I can't pinpoint an exact time in my childhood, but I have always been terrified of moths and butterflies. The summer months for me can be a nightmare as everywhere I seem to go they are there. Although I know that they cannot harm me, I am petrified of their papery wings and furry bodies. Moths tend to come out more at night and are attracted to the light, needless to say that in the long hot summer nights when the windows are open, I don't have any lights on in the house. I don't even like seeing pictures of moths or butterflies in books - I am covered in goosebumps just writing this hub!
There is an end to it as my phobia only lasts around four months of the year here in the UK and then life can resume normally from about October through to April/May.
One hot summers night in June of this year, I decided to have a shower and forgot to close the top window in the bathroom. Singing away to myself, I noticed that the light kept dimming at times and I wasn't sure why. I thought it had something to do with the bulb needing replacing and carried on showering. Several minutes later I stepped out of the bath to get dried and nearly died at what I saw. This is what greeted me......................
............ I screamed so loudly that my neighbour banged on the door to see if I was alright. I was physically sick and luckily my partner was home to put it back out the window. The photo is not the exact one that was terrorising me, as I didn't have time to get my camera in between screaming, vomiting and hyper-ventilating!
I can't even drive at night as they are attracted to the headlights and seem to fly straight at me. If I am out and see one, I run indoors (wherever I am) squealing at the top of my lungs. I know that its embarrassing for the rest of the family, but I truly can't help it. As most of these creatures are no longer around with the winter just around the corner, I decided to get brave and do a bit of research on the subject.
Fear of moths and butterflies.
The fear of moths and butterflies is officially called Mottephobia. There is no specific name for the fear of butterflies, but is linked to Mottephobia, and is called Lepidopterophobia (fear of larger insects including butterflies). Research has shown that it is relatively rare in comparison to other phobias.
Symptoms of mottephobia
Some of the symptoms of mottephobia are:
- panic attacks and/or anxiety
- behaving irrationally
- dry mouth
- intense feeling of wanting to escape the situation
Reasons for being mottephobic
People like me, who fear moths, have various views on them, and these are some of the reasons that people give for being frightened of them:
- They fly straight at you.
- They may fly into your mouth or become tangled in your hair.
- They seek light and will fly around crazily to get to the light source.
- Moths look creepy with their long furry bodies and large wings.
- They will fly into an open window in their quest for light and the thought of them invading their house is very alarming to some people.
Treatment for mottephobia
As with any other phobia, professionals take mottephobia seriously and they claim that the phobia can be minimized or even cured with various treatments available.
In some cases, talking to a therapist may be all that is required. A therapist will try to pinpoint the fear and talk it through over a number of sessions which can vary from person to person.
This treatment involves a qualified hypnotherapist to minimize the fear whilst the patient is in a sub conscious state. It is a means of re-programming your thought process to make your fear less or in some cases, completely disappear.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (N.L.P.)
N.L.P. is similar to hypnosis, but instead of being "put under a spell" the voice of the practitioner is used to convince the patient that their phobia is irrational and eventually the fear is lessened and in some cases, eradicated.
Doctors can prescribe medication to alleviate the anxiety and panic caused by the phobia, especially if the patients quality of life is suffering.
There are a lot of self help books and techniques that sufferers can try out. One system that I read about was that over a period of weeks, you try to change your perception of moths. For the first week, look at pictures of moths until you see that it is quite safe to do so. Next look at a real moth through a window, finally building up to the last week where you are able to re think your thought process and actually walk in the garden when moths/butterflies are present. Hmmm! This process is called de-sensitising and takes a lot of courage as you face your fears.
I'm just glad that its October and my Mottephobia has gone ..................................... at least until May!!