Scriptophobia: Personal Testimonies

(messages from sufferers of this phobia)

Messages from those who suffer with scriptophobia to this Word Info site

An e-mail arrived not too long ago with comments about scriptophobia from a 36-year old scriptophobiac and how it impacts her life. This message is not fiction:

I have an interesting phobia for you. I hope you will tell me that you have heard of it and that you know others experiencing the same situation. It is so embarrassing and ridiculous and I cannot seem to get rid of it. It is scriptophobia or the fear of writing in public. I also have anxiety in other social situations, but none of them are as horrid as being an adult and not being able to write in public without shaking.

I had control for awhile, but recently when I had to apply for passports for myself and my three children, I was so thankful that I could fill out the forms at home, but then I had to have my signature witnessed on all four of the passports. You would have thought that I was facing life or death because I shook so badly. In fact, I had a full blown panic attack and I have experienced them in situations for 15+ years. When I was on an antidepressant, I was usually okay; but not this last time, not even the antidepressant helped.

My greatest fear is that my co-workers will find out and conclude that I am incompetent and basically stupid and I would be so humiliated if others were to judge me in a negative way because of this phobia. I guess I have always wanted to be the person that others look up to, but I fear that if they knew about my scriptophobic condition, I would lose their respect.

Any help you could provide would be wonderful!!!

Janis K. A.; December 29, 2004.

Another testimony from Mark K.

That is exactly how I feel... I'm so happy I'm not the only one out there. I can honestly say now that I feel what you're going through.

I'm writing in response to the article on "Scriptophobia" which you have on your page. I can totally empathize with what the woman is saying. I'm 17 years old and I have the exact same thing! I'm terrified when writing in public and especially when signing my name. It's a horrible feeling altogether because I begin to shake, my palms grow sweaty and I have a strange knot in my stomach, too. It really is something I hate entirely.

At times I just can't deal and create excuses as to why I can't sign my name e.g. '"I sprained my arm". I feel so "little" and I am afraid people will look down on me. School is just a reoccurring nightmare. All around me I have to write, constantly! I am aware if someone is looking at me so I immediately stop writing and pretend I'm studying a page from a textbook. It can be really draining...I know I am a capable person but I frequently become quite depressed when I realise kids can write better than me.

For years, I kept it a secret, hiding this "problem" I had and telling no one. Just a few months ago I couldn't take the humiliation and the consequences of my future, so I turned to my parents. They responded well enough and I am now seeing a counsellor who says that the shaking is a manifestation of something to what it is I'm not quite sure.

I aspire to be a journalist, when I'm older, so you can see how strange that would be—a journalist who can't write. I need help, the talking is fine but I need immediate help. I want it. If there are any other ways you could possibly think of what might speed up the process of stopping my shakes, then I'd gladly appreciate the advice.

Thanks, Mark R.; May 1, 2006.

A follow-up of Mark's previous message

Hi John,

I wrote to you a while back (a good while back) about scriptophobia and the troubles I was facing on an everyday basis. I was 17 at the time; I'm almost 19 now, and I have my state exams coming up which require hours upon hours of constant writing. They are spread over a week and a half and some exams; such as, English etc., are over three and a half hours long! So, that was a frightful thought all in itself.

Luckily, though, I've become more open about my problem—I have told a couple of friends of my situation, and a couple of my teachers know, too. I am now going into the exams via laptop, which is a total relief! But, all of this is still avoiding the inevitable. I am still worried about the exams because we have to sign in to each one (how bizarre is that, but it's not the make or break of the state exams that bother me), so I have no idea how I'll tackle that hurdle.

I think this comfort blanket that I have been hiding under is just one big way of avoiding the inevitable—and in the real world there won't be anyone there to throw me a laptop whenever things don't look so good.

I have been doing okay in the sense that I haven't had to sign anything in a while, and I have also gotten used to a select few knowing that I am a shaky writer (meaning I become accustomed to them knowing and don't worry as much). I even have a couple of friends who slag me and know I write very slowly and shake, but I'm perfectly fine with writing in front of them. So things are improving.

This week will be a true test though—I have to renew my passport and sign up for an age card at the police station. I am not looking forward to that at all (a little worried); however, things are picking up.

I'll be applying for a job in the summer, which means interviews, contracts, etc.; but I've come to learn that it's OK to make up excuses; such as, saying that my hand is sore or that I sprained it and write horribly; because at the end of the day, there are people out there (doctors especially, heh) with dreadful writing and they have no anxiety problems or shaking problems. I have one and so I shouldn't particularly be ashamed of it.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to let you know how I was getting on.

Mark R.; April 10, 2007.

An additional scriptophobiac admits writing problem

Dear sufferer,

Its really bizarre reading your message as I, too, suffer from the same problem. Just yesterday I had to go to a property developer to sign some contracts and had to make up a dreadful excuse that I was having difficulty writing because of a sprained hand. The reality was my hand was shaking like mad. It's so embarrassing and I find myself doing everything I can to avoid filling out forms in front of someone!

Nick L.

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