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Monday, June 30, 2008

Foolish Fear?

When listening to young children play you may often hear the phrase, "I'm not scared of anything!" We have all heard this mendacious declaration at some point in our lives and many of us are found guilty of being the dishonest speaker.

However, I do not believe that there is anyone in the world who is completely fearless. Fears are common among all age groups and I find the different things people fear to be fascinating. Unfortunately, some fears are not just fears, rather they are phobias. defines a phobia as "an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things, or persons" It is stated that if this fear interferes with daily life or is beyond one's control, it falls under the category of an axiety disorder. Some people may have fears that do not turn into phobias. I could go into my thoughts on classical conditioning and whether or not we instill our fears in others, but you can read about that in my blog entitled "My Dear Watson".

The reason I chose this topic is for some assistance. I need to know whether I am suffering from a fear, a phobia, or an anxiety disorder. For those of you that know me well, you know that I have had a lifelong what I thought was a fear of spiders. I am second guessing myself lately. Let's look at some examples of my reactions to spiders.

Scenario 1: When I was 17 years old I was laying on my bed late at night reading a magazine. I looked up because I thought I saw something moving. Sure enough, there was a malicious eight legged creature on my wall right beside my bed. Rather than staying calm and swatting the terrorist, I ran into my parents room, woke up my dad from a deep sleep and begged him to come kill the spider. With all the love that he has for his youngest daughter, he drug himself down the hallway to meet my unwelcomed guest. He took a swing at that spider and suddenly it disappeared. My heart was beating wildly. Was it in my bed? Was it in the magazine? Was it under my bed? With tears in my eyes, I watched my heroic father move my bed away from the wall and find the smooshed spider. That night I still slept with a lamp on and a cautious eye opened.

Scenario 2: I was in college and living in an apartment. I was home alone, as Eric was out of town on a trip to Indianapolis for NSTA. I got up one morning and went to take a shower. As I pulled back the shower curtain, there was a wicked widower soaking where I wanted to stand. My heart started racing as I realized I was on my own. I had to figure out how I could kill this monster without getting to close. I ran to the kitchen and got out the insect killer (a staple in my house). I went back to the bathroom, took a breath and sprayed half the bottle on that pest. He tried to escape but the poisens took over and paralyzed him until he withered up and died. Now, what to do with the body? Well, I always have spiders flushed to ensure their mortality. So, I found a tweezers. Picked up the beast with the tweezers, dropped his wrinkled body into the toilet and flushed. Then I threw the tweezers away. I was not going to have any venom infested objects in my home. I then packed my bags and drove to Cedar Rapids to stay with friends for the rest of the weekend. I have to admit that to this day, before I get into the shower I check for creepy crawlers in the tub, on the curtain and between the curtains. I am not taking any chances!

Scenario 3: Just last week I was home alone with my dear Cailyn while Eric was at work. I was beginning to prepare dinner and as I went to reach up in a cupboard I saw a long thin line extending down from the cupboard. I took a step back and followed this string with my eyes. At the end I saw it. A long legged death sentence. I knew I had to get rid of it. My baby girl needed me to step up and take charge. I watched as the spider made his way to the counter top where he stopped to rest. Trying to think rationally, I knew this was not the place to spray poisen all over, so I got creative. I pulled the hose out of the faucet of the sink and turned on the water. I directed the flow directly at the spider and watched as it tried to beat the water. In the end, the water won and washed the spider out.

These are just 3 of many scenario's of my encounters with spiders. I have had nightmares of spiders. I sometimes feel itchy on my arms or legs and jump around thinking there is a spider on me. I have no basis for where this fear/phobia/anxiety has come from. I can only blame it on my
anatomical makeup which you can read about by clicking on the word.

Now, I ask you, what do you think? Am I suffering from a fear, a phobia, or an anxiety disorder? If it is the later of the three, I am considering hypnosis over cognitive behavioral therapy.

The simpliest way to conquer my fear would to simply hear that spiders have become extinct!

1 comment:

Eric said...

I know that you gave different definitions for each of the possibilities but since they're so close in definition, I'd just say it is a fear more than anything. If in situation #3 you could do what you had to do it is not a phobia. Phobias, to me, seem over the top and completely out of one's control. You took control of the situation and did something about it.

Regarding scenario #2, a similar thing happened to me in the last year, only a huge cockroach was in my shower. This is South Carolina have you so it's not like I'm a complete pig...they're common. Let's just say that I didn't need the shower to wake me up for work that morning. :)