In October 2021, YourLocalSecurity set out to find one brave soul to face their biggest fear head-on. After reading through all the applications, one person with a fear of gnomes caught our eye.
“I have been absolutely terrified of garden gnomes since I can remember,” shared our winner, Vicki Liston, a voice actor, video producer, and writer.
The fear of gnomes, also known as gnomophobia, is characterized by an intense reaction to seeing a garden gnome. For Vicki, this fear has caused her to exit restaurants out the back, run out of stores, and avoid garden aisles in supermarkets. “I would like to be able to go to the garden section during the springtime to shop without peering around every corner to ensure that the aisle is ‘safe’. I know that this is irrational and a weird mental hangup, but I just can’t handle them.”
According to Dr. Carla Marie Manly, fear is not always an enemy, and with self awareness, it can be “the powerful ally and best friend we all need.” To make friends with her fear, Vicki confronted gnomes over the course of four days.
On day one, Vicki looked at a picture of a gnome for 30 minutes in a comfortable environment until the photographs didn’t elicit an intense reaction. Eventually, she worked up to walking near garden gnomes on day four, repeating the process until she could be near one calmly. “OMG, I can’t believe how exhausting this was,” shared Vicki.
Vicki spent 40 minutes of walking past the gnome outside and worked up the courage to move it closer over time. While the four day challenge didn’t resolve her phobia in full, Vicki plans to work on the tasks a few times per week to eventually become comfortable near gnomes. Though she still has the fear, Vicki credits the challenge for helping her better manage her anxiety around the garden creatures and described the effort as “life-changing.”
Thank you to Vicki and all the applicants for trusting us with your greatest fears. For more ways to stay safe, keep up with YourLocalSecurity’s blog.