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Arachnophobia: My Irrational Fear Of Spiders

Updated on August 23, 2017

My Story Of Arachnophobia~A Crazy Fear Of Spiders

Me and about 55% of the female population have a severe phobia of spiders. I can barely type the word "spider" on the screen without feeling my skin crawl. The fear has grown worse with age. In fact, just recently I had a tarantula move into my backyard which has brought on fear so intense that I cannot ignore it. My muscles tense up, my chest feels like a 500 pound weight bar just dropped on me, tears pour out of my eyes, and my stomach erupts with vomit. The fear is completely irrational to me. I feel upset with myself afterward for being so terrified of something as silly as a spider. But the truth is, its not all that silly, and in this severe of form, may actually need treatment.

The symptoms of a severe anxiety attack brought on by a phobia of spiders is the worst thing I have ever felt. There is nothing more terrifying to me than a spider and the feeling I get when I see one. That is why I am writing this. To help myself and others who experience this, get through it, and hopefully overcome our irrational fear of spiders together.

tarantula spider
tarantula spider

What Is Arachnophobia?

What Does It Mean To Be Arachnophobic?

Arachnophobia means "irrational fear (phobia) of spiders (arachno)" in the medical language. Arachnophobic means "pertaining to an irrational fear of spiders", as the "ic" is a suffix that means "pertaining to". Its an easy way for scientists to refer to things in the correct context in the medical language. Arachnophobia is defined by certain characteristics, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) these characteristics include persistent unreasonable fear brought on by the anticipation or sighting of a spider; exposure to a spider causes immediate panic attack; The person realizes that the fear is excessive and unreasonable, but has no control over the persistent feelings. But definition isn't everything.

Why are some people arachnophobic, while others love spiders and are hardly even scared of the most dangerous spiders? According to Wikipedia, some believe that arachnophobia is more of a cultural trait rather than a genetic one, which explains why spiders are a delicacy in some cultures I guess. However, there have been studies with crickets that suggest that arachnophobia can develop before birth. This can be interpreted as a natural line of self defense and species survival. I don't know if I have had the fear of spiders since I was born, but I do know that my disproportional fear of spiders has been prevalent since my earliest memories.

Education Can Often Be The Key To Recovery From Arachnophobia - Learn More About Spiders

I have heard that people fear what they do not know and understand. Therefore, one thing I set out to do was learn as much as I can about spiders. Maybe, just maybe I can learn to appreciate them for all the beneficial things they do for the environment. After all, there is a place for everything in the world. So I set out on a journey to investigate and arm myself with information about spiders. My friend recommended I read the book that I have highlighted below. I just ordered it here through Amazon.

Meanwhile, on the home front, while waiting for this book to come, I have had to do research. Like, about the tarantula in my backyard. I believe she is called a "Tucson Blonde Tarantula" which are common to the parts I live in. They burrow in holes with webs over them and catch anything that walks by. By anything, I mean anything from crickets and insects to mice and small birds as well as lizards. They are not poisonous to humans, but it does hurt if they bite you, and if you are allergic to them you could have to go to the hospital for treatment. It is actually recommended that you go to the hospital no matter what if you get bit by any tarantula. Their only predator is a beetle /wasp like bug called a tarantula hawk. Oh yea...and tarantulas spin silk. But I still don't understand why they are good for the environment or the world.

Common Symptoms Associated With Arachnophobia - Physical And Psychological Symptoms Of Being Afraid Of Spiders

There are many signs and symptoms of arachnophobia that can present themselves depending on the situation one may be in. I can say that none of the symptoms of being scared of spiders are comfortable, and can actually be seriously harmful and debilitating. However irrational the fear might be, a person is still suffering, and at times actually in physical pain because of the intense fear.

  1. Anxiety
  2. Panic
  3. Tightness in Chest
  4. Rapid Heart beat
  5. sweating
  6. Irrational Thinking
  7. Loss of Movement Of Body
  8. Blackouts/seeing stars
  9. Loss of Voice
  10. Uncontrollable Body movements

An In Depth Look At My Personal Fear Of Spiders

The Day I Realized A Tarantula Moved Into My Backyard

Yes, a giant tarantula according to me. We were grilling in the backyard with a friend when it happened. My roommate found her because of the mound of dirt surrounding the hole that she had kicked out. There were pictures taken, they are the ones you see scattered all over this page actually. I tried to play it cool, but my panic as very obvious to everyone. I had tears in my eyes most of the night. Its hard for me to describe, I wanted to be able to enjoy the cookout, but the thought of the spider as overwhelming.

The first day of knowing it was there, the fear was not as bad. I could go outside during the day, I just felt very apprehensive about the general area where the tarantula was residing. That night however, I had to turn on the patio light while I had my cigarette, and I felt like things were crawling all over me. I had to retreat and go back inside. To heck with the cigarette.

The next morning my anxiety was worse. I had a panic attack just sitting in the back yard at a very far and safe distance from the tarantula. I smoked out front for the rest of the day. Then came dinner time, and I couldn't put it off any longer, most of our meals are eaten outside in the backyard... so I sat with my son and my dogs, forcing myself to eat, rather than puke with fear. Then, my dog wandered near her hole. I screamed for her just as she got to the hole, but she must have been to close because the tarantula jumped out her and I witnessed the whole thing. I saw this giant tarantula jump out of its hole in its nasty little "Im gonna eat your face" way, and then retract back into the hole. I ran inside and hyperventilated, puked, cried, and then puked more.

Oh were you wondering about the dog? I ran away from her too and left her outside. She didn't get bit, and I don't think she even got shot with the hairs that they spit at you. She was lucky needless to say.

Now, a few hours later, my roommate came home. Normally we would go outside and have a smoke and talk about our days...and man did I have something to talk about. I attempted to go outside, and fear and panic took over. I immediately got up on the chair, and tried to calmly tell her the story that I just told you. By the time I got to the part where the tarantula was jumping out of the hole, I was balling, and my body literally started jerking in a seizure like way uncontrollably. The words I was trying to voice turned into garbled noises kinda like stuttering but only with grunting and wheezing sounds. I could no longer communicate. My roommate, whom I have known for many years, had never seen me react this way to anything and I think I totally freaked her out. Im am positive that he must have thought I was crazy, and boy did I feel crazy.

I Am Afraid Of Spiders - Are You Afraid Of Spiders?

Afraid of spiders
Afraid of spiders

Photo Credit: CKoontz on Flickr

On A Scale of 1 (not afraid) - 10 (severely afraid) Rate Your Fear Of Spiders

See results

Is Being Afraid Of Spiders A Rational Fear? - Or Is It Just Crazy To be Afraid Of Spiders?

Do You Think Arachnophobia Is Rational?

Treatments For Arachnophobia - Looking To Cure Your Fear Of Spiders?

Its true, I have come to a point where I realize that I may need help getting over my fear of spiders. I am not sure which option, I am going to go with, but I have found that there are some resources out there.

Share Your Spider Comments Here

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    • profile image

      Sam seidel 

      4 years ago

      I hate spiders

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have this phobia hardcore, though thankfully with age I don't get as upset as I used to when I see them, though I still get pretty crazy. My question is why did you put a picture of a tarantula at the top of the page!?!?!?!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am afraid of anything that has more than 6 legs! Octopuses are OK...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      nice lens, thank you.

      Sally James

    • sharioleary profile image

      Shari O'Leary 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      It was very good for me to read this. I have arachnophobia as well. Not as severe as yours, but bad enough. I'm not sure this helped, but it's a very good lens.

    • agoofyidea profile image


      8 years ago

      Happy Friday the 13th. Give me black cats and any other superstition over spiders. I wish I wasn't afraid of spiders, but I am. I even have nightmares about spiders. Its great that you discuss this common phobia. Blessed.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting Lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Im kind of ashamed to admit it but Im scared of spiders too lol

      but I found this great app, that helped me overcome my feasr

      I think it adds some value to this so check it out :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Reading your lense reminded me of how scared I use to be of spiders - big hairy huntsman spiders that would appear above my bed every morning. Here are my horror stories

      Anyway, I wanted to offer you a free session to dissolve this fear instantly and completely.

      No this isn't a joke or scam. I genuinely would like to help you get rid of this fear.

      Have a great day!

    • jackieb99 profile image


      8 years ago

      Some spiders really are dangerous, so perhaps not totally irrational?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm not afraid of them, I can get rid of them, but they do creep me out simply by the way they walk, so I have to remove them...thank goodness ours in the UK are only small and no threat! I still can't look at them in a zoo; as a teenager, I used to send my family on ahead to tell me if there were any in the aquarium tanks!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      interesting to learn more about this! and bonus your Quiz gave me 50 points! as it was my 200th Qiiz!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I don't have a phobia, but very cautious of redbacks... and hate huntsman spiders (although harmless, are big, hairy and pop out of nowhere!)

    • ChrissLJ profile image


      8 years ago

      Spiders I can deal with. Brown recluses don't even both me. Get me near a bunny, and it's another story.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I put something in the duel, not sure if it went through...nice lens, my daughter is terribly afraid of spiders, they don't bother me that much, help keep the insect population down in the house...there's a balance between that and keeping the webs under control though:-)

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      8 years ago from Canada

      My sister is absolutely positively deathly afraid of spiders. Lol so I can just imagine you as you were doing up this article. Very well done by the way....

    • kismetsc profile image


      8 years ago

      I understand completely because I am terrified of spiders. When I clicked on your page, I saw the picture of the spider, which made my heart start pumping. I hate looking at them, even pictures, and if a spider web touches me I freak out. This is an informative lens. Thanks for sharing!


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