Episode 12: Dreading Nature

Living with, and striving to cure, a deathly fear of plants

 tiara lin in chitwan national park, nepal (photo courtesy tiara lin)

tiara lin in chitwan national park, nepal (photo courtesy tiara lin)

Whenever I saw a plant, I would feel like I could not breathe. ... I felt like I was going to die.
— Tiara Lin

Tranquility; meditation; serenity. These are words that many of us might use to describe what we feel when we’re in the woods. But for Tiara Lin, a different word comes to mind: terror. Since she was a teen, Tiara has had botanophobia—a crippling fear of plants. Most people laugh in disbelief when she first tells them that such a phobia exists. But the laughter stops when they see her dissolve into panic near a tree, or when they hear that she has broken up with boyfriends for sending her flowers.

On this episode, reporter Chelsea Davis brings us Tiara’s story. It’s a story about a fear so powerful that it disrupts how you function in society. And it’s a story about the struggle to overcome that fear – to experience nature the way others do.