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Anxiety This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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Arachnophobia - May 14th 2010, 04:57 AM

Rawr. I'm bitter when it comes to this issue, because I'm used to people going on about how they can relate to me when I feel that that's the last thing they're able to do. Yes, we all fear something, oftentimes more than one thing, but that doesn't mean we all react the same way or that we're all scared of the same thing, and yes, I realise that there are people who have it far worse than I do, but with that being said, it does get a bit grinding when someone starts comparing the way they jump/scream when startled by a spider to the way that I react even to seeing one. What's worse is when that person goes on to say "all I did was scoop it up onto a piece of paper and put it outside. Can't you do the same?"

The difference is that I don't stop at being startled. I will scream, I will fly to the end of the room, if it's on the ceiling, I will choose to ball up under a blanket on the floor, if it's on the floor, I will climb up on whatever I can to avoid it, I'm keen to new surroundings/where there might be spiders, double, sometimes triple, checking, I feel like vomiting, I get nauseas and dizzy, I break out into a cold sweat, I start shaking ,and if I'm exposed too long, I have a full-on panic attack that usually ends up with me in absolute hysterics. Go ahead, laugh. People have done it, but to be frank, I take that as a sign of their ignorance, because people who think I'm choosing to be this way are bloody mad, and even more mad are the people who think this is something I can get over over night.

I've been struggling with this for years, and I have managed to get somewhat better. Though smaller spiders still stir up the initial sense of panic and alarm, I am able now to squash them (so long as it's not my hand and I still can't use toilet paper/paper/etc. anything in my hand that would "bring me close" to the spider and I cannot use my shoe or anything I wear or use either) without throwing random objects and hoping I succeed. I am sometimes even able to ignore them. When a spider is in a location I can avoid, I quietly remove myself. So it isn't like I haven't made any progress. But it's when I'm faced with situations like tonight that things seem to go awry all over again.

I had to take out the garbage bins for early morning pick-up. There was a spider on the garage door. To make it worse, a large one, and to make it even worse, a Black Widow. So I knocked on my mother's door, she told me to take a can of Raid to it, I refused, so she told me to wait until we could go out together. By the time she finally came out of her room, it was gone, but I was practically biting my tongue to keep from screaming "watch out!" even after she'd double checked the garage door to make sure the spider had moved. I was flighty and jumping at everything from a moth hitting the fluorescent light to the plug hanging from the ceiling. When it came time to take the trash barrels out, I was still jumpy and paranoid and shaking and sweating and literally flew to and from the garage until the tasks were completed, at which point I went back to my room and performed a strip search to make sure I hadn't managed to "lose it" somewhere in my hair or clothes.

The thing is, though I want to label this as arachnophobia, it's not limited to spiders, but it's not all-encompassing of bugs, either. It's only true for insects or arachnids with long, spindly legs. Seeing as smaller bugs and spiders... their legs aren't as apparent (unless they're ticks ), and thus, they don't bother me. But anything else, such as spiders, especially "daddy long-legs" or even the bugs commonly termed (at least here anyway) "mosquito eaters" are what get to me most and send me into have bloody panic attacks. Pictures can do it, sometimes even thoughts, and this is why it bugs me when I hear people running around screaming "I have arachnophobia" when all spiders do for them is present an uncomfortable situation. To me, we all have comfort zones, we all have fears, but both of those/challenges to both of those are different than having full-on phobias.

But I'm not even sure what causes a phobia? Or what can be done about them? I tried speaking to my last psychologist about this and she laughed in my face (she laughed about a lot of things in my face, ha), and because my mother is always telling me my responses are dramatic, on top of my past experience, it's been difficult thinking about how to open up to my new therapist or even to know how. Are there specific sorts therapy (other than flooding... I disagree with flooding except in a very, very limited number of cases) to help overcome phobias? I'm not really sure what questions to ask. I guess it's a question in general.

I also experience many of these same symptoms when a) in the dark or b) out on my own. I have ended up in the emergency room three or so times simply from being paranoid that I was being followed and that I would, consequently, be raped.

I'm not sure if any of this ties in with my father, who molested, and later raped, me during the nighttime hours, exploited me when we were alone and had tattoos/talked a lot of spiders. That to me would come together perfectly. However, I haven't seen him for three years, I've worked through a lot of what he's done to me, I'm actually hoping to confront him one last time (hoping it'll liberate me), yet I'm still struggling with such a severe level of fear? Help?
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Re: Arachnophobia - May 14th 2010, 03:47 PM

The only way phobic disorders can really be treated is by going to counseling, and different counselors will have different methods on how to deal with it.
Good luck
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Re: Arachnophobia - May 14th 2010, 05:09 PM

I just wanted to say that your last psychologist who laughed in your face should be fired! Anyone in a helping profession should be understanding to different needs and experiences. I am appalled that she laughed in your face about stuff because that just makes it even harder to get help because then you begin to think that everyone will react that way (thats how I feel at least). Im sorry that you had someone react that way to your phobia.
As far as what to do about it, I really am at a loss, sorry. Maybe you can research online phobia specialists in your area and see what comes up. Then research their form of practice and see if it is something that you think might work for you (I agree with how you feel about flooding).
I am sorry that I am not much help when it comes to this. But I can tell you that I emphasize with you because I have social phobia so I have some clue what having a phobia is like. I also have had people tell me things like "well why dont you go make some friends?" which is the equivalent to people telling you "All I do is scoop it up onto a piece of paper and put it outside. Cant you do the same?" I can relate to that ignorance that people generally have when it comes to phobias and just like with you it makes me so annoyed and all.
I hope that you can find something to help decrease your phobia at least a little!
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Re: Arachnophobia - May 14th 2010, 05:15 PM

i have a really bad phobia of spiders too, though i can now kinda manage the small small small ones, im the same as you if theres a spider in the room i run, i cant even face going into a zoo and looking at them in cages. or on the tv i cant do that, even a picture of spider scares me. i saw on tv that some phobias can be gotten over if you are hypnotised, and gradually introduced to the fear. for me this will never be an option. i know how my fear started, i was in bed and it was winter time i had been playing in the garden making a den over the washing line with blankets and stuff, so that night i put my blanket on my bed, and woke up to find full grown garden spider on my bed. since then my fear of spiders has become rather irrational.

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Re: Arachnophobia - May 15th 2010, 06:27 PM

rkjdglkjdfgj That's a horrifying story LoopyLyd. I think I would die.

But no, I'll probably bring this up to my current therapist. I appreciate the advice. I guess I wanted to see what the options were, what course of action people thought I should take, etc. plus I really needed to vent cause the experience was so fresh in my mind.
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Re: Arachnophobia - May 15th 2010, 07:25 PM

Aww I know how you feel I honestly do.
If I know there's a spider in the same room as me then I have to get out of there and I refuse to go back in untill I know it's gone.
If I see one running across the floor I'll scream, jump away from it and hide untill I feel it's safe.
If I can't get away from it then I'll just curl up in a ball and start crying and having a panic attack. I hate it.
I just do my best to avoid them at all costs x.x

As with the feelings of being followed I have the same thing. Especially if I'm out on my own and even more so if it's dark. I was raped twice and that is probably why but still. I'm still like it if I'm with people but worse on my own. I'll constantly look over my shoulder, checking up steps leading to houses, jump at any cars coming past and completely freak if a car stops behind me or in front of me. Also sometimes it gets so bad that I just freak and run for it, normally leading to me falling over and spraining an ankle or doing my knee in.

So yea if you wanna talk to someone who kinda feels the same then send me a PM x

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Re: Arachnophobia - May 18th 2010, 05:52 PM

the best way to get help is by seeking a therpist or a mental health counc. they can help figure out why, and ways to deal. <3
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