Hey blog world! In my post about Aspergers I said that I have a hightened sense of hearing due to my Aspergers syndrome and because of this I am a chronic globophobe. Globophobia is a very common fear and yet not many people know about it. Globophobia is the intense fear of balloons. Needless to say I’m not Michael Faraday’s biggest fan (he invented the rubber balloon in 1824). I thought I’d make a post explaining a bit about said phobia.

I’ve been globophobic for as long as I can remember. The main cause of my globophobia is the popping sound of balloons. Because of my hightened sense of hearing the noise of a balloon popping which is already a loud and firetrucking scary noise is even louder in my ears!

No air, no problems! I’m perfectly ok with water balloons because since they are filled with water they don’t make a big loud pop and I’m also fine with deflated balloons because there is no air in them so there’s no worry over the pop.

When I see a blown up balloon or someone blowing up a balloon my heart races, sometimes I shake and I become anxious, apprehensive and overwhelmed with nervousness that it will pop. I also get that way when I see people playing with balloons or making balloon animals. I can’t even watch! I have to leave wherever it is I am because I get so afraid that the impact of the hand or a wrong twist of the balloon will cause a pop. If I’m at an event and there are balloons there my phobia takes over and I can’t concentrate on the event. Also I can’t calm down until either me or the balloons are gone. For example: In line at the theater with my Best Buddy a few weeks ago there were children nearby who were there for a Birthday party and they all had balloons. My heart raced, I couldn’t speak and I got really nervous. I wasn’t able to calm down until they headed for the party room.

The bigger they are the more frightened I get. Twice at YC (a Christian youth conference that I attend with my youth group every October) I’ve had globophobia episodes involving large balloons. Two years ago I attended a workshop by Bob Stromberg titled “How to Avoid Being Squeezed To Death” at the Delta hotel ballroom. In this workshop to demonstrate how pressure makes people act weirdly he put on a pair of industrial headphones and safety goggles then took out a balloon. My globophobia instantly took over and I began freaking out. I was like “Oh my god! A balloon! He’s going to pop it! I don’t want to be here anymore.” Robert, my youth leader who is very understanding of my phobia said that I could go out into the lobby and come back in once the balloon was gone.  I felt much better once I was out in the lobby. I was able to take some deep breaths and calm down. After a few minutes I heard a pop that made me jump! It was scary but I was glad I wasn’t in the ballroom because according to my friend the pop was extremely loud in there because Bob blew it up to it’s absolute capacity and he was wearing a microphone.

At last years YC it was somebody’s brilliant idea (Sarcasm sign) to inflate MASSIVE balloons and throw them out into the audience during the City Harmonic concert. When I saw them and their huge size my globophobia went into overdrive! They were the LARGEST balloons I’d ever seen and I was even more petrified than usual! When they came near me I became even more afraid, frightened that one would pop right next to me. I would squeal and shake each time one was near me. I was glad I was sitting with my friends who did what they could to comfort me. Once they had finshed the song they were singing the lead singer talked to the audience for a moment… or at least he tried to. The balloons were still going around and everyone was paying more attention to them instead of him. The security team then took the balloons away. I was so relieved! The following night I was down by the stage area praying with my youth group. After we prayed, Ben Cantelon came onstage to sing. I really enjoy his music so I decided to stay on the floor with everyone else. I was having a great time until the massive balloons came back! The song Ben was singing at the time was “Oh Happy Day” but I was the complete opposite of happy! I was having another overdrive globophobia episode. I got very, very panicky and anxious and my heart was beating about a mile a minute. I felt like crying and wanted to go back to my seat. My friends were all doing their best to calm me down and encourage me to stay on the floor with them. Then something ironic and very unfortunate happened. My youth pastor put his arm around me and said that they wouldn’t pop when suddenly a huge blue one did right next to me! I screamed, jumped and cried. Sara, another one of my youth leaders put her arm around me and we went outside and waited for the worship session to end.

I know balloons are inavoidable out in public but at home I avoid them at all costs. My mom has put a balloon ban on the house because of my phobia and I don’t allow balloons at my Birthday parties or those of my 9 year old niece (I get invited to each of them because I’m her aunt and so I make certain to remind my mom (who organizes all her parties) to not allow balloons since I will be there.)

I recently discovered that Oprah Winfrey  Oprah is also a globophobe! She says that she doesn’t like them because balloons popping reminds her of gunfire. My favorite superhero, Larryboy Larryboy 2 is a globophobe as well.His globophobia was revealed in the VeggieTales movie “The League of Incredible Vegetables”. An evil scientist used a ray gun to find out the league’s biggest fears and use them against them. Larryboy’s just so happened to be balloons popping! I was happy finding out that these two were globophobes. I was a big fan of theirs before this but knowing we share that fear I’m an even bigger fan of them both! It’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

Globophobia may seem like a laughable, irrational phobia but it’s not. Please be kind to globophobes! If you have any questions about globophobia I’m very open about it as well so ask away in the comments!



2 thoughts on “Globophobia

  1. Hi, I know how it feels like. I am globophobic and this irritates me even more when I took up rather stressful and exhausting job. I’ve always had increased hearing sensitivity but I could develop tolerance to some of the loud sounds – e.g. I open champagne bottles easily and become a good hunter/shooter. And still zero tolerance to baloon popping. It is a problem especially when the friends and colleagues totally cannot understand you and you feel a miserable jerk on every party. They say you hear gunfire in action and are happy but cannot guess it is a totally different – and much pleasant sound. And no effect of explosion/destruction. You are to some extent lucky as you have so many sympathetic friends and tutors. I want to stay with you on every event and share your fear. Have you ever thought of ear protection devices e.g. improved earplugs? Asking your doc to invent special ultraprotective device for you, as you suffer from virtually every immediate and loud sound?
    Take care!

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