Overcoming Phobias

One of the things I really want to work on over the summer is overcoming some of my phobias. I don’t have that many but I want to work on them and see if I can either overcome them or improve my response to them significantly. I have two in mind to start with that I really want to work on.

The Phobias

  • • Spiders
  • • Heights

What happened to cause them?

That’s something I really can’t pinpoint or even a timeframe when they started happening. I can remember as a kid that neither bothered me much and my parents have confirmed that. One of them though I think my father might have shed some light on the other day when I was talking to them and my brother on the phone.

Spiders

When I was younger I can remember being fascinated by them. It didn’t matter how big or small I loved watching them. I guess looking back I was never a fan or touching them or having one on me but I could watch them move or make a web. I was fascinated by their webs as well. Somewhere along the way I stopped watching them and became fearful if I saw them. Eventually, I have gotten to the point where I freeze in fear or sometimes I scream and run.

My dad said he figures this has to do with my childhood when we were living in Germany. We used to go for bike rides quite often into Hügelsheim and then towards the Rhine, along the Rhine and across into France. We would go about once a week to a little restaurant there. To get to it you had to bike under a highway bridge and dad said that it was just teeming with spiders under there. He said for him that’s when he first remembers me showing any fear of them.

Heights

This one is a little harder to place. When we were in Germany we were close to the mountains and the Black Forrest. Looking on a map now I believe that we were most likely closest to Belchen, which is a summit to the south of Baden-Söllingen in the Black Forrest. I remember we would go on almost weekly drives up in the mountains not just Belchen but all over the place. We also went camping all the time, we traveled all over and went skiing in the winter every year in Lucerne (Switzerland) and I had no issues being in the van when we went up the sides of those huge mountains. I had no issues when on ski lifts or gondolas. By 11 I was skiing double black diamonds so that meant going on some pretty big gondolas up high and I never experience any fear that I remember.

It wasn’t until the 90s when we were in Calgary that I remember the first inklings of fear when going on ski lifts or gondolas there, but that being said I would close my eyes and ride it out. More uneasiness then a true fear at that point. We moved back to Nova Scotia in 1997 and I don’t even remember any issues with heights for a while. It was not until a friend of mine got me in a ferris wheel at the Halifax Busker Festival that I really remember freaking out, crying terrified, hiding behind her, and just absolutely panicking. Since then it has just gotten worse. My mom is afraid of heights so maybe that has something to do with it, the number of times I saw her freak out, but at the same time, dad and I used to tease her (yes, I know, now looking back I seriously regret that).

What do I hope to accomplish?

I am really hoping that as far as spiders go that I can work on my fear enough that I can at least deal with one when home alone. Right now I panic and throw things at them, but killing it is something I do not have the heart or the courage to do. And I don’t want to anyways. If I could get to a point where I could get it into a container or something and take it outside to let it loose that would be awesome. Also, I’d like to be able to look at pictures online without freaking out and getting the major heebie-jeebies.

When it comes to heights I would like to try and determine where my fear came from if possible and see if I can overcome it a little at a time. I love amusement parks and love waterslides but this is interfering because I am terrified to go up to the top of waterslide towers and scared to get on high roller coasters, ferris wheels, etc. I was able to do it at Disney World back in 2015 when my mom, dad, and I went to Florida. The only reason I was able to do it was because my 24-year-old brother (at the time) was able to usually place himself between me and the edge where I could see how high up I was, that and excitement. I mean, come on… Disney World!!!

How am I going to overcome them?

That… is the question of the year. I really have no idea. Thankfully I am getting counseling so it’s one of the things I plan to talk to her about. Should I tackle them head-on? Is there any specific methods that seem to work. Is there any coping strategies, etc. All things I plan to ask about.

So those are two phobias I really want to tackle this year. What about you?

Questions
  1. What’s your greatest phobia if you have one?
  2. What are some ways you attempt to deal with it?
  3. Do you have a plan to try and overcome them?

4 thoughts on “Overcoming Phobias

  1. I think my only phobia is snakes, and while I do not like spiders, they only freak me out when they sneak up on my or fall on me when I am sleeping. I think this blog came at an interesting time because my neighbor and I just had a conversation about how we would do scary things as children but wouldn’t do them now. Like in elementary and middle school I would swim in the pond knowing that there was snakes in it, (I was still afraid of them at this point) it wasn’t until high school that I wouldn’t swim in the pond anymore because of the snakes. It was like I understood the risk more and realized that I was and was suppose to be afraid and acted accordingly.

    1. For the most part I like snakes. I love watching them and have held a few but sometimes they freak me out. I think it’s true as kids even if your afraid you don’t necessarily understand the risk or even the fear.

  2. When it comes to spiders, my recommendation is to study them. Learn about the different species that are common in your area. Take photos of them and learn to identify the species. Look at macro photos of spiders online and learn to see how beautiful they are, see the different colours and patterns, the total cuteness of jumping spider’s faces, etc. See if there are Canadian spider groups on Facebook. When you focus on learning about them they will be less scary. Your fear will turn to fascination over time, I promise.

    1. I am so scared of them I can’t even handle looking at pictures online of them, but I am going to start giving it a try. Like you said research them and try and get close enough to take pictures. I know lots of people find them fascinating but that theory at the moment just seems totally lost on me I have to admit.

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