Bibliophobia and Scriptophobia/Graphophobia

Before I jump into today’s topic, I’ll tell you what I went through in preparing a blog post for today.

You can’t always trust the printed word. I read in a book (not on the much-maligned internet) that the 17th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified on May 31, 1913. In fact, I wrote a 702-word blog post about it for today.

It turns out that it was ratified on April 8, 1913, and Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan officially announced its ratification on May 31, 1913.

Photo credit: Anthony Garand on unsplash.com

“#OnThisDay: 17th Amendment’s Ratification Announced” just doesn’t have the same blog title punch as “#OnThisDay: 17th Amendment Ratified, 1913.” Upon discovering my mistake last Monday night, I had to find a new topic for today’s post.

For those of you who are dying to know all about the 17th Amendment, don’t worry. I saved that blog post on my computer and will use it some other time – perhaps when I’m in a bind and can’t think of a blog post topic. It will pop up when you least expect it.


What about today’s blog topic?

When I learn something new about reading or writing, I like to dig a little deeper and then write a blog post about it. If it’s news to me, perhaps it’s news to you, too. Let’s look into bibliophobia, scriptophobia, and graphophobia.


Bibliophobia

A few minutes after I discovered that my blog topic for today shouldn’t be the ratification of the 17th Amendment, my sister made me aware that reading is stressful for some people. We are both avid readers and were gobsmacked to learn this.

This is a real thing. Bibliophobia is a fear of books – and can be extended to a fear of reading or a fear of reading aloud in public. It probably affects more people than I can imagine.

Photo credit: Siora Photography on unsplash.com

The cause of bibliophobia is not certain, but it is thought that some people develop it after having an embarrassing experience when reading aloud. That negative experience is remembered by the brain and can come back when asked or told to read out loud in public again.

A person who has bibliophobia usually knows it is irrational to be afraid of books or afraid to read in public but is hard-pressed to do anything about it. The reaction this phobia causes can be both physical and psychological and be as severe as to cause panic attacks.


Scriptophobia or Graphophobia

Scriptophobia or Graphophobia is a fear of writing in public. I didn’t know this was a thing until I stumbled upon the words while researching bibliophobia. Ironically, I think I have it, at least to a degree.

Photo credit: Alvaro Serrano on unsplash.com

It makes me extremely uncomfortable for someone to watch me sign my name. This source of stress came to light in 2014 when my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina was published.

Photo credit: Marie Morrison

I had a book launch event and was thrilled when people lined up to buy my book and get me to autograph their copy. But as soon as the first person eagerly waited for me to sign their book, I nearly froze. I think that was the first time I realized I had a problem. I just didn’t know there was a name for it until last week.

When I have to sign a contract, application, or other such document, it is stressful because someone is usually watching me. I know this is irrational. Now that I know it has a name, I want to overcome it.


Treatment for Bibliophobia and Scriptophobia/Graphophobia

Recognizing you have such a phobia is Step One. Step Two is seeking treatment. According to what I’ve read this past week, cognitive behavior therapy and desensitization therapy are usually helpful in treating phobias like bibliophobia and scriptophobia.


Disclaimer

I am not a psychologist or a medical doctor, so the information in my blog post today is based entirely on sources I’ve read in the last week. The terms bibliophobia, scriptophobia, and graphophobia were new to me as of last Monday, and I just thought I’d blog a little about them today in case some of my blog readers weren’t familiar with the terms. If you have either of these two phobias, just know that there is help available. Perhaps I can get help to overcome my fear of signing my name in public before I have another book signing.


Since my last blog post

One of my great-nieces graduated from high school in Georgia on Thursday. I couldn’t be there in person, so I was delighted to be able to watch it live online. Two of my other great-nieces graduated from high school in past years. I couldn’t attend their commencement ceremonies either. Thanks to the expanded use of technology due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are enjoying the opportunity to watch such family milestones online. I hope school districts will continue to offer this service even after the pandemic is over.

Writing today’s blog post made me realize that we all have phobias. I not only fear writing my signature in front of someone, I also have a phone phobia. Email and texting have been a blessing for me.


Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I finished listening to A Million Reasons Why, by Jessica Strawser on CD last night, and I’m reading The Library of Legends, by Janie Chang on my tablet.

I’ve admitted some very private things in this blog post. I don’t expect any of you to tell me about your phobias when you leave a reply, but it helps me to know and might help you to know that a lot of people have at least one irrational phobia. Stop being hard on yourself or other people about their phobias. Most people are trying hard in this life and are doing the best they can.

If you know someone with bibliophobia or scriptophobia/graphophobia to the point it disrupts their lives, please encourage them to seek treatment. It makes me sad to know that there are people so afraid to read in public that it causes them mental and physical distress.

Trust me — it was easier to write 700 words about the 17th Amendment to the US Constitution than it was to write what I’ve posted today.

Note:  Get ready! June starts tonight at midnight. June is Audiobook Appreciation Month. As I’ve found it more and more difficult to read books in regular-sized print, I’ve come to appreciate audiobooks. I didn’t see that coming any more than I saw the topic of today’s blog post coming!

Janet

10 thoughts on “Bibliophobia and Scriptophobia/Graphophobia

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this post Janet, it was candid, straight-forward and very important because people have a tendency to laugh at these events which are very serious to those undergoing such attacks of panic or suffering phobias. I did not know about these particular forms of fear but they make sense and they must be looked at and treated professionally because they can cause much distress in people’s life and also cause them to loose out on great pleasures, such as reading a good book. And I mean an actual book. I am all for technology and for reading online, I’ve many titles in my portable to read and on my tablet but I still prefer to hold on to that real book, turn the pages, write notes on them if I want to and really go through the experience of reading which I’ve always loved. Take good care, congratulations on your great nieces! My granddaughter just “graduated” from Kindergarten and we are all very proud of her! All the best my good friend,
    Cheers,
    FBC

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Francisco. I appreciate your comments. This particular post isn’t getting many comments. Perhaps these are new phobias to a lot of people and they aren’t sure what to say about them. I, too, like the feel of a printed book in my hands. When e-books were a new thing, people feared it would be the end of printed books. That hasn’t been the case, though. I think printed books are here to stay. Regarding your granddaughter’s kindergarten “graduation,” I thought maybe that was just an American thing. It seems by the time a young person graduates from high school, they’ve already “graduated” a half-dozen times. We didn’t have such ceremonies when I was growing up, so graduating from high school was perhaps a bigger milestone than it is today. I guess it’s all good. The little ones are cute in their caps and gowns! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Janet

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Janet, so much. I quite agree that printed books will not disappear as many people feel the same way we do about them. It’s a bit like the vinyls that are now making a comeback, at least here in Europe there are stores dedicated to vinyl record sales and even parties and events where people are invited to bring their vinyls, and I thought they had gone the way of the dinosaur! Reference the “graduation”, no I only had High School and university, and I did not attend either, I had them send the diploma in the mail, I guess I was a true rebel then…my granddaughter lives in America, so her “graduation” from Kindergarten is in keeping with American traditions. Take good care and all the best to you,
    FBC

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When music CDs came out, a lot of people got rid of their old vinyl records. I kept all mine, thinking they’d become collector’s items. Little did I know vinyls would make a big comeback! They aren’t the dinosaurs we thought they’d be. There for a while it was difficult to find a way to play them. I’m glad that’s not so much the case now. And now the younger people don’t buy CDs any more. They just download the music they want. I can’t keep up! I hope you get some productive time this week to work on your book. Janet

    Liked by 1 person

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