anxiety attack or simply get lightheaded to the point of near fainting. Thankfully as I’ve grown older, I have overcome the worst parts of that fear. I was able to get my septum pierced over a year ago without much cause for stress, and most recently I got my flu shot and barely flinched!
Though phobias constitute as irrational, nothing that makes you uncomfortable or feel uneasy should ever be taken lightly. There are ways to overcome phobias, be it exposure therapy or other carefully regimented treatments.

Now that you know a little more about phobias, get ready to read A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares!


Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland. (ARV: $17.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on September 4, 2017 and 12:00 AM on September 25, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about September 27, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

From the author of Our Chemical Hearts comes the hilarious, reality-bending tale of two outsiders facing their greatest fears about life and love—one debilitating phobia at a time.
Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther’s father is agoraphobic and hasn’t left the basement in six years, her twin brother can’t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.
The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them.
Esther doesn’t know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.
Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she’d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn’t counted on: love.

Krystal Sutherland was born and raised in Townsville, Australia—an inhospitable land where crocodiles, snakes, and jellyfish are always on the prowl. She grew up living directly across the road from the local library and spent almost every day after school (and weekends, too) having adventures between the pages of books (mainly because it was too dangerous to go outside).

She moved to Sydney for college (and safety), where she cut her writing teeth as the editor of the student magazine at the University of New South Wales. She kept gathering tales as an exchange student in Hong Kong and as a foreign correspondent in Amsterdam. Her first book, Our Chemical Hearts, was released in 2016, and was published in over twenty countries.

Her three greatest fears are heights, dark caves . . . and (perhaps worst of all) frogs.

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