Monday, November 16, 2009

Form Phobia

Form Phobia

Some people are afraid of heights, some of frogs and others of getting peanut butter stuck on the roof of their mouths. Aside from a long standing arachnophobia – fear of spiders – that meant my Dad had to go on spider killing missions when required, I have now realized that I suffer from formophobia. That is the fear of forms, especially government forms, and most particularly income tax forms.

Amongst the many phobias on the a fear of forms is not listed – how strange, I can’t be the only person in the world with this phobia. I would have thought there would be millions of us poor sufferers out there. Eventually I tracked down a name and description on the urbandictionary site:

Formophobia/ Form Anxiety: n. Paralyzing fear, distress, and nervousness caused by the act of entering personal information into a pre-made template. Making simple tasks such as applying for jobs, school, etc. almost impossible for the affected.

Now that describes pretty exactly how I feel about government forms. My fear has ratcheted up several notches after having to fill in a 27 page Basic Environmental Scoping Application form four times for four different roads. This must have been developed by someone suffering from severe formophilia – i.e. joy, elation, and sometimes sexual arousal caused by the act of entering personal information into a pre-made template. People affected often find themselves drawn to filling out papers for others.

People who create forms must be formophiliacs – sounds fairly gross doesn’t it?

The scads of new legislation in South Africa has been a windfall for the bureaucratic formophiliacs that infest government offices around the country. If you can’t do anything else to prove that you’re working, create a new form. It needs to be as confusing and difficult to complete as possible. It must require numerous repetitions of the same facts and figures, especially name, address, etc. It must be printed in a 7.5 point serif font to ensure maximum illegibility, especially once it has been Photostatted numerous times and then faxed to the poor bastard who has to complete it. It must have dozens and dozens of places where signatures are required. To really count as a form par excellence it must include an incomprehensible, unexplained formula to identify whether or not the applicant qualifies as a Formerly Advantaged, Formerly Disadvantaged, Currently Disadvantaged, Gender disadvantaged, Disabled, Working in the local area, and any other requirement that can be thought up by someone who is not going to have to fill in the blasted thing.

Is it any wonder my hands begin to shake, I hyperventilate, my heart races and a full blown panic attack ensues when faced with the latest production of some asinine grey suited formophiliac.


  1. Hi Jayne! Thanks for visiting my blog and welcome to blogdom!

    I LOL when I read this.... I too hate filling out forms... It's not that they need to know that you wear size 7 1/2 shoes (I'm a private person but I usually understand why they need the information they do!) ;it's more fitting the information into the provided spaces and worse- little boxes!!!! I usually need twice the allocated space (or boxes) provided!!!!

    1. This is no fuking joke! It's ruined my life. And Assholes think it's funny. I have a CE and EE and I can no longer function in society. I have also lost all of my retirement and savings because of this.

  2. My mother is EXACTLY like this, we were joking around about her "phobia" of forms. So just for laughs I look it up. I found this and after I was finished I was red in the face from laughing. I sent it to my mom who I'm sure will relate to this. Now I know my mom is not alone.

  3. I am the same way. I married a mexican and lived in mexico and though i don't shake, i am constantly asking people what i should put in form after immigration form and I just stress out! Job applications get me too! And i have filled out so many! I have to do greencard petition and application for my husband this year and I am going nuts!! Help... Lol

  4. I definitely have formophobia! I always the fear that I'm going to fill out the wrong information, and somehow either lie or do some other confounded illegal thing that I didn't know I was doing because I didn't understand what on earth the form was asking. Glad to know I'm not alone here. Haha!

  5. My fear of forms stems back to the undiagnosed dyslexia and now it's even meaning I am missing out on benefits and help because I can't fill the forms out to get the hel I need to fill out the forms

  6. I know this is meant light-heatedly, but I have such a fear of forms.

    I missed out on benefits (and nearly became homeless) all because of my hatred of forms.

    I have just lost my passport and have spent four months filling in the three page form and am quivering a little now.

    I hate them, I hate them, I hate them.

    I just feel that one minor pointless bit of information false or a pen slip out of line or with the wrong shade of ink and I shall be locked up somewhere. It feels just like someone scared of heights standing on a precipice looking down.

  7. I too have a phobia of filling out forms. I also have a phobia about mail. I always thing it will involve bad new and cannot bring myself to open it and have to take it to my mums and have her open the letters. Then if it is some kind of form to fill out - well that's it, my day is ruined. When I go overseas and I have to fill out immigration forms at customs - my son fills them out for me and he has been doing that since he was about 10 years old. He knows I get anxious about it and he just says give them to me mum. Job applications - hate forms and avoid, tax forms - dread and put off constantly, forms at work, applications for courses, loans etc cause me so much stress until its all finalised. I would rather go without something sometimes than fill out the form. Not sure what it stems from.