Arachnophobia: My Irrational Fear Of Spiders
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.
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.
- Tightness in Chest
- Rapid Heart beat
- Irrational Thinking
- Loss of Movement Of Body
- Blackouts/seeing stars
- Loss of Voice
- 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?
Photo Credit: CKoontz on Flickr
On A Scale of 1 (not afraid) - 10 (severely afraid) Rate Your Fear Of Spiders
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.
- Cognitive Behavioral Modification For Arachnophobia
Cognitive behavior modification is a form of therapy where the affected person is emerged with the stimulus to the point of not being able to handle it, then rather than having a cool off period after, they teach them how to deal with their fear bett
- A pill to beat fear? Cure Arachnophobia?
This article talks about a form of treatment using hormone injections that produce cortisol. Increased cortisol levels can be linked to blocking out painful memories and emotions. The shot along with behavior therapy, may be option in the future, but
- Hypnotherapy For Phobias
This article describes and explains how and why hypnosis treatment is helpful in all phobias. I know this may not be an option for some people, for various reasons, but it is out there if you look for it.