Sharing My Shower With A Spider; An Arachnophobe's Story
Yes I am an arachnophobe; I have an abnormal fear of spiders. But how did this terrifying fear of spiders come about?
Maybe I have been this way my whole life?
No that is not true because as a child I was known as the notorious bug lover; the girl who would stop her trike just to let a caterpillar take his right away on the road. I would pick up bugs, look at bugs and had a natural curiosity about bugs including spiders.
Maybe it was my parents?
No, that is not true either because my parents never really freaked out over bugs. My mother never shrieked at bugs in fact she always said things like, “You are much bigger than that bug and it must be very scared of you.” My father still catches bugs to set them free under the notion that bugs are all God’s creatures and I agree with that sentiment (well maybe not when it comes to the mosquito).
Maybe it is the stories that I have heard about spiders?
That is possible because some of those stories are absolutely terrifying. You know the stories of a spider crawling under someone’s skin and giving birth and then all the spiders crawling out after being born. Or the supposed fact that in a lifetime a human will eat somewhere between 7 and 8 spiders (not on purpose but usually while sleeping with their mouths open). Although these stories totally freak me out I really don’t think that these are the reason but these types of stories don’t help to ease my fears and only adds to them.
So where did this fear come from?
I still have no idea. But I do know that somewhere between childhood and adulthood I developed this fear and at times it can be paralyzing. In my head I know it is silly but it is still difficult to get over. At my worst I remember running out of the bathroom totally freaked out and screaming. I ran to my husband and told him that there was a HUGE spider on the wall in the bathroom. I begged him to get rid of it for me. My husband stepped into the bathroom and yelled back, “Which one?” Because I was already completely freaked out I went ballistic screaming, “How many are there?”
“Four!” He said back to me a little annoyed. “Four Spiders?!?” I yelled back getting more and more worked up by the minute. I thought I was going to come out of my skin at this moment. My husband could tell that I was terrified but couldn’t stop laughing as he responded, “No four walls! Which wall is the spider on?” It was at this point that I realized how silly I as acting. I couldn’t help it I was crazed by the fear. I was also pregnant at the time and realized that I did not want my children to share my silly fears. It was incredibly hard as my children grew up not to show my fear but I did my best.
Overtime I could tolerate spiders a little better. I still had set backs; like when a humongous spider jumped at me when I was brushing my teeth. I dropped my toothbrush quickly and ran scared out of the bathroom. When I returned after my husband gave the all clear I immediately threw out my toothbrush because I imagined spider “goo” all over it. Even though I have my outbursts and freak-outs I think I am slowly coming around.
I came to this realization last week while I was showering. I happened to look up and saw a spider chilling in the upper corner of the shower. I wanted to freak out immediately but calmed myself down quickly. The first day I kept my eye on the spider the whole time I was showering, making sure it didn’t attack me. By the third day I was able to shower and actually turned my back to the spider for a short moment. I was really progressing and proud of myself. I was taking little steps each and every day. I tried to think about Charlotte from the story Charlotte’s Web and that helped or even how Miss Muffet might have misunderstood the spider’s intentions when he sat down beside her.
It has been well over a week now and the spider is still camped out up there watching over my shower. Now I actually look for it before I step into the shower to see if it is still there and to see if it is still alive. I know that I am still an arachnophobe but definitely a more tolerant one, at least for now.