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Arachnophobia-How to Conquer Your Fear

Updated on March 26, 2013

How phobias develop

When I first joined Hubpages I happened on Agvulpes's Hub: Spiders and other phobias and had to read it. Why? Well, I’m a recovering arachnophobic.

Recovering?” you may scoff...yes, recovering.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a tarantula for a pet, although I do own an exoskeleton of one. It was a gift from a friend, but that will come a bit later in the story. And, like a recovering alcoholic who keeps an empty whiskey bottle on the shelf, as a reminder of former drinking days, my spider has a place on my desk…and NOT under the clutter of papers.

I wasn’t always afraid of spiders. Phobias are a learned behavior, after all. A traumatic event, or some anxiety, real or acquired by a caregiver, can lead to a phobic reaction. Some people who believe we are reincarnated also believe that our phobias can be acquired through a death or former life.

I recall a particular memory when I was three, (yes, it is a burden for many of the men I have dated, that I have particularly sharp memories for certain details of our relationships. But, that is ANOTHER story…), as I was playing in the sandpit behind our new home. My mother was calling me in for lunch and I looked down to find many tiny black spiders crawling on my arms and legs. They were like ants. I remember being curious about these, like I was ‘supposed’ to be afraid of them, but I knew at the time I wasn’t. I was just interested.

It was as I grew up, with two older brothers, that I became nervous. Why? Well, it could be from having these arthropods tossed at me from a distance with a, “Hey, Dee, catch the flying spider.” Or, finding them in my bed, shoes, or hanging from a string somewhere in the dark for me to walk into.

Is it any wonder, then, that I, like many phobic folks, developed a sixth sense, an intuitiveness, when I would walk into an area and ‘know’ that there was this despicable creature sitting somewhere staring at me with its beady eyes, (all eight of them), waiting to pounce on me and make my life a living …well, you get the picture.

Not wanting to pass my fear onto my children, I became a brave mother and would kill, and overkill, the little buggers as needed. Still, it wasn’t a fond task, and I was still afraid. How afraid was I? I’m glad you asked.


common Tarantula found in the southwest U.S. and other countries.
common Tarantula found in the southwest U.S. and other countries. | Source

Irrational behavior as an indicator in phobias

Here’s one example of the extreme I would go through to avoid having one touch me: Every summer my late husband and I would take the kids canoeing. We had a favorite river and each year we would invite friends to join us, making it a great recreational activity.

One couple that joined us happened to be one of my former nursing instructors and her husband. She was a hearty, sports loving, no-frills kind of woman who was extremely down to earth and fun to be with. Not only had she been my psychiatric, clinical instructor, but she was serving as the new Director of Nursing at the psychiatric hospital I was working at. Definitely a person I wanted to maintain a good impression with.

As we floated down the river, my husband lost control of the direction of the canoe heading it straight for the shoreline, which was lined with spider laden trees. I mean, there were huge nests of them, like filmy cocoon nests, filled with the creepy crawlers. In other parts of the trees they were hanging down off the branches, busy spinning. It disgusted me to say the least, and here he was torpedoing straight for the area.

Screaming at the top of my lungs, like a banshee, I went into panic mode. As the canoe stealthily slid under the tree I did the ‘limbo’ ending up on my back, in the bottom of the boat, with a spider filled branch hanging mere inches from my nose. Needless to say, no screaming was heard at that time-a wise woman knows when to keep her mouth shut!

He, laughing of course, slowly backed the canoe out of the embankment and I immediately sat up. Realizing what a spectacle I made of myself, I attempted to act like nothing unusual happened and casually stole a look to see if anyone noticed.

Noticed they did. My boss and her husband sat in silence staring at me in disbelief. I nonchalantly offered, “I have arachnophobia”, as my husband and I continued to canoe down the river, leaving them in midstream still befuddled by my Dr. Jekyll behavior.

Here is a second example of my overreaction. In my cozy little ‘cottage size’ home, here in North Carolina, I would find huge webs covering my porch, mailbox, and porch light every morning, not to mention all of the places I cannot even reach under the eaves.

Getting the mail out was quite the feat because I could see the dark body hiding in the crack as I lifted the top of the box, and the spider, thinking it was prey, would come shooting out of its hole. Ugh!

Watching the movie, The Last Mimzy , one evening, I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye just as the scene with the spider web on the beach popped up. It was the biggest, mini tarantula I ever saw in my house. Replaying the scream scene described in the first example, I used my best opera voice to let the neighbors know there was a spider in the house.

Steps in overcoming irrational fears

The best thing I have found to extinguish a fear, through my own personal experience, is to learn to understand it. Curiosity is a healthy key to finding out what is underneath the fear. Of course, you have to be willing to be open to the understanding. This is what brought me out of my phobia.

Two years ago, while walking through a park, it began raining. Being aware that there were plenty of spiders running around the dead leaves, I became curious as to where they go when it rains. Remembering the old, childhood song about the itsy, bitsy spider, I learned early on that spiders and water don’t mix. I thought what a cute story that would make, and my curiosity got the better of my fear-I was hooked.

Knowing I needed some research to write the story, I solicited my partner to help me with the books. I could look the information up, in the computer, but I could not bear to reach up and remove them from the shelves. He had to do the ‘fetching and carrying’ for me, which he did. The books were all children’s science books, with oodles of big, juicy, colorful photographs of all sorts of spiders. They sat in my book bag for almost two weeks before I could even reach in to take one out.

When I finally summoned up enough chutzpah to open one up, it was comical. I would sit with a paper covering the picture and read the text. I did this until, once more, curiosity was greater than fear, and I was interested in actually seeing what I was reading about. Gradually, I learned all about the various spiders, their body parts, the variations of their habits and lifestyles, and wanted to share what I learned with my grandkids. I was so proud, excited and delighted to know so much about these arachnids.

On my next visit to Michigan, I gathered my oldest grandkids around me to share with them my new found wisdom about spiders. Their reaction? “Yeah, Grandma, we know all about that. We’ve seen that on the nature channel”. My daughter just nodded in agreement. I was the last in the family to be mesmerized about the world of spiders.

When I shared my story with a group of friends, one of the science professors at the prestigious university nearby tested my courage. On my next visit to my home state he brought me a present: it was the exoskeleton of the tarantula his colleague had in her lab. He wanted to check out if this phobia had indeed been laid to rest, or was it just talk. Apparently, I passed the test. He was duly impressed, I kept the gift, and I have made friends with the eight legged, eight eyed creepy crawlers in my part of the country.


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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks! I'd love to visit Australia one day. It's on my bucket list. :)

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Found it! Loved it!

      Do you think one day you might come and visit Australia, Denise? "Hey, dad! Here I am in Australia!"

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Not a problem, I completely understand. Actually, I went to your spider hub to comment and noted Nell's comment just before mine. I put 2 and 2 together. :) Nell is a sweetheart, BTW, so it was a compliment, although initially a mystery! lol I'll find the link for you.

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Thank you for the gracious way you overlooked me calling you Nell, Denise. lol. Won't happen again. I promise!

      I went looking for your hub about your dad but couldn't find it. Would you post a link here, please?

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Ha ha, Okay, "That's NOT going to happen! That's NOT going to happen!"

      One of these days you'll have to read my hub about my dad who had a long time yearning to move to Australia. I wrote it under the title: 'The Sacrifices of Fathers'.

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Repeat after me, Nell, "that's not going to happen!"

      You've been doing such a good overcoming your phobia, l'd hate to feed it again. lol.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey Steven-what a nice surprise. Hope it helps you to overcome that fear. :) It's still no fear here-I'm spider solid!

      LTM-that is for sure! I've 'amused' myself through the years on so many different occasions I can't even count them. I call it my 'Lucy Ricardo' moments. In fact, the things my husband and I got into were stories we would retell just for a laugh. I wrote about a 'scary' joke that I played on him after he watched a horror movie. There were frequent adventures with him and the kids...he referred to us as the 'Retardo' family, ha ha.

      Yeah, wouldn't it be ironic if we died of spider bites after conquering our fears! lol

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Hopefully we won't die of spider bite either!!

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      One thing is certain, Denise. People like you and me will never die of boredom! lol.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image


      7 years ago

      Hmm...good advice. I've been meaning to conquer my fear of spiders for quite some time, so this hub might prove useful. thanks for the information.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi LongTimeMother, LOL I'm so glad you enjoyed this hub about my former phobia. When applicable, I love to use humor in my writing, and isn't life full of clever arrangements for us to either laugh or cry about? I'll be by to read your spider hub. Thanks for your feedback and the votes. :)

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      ROFL. I don't think your reaction was over the top, Denise. I would have been out of the canoe and swimming long before we reached those trees!

      I've just finished writing a hub about being bitten by an aussie redback spider and your hub showed up at the bottom of the page. I had to come for a look, but I had no idea I'd end up laughing.

      Great hub. Voted up +

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Good for you for conquering your fears...even if it is not that fearful anymore. I hope the tarantula didn't frighten you too badly. Thanks for reading.

    • Radikum profile image


      8 years ago from Maryland

      As soon as I seen this hub on your profile, I was hesitant because I knew there would be photos of spiders on here. I had arachnophobia very bad, (going as far as fainting when I saw them), so when I finally was able to face them I thought of them comically as well. I study them now like their my fiercest enemy, its sickening to me sometimes, but at least I'm not (that) fearful of them anymore.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL ithabise, nice to meet you. I had to laugh aloud at your exclamation and was NOT surprised to read that you are living here in NC (and not far from where I live). It is such a southern expression, LOL.

      Well, I can certainly understand your fear and bully for you for attempting to desensitize yourself. They aren't my favorite things in the world, but I am amazed at how well I have adjusted to their existence.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading / commenting. :)

    • ithabise profile image

      Michael S 

      9 years ago from Danville, VA

      Lord! Lord! Lawd! I was on edge just reading your piece! I hate the things. I open my door each morning peering out for spiders. I neither enter nor leave without my can of spider spray. I've had some huge visitors waiting for me. The thing is, I've tried to desensitize myself. A friend at college was milking fourteen tarantulas for his biology final; I asked if I could hold one. It was a decent experience--but helped? Not really. Thanks for your piece!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Ghost-LOL you had me laughing this morning after reading your comments! I needed that. Yeah, funny thing about those damn planes! LOL

      I'm sorry to hear of the spider woes. I can't blame you for thwarking them a good one! I don't think they would be welcome in my house or anywhere near me either. My dad and sister were both bit by brown recluse-Danette had a chunk of skin (deep) that had to be cut out b/c of the necrosis. Dad got very ill and had to take antibiotics.

      I'm fascinated about your recount of the 'pattern' of the Hawaiian Islands. (I was going to comment that it must have been a good party and someone 'dyed' that pattern on your skin, but I was intrigued about the dreambook. I've studied dreams (mine in particular but also other people who have come to me)ever since I was about 10.

      So, here is my dream: I was standing on top of a beautiful mountain. Below me was lush, green foliage. Beyond that was endless blue sea. It was magnificent.

      I was standing with a man who was a chief...not American Indian, but definitely a chief b/c I could see a short feathered headdress on top of his head. His chest was bare and he looked like an elder.

      I asked him "what is the name of this place?" He told me the name of it but I couldn't understand him-it was an odd sounding name filled with lots of vowels. I asked again, explaining that I didn't understand. He replied, "Hawaii."

      I woke up then. It was a very, vivid and real dream. I think, actually, that I was there -astro travel. It was so beautiful and spiritually uplifting that I've never forgotten it to this day (and that was in my teens).

      I always felt I would eventually go to Hawaii but, like you mentioned, I feel there must be a connection with a past life.

      Thanks for reading and your comments-enjoyed. I appreciate the votes. :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nicely done! I'll carry your "limbo under the spider limb" image for a long time.

      I was bitten by what we don't know for sure, though a spider comes to mind, in Kauai, Hawaii, one fine afternnon after sitting on a sandy beach for the last couple of hours before we had to run catch our plane. (You sometimes have to run really really fast to catch those buggers. Did you know they can FLY?)

      The bite pattern (numberous bites) made an inflamed rash on my chest that formed a perfect (no kidding) map of all the major Hawaiian islands. No matter how we treated it, the thing wouldn't go away--until I made a sketch of the map in my Dream Book (where I record dreams) and a few notations. Believe the whole episode was a "sort of reminder" of a past life where I'd been incredibly foolish.

      My Dad (passed in '97) was bitten in the neck by a black widow during his WWII time in the U.S. Navy. Made him sick enough that he had to be hospitalized for a time.

      My wife got nailed in the hand by a brown recluse. Never saw that one, either, but she nearly lost her hand before we were done diagnosing it and then fixing her up. Baking soda poultices and hardcore antibiotics.

      We don't show a black widow or a brown recluse much mercy around here but get along fine with the rest of the arachnids--except for the *%^!! chiggers that swarm when the humidity gets high enough during the monsoon months.

      Voted Up and Across.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL I love your simplistic solution. Thanks for commenting. :)

    • Pintoman profile image


      9 years ago

      It's very simple, they crawl on my ceiling and drop into my bed. They are not welcome inside my house. And they are extremely ugly. Except for Daddy Long-Legs, which don't bother me. I have no need to get over them, I'm just fine with hating them.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Bitten by a black widow! Gosh, that'd be enough to turn anyone away from liking the creepy crawlers. I know I certainly don't relish the idea of getting bit and am very mindful how I open boxes or get into my shoes that have been sitting unused for awhile. They can surprise us and if we surprise them that's when they will attack.

      I'm glad you are fully recovered, Audrey. How awful!!

      My dad and sister have both been bitten by brown recluses which are common here in the south.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      9 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Denise - Great hub! I hate spiders, etc. Once, I was bitten by a black widow while vacationing. Ended up having an injection for it. My entire leg was huge! Yikes!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      OMG Delmer47-you didn't!!! You are a brave man. LOL I would NEVER subject myself to that; I would feel things crawling on me throughout the show. Thanks for stopping by.

      Gail-I am so a podcast like a youtube video? Thanks for your never ending encouragement!

      Hi Paul-LOL Thanks for sharing your story about snakes here. Ooooh, I used to catch garter snakes with my hands when I was a young girl...but, a boa? No thanks. My daughter, hubber cardelean, has a GREAT hub about her experience as a teacher when a visiting 'wildlife' exhibit came to their school. They called her onto the stage to 'assist' and draped a boa around her neck. There is a photo there with her kids (3 & 4) petting it!

      Thanks Frank for your valuable feedback. I appreciate the votes. Thanks for reading.

      bwhite-thank you for stopping by to read this hub and share your experience. I am HOPEFUL for you. It is never, NEVER too late. I am in my fifties, and this happened just a couple yrs ago, so take heart. Besides, maybe you can feed those spiders and creepy crawlers to the snakes you like, LOL

    • bwhite062007 profile image

      Brianna W 

      9 years ago from East Coast

      I have a SEVERE case of arachnophobia...or any bug for that matter. I am not exactly sure where all this fear came from, but I do not see me getting over it anytime soon. Your hub makes me think it is possible though. I have gotten alot braver for my kids but alas not enough because now they are afraid, too which I feel awful about. There is not much else I am afraid of other then creepy-crawlers. Loved this hub! I always get made fun of for being terrified of bugs, but I love snakes. lol. Don't know how that one happened. Voted up!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      9 years ago from Shelton

      what a very good hub-- you've written it clear.. so know one would fear.. up and awesome.. plus interesting too okay?

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 

      9 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      I may have told my own story about my fear of snakes on HP before. In college, I decided to get over it when there was an unusual snake on our door step. We put it in a bag and took it to the pet store to identify it. It was a Kenya Sand boa. I purchased a home, heating rock and all the stuff to take care of it. Brought it home and put it in my bedroom. I couldn't sleep with it my room. I kept dreaming it would get out and bite me. To make it worse, to feed the snake, it was recommended to bring it out of its cage. San boas bury themselves. I had to drag my hand through the sand to pull it out. My heart would just about jump out of my chest when I did this.

      I never got over the fear and ultimately gave the snake away after two or three months of not sleeping....still scared of snakes...

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      Ah, sounds like creating podcasts would be a great way to showcase your humorous stories. (Just what you needed in your busy life, eh? Something new to learn and create) smile.

    • delmer47 profile image


      9 years ago from Nebraska

      I went to see Arachnophobia by myself years was a clear mistake.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Gail-OMG you have conquered your fear of heights haven't you. As for the comics-thanks! I love to write with humor and always hope that the reader is 'getting it'. It's a bit different when I can actually go into the recount verbally-my Italian passion, combined with my Irish storytelling really can spin a good yarn and a good laugh.

      Hi Cloverleaf. That's great that you will send out this hub to your friend. I hope you get some feedback from her/him that the fear has abated. I encourage anyone with this problem or other phobias, to give it a try.

    • Cloverleaf profile image


      9 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Denise,

      Well done you for getting hold of your fear! A friend of mine is terrified of them. I will forward your hub to her for some words of encouragement. Thank you!


    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      I've never seen anyone write a more comical description of their phobia. I could so picture you in that canoe! My own phobia was fear of heights which began when my great Aunt picked me up and forced me to look down from the top of the Empire State Building when I was about 4. There was glass protecting me from falling but my child's mind went into total panic and I was sure she was going to drop me and I'd land on the "ant" people down on the street!

      I knew I was successfully over my phobia when I climbed the Currituck Lighthouse without getting woozy and celebrated by going parasailing the next day!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      DML-thanks for reading it. I think awareness is the first step in overcoming or UNDERSTANDING anything we fear-including things that just don't make any sense to be afraid of. Don't get me wrong-if there was a brown recluse or black widow or tarantula walking by I would not be thrilled.

      It would be interesting to try some hypnosis or regressive therapy to find out if indeed a past life brought on a death blow by a s...e.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      9 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Great read--thanks for recommending it--I do not think I've yet reached the 'curiosity' point about

      s----s, however!

      I don't recall anyone "passing along the fear" to me in childhood.. my dad was not mom had the same issues, but I did not 'catch' them...I only learned about it after I was an adult, and shared my own phobia with her...we both had a habit of looking away from the TV if such creatures were shown!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for your comments, Jo. It isn't easy to conquer a phobia and I'm sure I have many others that have not been revealed yet, but I'm amazed that this one has passed. Good luck with yours...

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image


      9 years ago

      I still have a phobia of spiders. I don't like them and I am allergic to the bites. I had family that did the same stuff to me. Throwing rubber spiders at me or dumping a box of them in my bed, so when I would wake up, I would see all these yucky things and freak out. I am glad to see you conquered the fear. I don't think I will ever be able to. Great hub!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks, NJ. I appreciate you reading this hub and 'getting it', LOL Thanks for the votes.

    • NJ's Ponderings profile image

      NJ's Ponderings 

      9 years ago from Hickville, NY

      Voted up, awesome, and funny! Excellent hub!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi prasannastudies-thanks for reading and voting this hub up.

      PR Morgan-I appreciate your reading and commenting. If you can't laugh at yourself in situations like this, may as well roll over and die, right? Humopr therapy goes a long way.

    • PR Morgan profile image

      PR Morgan 

      9 years ago from Sarasota Florida

      That was funny but I agree with you...a tree full of spider's nests is creepy!

    • prasannastudies profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      great hub page. voting up...

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL I know you can, sister. I forgot you hadn't read this earlier. Do you recall the boys teasing us by throwing spiders at us?

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      9 years ago from Illinois

      I can relate.....

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      I'm so glad you stopped by to read this hub. It is one of my favorites and it is a pleasure to have someone comment that is so knowledgeable about the subject of creepy crawlies. Imagine having both tarantualas and boa constrictors--isn't that a conflict? Doesn't the snake eat the spider?

      I think the phobias are caused by neurosises and then passed on as learned behavior. Perhaps we Americans are more neurotic than people of other countries. I love to travel and other cultures have always fascinated me. Lucky you.

      Thanks for voting it 'up'.

    • BkCreative profile image


      10 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Love love love that photo of the Mexican red knee tarantula - my son has one and she is a beauty. Surprising how soft she is and so delicate - if you drop them it will kill them. He is saving her exoskeleton.

      This idea of phobias just fascinates me. It seems so common and some are so severe. I knew a librarian who was so afraid of reptiles she would not go down an aisle with such a book.

      Glad you made an effort not to pass it on to your children - sometimes it starts there. Or other children pass it on. I think it is the fear of the unknown but spiders are so beneficial in the yard - I was always told they were good luck.

      I seem not to have any phobias and am a great lover of large snakes but that's because my son has raised boa constrictors for many years so I know them well. But this of course is a fear for many people.

      I wonder too if this is cultural. I've lived abroad and traveled far and wide and it seems here we are the most afflicted. Maybe we are too far removed from nature.

      Rated up for enjoyment - yay!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Moon Daisy, thanks for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Always room for some humor, isn't there? I love that you are researching rodents, LOL. Bravo to you!

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 

      10 years ago from London

      What a great read! Thumbs up. I'm glad that you managed to cure your phobia in such an interesting way. I agree that spiders are fascinating, I'd like to learn more about them too. Luckily I'm already a bit of a spiders fan, but you know about my main (hopefully 'ex') phobia from my needles hub.

      With needles I seem to have cured myself by forcing myself (and also being forced!) to face my fear, but yours seems to be another great approach. I'm actually doing something similar at the moment with rodents. I've always thought it really silly that I get scared of mice and rats. Completely illogical given my love of animals/insects/all other creatures.

      As a logical person it has been really bugging me! So I'm researching all the different types of rodents you can get and I'm slowly learning to love them. :)

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Peg-nice to meet you. I'm glad you enjoyed the humor. LOL. If you can't laugh along the path of life...well, you may as well curl up in the corner and s c r e a m ! I prefer to laugh. Thanks for the comments. :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      10 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      This was fun reading. Very enjoyable. Your fear of spiders comes through well in your sense of humor. Dealing with the critter invasions here in Texas, there's always a plague of dragonflies or wasps on the horizon. We already had spider season. They're nearly gone. Nearly. eeiiikk.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Starqueen13- Wonderful surprise to see you here. Glad you liked my choice of words there, LOL. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. :)

    • starqueen13 profile image


      10 years ago from Houston, Tx

      wow that was awesome! i love how you were screaming at the top of your lungs but had to become silent because "a wise woman knows when to keep her mouth shut!" lol :)

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Ginger Meow-thanks for stopping in to read the hub. I WAS scared. It was years before my phobia recovery and I sure didn't appreciate his careless maneuvering. Thanks for the comments. :)

    • Ginger Meow profile image

      Ginger Meow 

      10 years ago

      Tarantula's are probably the most fearsome looking spider, they are big and hairy and some shoot out their hairs when threatened. I like your stories, I’d be scared witless if I were in the canoe as well. I am not too scared of spiders but I am grossed out by big bugs like stick insects.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      An A-Z phobia hub-I think it would be interesting to read some of the very unusual ones. Like...there is a phobia for the color red. :) Thanks for your comments.

    • lovebuglena profile image

      Lena Kovadlo 

      10 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      Great hub. Thanks for sharing. Phobias are not such a great thing, for the most part anyway.

      Last week, I've been googling and came upon a site that has an extensive list of phobias from a-z. Didn't know that many phobias existed. Some of the phobia names are so long that not only is it hard to remember but even hard to pronounce. Perhaps I should create a phobia hub. :)


    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey Andy, thanks for taking the time to read this hub. It is amazing how we all have different fears. I bragged to a b.f. once that I wasn't afraid of heights, till he took me rock climbing. Then it was a different story. I didn't realize it till then how uncomfortable a certain level of heights is for me. The spider thing I knew all along. However, thus far, the fear / phobia has not returned. :)

    • Ign Andy profile image

      Ign Andy 

      10 years ago from Green Home Office

      I probably don't have any as well, but I realize this is no joke for many person. I know some of my friend have certain phobia, I'm sure this hub might be useful for him.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Kaie-thanks for stopping by to read the hub on Phobias. Yes, you might suggest this method to your friend. It really helped me. It's amazing that I can actually see a spider in the house or where it isn't supposed to be and talk to it like a friend. (crazy, huh?) But, what a relief not to be jumping and screaming all of the time! By the way-Nellieanna has written an absolutely hilarious hub about squirrels, with pictures that will make you cry with laughter. Check it out and maybe also, send that one to your friend (if she can stand it) as well. :)

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 

      10 years ago

      Phobias are funny things......... I don't think I have any, but I never say never! I have a friend with a deathly fear of squirrels. We find reasons to tease her with them all the time; she doesn't find it funny! Maybe we should stop ;-) think I'll forward this to her! Thanks ~ Kaie

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey, Tom C, thanks for stopping by and reading the piece. Nice comment, huh! you caught that, did you, LOL.

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 

      10 years ago from Ohio

      That "sharp memory" has turned into some fine writing. Gave me grins....well spun. :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Yep, that’s me—“a man of few words.” You lookin’ for trouble…pilgrim?

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks, Phil, a.k.a. 'Spence' (and you do remind me of him via your wonderfully debatable nature!)

      That's what I love-a man of few words! LOL Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject. Nice to know you are reconciling this relationship with the spiders, at some level. Lots of interesting info you offered.

      Thanks for the comments.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice post, Denise (a.k.a. "Kate”...and you resemble her, through the eyes....),

      I too am stricken with arachnophobia but, alas, I’m not “recovering.” I’ve lived in terror of these little eight-legged creatures for as long as my memory can recall. Well, perhaps, I am “in recovery,” because I’ve recently been compelled some spiders from their ultimate doom—that doom cumulating upon sight!

      I think that I shall break my thoughts into a series of short paragraphs, so as to fit the disjointed nature of my views on the topic at hand.

      There are spiders and there are spiders. There are web spiders, there are “hunting” spiders, along with an assortment of all other arachnids (such as scorpions), too numerous to mention. For example, while most spiders ensnare only small “game,” there are spiders that can actually catch birds….and EAT them! To moi, this makes as much sense as a reptilian creature (alligators come to mind) dining on one of our homo-sapient relatives.

      But, since when did Nature make any sense at all? Both the beauty of this thing called “Nature,” and the deadly forces she wields, coexist, side by side.

      How does it make sense that the Australian funnel web spider can kill you—within minutes—should you not get to the proper antidote in time? I mean, isn’t this a bit of an overkill for a creature who does not require the harvest of a hugely larger human for the evening dinner?

      Same with our American Black Widow, only that her deadly venom is tiny in dosage by comparison. You get to live throughout the painful process of her lethal neurotoxin, provided you are neither an infant nor an elderly person, with a weak heart.

      Once bitten, gratis a Brown Recluse, you will most likely survive the bite—but with a life-long crater on your leg or arm, where rotting flesh once dwelt, as a souvenir.

      But, in the annuls of humans coexisting with spiders, these are the exceptions, not the rule. Most common spiders—including the tarantula—can inflict no more harm upon our species than a mere bee sting.

      So why do I have this fear of spiders?

      Well, the answer is simple: I simply do not know!

      The answer may lie somewhere between my “reptilian” brain and my fully-evolved (or nearly) “human” brain.

      Perhaps I have undergone many past lives—including more than several as a fly?! This makes sense, as your common housefly hates spiders—especially web spiders.

      Speaking of flies, the common housefly is way more annoying than the common spider, and the offspring—the maggot—is totally disgusting! [By comparison, the spider is beyond “annoying,” as it is TERRIFYING to the arachnophobe!]

      In brief research for this totally nonsensical piece, I ran across this dated essay on the fly:

      To anyone who chooses to read on, the above link is an absolute prerequisite.

      The fly, in general, is responsible for so many of humankind’s woes. Malaria, along with countless other diseases, comes to mind. I have never, ever, heard of diseases transmuted via the spider. Only sudden death, once bitten by the wrong spider, and without the vaccine.

      I’m taking small steps.

      Has anyone seen that older flick, “What About Bob?” In that Bill Murray/Richard Dreyfuss film, Bob (Murray) was this ultra-paranoid nutcase who sought out the shrink (Dreyfuss) who had written a recent book “Baby Steps.”

      Well, color me “Bob.”

      Recently, I have even befriended spiders.

      Don’t get me wrong. They are still not welcome in my house, but…

      Instead of killing ‘em on sight, I actually save them—return them to their “wild.”

      I have a special affinity for what I call “hunting spiders” or “jumping spiders.

      These are these (usually tiny) hairy little monsters that, magnified 1000 times, resemble more an alien from another planet that for the little hunters that they are and reside upon Planet Earth.

      And they are smart.

      Unlike the fly, their 8 individual eyes actually focus. As much as I am aware that one of them is here, he or she is, likewise, fully aware of my presence.

      They are buggers to catch!

      By comparison, the Black Widow is easy. Semi dormant within her messy web of silk, she is slow moving. And she is not smart, being a web spider, as opposed to a hunting spider.

      But I don’t want any of these spiders in my house!

      While I have learned to be more kind to the hunting spider, the Black Widow simply has to go!

      In case any of you who have chosen to read on wonder what the point of this little story is, there is no point…other than I can live with some “enemies,” while not with others.

      The other day, in the process of a total remodel of our human home, I discovered the presence of this tiny “hunting spider” on the window silly. He or she could not have been larger than a match head.

      I could have easily “dispatched” him—like I would a common brainless “house spider”—but I knew that it was not his goal to dwell inside this humble abode. He was just an “accidental tourist.”

      So, how do you catch him (or he or it?)?

      It has 8 eyes to my one.

      It is fully aware of my presence, but has no idea that my sole mission is to rescue him or her or it.

      Oh, you must be thinking: why not just KILL the damned thing!?

      Well, that’s an easy way out…


      I’ve already established a relationship here.

      I have gotten to KNOW the damn spider!

      Well, after a full 20 minutes of the best of my human wiles and trickery, I managed to get this little insignificant mass of protoplasm and DNA into a plastic cup. He, she or it, was promptly transported to the outdoors.

      Ridiculous, huh?

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks equealla, for stopping in to read it. It has been an interesting process, that's for sure!

    • equealla profile image


      10 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      I thought it really funny, you covering the pictures whilst reading about them. My grannie used to be so terrified of spiders, she would faint. Other than her, i've never seen such a fear for spiders anywhere else.

      I've enjoyed the read.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      thanks Kim-yes, the 'search' I did actually inspired me to write a couple of children's stories about spiders.

    • kaltopsyd profile image


      10 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      What a nicely written Hub. I enjoyed reading it. Sounds like you're really getting your arachnophobia under control. Good for you! That exoskeleton thing was a good idea. Best of luck!


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