I hate heights. I don't avoid them. Going up in an elevator together, holding a conversation while the world drops out from under us, you wouldn't know how much that bugs me. When given my choice of offices, though, I did choose the one with the worst view and I keep my blinds shut because I don't want to stare down at the world. So do I have acrophobia, the extreme and unrealistic fear of heights? No. My discomfort is not maladaptive. It does not interfere with anything I ever need or want to do. The majority of people who say, "I have a phobia," actually do not.
What is a phobia? My friend and colleague, Superhero Therapy's Dr. Janina Scarlet, will explain. As she says in describing her video talk on the topic, "Most people are afraid of something, whether it’s a fear of public speaking, fear of flying, or fear of insects. In the video below I explore common phobias, face my own fears, take on a flying cat."