Today in my teenage angst, I pitied my germophobic sister. I always say I have no qualms and this applies most directly to germs. I'm not afraid to pick up my food off of the floor when I've dropped it. I'm not afraid to use the public toilet. I'm not afraid to turn off the faucet with my hands. And I honestly don't understand those who are. I found a 5 pack of toilet seat covers in the travel section of Superstore and immediately grabbed them for my sister. She lived in the states for a while and toilet seat covers are apparently in abundance there. Not so in Canada. This was a useful find.
While I might not understand the specific fear of germs, I can understand the anxiety that seemingly unimportant things can produce. Everyone has a hang-up, you see, and these hang-ups can stem from anything. Work, stress, that one story you heard about a kid who ate a corn nut off the sidewalk and died, etc. The Diagnostics Statistical Manual of Mental disorders is a four inch thick textbook that gives every hang-up imaginable a medical name so people will legitimize your issue and your insurance will cover your counselling. The main problem with the DSM is that it gives people a place to hang their mental hat so that they don't feel guilty about not being able to function properly. It does not, however lead people to seek solutions for their issues. It has also led to the over-medication of America, but that's another problem for another time.
For those of us who don't read the DSM though, hang-ups are just hang-ups. Phobias are just phobias. And everybody's got one. Just because we don't understand other people's hang-ups doesn't mean they aren't real. Let's do unto others and leave the hang-ups alone.
Oh! and click here to read a story from the biggest germaphobe I know.