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If You Are Frightened By Clusters Of Holes, There Might Be A Scientific Reason Why

Don't worry, this is a trypophobia-safe place. No holes.

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Hi, I'm Krista and I have trypophobia. It is a fear of clusters of small holes, circles, or bumps (trust me, it's not worth a Google) and I've suffered from it for as long as I can remember.

Fox

Don't worry, there will be no small holes in this post.❤️

So, what happens when I see holes? A whole bunch of bad things. My skin starts to crawl, my stomach turns, I get shortness of breath, and even physically itchy. IT. IS. HORRIBLE.

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I'm itching just thinking about it rn.

I thought I was the only one, but then one day in high school my best friend and I saw an image of small holes and we both lost it. Something we could only explain as ~DEATH HOLES~.

Ubisoft

And several years later, I came across this BuzzFeed post – notice the appropriate "ew" and "wtf" badges.

Warning: That link has TONS of pics of tiny holes. Please advise before opening.
buzzfeed.com

Warning: That link has TONS of pics of tiny holes. Please advise before opening.

It was then that I realized my friend and I were not alone. It is a real, terrifying thing, it has an actual name, and lots of people have this same irrational fear.

The American Horror Story: Cult ad from last year featured a woman whose tongue had tiny holes all over it.
buzzfeed.com

The American Horror Story: Cult ad from last year featured a woman whose tongue had tiny holes all over it.

But one thing I have always wondered is: WHY?

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After doing a lot of research – and dodging the thousands of inconsiderate hole pics people put in their articles – here's what I found:

Trypophobia is a relatively new phenomenon that started getting a lot of attention on social media after a lotus seed was photoshopped into someone's skin. Currently, researchers aren't convinced it's an actual phobia (I strongly disagree). It also isn't recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). But – for real sufferers like me – it's real as hell.

It could be a simple fear of animals with hole-y skin patterns (this image did not trigger me).

According to a study from 2013, researchers don't believe actual clusters of tiny holes, themselves, cause the symptoms – it's just an association to scary animals with hole patterns, like alligators and snakes. In other words, they believe that when you freak out over a honeycomb, you're associating it with an animal that scares the crap out of you.
Jamiehayes32503 / Getty Images

According to a study from 2013, researchers don't believe actual clusters of tiny holes, themselves, cause the symptoms – it's just an association to scary animals with hole patterns, like alligators and snakes. In other words, they believe that when you freak out over a honeycomb, you're associating it with an animal that scares the crap out of you.

But, that theory sounded like total bullshit to me – I mean, half the animals with hole-like patterns don't scare me, like giraffes for example. So, I did some more research and found this study done last year with a more accurate-sounding theory.

Researchers concluded that the reaction was more of an evolutionary, survival response passed down from ancestors. If they were to see a diseased person, or even a deceased person covered in parasites or maggots, for example, they knew to avoid them. So today, you're unconsciously terrified of getting an infectious illness – and the tiny holes closely resemble the appearance of disease, parasites, or infection. TBH, this makes the most sense to me. I don't feel like I have an unconscious fear of animals who have skin with hole-like patterns, but having an unconscious fear of disease seems possible. And what I have noticed is that it especially bugs me when it is on someone's skin, like the photoshopped lotus seeds, so that also makes the disease theory seem pretty accurate to me.
Claudioventrella / Getty Images

Researchers concluded that the reaction was more of an evolutionary, survival response passed down from ancestors. If they were to see a diseased person, or even a deceased person covered in parasites or maggots, for example, they knew to avoid them. So today, you're unconsciously terrified of getting an infectious illness – and the tiny holes closely resemble the appearance of disease, parasites, or infection.

TBH, this makes the most sense to me. I don't feel like I have an unconscious fear of animals who have skin with hole-like patterns, but having an unconscious fear of disease seems possible. And what I have noticed is that it especially bugs me when it is on someone's skin, like the photoshopped lotus seeds, so that also makes the disease theory seem pretty accurate to me.

I now feel like I have a pretty ~scientific~ reason as to why this happens to me and other sufferers.

HBO

So, is there a cure? Is there some miracle medicine we can be taking to keep us sane if we ever encounter small holes? The answer, sadly, is no. But, just remember:

Stay strong, fellow trypophobes.
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Stay strong, fellow trypophobes.

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