Something quite remarkable happened today, although before I tell you what it was I should add a caveat – it was something quite remarkable for me, but would probably be an everyday occurrence for pretty much everyone else.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned if before, but I’ve had a life long and severe phobia about spiders. Yes, really. The kind of phobia that involves running away, shrieking, while flapping wildly to try and get rid of the spider that in my imagination, has jumped onto me and is going to kill me. I’ve been told it’s quite entertaining to watch. Here are just a few of my classic spider encounter moments:
- bolting from a team meeting with no explanation when I saw one from the corner of my eye
- running the entire length of a (now gone) very well known bookshop in Galway city in front of my manager when I was only a few weeks into the job
- calling Hubby (then boyfriend) for help at 1am because I was trapped in the room by a spider……….while he was in Maynooth and I was in Galway
I could go on, but you get the idea. Spiders and I do not mix. When I was little, we lived near a river, and a very big, very black, very scary breed of spider used to regularly find its way into the house. I’m known for my innate ability to sense when one is in the room, and often used to wake in the middle of the night, become aware there was one there and quite literally scream for my Dad. I cannot imagine how many near heart attacks I caused and am eternally grateful for his patience. I always know when my anxiety is getting out of hand because I have what we’ve come to call ‘spider attacks’ – I wake up during the night imagining there’s one on me, and will be up, out of the bed, across the room and have the light on before I’m even fully awake.
So, where am I going with all this? It’s spider season right now, and they seem bigger than usual. Today, while tackling the 95 piles of washing in various states of processing that were lying around my house, I encountered a behemoth. In my bedroom. I knew if I ignored it I wouldn’t actually be able to go to bed tonight so I decided to do something about it. I got the hoover, and hung about on the landing for a good 5 minutes trying to persuade myself to just go in and hoover it up. No dice. The joy of a phobia is that it’s completely and utterly irrational, and so I was convinced if I went near it with the hoover it would get me. I contemplated calling a friend, but thankfully thought better of it. I tried calling Hubby (at work. What did I think he was going to do??!) No answer. So I called my long suffering Dad and squeaked hysterically down the phone at him. He eventually persuaded me to get a sweeping brush, and then with the aid of him distracting me by talking about god knows what while on speaker phone I managed something I’ve never, ever done before. I killed it (apologies if this offends anyone but I was petrified). I do feel a touch guilty about that, hopefully some day I’ll progress to just putting them out the window, but I cannot tell you how elated I was that I sorted it out for myself. Unless you have a phobia about something you just won’t understand what I’m talking about, but that felt like the most monumental breakthrough I’ve had in a very, very long time. This is something I have been terrified of quite literally my entire life, and today, for the first time ever, I overcame that fear.
I appreciate if you now think I’ve completely lost my mind, I did mention that this was something that wouldn’t bother the vast majority of people. It’s not so much what I did, as the fact that I did it. By myself. I backed myself. I talked myself into it (with a little help) where before I would have run screaming, and I do mean that quite literally. It’s been mentioned to me a few times recently that something has changed in me, and I’m starting to believe that might be true. I think I might just have a little faith in me. That’s very, very new, and feels very, very nice.