What it’s like to have trypophobia



By Haley Galvin

My first hand account of: Trypophobia 

Have you ever seen a beehive or a collection of circles and felt so physically uncomfortable you thought your skin was going to crawl off your body? I’m guessing a lot of people will say no because they don’t have the phobia that I have: trypophobia, or the fear of holes or geometric shapes in certain patterns.

I always hesitate to say the word ‘phobia’ because, while the technical term is a fear, I am not afraid of these shapes and holes, but more my body has an actual psychical and psychological reaction to coming into contact or seeing these things.

The easiest example I can give is a beehive. By themselves, I can look at a singular octagon or hexagon shape, but once multiple shape are arranged in a honeycomb configuration, I start to feel uneasy. My body tenses, my skin begins to crawl and I get shaky. I even convulse sometimes, and the longer I have to see the image, the worse it gets.

A particularly bad trigger of mine is anything body related. If a person is sitting on a metal chair that leaves any shape imprint or if certain scabs are healing in that geometric type way, I am overcome by this feeling. The human body with any of these types of patterns for any reason causes an even worse reaction for me, and I honestly cannot explain why.

I have never known why this phobia developed and I cannot explain what it is about these shapes that affects me in this way. People often ask me why certain things trigger me more than others and I never have an answer.

When I was younger, I had no idea what is was and no one else around me knew either. Whenever I would ask others if they had it or what it was they would just look at me weird or make fun of me for it. I finally googled ‘fear of holes’ and there was a name for what I had, and there were other people like me who had it. I also was bombarded with images of honeycombs and collections of circles, which was of course, very triggering. I warn anyone who has this phobia to never look it up, and be weary when telling others because they have a tendency to look it up with you present and show you your worst nightmare.

I also ask that people be kind to those with this ‘weird phobia.’ People often laugh at me or show me these images when I say I have this phobia, and it is really disheartening to me. People don’t take this seriously and it is a serious phobia, I get physically and emotionally unsettled. Sometimes I see the image in my brain for hours after it has gone away, so just remember that it does seriously affect us and it is no joke.