Monday, August 11, 2008

Those nasty phobias

Hi, my name is Anne Rainey and I’m afflicted with the following phobias:
Arachnophobia - Fear of spiders.
Altophobia - Fear of heights.
Apiphobia - Fear of bees.

Okay, I hear the first step is admitting it. Now what? LOL
Let’s get serious. I really, truly have a fear of spiders. I freak out when I see one, and I can’t get close enough to kill them, so we buy spray. I can kill them that way, because I don’t have to actually touch them. Let me tell you one of the worst times in my life, when my phobia held me in its grasp.
Back when I was in high school still, I was at home by myself. It was in the evening, not sure where everyone was, it was unusual for me to be at home alone actually. Anyway, there I was munching on some cheese puffs and watching t.v. when something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. I turned and looked. Something on the floor moved. I froze as I saw what it was. A spider. And not some baby thing either. This was like a spider on steroids or something. I freaked and jumped from the couch to the coffee table. I stood on that coffee table for (this is not an exaggeration) hours. I shook with fear as I tossed things at the spider. I couldn’t bring myself to actually step onto the floor and walk over and kill it. I just couldn't.
Anyway, there I was, on the coffee table, my legs aching, tears streaming down my cheeks. I was terrified. Absolutely terrified. Finally, my brother came home. He looked at me, I pointed to the spider, he stepped on it and rolled his eyes, then went to his room. I could finally breathed again. Although I couldn't sleep that night for fear of more spiders.
I never told my family that I’d stood on that coffee table for literally hours, frozen by my own irrational fear. I was embarrassed and I knew they’d laugh it off. That’s the thing about a phobia. You know it’s irrational, but that doesn’t make it any less real. I wish I could overcome it. I wish it didn’t sound so crazy. I wish I could be like those people who scoop up a spider and set it outside. Uh-uh, no way. Not in this lifetime. It’ll never happen. The very idea makes my skin crawl.

Now my fear of bees and heights isn’t quite as bad. I think because there are ways to avoid those. But it’s a physical condition, none the less. If I get up on a chair to change a light bulb, someone has to hold onto my legs, because I get dizzy. My feet will start to ache too. Soon, I’ll feel myself begin to sway. It’s a few feet of the ground! Nothing is going to happen a few feet off the ground! But try telling me that while I’m up on that chair.

I’m grateful I’m not afraid of more things. I’m not Monk, after all. But, it’s still frustrating to feel out of control over your own feelings.

Now, what’s your fear? Crowded places, germs, needles, closed in spaces...? And what was the worst moment in your life when your fear held you in its grasp? Have you conquered your fear? If so how?

And for an interesting list of fears, check out this link:


Dana Marie Bell said...

Bugs, and suspension bridges. And I'm allergic to bee stings, so I have a reason to be afraid of them.

Still, it doesn't make you feel any better when people make fun of you for moving away from "it's only a beetle!", does it? And try explaining the dream where millions of cockroaches are crawling all over you and THAT'S why you refuse to sleep ever, EVER again.

I'm starting to itch just thinking about it.

My WORST bug moment? I lived in St. Croix with my husband for a year. We were outside, playing cards one night, when I felt something fuzzy lie across the top of my foot. I look down to pet my cat...

... and it's a red-headed CENTIPEDE! ACK! Those things are poisonous! I froze, not sure what to do, and just waited for the damn thing to move so I could jump up and scream like a little girl. My husband even freaked! I was so scared I went out and bought the biggest can of floral scented Raid I could find.

That poor, poor red-headed caterpillar I ran across a few days later didn't know what hit him. He actually melted, I used so much.

And suspension bridges? I've had nightmares since childhood about some kind of apocalypse, where people are walking across them to try and get to the only safe place left. I have NO idea where that comes from, either. I blame my mother.

Molly Daniels said...

I don't have a problem going UP; my fear is coming DOWN! I don't ride rollarcoasters; I have a problem in elevators taller than 10 floors. I'm fine as long as the thing doesn't stop; otherwise, my stomach drops.

Not sure how I would handle the Statue of Liberty, or the Sears Tower, or even the Empire State Building. They might just have to leave me up there!

Space Needle in Seattle? I closed my eyes on the way down and was fine.

Megan Rose said...

My fear is rollercoasters, which makes me feel bad for my eldest son, as he loves them. He has to go on them with his dad and not me. I really do think that I'm going to die if I go on one. It's a horrible feeling and I wish a lot that I could overcome it. I feel that a day trip to the theme park would be much more enjoyable if only I could get over it.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting over the arachnophobia but I used to have recurring "flash" dreams: one (after which I would wake up on my side) was of a big black hairy water spider sitting on the edge of the bed STARING at me; the other, from which I woke up on my back, was of a long-legged thin spider dropping from the ceiling toward my face. Aieee!! All lights on, all covers shaken, no more sleep that night... LOL. Now I am able to capture them in a LARGE clear container with a THICK piece of cardboard slid underneath and (holding entire thing as far away from me as I can) release them to go eat all the insects that don't bother me one whit. Major accomplishmenT!!

My sis in law, on the other hand, can't even stand to be around a TOY STUFFED snake, not even a goofy cartoony looking one! But tell her it's a dragon, and she's fine.

Helen Hardt said...

Moths and butterflies. They totally freak me out. I can handle spiders, beetles, bees, and wasps, but keep those fluttery things away from me! I have no idea where this bizarre fear comes from. We have a Butterfly Pavilion in Denver where hundreds of butterflies fly around and land on your shoulder *shudder*. My husband and sons love that place, but I think it's evil, LOL.


Regina Carlysle said...

OMG...rats and mice. Any kind of rodent terrifies me. I'm also claustrophobic. Did a glass bottomed boat thing on vacation once. We were in a single row to watch the fish and underwater. I sat in the middle. Lord, I just panicked. Sweat, nausea. Awful.

Dakota Rebel said...

Yeah, I also have a dibilitating fear of spiders. When I was about ten we lived in Kalamazoo and there was an infestation of spider-mites in my room. The exterminator came and we never saw another one in the two more months we lived there. I barely slept, laying on the couch because I refused to go back in the bedroom. Finally we had to move before I had a nervous breakdown.

It has not gotten any better in the last 18 years. I would move again if it ever happened.

I hate them. Ick.

Great post!

Titania Ladley said...

I have so many, I must be a nut. LOL My worst by far is closed-in spaces. As soon as an elevator starts acting up or that bell goes off, I'm a panicky mess. When I went up in the Arch in St. Louis (yikes, tiny capsule-shaped elevators with seats), the whole way up I bawled and buried my face in my husband's chest. Actually, even like when hubby's wrestling me and he lays across my legs, I panic. *rolls eyes at self*

Another is snakes. *shudder* I don't care if they're poisonous or not, keep them aWAY from me!

And mice. Ick. Those scurrying critters make my heart pound so hard, I nearly pass out.

Great topic, Anne. I feel better already! *g*


BrennaLyons said...

aeroacrophobia: a fear of open, high places
gephyrophobia: a fear of crossing bridges

What does it mean? It means I don't do cliffs, overlooks, city steps, open walkways on the second floor of malls, look over the edges of escalators, steep trails that aren't enclosed by trees... I can't stand glass elevators, but I can do inclines, mainly because they have glass only from the chest up and are FULLY enclosed somehow. At the same time, I can't do aerial trams, even if they are fully enclosed. (Oh, and did I mention that I get vertigo, as well?) I used to force myself to do roller coasters, but I don't do many those anymore.

I can USUALLY cross a bridge in a car or bus, as long as I don't know the specs and can't see the drop. The George Westinghouse Bridge in East Pittsburgh, for instance, bothers me, even in a car. Walking across a bridge, no matter how low it is, is nearly impossible...all the more so, if it has chain link sides, low sides and/or grating on the walkway. I also don't like walking over grating in the sidewalk that span things like subway tunnels or sewers.

I've learned to live with it, but it can cause major problems. At EPICon this year, the hotel had glass elevators in the lobby. My room was on the 10th floor. There was a secondary elevator that reached to the 9th floor (an enclosed elevator). The stairs were sealed, so you couldn't ride to the 9th then walk up to the could only exit the stairs in the lobby-level garage. Simply put, I had no choice BUT to ride the glass elevator. So, I'd stand with my back to the glass/facing the brass doors, try to avoid the reflections, and sweat my way up or down the 10 stories. I took more than my share of ribbing for it, once people realized I was afraid.

Now, that doesn't bother me much, to be honest. Everyone is afraid of SOMETHING, whether they want to admit it or not. But, a note for those who want to scoff...

No, four days of facing your fear isn't going to either drive you insane or break you of it. Sorry...forty years of facing it hasn't done that.


Anny Cook said...

Hmmm. Actually, the only thing that really bothers me is the aisles in the grocery store or any story with close aisles. It feels like they're going to drop on top of me.

So I try to stay out of crowded stores where they stack merchandise in the aisles. Somehow crowded aisles make it worse.

BrennaLyons said...

I don't like crowds, in general. I'd rather do all of my Christmas shopping online than head to packed stores over the holidays. It's not a phobia, but it does get on my nerves...more of a personal space issue than anything else.

I don't dislike people, in general, though some people are admittedly tedious. When isn't that true? But, I dislike being boxed in by crowds.


cindy said...

Hey Anne,my fears are of snakes & dogs,if I go to someones house & they have a dog,I cannot make myself get out of the car,I hate it,but like you said,I can't control it,but the worst thing that held me frozen was,I was walking through my hall & caught something out of the corner of my eye,& it was a snake,I couldn't move,luckliy,I had a phone in my hand,I called my husband & said snake,he came out to the house & got rid of it & fixed the way it got in. It's sad to know that fears can freeze us,but I think we have to just do the best we can.

Anne Rainey said...

Dana Marie--I use that black can of raid. It's for wasps, but it kills spiders. And you can spray it from 20 feet away. We actually keep a four pack in the closet, because I'm always afraid we'll run out.

No, it does NOT help when someone says "But it's only a..." grrr. Yeah, I have eyes, I see what it is, which is why I'm freaking out!

Anne Rainey said...

Molly--I'm okay unless I can see how far down it is. If I can see it, then I panic. Nope, no rollercoasters for me either!

Anne Rainey said...

Nan--That is a HUGE accomplishment! Congrats to being able to do that. I still can't!

Helen--now that's a new one. I never heard of being afraid of butterflies, but it's like I said. It might be irrational, but it's still a very real fear for you.

Anne Rainey said...

Brenna--I completely understand what your saying and I can see how difficult it would be to plan a trip like these CONS. I'll never understand why people think it's funny and silly.

Regina--I can see how frightening that would be. I don't like to feel closed in either. I can deal with it, unless I feel there's no...escape. then I start to panic.

Dakota--I can tease myself about the spider phobia, but the truth is, it sucks. I wish I could get over this fear, but it's just not going to happen. It is what it is. Trust me when I say, I feel your pain!

Kelley Nyrae said...

I'm afriad of bees and spiders too! Freaks me out.

Kelley Nyrae said...

I'm afriad of bees and spiders too! Freaks me out.

Devon Gray said...

I'm claustrophobic and agoraphobic (fear of open spaces). Don't ask me how I managed to acquire both. I am also deathly afraid of the ocean (a high school friend was attacked by a shark in small, beach town community, so I know where this fear comes from). I decided I needed to conquer them. So I went diving in Jamaica last year. Let's just say this...I'll never go again. Oh, and I'm still afraid of small spaces, open spaces and the ocean. I've also added fire coral and sucker fish to the list...

Desirée Lee said...

I'm weird. I know it. I love spiders and snakes.

I don't like crickets though. I know, they're supposedly harmless. I think they're gross. I don't like bees/wasps/etc either because I am allergic to them but I don't have a paralyzing fear of them. I just try to avoid them.

Now what I do have the irrational fear of is water, particularly swimming pools. I drowned in a pool once and if it wasn't for the lifeguard being able to revive me (I was clinically dead) then I wouldn't be typing this today. It took me many years before I would get into a pool again. I still don't like them and I can't dunk my face under the water. If there is a lot of splashing in the pool, it freaks me out. I don't even like getting my face under the spray when I am taking a shower! I have to pep-talk myself into it.

My other irrational fear is skateboards, but again, it stems from experience. My sister got a skateboard when we were kids and I was standing on it. She said "here, go!" and kicked it. I went flying and landed in a pile of decorative boulders that had been around the garden (we were removing them to redo the garden, hence the big pile!). My head hit one of them, I was knocked unconscious. My sister left me there. I don't know how long I was out before I woke up, hurting like a s.o.b. from lying in a pile of boulders. I don't get on skateboards now. Just the thought of standing on one gives me the willies.

Funny thing is, my brother is a skater. He almost turned pro at it. He's fallen off them, broken bones, etc but he still loves it. I guess I am a wuss.

Carpe Noctem,

Desirée Lee
Putting the Romance Back in Necromancy

Amy Ruttan said...

Sharks and planes.

Conquered both a couple of weeks ago.

I flew 5 hours to San Francisco, and while I was there I touched a shark.

Got a picture to prove it and everything.

I'm still terrified ... but at least I don't let the fear rule me like I used too.

When I was younger, and afraid of spiders like that ... I would have done the same thing.

Anne Rainey said...

Devon--How awful to be afraid of both open spaces and closed in spaces. Do you have a hard time coping?

Des--I'd love to smack your sister upside the head for that stunt. Grrr. You could have died! If one of my daughters pulled something like that on her sister, she'd not be able to sit down for a week!

Amy--Congrats on battling your fears. I wish I was so strong! :)

J.K. Coi said...

Yep, I'm a skeert of spiders too! *shivers*

I come by it honestly though. When I was young, we were sent to the babysitter, and she collected exotic pets--tarantulas. Now we were assured that they were always kept in aquarium high up on shelves where little fingers could not reach, which was true. But one day after cleaning one of the aquariums I guess the lid didn't get put back on properly and the spider jumped down from the shelf onto my shoulder.

OMG, I've never been the same.

After that, our babysitter got rid of the pirhana fish too.

flchen1 said...

Heights (a suspension bridge would totally freak me out), and public speaking, although I'm not sure that's so much a phobia as a I-really-don't-like-it!

Tonya said...

gephyrophobia: a fear of crossing bridges!

Yep....I hate a kid I used to close my eyes whenever we had to drive over one. Even as a young toddler I was afraid. No idea why, but when I started driving I would avoid them for's not very easy to close your eyes and drive! So even to this day I hold my breath when I cross them. I don't dare cross any on PARANOIA!!!

BrennaLyons said...

Oh, Tonya! Do I know what you mean about bridges. That sounds so familiar. In fact, I write about that precise reaction...from childhood through one of my books. My heroine has the same phobias I do in it. Grinning...

I always said writing was somewhat cathartic.


Anne Rainey said...

flechen1--I'm not crazy about public speaking either. I totally avoid it!!

BrennaLyons said...

I don't really count public speaking as a phobia, since I have overcome much of it. I still get nervous attacks over it, but after six years or so of practice and classes in public reading, speech writing and public speaking, I'm finally able to control my 'tells.'

Most people who don't know me think I'm perfectly calm about public speaking now. Good thing they aren't taking my pulse and blood pressure, during an event. Grinning... Then again...good thing my doctor isn't, or she'd ban me from doing it.

So, explain to me... Why is it that so many authors are introverts and loathe public speaking?