Phobias and Fears

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Okay, so for those of you who like spider pictures and think they’re really cool and sexy and fascinating…this is not that kind of post.

This is a post about a girl living in terrible life-altering fear. That pot bellied devil above was on the outside of my house today, crouched on the wood siding right next to the stairs I have to walk up and down to get in and out of my home. I didn’t see it until I was already right next to it, otherwise I would certainly have stayed inside. The worst part was I didn’t have my keys, phone, or anything else on me (Yes, I really wanted to leave because of this) and since I had only gone downsairs to quickly grab something out of my car, I went out in what I had been wearing all morning: a tiny tank top and pajama shorts. I looked like a moron. I felt like a moron too, because I know how stupid my fear is but I just cant help it.

Oh, by the way, this is the spider that was in my shower last night:

I would have taken a picture of the one that was inside of my car making itself comfortable on my dashboard before I got home to take this delightful shower for two, but unfortunately it was dark and I was kind of in a rush to get home. So I threw the car in park, went back inside my parents house, and got my stepbrother to come out and “handle” the situation. (KILL)

If you’re not seeing the ugly picture I’m painting for you, I’ll just spell it out. SPIDERS ARE TAKING OVER MY LIFE.

I know. So dramatic. But I have a serious phobia.

I’ve been afraid of spiders for as long as I can remember. It may have been due to the fact that I saw some of the movie Arachnaphobia when I was still young and impressionable, or it could just be because they are creepy and gross and scary and downright evil-looking. The thing is, my fear hasn’t lessened over time. It’s actually gotten worse. At the moment this phobia is a HUGE part of my life.

I’ve used the term “arachnaphobic” to describe myself and “arachnaphobia” to describe the fear I have. But I guess all along I’ve really been thinking about it like that: a fear, a feeling of being “scared”. I had a mini-meltdown today after seeing porky the spider and getting stuck outside in my PJs, so as soon as I got back in the house I began googling hypnosis for spider phobias.

I would be happy to live in a world with no spiders, or I mean if they would just hide when I was around so I didn’t have to know they were there. But since that’s not going to happen, I think the next best thing would be to be able to live without this crippling fear, without trembling hands and a racing heart and feeling helpless.

What I came across in my research today was something that struck me: Phobias are not the same as Fears.

A person with a phobia knows that his or her fear is irrational. I certainly know how crazy my fear of spiders is to everyone else, because I hear it from my loved ones a lot. a lot. (In fairness they hear a lot about my fear and about spiders.) But the point is I get it. I know they’re smaller than me. I know most of them don’t bite or aren’t poisonus and even if they could hurt me, they wouldn’t want to because they’re loners and like to be left alone to hang out and eat bugs. I know they’re so so awesome for humans cause they eat all the other harmful bugs. Ya, I get it. Now get it away from me, I’m about to have a heart attack.

They will go out of their way to avoid the object or situation of which they are afraid, often altering their lifestyle and/or inconveniencing themselves in the process. I personally have driven all the way home and then left to go to my parents house because there were alot of webs crossing the stairs I go up or because there was a large spider in my apartment. I have slept over my parents house more than once and more than twice to avoid spiders. And I said just today, in a text to my girlfriend, “I’m moving.” I very honestly and very literally was thinking about this as a solution.

When faced with the object or situation prompting the fear, the person undergoes marked distress, panic, and anxiety.  This is me. Sweating, trembling, talking to myself but not knowing how to listen, heart pounding, breathing short. I feel, when faced with spiders, not fear but terror. It’s overwhelming terror.

It’s amazing that this whole time while everyones thinking I’m a total idiot and crybaby and drama queen for being afraid of spiders (and believe me I was thinking it as well) I never looked at it as a serious disorder. So while everyones asking me why I’m afraid and telling me why not to be afraid, while I was wondering how I could possibly be so afraid, I never stopped to look at the possibility that it’s not “fear”, but something more.

I’m afraid of home invasions/burglary/intrusion and everything that comes along with it-violence, rape, dealth etc. And I’m seriously deeply afraid of this. But this is a rational fear. Even though I live in a very safe town, I am a young girl living alone. And in 2012 crazy shit happens everywhere. Also, when I was in college, someone climbed through a tiny window in my apartment and stole mine and my roommate’s laptops. We had been in the apartment until about 4am, so the creepy factor was magnified thinking someone could have been watching us.

However, I don’t sleep at my parents’ because I’m afraid a bad guy will break in. I don’t tremble or cry or feel completely overwhelmed by this fear. It’s just a normal everyday fear. Something I’m scared of, and with a rational basis (if you ask me).

The realization of the difference between these two things, fears and phobias, helped me to see this whole thing in a new light. I’ve always known that people have phobias, but like I said before, I was thinking of it like people are afraid of one thing or another. Realizing that millions of people feel this, the severe anxiety, the crippling irrational terror, the inability to experience things or situations logically, was both eye opening and very very comforting. It’s seemed like no one understands where I’m coming from. And I guess I didn’t understand either.

Researching today also made me hopeful that I will be able to cure my phobia and someday be a normal human. I’ve listened to a free 5 minute spider phobia hypnosis mp3 at http://www.hypnoticmp3.com/spiderphobia.htm. There are tons of full length spider phobia (and other phobia) hypnosis CDs and mp3s you can purchase online. I’d just google it and see what comes up. Since I don’t have health insurance nor the money to pay out of pocket, a therapist is a financially out of reach at the moment. But I’m hopeful that the self help resources will do some good.

For anyone who reads this, if you could give me any tips or tricks to overcome and/or cope with my spider phobia I’d love to hear them.

Also any tips on keeping spiders AWAY from me and my house would be seriously appreciated.

Lastly, if any of you spider people know what kind of spider that first picture could be, please let me know! (For point of reference, I live in a small coastal North Shore Massachusetts town)

Thanks everyone!

Wish me luck, and sleep well.

-t

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About theawheel

Hi. My name is Antoinette Weil. I'm a twenty something writer, bartender, dreamer, explorer. Always looking for the next best thing. My passions: Travel Writing Reading Food Drinks Coffee (yes, this is in a category all its own) the Beach Music Love Family Grammar I was told once by a loved one that my top lip resembled the beak of a snapping turtle. I'll post a picture so you can judge for yourself. I decided to create this blog to document some of my adventures, encounters, thoughts and questions. Thus: the curious turtle. Hope you enjoy :}

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