One. Stinky gyms. The worst thing about gyms is the smell of all of that built up sweat that you can never clean away.
Two. Messiness. When I see messiness it's very hard for me to organize my thoughts. I think that when you have a messy house, you have a messy mind, and so I really can't even get to work if there are things on my table. Not even a Post-It.
Three. Not being able to run. I probably work close to 100 hours a week. So, I work a lot, but when people say, well what are you doing for self-care, running is my self-care.
Four. Losing my sight. I've had very bad vision since I was a kid. I was starting to wear glasses at age five. By the time I was in seventh grade my optometrist told me that I was legally blind. I have to hold my phone all the way up to almost my nose to be able to see the clock on my phone.
Five. Concrete small spaces with no windows. This really scared me once when I had to do a forensic evaluation of a criminal in a maximum security prison. As a forensic psychologist, I do a lot of work that involves the legal arena. Whether in civil or criminal cases, they usually need to retain an expert witness who is a psychologist who can opine about various issues for criminals. It could be their state of mind at the time of the crime, estimating possible rates for recidivism, what type of treatment they might need. And because you're in a maximum security prison, there’s a lot of rules. You can't take in any communication devices. So, I had no way to communicate. And then they had a prison guard walk me down this very, very, long hall and into this area that almost looks like an isolation room. But it had a table so I could examine the patient, and the guard left and said, “I'll be back in a few minutes, I'm just gonna go and get the prisoner.” And I said, “Okay that's great.” I waited in there for what must have been 45 minutes. Finally, the guard comes back and he says, “I'm so sorry. There was an emergency in the prison yard, and it was all hands on deck, so obviously I couldn’t come back to alert you. But now that the fight has been settled I'm gonna go get the prisoner.” I don't understand how scared straight doesn't work, because it would work for me. I was in that room for 45 minutes, and I will never, ever, commit any kind of crime in my life.
Six. Not being able to communicate. I've had several nightmares about this, actually. Recurring nightmares, where I try to speak, and I lost my voice, and somehow people can't hear me. I do have a lot of risks associated with my job. I'm taking care of very severe patients and their mental health, and so I think I have fears that if I'm somewhere where I can't communicate, whether through body language or verbally, that there's going to be a real chance that something terrible could happen.
Nine. Free fall rides. When I was a teenager, we went to Six Flags Magic Mountain, which is a big roller coaster park in the Los Angeles area. One of my friends told me that some person was decapitated on a free fall ride because they had long hair, and the hair got stuck in the machinery. And then, when the ride dropped, their head got cut off. And of course it doesn't even make any sense. Logistically, I don't think that could even happen. I don't think the machinery is even that close to somebody’s head. But that just stuck with me, and I've never been on a free fall ride in my life.
My name is Dr. Judy Ho and these are 10 things that scare me.