Of all the fears in the world, my personal, most concrete, ‘rational’ one is a fear of the sea (or simply deep water).
Yet, ironically, as much as I fear the sea I have an unquenchable fascination with it as well.
All in all, you could call it an awe-inspiring respect for the sea. Actually, my name means ‘of the sea’.
I grew up on a tongue of land with the sea surrounding me on both sides but not closed off by it (thus I always had an ‘escape route’).
I have always loved and feared the sea equally through all its moods; calm and warming, wild and roaring, frozen and dangerous. As a child I ventured to the shallow waters to paddle, run or play but never further like the rest of my family who always wanted me to swim. But I could not go into the darker, deeper waters or let my feet slip from the ground without an anchor to hold onto, an achor that wouldn’t bring me further away from the coast. I felt the powerful pull of the waves and the current even in the shallow streams, the knowledge of the dangerous, hidden rip currents staying in the back of my mind all the time. I felt I knew the sea, yet at the same time not at all. No matter how much I tried to read it and learn about it, so much was left unknown. I knew one could never tame it, never truly predict it; that it was as merciless as it was invigorating and beautiful.
I do not fear water as such, but rather I fear being caught, of not being able to escape, being helpless and without control; of being pulled down into the darkness (thus my ‘irrational’ fear of sharks…yeah, I know), swallowed up, choking and drowning. Ironically, I do not fear having no ground under my feet when in the air (I love the thrill of flying!), but when in deep water I panic.
It’s rather symbolic, I guess.
My other biggest fear in life is being utterly dependent on someone or something, of not being able to move or get around on my own; to go where I want or do what I want when I want.
Helpless sums it up pretty much.
Illness, accidents and old age mostly lead to this, but it is getting caught in the permanent state of immobility I fear the most; of never getting out. Not just physically, but mentally as well, such as getting a brain haemorrhage, dementia, etc.; of not being able to use my mind or remember. Of having my friends and family suffering under it for years while I have no clue – no, dear god, that would be horrifying! Something I cannot truly predict or control – like so many other things in life – but only try and prevent while not being paranoid all the while. Of course, the most surreal fear would probably be to be accused of being crazy when you are not but no one believes you and locks you up in a madhouse.
Right. Now it’s getting slightly paranoid/hypocondriac, isn’t it?
The idea of being stuck and helpless is most notable in one of those common nightmares where you’re lost in a labyrinth or a time capsule of repeated sameness. Boy oh boy, have I had that dream many times! I have this thing about being stuck in the neighbourhood of my first childhood home that was one of those small, mass-produced, surburban prototypes built around the ’60s; a small detached house copied multiple times everywhere one looked. In the nightmare I try to find my home, but every time I think I have, it’s not it. The eerie thing is, it looks the same – even the garden and streets – but I’m always met by strangers. I begin to despair and run quicker, more desperately in search of my home in this clustered, claustrophobic labyrinth of both sameness and alienation. It’s a horrible feeling, truly, because I’ve had this exact dream several times throughout my childhood, youth and adulthood and I never find my way home.
It isn’t something I usually think about but I merely started wondering whether other INTPs have the same ambiguous relationship to the sea/water or can relate to any of the other fears of being caught?