- Mental Health»
- Anxiety Disorders
Not That Independent After All!
It is known that fear has the ability to make your heart beat faster and your hair stand up, but fear can have more damage to the body than what people think. It is said that is can cause heart attacks. Fear is life-threatening, and sometimes, it is capable causing more harm than what’s actually causing it in the first place. Telling someone that you are arachnophobic would not make sense to them unless they suffer from the same phobia as well. It is only then when they would understand the struggle of facing a spider.
I was alone in the living room watching “Prison Break”. It was and always will be one of my favorite shows because of the thrill and excitement it invokes in the watcher. I was home alone; finally, I was able to chill without hearing my little siblings playing around, or my mother’s endless phone conversations with my grandmother who lives in Paris. I could finally concentrate on what Michael Scofield was whispering to Sara without the need of wearing headphones. It is that quiet that I longed for, the calmness where I could hear only what I chose to hear. I felt at peace, like a mother who only relaxes when both her kids and husband leave the house. It has certainly been a long while since the last time I was alone in my house. I was happy, knowing that I was an adult and I would not panic if left unattended. I was not in need of anybody, in fact, I was in need of some space, I needed some time alone just to enjoy quietness. I could not take my eyes off the TV, the series was too good and missing a second of it could mean missing a certain clue. In the middle of it, I decided to get some ice cream from the fridge. That’s what I needed to make the scene perfect; a girl watching her favorite series and enjoying dark chocolate ice cream.
When I came back from the kitchen, I dropped the bowl and spoon that I was carrying. She was right there, sitting in my place, watching my series. My heart started to beat faster and faster. I could not move, nor make her leave. She was black. I am not racist, but her dark skin was provocative. I felt that all the vellus hair on my body stood up as a defensive mechanism, reacting to the monstrosity that I had witnessed. With her eight hairy legs, she moved slowly towards me. I felt helpless and my feet could not move. My body’s temperature had certainly increased at least two degrees because I could feel the sweat of my forehead. Why was she heading that way? What did she want? Why was she there in the first place and how did she get in? Numerous questions kept filling my brain, but I was unable to think, incapable of answering any of them. I just stood there, helpless, hoping for her to just disappear. Did I have the strength to kill her? No. Was there someone home who could have? Again, no. The feelings that I had a few moments ago of joyfulness and calmness suddenly turned into a horror movie. The reactions of being arachnophobic might seem exaggerated to the people who do not know what it is like to see a creature that has more than six legs moving. But to the ones who suffer from this unbelievably scary phobia, seeing a spider invoked feelings similar to falling from a skyscraper. You don’t know how it feels, but it still scares you to even think about it. Where is my brother when I need him? He is always the one who brags about his strength and claims that spiders do not even deserve to be killed because they are harmless. Whenever he heard me scream his name, he knew that I had probably seen one and he came right away to move her out of the house. I kept thinking…”Where is he now?” I was alone, face to face with my only fear and not being able to move. Every second felt like an eternity, and my heart kept beating faster. The TV was on but I could not hear a thing, the house was filled with a deadly quietness. I know that an ordinary person would not believe that a spider was capable of killing a human being in a living room without biting him, but killing does not necessarily require a bite; sometimes, all it takes is being present in the same room with an arachnophobic. All these thoughts kept trying to explode my brain, but my only concern was Her. Her existence made me feel powerless, weak and defenseless. A sudden sound broke the chain of those endless thoughts; someone unlocked the door. “What a relief, it must be him!” I finally found the power to turn around and see who came to save me. It was my brother, carrying some shopping bags. “That’s right when I needed you the most; you were trying to find some nice pair of shoes to impress your girlfriend that night!” He arrived on time anyways; I called his name twice asking him to come to the living room. “Thank God, I was about to get a heart attack all by myself”. “A spider again, am-I-right?” “You know me well, please kill her!” “I will not kill ‘her’ you silly, and why do you need to call an insect ‘her’, it’s an insect dummy!” “No, in fact, spiders are not insects, because possessing eight legs and two body segments qualifies them to belong to the ‘Arachnids’ group, and…” “You know your enemy well, don’t you?”. And those were his last words before we both noticed that there was no spider on the couch. I panicked. “It was right there! Where did she go?” “It does not matter now, she will not bother you, I scared her and SHE ran away!” He laughed and left the living room.
What he did not know is that he left me with her again, alone, but this time, I did not know where she was hiding. She could have been behind the TV or under the couch. Perhaps it was slowly coming down from the roof artistically trying to show me how great of an orb-weaver she was. Did I have the courage to look up? Of course, I did not. I left that room and I went to my bedroom, closed the door, sat on my bed and started thinking. “She is there, what if she follows me? That’s what they do; they always follow me wherever I go. Is the gap between the door and the floor large enough for her to come inside? I lay down on my bed, my eyes fixed on the bottom of the door, thinking about her just like a woman thinks about her abusive husband who might come home at any given minute. Fear compelled me. How could such a tiny creature create all this mess in my head? My eyes started to close, I tried to focus and stay awake, but I could not help the power that forced my eyes to shut down. It was only a matter of a few seconds, and I fell in a deep spider-saving sleep. It was over, nothing to fear anymore.