Posts Tagged ‘over coming a phobia’

For this post I’ll be using zero images.

When I was a little girl growing up in an ancient house in Devon, I saw my share of spiders. I got scared a few times, and a few times people scared me on purpose. I think once I had been scared on purpose my fear was established and I became scared of them all, in all situations.

I would scream and ask for help to get rid of them, if I had no hoover, but then I really didn’t like hoovering them, the feeling of them going in the tube and then the the fact they were now in a bag which I’d have to remove.

When I moved to Australia all the stories of MASSIVE dangerous spiders was quite worrying. I lived in Central Sydney in a flat 9 floors up, I rarely saw spiders. Cockroaches yes. Spiders once – twice maybe.

On a visit to my sister in laws one year, I woke with a sore shin, a mosquito had bitten me in the night, I am highly allergic to mosquitos. But this was really sore and my whole leg was swelling quicker than usual. We were not close to home, but we left and drove all the way back to sydney 600kms away. Monday came my leg was now extremely swollen and now had a blister on it where the bite was. I went to the DR and explained my mosquito allergy and was worried this mosquito had a disease.

Except this wasn’t a mosquito bite it was they think a  white tailed spider bite, something a little more sinister. My leg got cellulitis and I ended up off work for the week. What followed was months of tiny blisters popping up all over my body and being very inflamed bursting and leaving sores. It was very sore and really worrying. Recent research has shown that White tailed spiders probably wasn’t what bit me, it was some other spider.

Funnily enough this didn’t scare me more, instead I was quite interested, I know if you’re bitten by something like a spider or snake in Australia you’re pretty unlucky it doesn’t happen like they say in the movies.

My fear took hold however of spiders out in the open, in Sydney Botanical Gardens every year in summer hundreds of spiders build webs 20 foot high 20 foot across and they all sit in them it’s the thing nightmares are made of. I was on a photography course when we stopped to practise our macro shots on yep you guessed it. I had a massive panic attack in front of people and it was like I couldn’t get away every turn I made there was more webs more spiders, these spiders are as big as you hand by the way. It was terrifying.

I couldn’t go on like that, I’d stopped sitting on benches near trees, I’d stopped parking my car on streets with trees. I was now letting my fear control me. I sought help in an anxiety clinic at  a university. Here they had on site a place where students were actually studying spiders. My treatment took six months.

My first meeting I had to describe my childhood, the second meeting I had to talk about my fear I nearly threw up, saying the word spider made me paranoid they were in the room. The third meeting she took me to a room sat at one end and opened a tiny photocopy of a picture I leapt up and ran for the door. She got there before me and we worked through looking at a picture her at one end me at the other. I cried, I had a panic attack, by the end of the hour I was holding the piece of paper in my hand, and took it home in my handbag.

By the end of six months I was easily able to walk into an enclosure with Golden orb spiders, I have photographic proof too!  They are as large as plates. My fear was still there however, but now I could manage it. I was no longer petrified and was able to now place small spiders outside and wasn’t scared of the park and books. I just didn’t like them.

Fast forward 5 years and we’re back in England where you see spiders all the bloody time, after not seeing them for years my fear took hold again, and I am now once again scared of the big ones, I try to get close to place a cup over them, but then what I am no way in hell picking that cup up. Yesterday a medium house spider fell out of some boxes, it ran past my foot I screamed and ran for a cup and wacked it over the top, the kids were milling about and kept wondering why there was a cup on the floor, I had to keep it together and show I had no fear. I don’t want them to have this in their lives. My husband came down from the attic and took “mr skinny legs” outside I made a big deal about setting him free and we all went to the garden. Jerry nearly picked the bloody thing up to show me, thankfully it ran away.

But now I have 65 odd boxes all flat packed all waiting for me to open them and tape them. In my head I feel strong, but getting near those boxes has me filled with tremendous fear of more spiders coming out. I am at a loss, I am dragging my husband in to my irrational behaviour by getting him to check each box while I stand 10 foot away yelling commands at him. He puts up with this crap. I feel stupid and hate that I do this. Knowing no actual harm can come to me. Yesterday when I saw the spider. I screamed out of surprise. But my breathing stayed the same, my heart rate didn’t increase this is good!

My mind is filled with how many spiders will be in the new house, where do they normally come in, how often? We shall be taking the Landlords cat, does she bring spiders in?

It’s getting silly now, and I need to get a grip, if I can pick one box up and open it, I can open them all.

Wish me luck!


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