My Greatest Fear #8: Static Electricity

The other day I was doing laundry, and I forgot to put in one of those little magical dryer sheets. When I extracted my fuzzy blanket from the machine, I shocked myself. Then I shocked myself again when I touched a door handle, and again when Biddy tried to get involved in things.

It was the worst load of laundry ever.

Basically, I’m terrified of static electricity. If there’s even a remote possibility that I’ve rubbed my feet against the carpet too much or feel my hairs twitching on my head, I always try to ground myself before touching metal. I’m very particular about this when I get out of the car in the winter.

Why this paralyzing fear? Because it hurts! It would be one thing if you got special powers every time you got bitten by static electricity (which is what I’ll tell my future kids so they’re not afraid of it), but that’s not the case at all. It’s like someone is walking around pinching you on dry days. That’s no fun.

Am I the only one who cowers in the face of static electricity? I sure hope there’s someone else out there with staticelectrophobia.

See my other greatest fears at the bottom of this page.

46 Responses to “My Greatest Fear #8: Static Electricity”

  1. Christine says:

    I’m not normally scared of static electricity per se. UNTIL I saw a documentary on the volcanic activity in Iceland. Inside the ash cloud, there’s so much friction between the ash particles, there are CONSTANT and ENORMOUS bolts of static electricity lightening. Scary.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I completely hear you. One of these days I’m going to forget that I’ve built up some static, and I’m going to give myself a volcanic-level static shock.

  2. Amanda says:

    This is going to sound cruel, but I laughed my butt off at the beginning of the post you and Biddy were trying to get the shocking load of laundry out. I really hate static build-up, in the winter at work, EVERYTHING shocks me and it’s due to the flooring. Sometimes just knowing you’re going to get shocked is just as bad or even worse than getting the shock. The anticipation and dread is awful, especially in my room at work. I swear, the minute you come into the room you can hear the static buildup, it calls to you.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Ha ha ha…”it calls to you.” That sucks that it’s all around you at all times in the winter. I’m most wary of it while getting out of my car, although since I got leather seats it doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue.

  3. Carl says:

    Dude, I thought I was alone and weird. I’m so happy that there is someone else who has a phobia of static electricity.

  4. Willow says:

    I’m not as much afraid of the shock as I am of the charge. If my hair starts to stick up or I feel the tingle as I take off my coat- it’s torture. I have a mild panic attack every time. I start sweating profusely and have trouble breathing. It feels like there are hundreds of tiny bugs crawling all over me and it’s just too much. I find it very difficult to find clothes to wear in the winter. I have issues with so many different fabrics! The only sweaters I wear are 100% cotton and finding coats is nearly impossible. I wear several items from that anti-static line that Lands End came out with about 6 years ago but other than that winter clothes make me miserable. I wish there was a solution.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Willow–Ah, so for you its the sensation caused by the charge, not the momentary pain caused by the shock. Interesting.

      Someday all clothes will be static- and wrinkle-proof. I look forward to that day.

  5. Erin says:

    I am so glad someone posted this. I feel the EXACT same way, and am terrified of static shock! I hate both the sensation and the actual shock, and the other day while running on the treadmill, I guess my shoes hitting the rubber and my fabrics rubbing together must have built something up because EVERY DAMN TIME I grabbed the side handles or touched the machine, I got shocked. At least 3 times during one run….I don’t know if I get shocked more than the average person but for some reason it can be a paralyzing fear during dry weather.

    My boyfriend and I are discussing a move to Colorado next year, but as silly as it sounds the one big thing I think about is all the static during winter! (we currently live in Los Angeles)

    At least there I could just wear heavy gloves all the time without strange looks…

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Does LA not have static? I’m going to add that characteristic to cities I look at for the future: Must not have static.

      Just to be safe, I think it’s best if you wear those big yellow rubber kitchen gloves while you’re running on the treadmill. You won’t look creepy at all.

  6. Erin says:

    No, technically Southern California is a “desert”, by geological standards. LA is having a static storm right now…it’s been super dry for the last few weeks. I’ve considered moving to the southeast, I figure as humid as it is down there they must have SOME static reduction; I’d trade the mosquitos for not having to deal with shocks.

    I hadn’t considered the rubber dishwashing gloves. Either way, there’s no way I could look crazier than the woman who was running NEXT to me while I was busy electrocuting myself, so maybe I’ll consider that for next time.

  7. Tim says:

    Ha ha! My older brother suffers intensely from fearing static shocks. Whenever he takes off his fleece coat or gets out of the car or I forget to use fabric sheets in the dryer, it gets worse. If he suspects it, before he touches someone, he’ll spastically and hesitantly tap the person before fully engaging them. It’s HILARIOUS! And I have heard some loud shocks in the past. They can be frightening at times!

  8. Mike says:

    It is the worst for me in the grocery store. I can’t just grab the handle on the doors in the frozen food, I know its going to shock me every single time. I either have to use my sleeve or if I’m wearing short sleeves I’ll slap it with the back of my hand really fast to get it over.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I hear you, Mike. Perhaps there’s a connection between the cold temperature of the freezer and the propensity for a shock.

  9. Alex says:

    I thought I was the only one! Before I walk into a building or in the freezer isle, I always have to hit the handle quickly. It usually doesn’t shock me if I do that but I get weird stares from people! Its completely embaressing! And I actually find winter better because I always wear a sweatshirt which I use to open doors with and it usually works! When I get out of my car I push on the glass to close it.

  10. Shelley says:

    OMG! I’m terrified of static electricity. If someone was to rub there feet on carpet and then try to touch me I would literally try to kick them in the face. I stick dryer sheets in my pocket during the winter months to open metal doors with and such.

  11. dana says:

    I am terrified of static electricity! I often stand at the car door for extended periods of time before becomeing brave enough to open my daughter’s door. I walk slowly when entering stores to try to get in behind someone to avoid touching the door. Anytime I do touch metal, I always flick the metal first hoping the shock won’t be as bad if I only have brief contact with it.
    My biggest problem occurs after getting out of my car.

  12. Ben says:

    We should all start a support group.

    While not debilitating, it does affect my life. During the cold weather, if there is anything that might remotely shock me, I deshock myself first. I touch every piece of metal with the back of my hand because that doesn’t seem to bother me as much. When I go to touch or kiss my wife, I deshock first. Getting out of the car, I keep my hand firmly attached to the frame of the door until I am standing on the ground. I have found that keeps me from getting shocked. I absolutely avoid any clothes like fleece pullovers.

    Every fall I tell myself that THIS is going to be the year I conquer my fear. But I never do. I’m not even sure how to do it.

    Oh well, at least there are a few more like me.

    Maybe I should start a Facebook group.


  13. Joe says:

    Hi if someone makes a fb group let me know. I suffered from this forever I’m about to kill myself if I don’t get help. I can’t tell my friends or family cause I’d be a freak or they will laugh. Where is everyone from… I’m from New York.

    • Dean34 says:

      I’m from Dallas Texas, & I am glad I am not the only one. Wow I can’t believe how to it affects my life so much. Wish there was help out there lol.

  14. ZZZZzzztttt!!! says:

    I have had this phobia for as long as I can remember. I am 51 now.
    Every time I get a shock, if it’s a strong one, my arm recoils so violently that I have actually smacked myself in the face!
    My best advice is to carry a metal pen with you at all times during the winter months when it’s dry. I have an old gold-filled Cross pen that some one gave me years ago that is now my “discharge pen”. I never touch anything potentially conductive – especially light switch plates (the screws are grounded) – without “leading” with my discharge pen. It usually generates a fat blue spark, but the little twitch I feel in my hand is much preferable to the sharp and painful SNAP of a spark on your skin. Just make sure you have a maximum surface area in contact with the pen (all five fingers). I don’t care what anyone thinks of me tapping everything with my pen.
    My only other advice would be to move to Florida where it’s always too humid to allow static electricity to accumulate. I live in Denver. It’s always very dry here and static shocks are a daily hazard.

  15. Erin says:

    HAVE OUR PROBLEMS BEEN SOLVED?? Static Electricity Eliminator:

    Has anyone used one of these? Do they actually work?

    • Ben Clark says:

      I will let you know. Just ordered one from Thinkgeek.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That looks awesome. Looking forward to seeing if it works.

    • Ben Clark says:

      Erin – I received my Static Electricity Eliminator today!

      I don’t know the science behind it, but it seems to work. I hold it by its base then touch the rubber tip to something metal that is grounded and the little screen lights up. After a few seconds it gradually fades away. Seems like the bigger the charge would be, the longer it stays lighted.

      Most importantly, I haven’t even seen a spark. Not sure I will use it all the time, but definitely in times of HSP (High Static Probability).


  16. Jenny says:

    Yes, finally someone else has this fear! My family members don’t get it when I run away screaming after I get my clothes from the dryer.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      You’re among people who understand here, Jenny. I’m just glad it’s a typical St. Louis summer–hot and humid. No static electricity.

  17. Yomo Kitoyoko says:

    I have that same thing, just that I’m terrified at night when it’s dark and you can actually see the spark. I’m not exactly afraid of the dark, I’m afraid because I see the spark and fit some reason it terrifies me, I have to leave my room and go by the Christmas tree to get un-scared again. -_- yes, it’s stupid.

  18. Ramon says:

    I thought I was alone. I’m glad I’m not the only one who suffers from this. When ever I get shocked, I get a mental image that stays with me. I avoid the same place where I got shocked at all costs. It’s affecting my job, because if I’m doing a certain job and I get shocked, it makes me nervous doing that job again. I get sweaty, anxious, and headaches, no fun I tell you. I think about it every minute, every day. It sucks. .. can’t wait for summer. Suffering in Milwaukee

  19. Erin says:

    Everyone…I have to tell you….I did Tough Mudder. I got shocked with 10,000 volts. I faced my fears and I hoped that once I did that, static shocks would be no big deal. THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED. I STILL hate static electricity and I am going to have PTSD from those shocks. If you’ve ever put those muscle contracting patches on your body where you involuntarily tense up, it’s like that, but over your WHOLE BODY. It was a god awful experience. If you want to see me going through them, watch (I’m in the blue headband):

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Erin: I was all ready for you to say that the 10,000 volts made you impervious to static electricity, but then you revealed the truth! Wow. Was it those wires you walked through in the video that caused the shock?

  20. Caisly says:

    I’m petrified of static electricity. It doesn’t help that my brother uses this fear and tortures me by scrubbing his feet on the carpets… I got shocked EVERY SINGLE TIME I opened my car door last winter, and it HURTS! Now, whenever I go to open a metal knob/handle, I have to hesitate, and then touch it with my elbow, like THATS going to help.

  21. Deb says:

    Hi everyone i’m glad to know i’m not the only one suffering from fear of static electricity. I came here in US 4 1/2 years ago. The first winter wasn’t bad and wasn’t scared of the shock but now it is getting worse. All i think about when cold weather is coming is i’ll be getting shock again all the heart beats fast and hard to breathe sometimes when i think about it. When i go shopping with my friend she always opens the door for me coz she knows i am terrified to get shocked. I hope soon there will be a solution for this.

  22. Tina says:

    Hey guys, I got the same problem with these freaking static shocks. I’m really scared of these painful shocks that made me so conscious of EVERYTHING that’s metal. It’s driving me nuts!!! I tried to be mentally strong so that I won’t be scared of this anymore but it’s not working. My brain is already remembering these shocks ?

  23. Michelle says:

    Same here, I get my kids to shake out the static electricity in fresh laundry but i have to leave the room because the sound it makes its like nails on chalkboard . Also not really the Shocks but the fuzzy feeling, the build up, clothes sticking to my skin, the crackle and pop, the list sparks when it happens with my blankets at night. And I’m on an airbed in my new home so I just lay completely still until I go to sleep smh

  24. Christin Duffell says:

    I’m afraid of static so much I hate going to the park with my kids because when they go down the slide and I hear them getting zapped everytime the touch something it sends shivers down me, I tap the door to my car, the doors at the grocery store with the back of my hand , if I hear static in ny laundry I’ll get a spray bottle and mist it a little I just cant deal with it !

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