I am Trypophobic
I confess! I have suffered from this phobia (Trypophobia) since early childhood. I remember feeling utterly compelled to pick apart my corn flakes at breakfast and crush my grandmothers dried seedpods in her pot-pourri but it was only recently that I realised I had an actual phobia of holes.
I thought I was the strangest person on the planet. When I told my family about how the very sight (or even just the description) of certain holey things makes me feel physically sick, they thought I was a little strange too.
A Fear of Holes Can Be Debilitating
As far as I am aware, Trypophobia does not officially exist, that is it has not been formally identified as a real phobia. However, many people out there suffer from this often-debilitating phobia, it is a very real fear. Trypophobia is simply the name that sufferers have assigned to their condition and the word is growing in popularity to the point where it may eventually be included in the dictionary.
The main problem for sufferers is that the holes, which cause the most distress, are those that occur naturally such as the pores of the skin. Personally, I don’t look too close at my own skin just in case I feel compelled to pick it apart!
But trypophobia is a very specific phobia. It is not just a fear of any old holes, but usually it is of holes that are small, clustered together and of irregular or asymmetrical appearance. Any hole that has something poking up through it is high up on the levels of disgust. For example, rows of equally sized equally spaced holes may not affect some sufferers but take that same symmetrical row of holes and have something poke through them and that is a very different matter. (Just writing about this is cringe worthy).
It isn’t just holes, trypophobia can also include things such as bubbles, spots, warts and verrucas etc. These are all things that seemingly poke up out of a hole.
Picture Free Article
Types of Hole Phobias
Here are some examples of what types of holes cause distress. (DON’T WORRY, NO PICTURES HERE!)
Any small clusters of holes
Sometimes trypophobia can be triggered by cracks as well.
One of my most unforgettable images is that of the inside of a tooth that has fallen out. All of those root canals look like holes from the top... GROSS!
Some people actually have a phobia of clusters of any sort and these people normally feel disgusted at holes too, the phobias must be related somehow.
Causes Of Trypophobia
To whatever degree a person suffers from trypophobia one thing is normally common amongst all trypophobics, that is the compulsion to destroy the holey thing. Although I suffer with this, I have no explanation for why some images make me feel that way. Somewhere on the net, it has been suggested that trypophobics suffer with a type of visual discomfort where certain images cause a physical reaction such as dizziness or sickness but nothing has been confirmed.
No formal studies seem to have been conducted on what exactly causes this phobia of holes, or what other disorders may be related to it. Some sufferers have speculated, via analysis of their own feelings, that it is all to do with our fear of diseases. Whatever it is, there seems to be only one cure for it and that is to not look at the offending items. No matter how curious you are, DO NOT DO A GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH because you will likely be disturbed for life.
But sometimes, just knowing that you are not alone and therefore not totally freakish can help towards feeling better about it.
If anyone knows any more about trypophobia, its triggers or its causes, please post it in the comments. I am always looking for more information on this.
Best trypophobia comment ever:
“The Pope was on T.V. and someone called him his holiness. It was enough to trigger my trypophobia!”
Lynn on March 24, 2016:
My husband tonight thought it was funny to stick his toe thorough a hole in his sock!! Not funny. He still can't undersand why I felt sick and very angry , also helpless. I was so angry with him. He is very frightened of spiders and I tried to make a comparison, as I am not frightened of them, still he laughed.. It's just not right
Britney on February 24, 2016:
Not sure if mine fits but I can't manage potholes, I keep thinking about them and right now I'm freaking out because they're everywhere in my city!!! Ughhh I have goose bumps right now.
Tasha Ayala on January 30, 2016:
Omg im so glad that i finally found a name to this horrible anxiety that i get when i see holes. Trypophobia. I get very bad anxiety violent one i have to destroy the image i just seen. I hate it. I feel really disgusted just seen pics trying to figure it out.
SANDRA on October 27, 2015:
Aree there any doctors or nurses out there who suffer from trypophobia. I want to be a doctor but i am afraid that this phobia will limit me. Any help would be great thank you!!
Carolyn on September 14, 2015:
I think this is the same thing...Roots projecting from the bottom of a surface(e.g. mustard and cress), mesh fabric covering something, but especially the Sanex Advert where hundreds of people are clustered together. Actually makes me feel sick and faint!
liza on August 02, 2015:
Thank you for no pictures. I also felt better reading some of the other comments. Thank you.
rbsojm on June 16, 2015:
My 10 year old daughter suffers from this phobia. She says the sight of small holes makes her feel angry and she feels the urge to bite them apart. When she first started saying this I didn't really pay too much attention to it because I had never heard anything like that before. She also hates the sound of chewing and is a constant nail biter. I am not sure if any of these phobias are somehow related but I feel like it's getting worse as she is getting older and that I should try to gain some answers to why she has these phobias. She functions fine but any more information would be very helpful.
Torie on April 29, 2015:
Wow I always thought that I was the only one that was bothered by this kind of stuff. The worst for me is looking at logs/ tree with little tiny holes from ants makes my head hurt and makes me want to vomit. I was always so confused about this because I don't mind dots, but holes are the worst.
Ann on April 01, 2015:
I have been suffering with these images since I seen that lotus pod on skin a couple of months ago! I feel like I am going round the bend with the image and it gets worse imagining I have these holes over my body!
Does any one know how to get over this phobia?
mariam on February 12, 2015:
This is so real i was thinking i was abnormal but does anyone of you having a problem with 'dry sound' i dont really know how to explain it but an example is the sound of metals especially the sound of a train,cracks,using a pencil on a paper and even cotton balls.
Kim H on February 02, 2015:
I realized I suffered when I saw a doctored picture on FB (I think it was. Lotus pod superimposed on to someone's neck). For two days it made me scratch at my neck and I could not get the image out of my mind. I can really relate to the desire to destroy those holes. After researching some on the web, I found a video on YouTube that really helped me. It was a psychologist who helped walk you through meditation to alleviate anxiety. At first I thought it didn't work, but it did help. Be careful when looking it up, lots of triggering images are out there on the web.
Unknown on October 24, 2014:
I saw the word on an MSN article and then I think I might have it since the Senax advert me uncomfortable. I did a search on the internet which I regret as most sites show a lot of pictures and some are enough to make a normal person uneasy like pictures of disgusting larva or rotten organic matter. My fear growth exponential in just a few look of those pictures. Particularly bad is trypophobia.net. I just hope that I can have the whole situation reverse back to the original level. Yours article has to be the best that is really informative and not worsen anything.
Amy Smedley on October 22, 2014:
I feel so relieved to of found this! I always thought I was weird because when I was asked what I was afraid of, I always had a hard time describing it! I'd always be like... Umm clumps of warts and holes. You described it as clusters and yuck, just saying that word gets my skin crawling.
emmyjay on September 01, 2014:
I am 60 years old, and just recently closed my FB account because of the disturbing images. I was very frightened at how severely I reacted. I have all the same physical reactions as you all do. I don't know of anything in my past to contribute to this. I do have mild OCD, always have. Over the last 3 months as I have been dealing with this, I've tried to think of what could have caused it, or even when I may have had a similar reaction. (as you can tell, I can't even stand to even say the shape). I realized that I've probably always had some mild aversion to certain things, but the FB images somehow sent me over the edge! Interestingly, just as most of you felt, I was embarrassed and didn't want anyone to know what I was feeling, but I felt compelled to research it, and ended up more freaked out the more I searched. I soon discovered that one of my daughters reacted the same way to the FB images but both of us could barely stand to even talk about it! No one else in our family seems to share our phobia, and basically, they all think we are being ridiculous, so we just don't even mention it anymore. I thought I had put it behind me, for the most part, but a strange thing happened. I wouldn't even describe this, but I was amazed at just how deep this phobia goes. A couple of days ago, my granddaughter was playing on the floor near where I was sitting and she said, "Oh Nana, what is this little circle that just fell out of the wall?" I turned to look at it, and it was a perfect circle, about the size of a pencil eraser, that had popped out of the sheetrock, exposing a #### with a screw inside. I literally almost got sick, and her mother, my daughter who doesn't have the phobia, said "oh that's just a wall popper. We've had that happen in one of our walls before. It's where the house settles and a nail or screw pops out a circle of sheetrock". I was frozen with fear and I just stared at her, and finally she asked me what was wrong. I said "oh nothing" and tried to calm down, but I finally told her what it reminded me of. She, of course doesn't really understand what that sight does to me, but she tried to be understanding. I've just avoided looking at it, but actually feel compelled to go look at it anyway, but am fighting the urge. Later today, my other daughter, who has the phobia, came over and when the subject of the #### came up, I didn't say a thing about it, but I waited to see her reaction when she saw it, and sure enough, I could tell she was repulsed by the sight of it, and later I asked her about it. She said "mama, I can't even talk about it or I'll get sick". So we didn't mention it again. I feel sick just knowing it's in the next room, and I feel sicker still, that I am so bothered by something like this. I still feel like I should be strong enough to conquer this fear, but I can't. I told myself that I wouldn't search anything about it again, but that's how I found this page. As far as the FB images, I believe that someone deliberately put them out there, knowing they would be seen by so many, and that they would trigger this kind of response. Why, I don't know, but I am amazed that our minds can be so controlled. It's pretty scary! I loved being on FB and keeping up with family and friends, especially my grandchildren. That shows how powerful this fear is! I too, am glad that I'm not alone, and I truly feel badly for all of us. I wish there was a cure!
tanya on August 20, 2014:
Not only that after seeing this type of clusters of holes my hole body becomes itchy.
Rashida on August 01, 2014:
I did not know this was a phobia. Until I literally googled "help with sickening feeling from holes and cracks". I just always thought there was something wrong with me and try to make a conscious effort to avoid the items and images that make me physically break out and nauseous.
I wish there was something to make this phobia go away. But I must say that I am relieved that I'm not the only person who suffers from this phobia.
Janira Robles on July 14, 2014:
I am so relieved to find this I am as of late finding that I can't go on a certain social network because people keep posting these fake links and pages with pictures of things that are supposed to be super gruesome but in reality are this dry potpourri found pods with make up, but still the thought of it makes me physically sick and the memory of it stays lodged in my head and I feel anxious and jumpy the rest of the day! I'm ok with bread and strawberries but now with the help of your article I am realizing that I've had this fear since I was a child when I remember something that burned to the bottom of a pot and I was doing dishes, my mom thought I was insane but I didn't know why it freaked me out. Thank you so much for keeping this picture free!!!
minkie on July 14, 2014:
I am so relieved to find that I am not the only one. for me it started grade 9. I was going through my biology textbook and the was an image of the structure of a bone and all of a sudden I stared feeling sick, dizzy and nauseous and this happened everytime I looked at the image and it takes quite a long time for me to get the image out of my head. it truly is a horrible feeling that I cannot even describe.
anyway so I am a medical student and I am currently doing my rotation in orthopaedics. so I was searching for an image of the structure of a bone just now and as I looked at the image stared feeling dizzy and nauseous. I just feel like literally jumping out of my own skin right now.
wendywoo14 on June 27, 2014:
Hi. Just like you all I decided to actually Google this subject this evening after seeing a terrible image on facebook which made me feel physically sick. I decided it had got to a stage in my head that i needed to see if there was any information out there and was shocked but comforted (in a way) to see so many others have this phobia too. It has only become apparent in this last two years and cannot recall anything in my past or present that could have escalated this phobia. Please Please Please do not look at the face book image. I cannot take the vision out of my head now and i guess it will stick with me for life. I once saw a shocking image 15 years ago to do with infestation and that has haunted me . Please please please someone out there come up with some solutions for all us sufferers. :( xx
AddieMarie on June 26, 2014:
I'm relieved to find out that I'm not the only person that has this problem. I've been looked at as crazy by so many people for my reaction to different things with holes. Today while at my boyfriends house I was set off by a picture/ video going around on Facebook titled something or other about people not being able to watch for more than 5 seconds. Seeing these things makes me feel queasy and I start itching and uncontrollably digging at my skin. There have been many times that I've wounded myself during an attack because I can't stop. I constantly have to check my skin to make sure the holes and/ or the things in them haven't appeared on my skin in the form of rot or infestation.
It usually isn't a huge problem because I avoid seeing these things, but it's miserable during the few days after I have encountered something. I wish there was a cure for this!
mandy on June 18, 2014:
The images actually enrage me. I want to scratch my eye balls out, I can't explain it but it's a very uneasy urgent kind of distress. I've got to smooth out the holes. The viral picture of the holey breast. OMG!!! For me it's the hard mass emerging from soft flesh maybe, I want to rip the sh#t out, make it bleed whatever I have to do to make it be NO MORE!!!! It's like an electric shock to my senses. It's just not right on any level.
Kkcarpy on June 14, 2014:
Why does it say "picture free" but then the site has links of disgusting photos!?!? That is verging on cruel.
Kkcarpy on June 14, 2014:
I suffer from this. It is real and I have been reading posts saying "yes! Exactly! OMG, me too!!" The burnt rice.. Ugh for me aerated lawns. Can we even mention the move "H#%es"? Gah!! And pictures of cracked deserts in a drought. I was driving one day and saw a tree with a horrific pattern and started panicking and sobbing and couldn't look. It is awful.
Hayley on April 04, 2014:
I was talking about this in my group therapy session yesterday and a girl told me that it's actually a thing and she feels disgusted about it too. My biggest fear is of infestation which some of you have suggested a link between. I have Trichotillomania (hair pulling OCD since early childhood) and I learned about the demodex mites in school and FREAKED OUT. It was horrifying. I was feeling itchy all over but when I saw a picture of the eggs and mites clustered inside a hair follicle I lost it... Ripped out all my eyelashes which I had not done in a long time. I was at a party and someone at my table didn't like the hardened yogurt on their strawberry so they scraped it off with a knife and the strawberry holes were imprinted on the yogurt and the seeds had peeled off. GROSS UGH I can't handle this. Wow.
Nyu on January 11, 2014:
Ever since I can remember I get repulsed when I look into deep dark water or drainage. I recently noticed that I have problems with images of snakes, maggots (maggots in skin is the worse of all) and severe bruises. I find it hard to forget those images.
Once I watched a documentary of snakes with my family I got dizzy and end up vomiting.
marynn on January 08, 2014:
I am 17 and I only just realised I had a real thing! I can't believe other people go through the same thing! I have suffered from it as long as I can remember. but yeah some things are ok like polka dots are usually ok but almost all naturally occuring ones send a shiver through my body. When i see an image I try and rub it away and yeah stupidly google imaged it -__- everyone thinks I'm crazy when I'm like "yeah I can't look at holes"
Wanda on December 17, 2013:
Sixty years old and been suffering with this for at least 40 years. Never knew what it was. Someone needs to research this as it is more common than not.
Zoe on December 12, 2013:
I'm so glad I'm not the only one here. Sometimes I feel crazyyy!!! I hate this phobia! I cant even eat certain foods because of it. Chocolate covered strawberries and strawberries are a no go. I picked one up and saw the imprint of the seed holes. Yeah, I freaked out... I want to get rid of this phobia but feel sick to my stomach even thinking about it
Amberly on December 09, 2013:
I had goosebumps and still do just reading this article. I never knew I wasn't alone. I have no idea how this started with me. The soonest I remember having problems with it is probably around 9 years old?? Everyone in my family thinks I'm crazy and find it funny to point out or describe these things. Oh I hope that this is studied or at least taken seriously. Either way good to know!!!
jahh on November 27, 2013:
Well. I didn't listen!!!!!! I went an Google image now im terrified. I suffer with this. Everyone thinks im crazy. It was the hardest thing for my bf to take me serious when I told him about it.. good to know im not alone
Bdwairi on October 05, 2013:
My Trypophobia almost KILLED me more than once. Its not merely a disgust of holes, I mean honestly who wouldn't be disgusted of something that looks like that and infectious for example. What we (tryophobics) suffer from is not at all a mere disgust, NO, it is a complete shuddering fear...its a WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME...type of fear. Its a physical shock...I cant even talk about thoroughly because Im already in TEARS!
Im reading about it and the descriptions each person gives to their unique experience and I realize I have a combination. This started for me since I was a child...I cant remember how or when, but I was terrified of it. Later in high school we studied about bacteria that accumulates on teeth, and .....Im not going any further in description of specific stuff because I absolutely cant, but I started carrying a tooth brush with me every where after seeing the microscopic image of a tooth (even after being cleaned), I would brush all the time. i stopped that eventually by default. I worked at a factory once and I was on a metal press machine, we put grease on the metal before pressing it and shaping it, well, one day as I was working, im not sure how or why, but grease clusters in the shapes I abhor were appearing, I was taking i held the line up for ever until someone started screaming for me to move it...(I worked at a sink factory when I was 19 to support my mom and 6 siblings) I then in tears reached to grab the sink but couldnt look at it anymore. I closed my eyes as I was slinging this sharp edged bowl to the line and ended up hitting my face, causing me to bleed and get stitches...It couldve been worse. I started looking it up since then, but never found anything back in 1999-2000. My near death experience happened on the road, I was driving out of town on the Intrastate and got behind an 18' wheeler, carrying pipes, somehow...it was weird this was a first...my eyes fixated on the holes of the pipes and I started panicking badly...in utter fear...I shut my eyes and was crying and screaming...I pulled the wheel suddenly, (eyes still shut) and then heard horns all around me, I almost went under another 18' wheeler on the right lane, and then almost ended up in the ditch. I stopped on the edge of the road just in time...and couldnt move...(no fear from almost wrecking and flipping the car) NO, I was still shaken by the image.
What Id like to know, is what is the age group of everyone experiencing this? I have never heard of this before, it has never been brought up by the elders in my family/ they never even heard such "ridiculousness". I am not a psychology major, but would like to do an independent study, and maybe even get someone involved in this...i think there is a link.
trixxy on September 19, 2013:
i keep reading about the lotus pods. i dont know what it is and im really curious and wanna check it out but im also scared sh*tless lol. dont want to end up rocking in a corner pulling out mytri hair
trixxy on September 19, 2013:
omg i was reading other articles before this one and they had up these unnerving pics. my insides feel so queasy now and my pores are constantly raised.. apart from the holes, things like cracked mud and clusters of little moving things bother me. baby turtles scurrying to the beach water from the sand is at the top of my list of things that bother me
Angela on July 19, 2013:
IT becoming a BIG PROBLEM NO IT IS A BIG PROBLEM I recently went to the doctor concerning this creep feeling when I see hole in bed sheets cloth curtain any thing that's not right give me the creep Listen UP ITS A NERSE PROBLEM am now on medication and receiving disability.
Yeng on July 16, 2013:
thanks for this article because of this im relieved when I first search the trypophobia and saw those tiny holes i starting to search about it then at my first thought , when you see those wholes in a person skin and feel itchy it is possible to have that holes in your skins when you feel those itchiness I act like weird I experience goose skin .
E something on June 14, 2013:
I actually reached this article via an image search of the term. Seeking refuge, as it were, in a page with the picture: "No image article" attatched. I'm afraid your warning came a bit too late, I've always had this sort of phobia but only discovered the name of it recently. Needless to say, my skin is crawling and I WON'T be doing that again.
I also suffer from mild OCD (usually with symmetry or rows/ordering) so this is kind of freaking me out a bit.
sert on June 10, 2013:
@Sarah I cannot stand that picture of the childs skull showing the adult teeth inside. Like you it makes me itch like mad. I want to take all the teeth out and fill in the gaps, it drives me mad. Although like you I wouldn't be bothered by holes in general but certain images just make me physically itchy, especially across my scalp. A mild form of Trypophobia perhaps?
lourdes on June 06, 2013:
I really thought I was alone. It has never made sense to me why small irregular holes make me freak out, they definitely produce in me a sensation that's hard to explain that just makes me feel very uncomfortable. I have told my friends this unusual fear but they say I'm insane, so I'm glad I'm not alone. I realized that I have this phobia when I saw the small holes of the bones my dog chew, it just creeps me out. Like the person writing this article the only thought of it just makes me feel very weird. I really wonder what's the cause of this, because not all people has it, but the number is not so small either. I appreciate that the writer didn't post pictures, thank you!
jcm11279 on June 03, 2013:
Wow! I am so relieved! I thought I was crazy, I have had this phobia for years. I am also mildly OCD, and so is my dad, and we both have this problem. Maybe its genetic? Could it be related to OCD or anxiety? I can't stand holes, clusters, seed pods or insect eggs, skin conditions, even certain clothing patterns, although most of what bothers me seems to be organic. I too have the urge to destroy what I'm looking at. I get chills, my skin crawls, my stomach clenches, my jaw locks and its a horrible icky wrong feeling. My family didn't know whether to laugh or be concerned one night when we were making fajitas... My mother in law was cutting bell peppers in half and when I looked at them I freaked out, dropped what I was doing, and attacked the seeds. I have to be very careful watching nature or medical shows. The image will stay in my head for hours after I mistakenly see it. Soooo glad there are no images on this site! Although just reading about it still triggers the reaction! I just accidentally looked at a lotus pod, really freaked me out. Anyone who wants to talk or has more info please email me email@example.com. thank you!
hubby105 on May 31, 2013:
I can't believe so many people actually suffer from this. I only realized my phobia a year ago when I was in a flower shop and on one of the shelves stood a whole vase of lotus seed flowers. It immediately made me very uncomfortable and sick to my stomach. I ended up looking it up on google and every time I have to throw my phone and I feel very sick. It's a terrible and very particular phobia to have to live with. Really appreciate that you did t include pictures!!
mari on May 30, 2013:
one of my brothers and i are both trypophobic. we didn't know there were others out there. we thought we were crazy. i really appreciate the sensitivity of this article in not showing pictures. i thought i was crazy, for sure. thank you so much. great article. any coping mechanisms you know of? it's hard to search at all because a row of google images always shows up for me, so i don't want to do a search at all.
BLAKF1RE on May 14, 2013:
I've only recently discovered this and what it meant. I always thought it was just myself being silly and immature but now I know that there are others that have the same fear. It has given me closure in a way and comfort knowing that I'm not some sort of freak. I now realize why Sponge Bob made me cringe as a child and still does now. I wouldn't have found this if I wasn't tricked into searching for it in Google images. I'm glad I did in a way so I could get a sense of what it is. I just thought I was being immature or something! Thank you so much! Sorry for rambling on.
Hermn Castro on May 02, 2013:
Thanks for this post. I don't real have a phobia but whenever I see things like bee hives, seed pods, and sponges I get this weird urge to crush it. I physically feel the urge to tear it apart. I don't feel disgust, or nausea just a kind of compulsion to destroy it, even slight rage at the thing. Thing is I can look at a lotus seed pod picture and be fine but if I had it in front of me I would do my best to tear open all the holes. Whenever I have a natural sponge in my hands I squeeze it a few times till I'm satisfied its not crunchy. Bee and wasp hives are the worst for me I can't stand them because I want to crush them but can't. I do hoever think bees are awesome creatures so I would never do it anyways.
rstone1990 on April 17, 2013:
I had a terrifying dream that my whole stomach was covered in belly buttons and the feel of what it would be like to touch still scares me....
My iPhone screen recently cracked and the sensation of touching the cracked screen made me wince I don't know if my reactions are typical of that of a trypophobic.
eduardosilva2007 on April 13, 2013:
please help me! i'm getting sick all the time by thinking, I can't stop it.....
DAMIAN on April 12, 2013:
THIS IS CRAZY, I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO FELT THIS WAY AND I DO HAVE A MASSIVE URGE TO DESTROY ANYTHING LIKE THAT WHEN I SEE IT. HOW STRANGE...
Kayleigh on April 04, 2013:
Cant quite believe that im not the only person that freeks out at the sight of holes. Theres an advert on the tv the now that zoomes in on someone skin and its lots of people, it freeks me out and i have to turn the tv off right away. I just googled it after a chat with a work mate and i feel so uncomftable now after a picture of cheese! i felt so silly so iv only ever tld my boyfriend about the fear, but im so glad there are more people that cant stand it. I think mine started from a nightmare i had when a man got shot and i could see all these holes, aww honestly iv got shivers at thinking about it! possibly it started there, or maybe before and i dream about it now. ethier way im truly disgusted by this fear and i wish it would just go away!
Anonymous on March 29, 2013:
Definitely thought i was the only one!!! Looking at images like that make me grind my teeth and I start shivering! All I wanna do is destroy the holes. When I'm making pancakes and they start to bubble, I have to smooth over the pancake or I'll freak out. Yuck. Talking about it right now gives me the willies!!!! I wish there was a cure of some sort! But I guess all we can do is stop looking at the holes.
Anonymous on March 27, 2013:
Ya i definitely suffer from trypophobia. I knew i had a fear of bubble like things so i had to look it up. I freak out when a cluster of droplets of water form. I get itchy and i have to look away or wipe it off. It gives this unusual, uncomfortable feeling and i hate it. I'm starting to each by just talking about it now. I dont know if its the same thing but i also tend to hate clusters of bugs. I want to talk about it with my parents and my older sister who is becoming a pharmacist but my sister is probably going to say that I am over-diagnosing myself. I guess i'll just have to hope for the best!
Hannah on March 24, 2013:
So glad to have found this, I didn't want to recognise this phobia in myself for ages even though I knew it was there. I think it started for me when I was in school, in science class looking at cells through a microscope and also pictures of things like sea tube worms and sponges. Another thing that gets me is looking closely at the skin of an orange. A weird thing not so long ago was looking at a large pile of seed or something that was covered with a white tarp, and had lots of black car tyres on top holding the tart down. All these things make me feel weak and sick in the stomach. Reading all the comments above has been very distressing for me. I am going to show this article to some family members who think I am either weird of making up this 'phobia', and look forward to reading more comments in the hope of finding out how to combat it.
LexiNoel on February 26, 2013:
An example of it being debilitating would be when i was about to cook chicken one day. I opened it up from the bag and i see about 5 tail feathers. The butcher forgot to pluck those all the way and they looked like 5 little straws attached to the chicken. I literally freaked out because i wasn't expected that.
I couldn't touch it, I started itching and crying over this and my mom thought i was stupid. i asked her to please cut it off because i couldn't look at it. she did but left it in plain sight so i couldn't go back into the kitchen until someone threw it away.
just writing this is making me itch and have goose bumps..
unknown on February 18, 2013:
This is me... ever since i was a kid... finally decided to look it up... totally me... however, i only feel weird inside for small holes in things... just GROSS ... thinking about it... makes me ill
Polly smith on February 11, 2013:
I call clusters of anything poky cos I have to smash it. Take a look at tree mans skin. I would love to sand it all away. Look at coral mans skin, would love to sand it. I could smash pods an bee hives. I spend my evenings tearing up poky images in the paper. Am I crazy.
Natalie on February 09, 2013:
I've always been afraid by small holes, such as strawberries and honeycombs. I wasn't until recently that I've decided to look it up, for my curiosities sake. It all makes sense now. Thanks so much!
dietpepsicarousel on January 27, 2013:
I have Autism, and also Tryphobia, and for a long time I have thought that the two were related. People with Autism have a sensory processing disorder in that the brain cannot always process visual or auditory stimuli as fast as everyone else. Therefore, the person's brain gets overloaded and people with Autism cannot always make sense of the information. I believe it is the same thing when Trypophobics see clusters of things or even something that is just out of place (ie a two-headed animal or a person with a bad skin disease). Because those are items that my brain is not used to processing, it cannot process all of the information at once and therefore the Trypohobic reaction occurs. I am curious to know how many other people out there with this condition have been diagnosed with Autism?
Yassaar on January 17, 2013:
I thought i was mad, now i know im so happy im not alone, i physically go into a sweat when i see tiny holes with things in the middle, clustered holes, i just cannot deal with cutting a pawpaw in half those black seeds kill me. im so glad is there anything i could do to fix this problem?
TriniFels on January 15, 2013:
I have been experiencing this for some time now and I am to the point where I am DESPERATE for some help. I can barely drive because potholes make me sick. Its getting worst by the day. Anyone with an answer please PLEASE post.
jfhcuyhsdid on January 11, 2013:
I don't suffer from this, but I'm curious. I think the reason could be:
1) The holes if on skin would be an illness, possibly dangerous. 2) If there are things in the holes, it could be bees or wasps or larva that could be dangerous. And irregular holes are creepier, because order in nature is nature being healthy. It's understandable, but as any other form of anxiety, it's an over-reaction. Our bodies need healthy food, exercise and sleep to name a few to behave normally so our reactions are in proportion. And also genetics play a part. But it's difficult with anxiety, I know myself
Sarah on January 11, 2013:
I am not afraid of holes but when I see clusters of holes or something poking through a hole I itch like crazy. Sometimes clusters of small objects make me itch too. I do have a compulsion to destroy seed pods and things like that. Sponges, bubbles, rice etc.. don't upset me but for example, I recently saw a photo of a child's skull. The skull still had the baby teeth but the jaw and mandible had been scraped away to reveal the clusters of adult teeth crowded beneath the baby teeth. Seeing all those teeth clustered there in little pockets just made me itch all night. Is this a form of trypophobia?
Amy on December 29, 2012:
Oh my goodness. I was so glad to come across a website that had no pictures. It's like, if Trypophobics come to a website to learn, why torture them with images that scare the crap out of them?! I was so happy till I scrolled down to look at the comments and right before them there's a few small pictures..I almost had a panic attack. I can't explain how I feel when I see them, i don't think it makes me sick, it just scares the living hell out of me, and literally pains me to see.
I've had it for as long as I can remember, I'm 15 so it started way early. My brothers think its funny and like to torture me with it. I remember in 6th grade my brother would come to walk me home and I'd look at his hand and he would've drawn little black dots with pen all over it and up his wrist. I don't know what kind of mental illness drove him to do that, all I know is that I screamed at him and forced him to keep it hidden. This happened multiple times that year. My other brother sort of gets it, like this one time he was telling me how he had a dream where he looked down at his knee and there were holes covering it. But he's not as bad as I am, Because he can still shove drawings or pictures in my face without getting scared. My uncle on the other hand, my dad used to tease him about it as well and he said that when my uncle saw it his hairs would stand up and get goose bumps and everything, at least he gets it.
When I was reading I was thinking how my science teacher (she likes to pull pranks on people) said that she wouldn't do anything if the fear were so bad that it drives the person to cry. And it got me thinking, would I really cry? And so I imagined being locked in a room with no escape and nothing but white walls covered in clusters of holes or dots. (It freaked me out thinking of it) and I thought..yeah I would definitely cry if there were no way of escape. I'd probably even claw my eyes out with my own hands.
Anna on December 24, 2012:
Oh my goodness what a relief! Thank you so so so much! I have been googling all sorts of phrases for a really long time now because I've realized that I have a problem and for the longest time I didn't understand it but I'm so thankful to put a name on it and know I'm not crazy! I've always hated seeing little things very close togheter, wheter it's holes or just a repetitive texture it just drives me insane. I was recently studying for a biology exam and came across a picture of cells in my textbook and just burst out in tears because of the disgust! My whole family thinks I'm nuts... and I think it's really a curse, I hate it. But it's great to know I'm not alone.
I actually just googled "Trypophobia" and I nearly regurgitated because of the images that popped up, even Wikipedia is torturing me.
Fernando on November 17, 2012:
My sister burned herself on the heater and the formation of the grill formed on her arm. it was a circular pattern, picture a metal crate. After I saw that my hair stood up on my neck and my skin crawled. I was suddenly filled with anger and I wanted to hurt myself or someone else. It was a weird feeling, my body felt electrified. Other things that seem to trigger the attack is a cracked lollipop or a cd in a microwave and watching it cook (mythbusters)
Emma on November 10, 2012:
alllsssooo..... just remembered when i was about 4 when i closed my eyes woould freak out koz i could see like a messy clusters of shit like gause i would then think of something like rippled milk and calm water it helped and after watching videos on this i needed to calm right down .... pictures of calm water REALLY helped a lot .... so try that...
Emma on November 10, 2012:
also i find um (its hard to describe) deeps cuts like wounds... and i have recently seen a close up picture of an eye and its structure it looks all messy and stringy.... it really freaks me out and makes me really angry it took me a LONG time to actually get over seeing that its still making me feel stressed and scared and sick.... and at the supermarket things like hock bones with stringy white bites and holes ... but the stringy thing gets me wild as well!! navel oranges , strung out packed mince meat,but this picture of the eye is the worst iv seen yet....i always thought i was really weird for this glad to know i can call it something other than just being weird lol
kams99 on October 27, 2012:
Thank you so much for not having any images. I thought I was alone and this made me feel like I was a weirdo. The first time I knew that I suffered from this when when I was a teenager (i'm now 26) , I was boiling macoroni when all of a succed, it formed a repetative pattern with the end(holes) facing up in my pot. I freaked out started to destroy it and almost burn myself. I started crying, had panic attack, hot flushes. I didn't google anything, didn't even know what to google so I told my boyfriend about it and he thought I was crazy.
I think this has a lot to do with fear of deseases for some reason since I too have hypochodria.
When I get a panic attack from any of these images, I gentle rub my whole body. To soothe my skin, it helps a lot!
I'm so glad to know that I'm not alone and that my immidiate reaction (destroy it) is common to all sufferers.
ascevv on October 27, 2012:
I thought I was the only one.. Thank you so much for posting this. Although I had goosebumps while reading this, I did continue my research about trypophobia and when I type that word into google, pictures appeared. I didn't prepare myself to see any pictures so I literary got frighten by them. I look down immediately and my eyes got teary... Seriously, my mom had to come over and close the tab for me because I was in a brief shock. I can't believe I am this scared. I wish there is a way to get rid of this phobia.
John on October 26, 2012:
holes make me angry, like when you go to the beach and u see all the sea shells when the tide go's back and forth it gets me angry i gross out why
bconnell on October 14, 2012:
I am 71 years old and I have had this problem for years. There are two words that I cannot bear to hear - clusters and inbed. I get the chills and itch. I sometimes think it has something to do with stress. I've also thought it might be caused by some allergy. I get the same feeling when I smell "bounce" softener. I do have allergies to odors and certain scents. I am bothered more when I am feeling stressful about a particular thing. I do wish there was something that could be done about it. I had no idea that I was not alone in this.
Brianna on September 17, 2012:
Growing up I always thought I was weird when I would get extremely anxious or queasy when I saw certain patterns. I wasn't ever sure why and whenever I tried to explain it to family or friends the only response I ever got was "That's weird" or "You're weird." That never helped much. -_- Either way, a couple of weeks ago a friend told me a story about something that made me sick to my stomach just picturing it and I proceeded to explain about my "weirdness" and how it made me anxious and my skin crawl at just the mere though of it. I had always thought I was just weird, but then my friend told me I should look into it because he didn't think it was common and so ever since I've been trying to find out what i can about this. It' s just really nice to know that I'm not the only person who gets sick at just the thought of it. I hope one day I can get over this BS.
Siska on September 02, 2012:
I thought I was all alone... :)
Tatiana J on August 23, 2012:
I was so happy I found your article! Not only am I the only person I know who suffers from this phobia but I could never find an article that was picture free. I literally get sick to my stomach to the point that I have to vomit and my whole body gets covered in goosebumps which usually makes me feel even worse and I cant even look at my body. It's really horrible.
Sam on August 06, 2012:
Add me to the list...I don't have it as bad as most of you.... No descriptions needed all of the things mentioned above that make me want to stratch. Oddly enough...my sister and brother have the same issue. My sister has it the worst...I'm not compelled to look everytime but she is. I itch instantly she often screams and runs from the room only to come back and look again. CRAZY I just do get it...I'm definitely happy to know I'm not alone. But geez....this disorder absolutely horrible!
MsWonderful4u on July 23, 2012:
I just so happened to google this after telling my husband about my life long fear of clusyeted bubbles and holes. I am so happy I am not the only one.
Michelle on July 18, 2012:
Ohgoshh!!! so glad i'm not the only one! I know extacly how you feel!!! It's just soo disgusting looking at the holes! like ewwwwwwwwwww. I srsly taught that i was the only one, so so glad i'm not! Someone really need to find a cure for this! Cuzz i srsly cant live like this .. there are holes everywhere!!!
Anonymous on July 06, 2012:
THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I guess that I AM Trypophobic. Seriously it's so nice to know that there IS a name for this phobia. I googled "fear of holes"... and EVERY SINGLE photo that popped up, made me nauseous and want to vomit. I've been this way ever since I can remember, but I honestly think it really started about 6th grade, when I popped my first pimple and the crud flew onto the mirror, & left a tiny hole in my face. Since then PORES disgust me, and pretty much ANYTHING with holes, clusters of circles, even to the point of animals with bulging eyeballs (I feel like the animal needs to be smashed til it's eyes pop out)... Crab holes in the sand, cutting a papaya in half & seeing the seeds all clustered together, strawberries look like clogged pores up close to me, fish eyes, frog eyes, crab/shrimp eyes. I especially get disgusted when I imagine that things will pop out of the holes/pores. Gaaaaaaag. The spaghetti play-doh toy makes me want to vomit watching the doh strings come out!! EWWWWWW. I couldn't even watch that video to see if you are tropophobic, so my friend watched it & explained what each picture/video clip was about & I was already getting "itchy" and nauseous, and sweaty. She started describing the frog clip with other frogs climbing out of it's holey bck... & although I didn't watch that clip, just thinking of it the past couople days has already caused great anxiety!! But I do thank you very much for letting me know that I am not the only "weird" person who suffers from this fear.
Kiwi619 on July 05, 2012:
AMAZING!! I had no idea that this was actually something other people experience!! I once dropped a strainer that was full of those pinwheel type pasta noodles because they had all flattened out! Then I had seen a picture on the the web of this girl with tiny circular crystals on here, and I just had this urge to scrape them all off!! I mentioned this to friends, how I cannot control my urge to wanna immediately destroy the site of those types of things, and they think I am the strangest person alive. I honestly didn't come clean with this to friends until very recently! I thought I was just strange.
There is also a frog that flips me out because of holes on its back, I screamed and changed the channel. My husband could not figure out why I suddenly had a moment, and for that matter neither did I until this very article. So thank you!
Anonymous on July 05, 2012:
I'm very glad to know here are so many people with the same problem. Granted it's not all small holes now but when I was a child anything with a cluster of holes would set me off. Itching restlessness nausea dizziness just from a strawberry. Now however my fear has moved to skin disorders involving the clusters of holes which like many of you my family finds odd that I'm physically bothered by it. This article is probably the best thing i've found about this fear.
Nikita on June 28, 2012:
Thank you for posting it.
My phobia is horrible!
When I look at clusters of holes, I start screaming and sometimes throw up. If I don't throw up, I feel nauseous and I can't do anything for hours.
lee on June 27, 2012:
Omg! I'm so glad I'm not the only 1...I'm a South African n thers a Sanex Tv add that I cannot stand, jst talkin abt it makes me ichy.
Rachel on June 24, 2012:
I have this fear. At my local supermarket they sell a chocolate bar, and the design on the packaging is a photo of a cocoa pod split in half, with all the seeds showing. It makes my skin crawl, I have to turn it round so I can't see it on the shelf. Seriously, do NOT Google "cocoa pods"- I just did...urgh.
Just reading the comments here is making me itch all over and feel nauseous. What a weird phobia!
Cole on June 16, 2012:
Im so happy I found this! I never knew what this was or thought it could be a phobia until today. My first memory of it is of seeing a decorative bowl filled with marble like circles. Today seeing a video maggots crawl out of an orifice ruined me! I cannot stop picturing it. I too had eczema. I hate sponges, sunflowers, close ups of pores or the tongue, and I can remember destroying mounds of ant piles compulsively as a child. No fear of snakes but a definte fear of spiders. I am also compelled to look at the images. I wish there was some type of help for this. "/
Alex on June 12, 2012:
I have this too, and in addition to holes, I am repulsed by photos of cell clusters, and also by fish and frog eggs. I get nauseated, and feel driven to crush them. My earliest memory of this phobia was when I was 4 and my mother tried to put a natural sponge she got in Florida in my bathtub. I was terrified. I feel better knowing there are others put there with the same problem. Does anyone else out there have a little sang froid about it? Do you feel sickened but compelled to keep looking at them?
relieved on June 06, 2012:
i thought i was the only one. I hate seeing snow when it mealts cause it creates holes in it. Or leaves with holes in it, creeps me right out
Adrienne on June 01, 2012:
Omg so happy I'm not alone! I've been thinking I'm crazy and I've had this for years. A couple of months ago I realised it wasn't just holes but cracks too - I cracked the screen of my phone and I couldn't look at it without getting goosebumps from the tiny cracks spreading out gahhhh. Also, looking at broken windows and things makes me wanna vomit - yet I still look! Ohh and when my computer goes fuzzy. Awful! Glad to know people have this too and also that i can name my phobia!
chychy on May 27, 2012:
i suffer from this too i just found out i had it this year and its gotten too the point where i wont eat pomegranates anymore they make me cringe! a friend showed me a picture of trypophobia i got goosebumps and almost started crying.... i hate circles and cracks now too i cant even hold a basketball anymore without wiping my hands and wanting to wash them its awful just reading some of these commenets made me cringe and get goosebumps good to know im not alone
It should be called trypofoB ITCH:/ on May 14, 2012:
That this is a phobia is for sure, but the most annoying part of this phobia is that I trigger it even when I'm thinking about it. Chills all over y freaking body. Besides that a phobia means it scares you. It actually doesn't scare me but it gives me this freaking annoying chills all the time! Haha it's a bit funny but freaky at the same time. It's nice to know there are more people who "suffer" from this though...
Gabby on May 13, 2012:
YES!! I feel as if I have had a break through because I have been dealing with this my entire life but didn't know it was a real thing and all my friends thought I was crazy. I feel so much better...
TJ on May 09, 2012:
Thanks for posting this! I thought my aversion to clusters of tiny holes, seeds, eggs (and polka dots!) was just a part of my quirkiness. Unfortunately mine is not an actual fear - my physical reaction is itching. When I see small cluster holes or polka dots, I physically itch. I know - pretty bizarre. Anyway, thanks for adding a new word to my hypochondriac vocabulary. By the way, I'm itching right now, as I type. It seems the mere thought of those things makes me itch. It also seems that each of us has suffered some remembered or forgotten childhood event that triggered the fear/reaction. The mind is an awesome thing! Thank God for psychologists!
Marie on May 06, 2012:
Thank you so much for posting this...I have always had strange feelings when looking at certain textures and groupings but it got a lot worse a few nights ago. I had a dream about clusters (I won't go into details) and decided to search to see if anyone else had this fear. After an internet search I found out I was not alone, but unfortunately it is all I can think about now. I have an urge to google "fear of clusters" and find cluster formations everywhere I look. It's starting to affect my sleep, when I close my eyes all I can see is clustered objects, making my skin crawl. I really don't know what to do, if anyone has a suggestion, please let me know.
Sophie on April 27, 2012:
Just reading about this makes me feel sick, discusted and sends shivers through my body. Both my mum and I have this problem but we just thought it was only us, in the world, who suffered. until tonight when the terrible subject came up and decided to google it.
Thankyou for all your info, and now hoping to get the thought of holes out of my head, as I automatically picture images eeww
tallie on April 19, 2012:
My skin was crawling just reading this and it really is one of the worst Phobias because you can't run away from it. I just get a queezy feeling and... just... urggghhh
jbu92 on April 19, 2012:
I am definitely a sufferer, but I don't feel the urge to destroy. Sometimes I've got the urge to feel it or lick it or for some things even bite it, but even talking about that urge has me gagging right now. It's very strange indeed. I know that I am have a mild case, when compared to many others, but it is debilitating at times- I've quit jobs because of wall paint that had at one point had small bubbles which later cracked and peeled off.
Jacqueline (author) from Windsor, England on April 18, 2012:
Hi Gretchen, the negative space thing sounds familiar to me. I think it's the same as cracks in the ground (but if the sides are sticking up it makes it worse).
Gretchen on April 17, 2012:
I'm so glad I found this information. I thought I was the only one. It's been an ongoing joke with my friends and family over my "weirdness" with holes, and as comical as it may sound to outsiders, it's no laughing matter to me.
I am repulsed (usually resulting in an uncomfortable tingling in my scalp and extremities that lasts for sometime hours) by the typical honeycomb, seed pod, loofah, etc. I also get really skeeved out by not only holes themselves but by small areas of negative space created by groups of things being really close together, ie: schools of fish and bricks that are depressed away from the mortar, making the mortar more prominent. Has anyone else experienced this? Same thing do you think?
cjang on April 13, 2012:
I didn't even know what this was until today. I just knew certain clusters of holes were so disturbing to me that i thought i was crazy. I tried to tell my husband that my brain just couldn't take clusters of bubbly things. I think my son may have it too and that is why I decided to do some research. I'm glad to know I'm not alone, and neither is he.
Nic on April 11, 2012:
I have this too and i have tried researching it but all i found was pictures. loads of different things can triger it. loads of circle windows on a building that made me feel sick but the most recent thing that i discovered was the shower nozzle. shower nozzles have sooooooo many holes on it that lead to other holes this made me feel sick and i haven't been able to shower the same since that day. my fear of holes is taking over my life is there anything i can do ???
shana on April 09, 2012:
I am trypophobic person, my friends posted some photos in facebook that triggered my phobia it is a disease on skin. very nasty and i cant stop thinking about it even im watching tv i can see the image on the screen, when im playing games i can still see the image of it. i want to know how to prevent it! my pores on my arms are bumping upto my cheeks and down to my legs. and my tummy hurls. i feel sick and i want to throw up.
i wish i would know how to stop it like even i see images of holes i wont be affected anymore.
Tiara on April 05, 2012:
Hi you mentioned something about a phobia of clusters and it being related to the fear of holes.....i wonder if i have a prob with both...hmmmm there was this time i saw a cluster of ants. It was irregular and just soooooo disgusting! grrr
But funny though im mixed and i have very pronounced pores....im wondering if looking at it all my life has triggered this response. I suspect this for myself, don't know for anyone else!
Its god to know im not the only one who is freaked out by this issue!!!
Didobhav on April 03, 2012:
I always wondered why is it that I feel sick and creepy when I see a cluster of holes ... now I got my answer !!!
Thank you so much for making it picture free there were some sites which literally freaked me out.
Destinee on March 24, 2012:
Im 17 and I've always been aware of my 'issue', but only recently did I try to see if there was a name for it and if there was anyone else like me. I must admit I nearly gave up on the research, as I was affronted with so many horrible images (why would someone do that!?)
I have always had a very violent reaction to these types of things. I have to destroy them- because after I've seen it I cant be okay knowing that its still around. I have become a bit desensitized to certain things though, a babysitter from my childhood had a pomegranate tree and sent the kids home with some- now I can actually de-seed one for a while before getting dizzy (I always have to destroy the leftovers though)
I always thought that the violent reaction was what really made it a fear. Thats the most natural way for people to behave when they're scared.
The actual fear of it, I attributed to my mild OCD. These things arent smooth, or neat, or 'natural' in any aspect so of course it'd make me go into nutso mode.
I've always had this fear, as long as I can remember. I recall getting out of a river at 6-7 years old, seeing little buds of sticky moss stuck to my palm and then smashing my hand against a rock to make them go away.
I do have eczema, and as a toddler I had to go to the hospital after getting an outbreak of huge (my mother says the size of quarters) boils on my back.
I see how these things could contribute to the problem. I feel better knowing it has a name, and a lot of other people feel the way I do.