Speaking with someone over social media, they shared their story with me. I was incredibly blown away, so I asked if it was possible to share it all with you all and they agreed. I am super excited because whenever someone battles those emotions that are extremely hard to share, but we have a witness who’s willing to share today. Let me shut up so you can read his story.
Story by D’Anthony Carroll
Co-created with Anne Rossow
My name is D’Anthony Carroll and I have ligyrophobia. This phobia is the fear of sudden loud noises. This might not mean much to others on the outside who do not experience the fear I live within my body. For example, most people enjoy fireworks on the 4th of July; however, for myself, I had to check into a hotel room to try and avoid a night of mental anguish I cannot control. When I miss out on important life events, it is not because I do not want to be there; it is because my body will not allow me to. Because people on the outside looking in do not understand what I am experiencing, they label me as “weird” or a “punk”. It even went as far as to question my manhood. I think it is easy to speak on something that someone simply does not live with themselves.
Music is one force that moves my entire life. Music defines my perception of reality. It is the connection I have to life because there is a song for every situation I have ever been through. The artists and music groups I embrace have gotten me through the unimaginable. Being able to connect with those artists at concerts is one of my greatest joys in life. However, experiencing ligryophobia makes it really hard to have some of those moments. Before I purchase a ticket to see one of my favorite artists, I must research if the show will have pyrotechnics. In 2014, I couldn’t go to the “Under the Influence” Tour featuring Wiz Khalifa and G-Eazy because my experience would be the opposite of enjoying it. Most people can just buy tickets and attend the show. I simply cannot.
I can isolate the moment in time exactly where this fear became rooted in my life. Everything changed at that moment. I was four years old and my brother was playing with a balloon, which popped suddenly. My response was breaking down to the ground and covering my ears because my brain couldn’t wrap itself around what was happening. I was confused and all I could do was cry. Now, I realize what I am doing. I am giving voice to the fear that has kept me from so much in my life. My revelation is just because I have fears doesn’t mean that I cannot be strong about them. I realize that unpacking this takes time but that also is called courage. Being honest with fear is also another revelation that I do not think humans practice often. Identifying the source where the fear began allows me to remember where this all started. My job is to be a voice for others who are like me, who miss out on life events because of something beyond our control. Being honest sets me free from something I have suffered with for 28 years. My name is D’Anthony Carroll and I am not my fear. I am free.