Two holes, no larger than the size of tennis balls, are your only windows to the world in a butyl chemical gas mask. To some, this proved to incite their greatest fears…
He fumbles with his gas mask, not sure how to confront it. Mastering as much courage, he plunges his face into it, only to get a panic attack after several long angonizing minutes.
Loud gasping sounds could be heard along with a wild jerking motion of his head, he loses his rationality.
His condition worsens when we take the mask from him. Like a combat stressed casualty, he would start grabbing onto his platoon mates’ mask violently. It took 3 men to pin him down and subdue him.
I have never seen someone so fearful of something that would send them into a panic state and even going berserk. Fear is indeed something so subjective. What might seem fun, like a rollercoaster ride, might be a deathly experience for others.
The fear of masks, albeit not common in the past conversion courses, do exists. We may not be able to understand why that fear exists for him and we probably will not how it feels like for him. But, whether or not this fear is irrational or not, we must know it’s definitely a difficult task for him.
Overcoming phobias is often romanticised in many tv shows, showing how with the help of a close aide, one can overcome his phobias. Unfortunately, the truth is, overcoming your phobia takes time and good guidance.
Moreover, sometimes phobias may clash with achieving certain goals in your lives. That sense of helplessess and despair will exist because as much as you want to achieve your goals, you are impeded by your fear for something along the way.
So I ask myself these questions on some level of frustration – Why can’t humans be fearless? Why can’t we overcome our fears easily? These questions lead me to greater enquiries about the human mind and how much yet less control we have over it…