Why Anime Helped to Free Me From My Phobia

I asked on Twitter whether this would be a good idea and the vote was unanimous that it was a good idea and I should go for it. I also I feel like this is just going to be a self indulgent rant that no one else will relate to but here goes.

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It would be an understatement to say that I like anime. I love it. I obsess over it. It’s a part of my daily life. I even want to make a living out of doing something connected to it. It’s also my main source of entertainment. I write this wondering if that makes me a sad, obsessive person because I primarily watch anime and I don’t watch much else on TV with a few exceptions of course.

One of the main reasons I think anime has become such an important source of entertainment for me personally is all down to my very big phobia of blood. I guess it technically is a phobia (even though I’m not particularly frightened of it, I mean my bodies full of it and I don’t feel anything when I see my own blood) as I take one look at blood or briefly discuss it with someone and my body turns to jelly and everything starts turning white and fuzzy. It’s not a fun experience. It’s not even from any trauma it’s just something I’ve had as long as I can remember.

This unfortunate, uncontrollable phobia means that I am terrified of watching most of the popular live action movies and series that is over the rating over a 12. Any film or series rated 15 or over I immediately shut down on when asked about watching it. My mind goes “it’ll have violence, violence means blood, blood means gore” and therefore I don’t want anything to do with it (and yes I do realise not all films over 15 are violent, there are other reasons for the ratings). A couple years ago I went to see Deadpool in cinemas, the violence was so extreme for me I had to leave half way through because I was so on edge about seeing something that could set me off that I couldn’t enjoy the film. I begin to panic when watching films I have bad feelings about. This panic means I cannot enjoy myself and I end up going very stiff and freaking out over little things I see. It’s not the same as when you are scared at horror movies, that’s an adrenaline rush because you are willing yourself to watch it and see what happens. My problem is a constant sense of upending doom waiting to fall upon me and make me feel physically ill. This problem of mine is incredibly frustrating as on the whole I cannot really participate when these popular series are discussed either online or in real life. I just sit there feeling like an alien from another planet.

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I’ve watched older movies that have been rated 15 from the 80’s or 90’s and honestly I’m fairly okay with them. However, in recent years the ratings have increased from films and TV series as more people seem to watch and enjoy more violent action sequences and more dark content. A few years ago I really wanted to be able to watch horror movies. I’m fine with films like Alien as it’s an older film and I can watch suspense and jump scare horror movies but my fear of blood has driven me away completely from even trying anymore because I have a nagging feeling that I’ll see something.

This, as you can imagine is a very frustrating problem that I have. The amount of times I have gotten actually mad at myself or upset because of it is ridiculous. I get so mad that I cannot sit and enjoy horror films like other people can (do you understand how badly I wish I could like horror movies?!) or watch more adult themed shows like Orange is the New Black or Stranger Things because this fear consumes me.

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This rant/whine about my silly phobia leads into where anime comes into play. Four years ago I started watching anime and I started out on Black Butler which is rated 15 (U.K rating). This dark tale is full of blood, violence and general disturbing content and I never flinched once. I didn’t realise at the time but this was an opening for me to explore darker and more mature themed television without having to worry all the time. It allowed me to go and watch horror without having to be a nervous wreck and check out anime about gangs, vampires, zombies, anything that could ever possibly involve blood and gore. This fact really freed me in terms of what content I could begin to watch and I could begin to explore what themes and concepts I could enjoy. The strange thing that no one around me can comprehend is that I pretty much watch the “most disturbing” and “goriest” content out of anyone in my household. This to me simply isn’t true. I can watch series like Another or Devilman Crybaby and hardly even flinch is because it doesn’t look real. If something doesn’t look real to me I have nothing to fear. It’s red paint splattered across a 2D painting, therefore I have nothing to make me feel queasy. I know TV and film aren’t real either and it’s all fake blood and props but the fact that it LOOKS real is what sets me off. My brain simply shuts down because It cannot handle the sight of it.

I suppose this phobia has been useful in a way as it has helped lead me to finding one of my biggest hobbies and passions. I love anime with every fibre of my being and the fact that I can watch it without any fear of what I may encounter really does make me happy. I have no fears with it and I don’t feel restricted or suffocated by it like I am with most TV  when it concerns darker images, themes and stories. My love of anime has also freed me in terms of discussing different genres and ideas. I can watch the latest series that’s really violent and not be consumed by fear and then I can come on here and blog about it or tweet about it and share my thoughts with others. It makes me feel less isolated and I can be a part of a fun and relatable community. I think this sounds a little lame but it’s quite liberating for me as stories and characters through television and film is something I have always felt passionate about exploring. It has always fuelled my imagination and my love of fiction and anime has really let me expand my horizon with that.

Maybe this is just a weird problem that only I have. I’ve never known anyone else to have this kind of issue. This probably isn’t the most relatable problem to many people but it’s something I have to put up with on a daily basis. I hope this post made some kind of sense and I hope you enjoyed reading it even if you cannot relate to it.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!

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22 thoughts on “Why Anime Helped to Free Me From My Phobia

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  1. I might not totally be able to relate but I’m glad you shared! It’s always interesting to hear all the different reasons why people are drawn to/appreciate certain mediums like anime. It’s not exactly the same, but I get VERY squeamish not at the sight of blood in movies but at the discussion of how human bodies work? I always tried taking anatomy classes because it genuinely interests me but I can’t even listen to a teacher explain how the body looks. Like before pictures go up I start feeling sick. Even with things that aren’t that gross, like the nervous system or basic things like that! I had to switch outta my anatomy class in college because it was too much. And with shows like CSI, I would be fine at the icky autopsy scenes but once they started actually describing what happened to the victim I’d have to change the channel. I really liked the show Bones when I was younger but had to stop watching it because it actually started making me feel nauseous. So, not the same exactly, but you’re not totally alone!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! I was nervous about sharing this at first but I’m glad I have done now! I know what you mean and I relate to that too! Discussing the human body and how it works can also really set me off so I understand. It sucks that you have things that you enjoy or want to know more about like anatomy but it makes you feel nauseous. I’m glad I’m not alone with this kind of stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great post! o: I honestly really enjoy reading why people like anime, so thank you for sharing this with us! ^-^ We all have our reasons, so don’t feel like this a self-indulgent rant because it’s not that in the slightest! D:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m the same and I’m glad you enjoyed reading it! I was worried whilst writing this post as I kept on thinking it was super dumb and no one would be interested but I’m so happy with the feedback I’ve received on it! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post dam! It was interesting to learn more about you as a person and blogger. I love personal posts above anything else. I’m about to the same I love anime with every fibre of my being. Brings excitement in my life on the daily to be honest.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post! Anime (and animated/computer-generated stuff in general) is great for exploring sides of yourself that you might not otherwise feel comfortable with — or, indeed, as you note here, exploring subject matter that, for one reason or another, you find difficult or impossible to deal with when it’s happening to “real” people. And not just violence, either; a lot of what you describe here is also true for other “controversial” or “adult” content such as sex, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahh, the blood phobia thing is so relatable. Also a reason why I flinch at live action shows, though I can sit through Mirai Nikki or Mahou Shoujo Site’s early episodes without blinking. Am now getting into Game of Thrones though…a pretty bad start into live action, huh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it really is. It makes me very happy to think about that fact in all honesty. Thank you so much I’m glad you think I was able to articulate my thoughts across properly! Comments like this really help to boost my confidence as a writer! 😀 Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think anything of what you said was lame! I hardly watch anything live action either, and though it’s not for the exact reason you have, I also feel like I have a wider range with anime. Though I just don’t find any enjoyment in gore, it’s something I’ll sit through to get to the story. I tend to stay away from some of the more gory anime you mentioned, but that’s for my own strange reason. Sometimes I feel like I’m being too close-minded or something when I don’t want to watch something super violent. It just doesn’t interest me if it’s going to be excessively gory.
    I’m not sure what you’d call that, but that’s my thought on it!
    Your post was very interesting, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of when you have a phobia. It’s nothing you can control, and it’s great you’re able to find a way to overcome it and enjoy what you want to.
    Excellent post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! It’s nice to know that others hardly watch live action too as sometimes I think it might just be me as I’m surrounded by people who watch everything live action. You’re right, anime has a much wider range and I can pick and choose as I please which I cannot do with live action. Yes I understand your dislike for watching gore for a different reason than mine but your reasons aren’t strange as everyone is different and has their own reasons! I don’t think your being close-minded as there is no point watching something that you won’t enjoy! I often find excessive violence not very interesting so I know what you mean.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! It’s comments like this that make me feel less alone when it comes to my way of enjoying media!
      It makes me so happy that it could be of interest and thank you very much! You’re right, it’s out of my control which can often be frustrating but yes I have!
      Again, thank you so much! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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