Hi, I'm new here and have a fear of touch.
The fear of touching or being touched is called haphephobia, and apparently it's pretty rare. I had never even heard of it until I realized I might have it and decided to google "fear of touch". I don't even have a backstory to WHY I don't like touching people or being touched; it's just how I am. I've never been comfortable with hugging or any kind of contact. I've always tensed up and become anxious even if it was close friends or family members touching me. I'll even flinch away sometimes, which people tend to take personally. But I never really thought of it as that much of a problem until less than a year ago when there was an incident in the middle of class that set me off.
All that happened was a new friend of mine came up from behind and surprise-hugged me. It sounds so silly that this would make me freak out, but it did. The whole thing really caught me off guard and really scared me. I don't have a very clear memory of the aftermath, but I do remember quickly distancing myself and noticing my heart rate and breathing quickening, my body trembling badly, my face flushing, and the nausea. If I hadn't frozen like I had, I probably would have run out of the room like I wanted. I couldn't even speak for a while after it happened. It still sounds so ridiculous to me, that a hug could cause such panic.
Now it's gotten worse since I'm afraid I'll lose control like that again and that it'll be worse next time. I was lucky that we were doing a group activity and that only three friends saw what happened, one only seeing the aftermath. Despite that, I almost skipped school the next day because I still hadn't gotten over what happened. I couldn't help but think what would happen if I freaked out in the middle of a normal class day or the halls just because somebody unexpectedly touched my shoulder or something else equally harmless. My personal bubble pretty much quadrupled for weeks after that incident, and it never really returned to normal.
So now I tense up if I just feel like somebody is too close to me. There doesn't even have to be physical contact, just somebody sitting too close to me sets of my anxiety. Hallways are pretty terrible since it's impossible to get anywhere without at least brushing shoulders with somebody, but I've managed so far. There are good days and bad ones, but it isn't much fun and can really hinder relationships since it's something I don't openly talk about, and, like I said before, people tend to take refusal to touch them personally.
I'm not sure if this is considered a social phobia since, while it clearly involves other people, it doesn't have to do with judgement on their part. So, any thoughts? This is probably more me needing to write this out than anything, but any advice or kind words are still greatly appreciated.