494 Circles, Each, Adorning Two Great Rhombcuboctahedra, with Different (Apparent) Levels of Anxiety

 

Trunc Cubocta

The design on each face of these great rhombcuboctahedra is made from 19 circles, and was created using both Geometer’s Sketchpad and MS-Paint. I then used a third program, Stella 4d (available here), to project this image on each of a great rhombcuboctahedron’s 26 faces, creating the image above.

If you watch carefully, you should notice an odd “jumping” effect on the red, octagonal faces in the polyhedron above, almost as if this polyhedron is suffering from an anxiety disorder, but trying to conceal it. Since I like that effect, I’m leaving it in the picture above, and then creating a new image, below, with no “jumpiness.” Bragging rights go to the first person who, in a comment to this post, figures out how I eliminated this anxiety-mimicking effect, and what caused it in the first place. 

Trunc Cubocta

Your first hint is that no anti-anxiety medications were used. After all, these polyhedra do not have prescriptions for anything. How does one “calm down” an “anxious” great rhombcuboctahedron, then?

On a related note, it is amazing, to me, that simply writing about anxiety serves the purpose of reducing my own anxiety-levels. It is an effect I’ve noticed before, so I call it “therapeutic writing.” That helped me, as it has helped me before. (It is, of course, no substitute for getting therapy from a licensed therapist, and following that therapist.) However, therapeutic writing can’t explain how this “anxious polyhedron” was helped, for polyhedra can’t write.

For a second hint, see below.

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[Scroll down….]

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Second hint: the second image uses approximately twice as much memory-storage space as the first image used.

The Inverted Popularity of This Aspie’s Phobias and Philias, Part II: A Mathematical Analysis of My Phobias

phobias and philias

First, here is where to find Part I of this post. In it, I explained the reasons for my view that my phobias are among the uncommon ones, while I actually like many things (such as mathematics, darkness, and spiders) which are feared by those with more common phobias. I find such self-analysis, and reflective writing, helpful. This is unusual, of course, but those with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to be unusual in many ways, and this includes being different from each other.

For Part II, I used Google, and searched for “100 most common phobias.” My goal was to determine the extent to which my current and past phobias are atypical, when compared to the incidence of various phobias within the general population. The top search result was http://www.fearof.net/, where 100 common phobias are listed, in descending order of world-wide incidence. These 100 phobias were then split into the seven categories, ranging from phobias about things I like a lot, to things about which I am phobic myself, as seen below.

Category 1: I have a strong affinity (a philia) for these things which people commonly fear, and I have never feared them myself. There are 17 phobias in this category, including four of the ten most common phobias.

  • Spiders (arachnophobia is the most common phobia of all)
  • Heights (acrophobia, 3rd most common phobia of all)
  • Small/enclosed spaces (claustrophobia, 7th)
  • Flying (aerophobia, 9th)
  • Public speaking (glossophobia, 13th)
  • Solitude (monophobia, 14th)
  • Long words (hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, 26th)
  • The unknown (xenophobia, 27th)
  • Success (achievemephobia, 30th)
  • Cats (ailurophobia, 32nd)
  • Balloons (globophobia, 34th)
  • Darkness / night (nyctophobia, 35th)
  • The number 13 (triskaidekaphobia, 39th)
  • Friday the 13th (paraskevideka-triaphobia, 46th)
  • Sleep (somniphobia, 47th)
  • Women (gynophobia, 48th)
  • Numbers (numerophobia, 93rd)

Category 2: I like these things people commonly fear, but not with high enough intensity for the word “philia” to apply. There are 23 phobias in this category, including three more of the top ten.

  • Snakes (ophidiophobia, the 2nd most common phobia)
  • Thunder and lightning (astraphobia, 6th)
  • Holes (trypophobia, 10th)
  • Birds (ornithophobia, 16th)
  • Chickens (alektorophobia, 17th)
  • Intimacy (aphenphosmphobia, 19th)
  • Falling (basiphobia, 29th)
  • Love, or emotions in general (philophobia, 38th)
  • Butterflies (lepidopterophobia 43rd)
  • Buttons (koumpounophobia, 50th)
  • Ducks (anatidaephobia, 51st)
  • Fire (pyrophobia, 52nd)
  • Doctors (latrophobia, 57th)
  • Adult little people (achondroplasiaphobia, 60th)
  • Moths (mottephobia, 61st)
  • Bananas (bananaphobia, 63rd)
  • Mirrors (catoptrophobia, 70th)
  • School (didaskaleinophobia, 83rd)
  • Technology (technophobia, 84th)
  • The future (chronophobia, 85th)
  • Halloween (samhainophobia is the 90th)
  • Rain (ombrophobia, 94th)
  • Zombies (kinemortophobia, 98th)

Category 3: I used to fear these commonly-feared things, although not to the level of a phobia, but now I no longer fear them at all. This category has a mere six phobias.

  • Everything, or terrible things happening (panophobia, the 44th most common phobia)
  • Food (cibophobia, 66th)
  • Horses (equinophobia, 68th)
  • Mice (musophobia, 69th)
  • Pain (agliophobia, 71st)
  • Worms (scoleciphobia, 97th)

Category 4: I am indifferent to these commonly-feared things, or have a like/dislike balance. In other words, for these things. . . meh. This is the largest category, which I view as healthy. It contains 25 phobias.

  • Failure (atychiphobia is the 15th most common phobia)
  • Needles (trypanophobia,  20th)
  • People, in all situations (anthropophobia, 21st)
  • Abandonment (autophobia, 23rd)
  • Commitment (gamophobia, 25th)
  • Bridges (gephyrophobia, 41st)
  • Insects (entomophobia, 42nd)
  • Feet (podophobia, 45th)
  • Frogs (ranidaphobia, 53rd)
  • Dolls (pediophobia, 58th)
  • Fish (ichthyophobia, 59th)
  • Animals (zoophobia, 62nd)
  • Cotton balls or plastic foams (sidonglobophobia, 64th)
  • Ghosts (phasmophobia, 67th)
  • Beards (pogonophobia, 74th)
  • Belly buttons (navels; omphalophobia, 75th)
  • Depths (bathophobia, 77th)
  • Obese people (cacomorphobia, 78th)
  • Getting old (gerascophobia, 79th)
  • Hair (chaetophobia, 80th)
  • Hospitals (nosocomephobia, 81st)
  • Work (ergophobia, 87th)
  • Opinions (allodoxaphobia, 89th)
  • Oceans (thalassophobia, 96th)
  • Being buried alive (taphophobia, 100th)

Category 5: I currently have an aversion to these commonly-feared things, but my aversion, in this category, does not reach the level of a phobia, and never has. This category contains only nine phobias, and none are in the top 32.

  • Change (metathesiophbia, the 33rd most common phobia)
  • Sharks (galeophobia, 54th)
  • Being forgotten, or not remembering things (athazagoraphobia, 55th)
  • Cockroaches (atsaridaphobia, 56th)
  • Choking (pseudodysphagia, the fear of choking, 76th)
  • Loud noises (ligyrophobia, 82nd)
  • Clowns (coulrophobia, 88th)
  • Roller coasters (coasterphobia, 95th)
  • Ants (myrmecophobia, 99th)

Category 6: I used to be phobic regarding these things, and still don’t like them. However, I can manage, now, to keep my aversion below the intensity of a phobia. This is also the category that has involved the most work, for it is difficult to shed a phobia. This category has three of the top ten, and 14 total — but these are former phobias, not current ones.

  • Open or crowded places (agoraphobia, the 4th most common phobia)
  • Dogs (cynophobia, 5th)
  • Germs (mysophobia, 8th)
  • Cancer (carcinophobia, 11th)
  • Death (thanatophobia 12th)
  • Crowds (enochlophobia, 18th)
  • Water (aquaphobia, 22nd)
  • Blood (hemophobia, 24th)
  • Driving (vehophobia, 28th)
  • God and/or religion (theophobia, 31st)
  • Bees (apiphobia,  49th)
  • Crime (sclerophobia, 65th)
  • Wasps (spheksophobia 86th)
  • Getting rid of stuff (disposophobia, 92nd)

Category 7: I am phobic, now (or very recently), about these things, and still actively try to avoid them, when I can. There are only six left in this category, and, with professional help, I am working on eliminating them, as well. Nothing left in this category is ranked in the top 35, which is consistent with my idea that my remaining phobias are among the less common ones.

  • Men (androphobia, the 36th most common phobia)
  • Fear (phobophobia, 37th)
  • Vomiting (emetophobia, 40th)
  • Pregnancy & childbirth (tokophobia, 72nd). In my case, since I am male, this means that I have been very careful, my whole life, to avoid participation in the creation of a pregnancy. The reason is simple: My now-deceased father was a horrible role model for fatherhood, and have never felt I could take the risk of becoming a biological father myself, for fear that I would turn out like him. His influence is also the reason I have both androphobia (top of this category) and PTSD. If there is a silver lining here, it is that I would not have learned how to focus on mental health, rather than mental illness, without him making such work necessary.
  • Talking on the phone (telephonophobia, 73rd)
  • Light (photophobia, 91st)

Further evidence that my phobias are rare was discussed in Part I. I may actually have some which are unique to me, such as my dread of the 16th of each month, which has plagued me since my mother’s death, last November 16th. Since fear of the number thirteen is called triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number sixteen is hexakaidekaphobia. This is what July looked like, to me, as I approached the 16th.

Hexakaidekaphobia

Yesterday was the 16th of July, and that is when I wrote Part I of this post, which is no coincidence. The 16th is now over. By focusing on improving my mental health, and using therapeutic writing (which I am also doing right now), I made it through yesterday without falling apart, although it was not easy. Sixteen is a rational number, and it is time for me to resume being rational about it.

This makes me hopeful that hexakaidekaphobia will now stay in the past, where it belongs. No one need suggest that I get medical help, including seeing a mental health professional, for the appointments to do exactly those things, before school resumes, are already scheduled. 

Phobias? What phobias?

The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893

It just occurred to me that there are an absurd number of common phobias, such as claustrophobia or acrophobia, for which I have the polar opposite — an unusual attraction to the commonly-feared thing or situation. (Since I am no stranger to anxiety, so this is rather odd.) Claustrophobics fear enclosed spaces, while those with acrophobia fear heights. If someone told me that a sensory deprivation tank was available for my use, atop the nearest mountain, I’d drive straight there, climb the mountain, get in the tank, and seal myself in for hours, for two reasons: I love being in enclosed spaces, and also absolutely love heights. Combining the two would be awesome!

There is a proper word-ending for the opposite of a phobia, of course: “-philia.” Unfortunately, though, use of words which end with -philia is problematic, due to the fact that the most often-used words with this ending refer to criminal acts. There’s nothing wrong with the words “claustrophilia,” nor “acrophilia,” to a linguistic purist. To a pragmatist, though — which I am — the undesirable effect of reminding the reader of such horrors as pedophilia must be taken into account. For this reason, I find it preferable to state that I have the opposite of both claustrophobia, and acrophobia.

In alphabetical order, then, here are some common phobias for which I have the polar opposite:

  • Acrophobia, fear of heights — See first paragraph, above.
  • Aerophobia, fear of flying — Just being a passenger on an airplane is thrilling, especially at take-off. Once, at about age twelve, I actually got to take the controls of a small plane for a little while, and that will remain one of the peak experiences of my life.
  • Ailurophobia, fear of cats — We have cats, and I’ve had cats all my life. I admire their “cattitudes,” for one thing; they are somewhat like my own.
  • Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders — I try my best to protect every spider I see, wear a spider necklace, have a spider tattoo, and have spider-decorations in my classroom year-round, just because I like spiders that much.
  • Atychiphobia, fear of failure — If I had this, I would never begin work on any challenging math problem, and . . . well, what would be the point of existing like that?
  • Autophobia, fear of being alone — The fact that I traveled over 11,000 km, alone, in my late teens, proves I don’t have this problem.
  • Barophobia, fear of gravity — A bad idea for anyone with mass! If I had it, I wouldn’t be writing this, for I’d be too busy freaking out. All. The. Time.
  • Bibliophobia, fear of books — Yeah, well, I can’t even narrow down my favorite-author list to fewer than four, as seen here.
  • Claustrophobia, fear of enclosed spaces — See first paragraph, above.
  • Cyberphobia, fear of computers — Wow, that would make it difficult to maintain a blog!
  • Glossophobia, fear of speaking in public — As a teacher, I actually get paid to run my mouth, so this one is . . . out!
  • Gynophobia, fear of women — They may scare a lot of lawmakers, judging from the political “war against women” in America, but I’ve always preferred the company of women to that of men (sorry, guys).
  • Islamophobia, fear/hatred of Muslims and Islam — I’ve blogged about this; you can find those posts here.
  • Melanophobia, fear of the color black — My favorite color!
  • Negrophobia, fear of Black people — It’s a common affliction where I live, this being the American South, but I couldn’t do my job if I had this problem, for a majority of my students are Black. I can’t think of any reason why a person’s albedo, high or low, should be a problem for me. I’m not allergic to melanin, after all, and have viewed racism as evil since I first became aware of it, as a child.
  • Nyctophobia, fear of darkness and night — If I could get away with it, I would be completely nocturnal.
  • Ombrophobia, fear of rain — I don’t even own an umbrella.
  • Ophidiophobia, fear of snakes — Have you ever had a twenty-minute stand-off with a copperhead? I have. I was probably fifteen or so at the time. My reasoning: running toward or away from the snake might be dangerous, and walking away wasn’t an option, since I was standing on a rock in the middle of a river, with the snake on the next rock — so I held my ground, and simply stayed on “my” rock. The snake did the same on his rock, for about twenty minutes, and then it jumped into a river and swam away, ending the standoff. This wouldn’t have been possible with ophidiophobia.
  • Triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number thirteen — Why would anyone fear a number, especially one of the smaller primes? Wouldn’t that mean not being able to count more than a dozen things at once? There’s plenty of evidence on this blog that numbers don’t scare me.

The next time anxiety is a problem for me, I’ll try to remember to think about this list of anxiety-problems I don’t have, but which do affect many other people. I could certainly have it worse when it comes to anxiety, and it harms nothing to keep that in mind. In fact, it might even help.

What Is Wrong (and Right) with Me?

Wrong (i.e., problems):

  • Panic disorder, which initially presented with agoraphobia
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • An absurd amount of work-related stress, aggravating both of these conditions

Right (I’m glad I have these going for me):

  • Asperger’s (similar to high-functioning autism)
  • Ongoing professional treatment for the three problems listed above

Without Asperger’s (we call ourselves “Aspies”), which can help me shut down emotions when I need to, and look at things from a logical, problem-solving perspective, thinking out ways to cope with the first three would be virtually impossible. Also, without the professional treatment mentioned above, I’d be in a rubber room, or worse, by now.

These lists are obviously not complete. I’m focusing on things related to mental health, because I want to do everything I can to de-stigmatize mental health problems, and getting diagnosis and treatment for them, for everyone. That’s the purpose of this blog-post.