Clowns. Most of us think of clowns as playful, happy characters who remind us of carnivals, parties and fun times. For others, clowns are thought of as terrifying, sinister tricksters who are lurking in the dark, ready to jump out and scare the daylights out him or her. Coulrophobia is an abnormal fear of clowns. With the recent phenomenon of creepy clown sightings across our nation, anxiety among Coulrophobes is on high alert! What is it that makes one so scared of a seemingly harmless character? An individual may have been frightened of a clown in full makeup as a child, and never quite got over the fear. Try to imagine a toddler who first encounters a grown up who has a white painted face, with exaggerated features and a loud obnoxious laugh, getting in their face after he or she just woke up from a nap. You then begin to understand how traumatic such an experience must be for a young child. Furthermore, clown fears are perpetuated by the evil deeds of clown villains such as Stephen King’s character depicting a psycho clown who kills for pleasure. The entertainment industry loves to exploit our fears because it is a profitable business. Others, like to exploit the fears of the vulnerable at their expense, simply out of pure enjoyment, or to put themselves in a position of power over another individual.
Regardless of how one feels about the clown epidemic, fears, rational or not, are real and can cause extreme anxiety to an individual. Anxiety left unchecked, can lead to dysfunction, depression and other serious medical and mental health issues. This month’s Lifetree Small Group series, “Facing Your Fears,” features four true stories that encourage participants to live faithful, fearless lives. In the first episode, “When Anxiety Strikes,” hear the first-hand story of a woman who describes the terror of panic attacks and how she was able to cope. Perhaps you are fortunate enough that you do not deal with Coulrophobia or other fears, but you may know someone who may benefit from this conversation. Maybe someone else you know is dealing with the current outbreak of extreme Election Anxiety. That is not going to go away very soon! Please invite them too, or join us to learn how you might be able to help them with their anxiety. However, we absolutely will not talk about politics! The event is free, it only lasts an hour, and it might change your life! Lifetree Small Group welcomes everyone and also provides opportunities to fellowship, meet new people, and talk about life together. Reflection and meaningful discussions will follow the presentation. Join the conversation in the CCC Youth Room on Tuesday, November 8th, at 7:00 p.m. For more details, see www.facebook.com/lifetreecafehilliard.