I have a phobia, a hugely irrational fear of spiders. Now a fear of spiders isn’t all that unusual, in fact it is almost a common fear, unfortunately my fear is just a little more crazy than your average spider phobia.
For as long as I can remember I have had a fear of spiders. It may have started when I was 4 and I was helping to look for my baby brothers bottle (he had hidden it again). I was looking in a huge old chest of drawers in the laundry and apparently a spider jumped out of the drawers and landed on my foot. I didn’t see it but I do distinctly remember screaming in pain and running in through the house looking for mum. Dad was busy catching the spider to see what type it was.
After calming me down, I was thrown into the car to make a trip to the hospital emergency room, along with the spider! The rules with venomous creatures in Australia, and there are many of them, is to know what you have been bitten with to tell the staff at the ER (if you can’t identify it, take it with you for someone else to identify), that way you will be given the appropriate anti-venom.
Anyway, we made it to the hospital in one piece only to have the staff there tell my parents that they were being melodramatic and to take me home, oh and get rid of the spider too, we don’t want to see it. I don’t remember ever seeing the spider, but apparently it was big and black and had a lump on it’s head! They weren’t able to identify the spider but they wanted it gone. They sent us home saying if she gets dizzy, becomes feverish or disoriented, bring her back in before she loses consciousness. Hmmm, easier said than done, we lived in the middle of no-where, a 20 minute drive from the nearest hospital. I guess it is a good thing that I survived with nothing but a huge fear of all spiders, regardless of their size or dangerous status.
Did I explain that my fear is not only about the spider, it also includes disposal of spiders. I am not capable of killing spiders. Despite knowing how unrealistic it is, I somehow believe that if I kill a spider it will come back and get me, but it won’t be alone. The spider will come back with reinforcements and be invincible. Spiders can’t be killed in front of me, I can’t even ask for someone else to kill a spider because that spider will know that it is me who caused its demise!
So I have shown that my fear is irrational, but did I also say it was illogical – I did have a pet spider for a while. Herbie the spider was a harmless huntsman spider that lived in the house I grew up in, alternating between the lounge room and my bedroom for months. No one had the heart to ‘make him go away’ because he only had 7 legs. Of course missing a leg he was much more likely to fall from the roof and land on me sending me into cardiac arrest, but that thought never actually occurred. As long as I knew where he was before I went to bed, I was OK having him in my room.
Anyway, so moving out of home when I was 17 and living on my own or in share houses, I had to make the spiders ‘go away’ all by myself. It usually involved finding a container to catch it in, working through the goosebumps, shortness of breath and heart palpitations to catch it and put the lid on the jar. That was as far as I could go. I was incapable of letting the spider go, so it would invariably sit on the bench with a note to a housemate begging them to ‘make the spider go away’.
So that is the history of my irrational fear. It is a fear that I don’t want to impart on my children and this brings me to tonight’s dilemma.
Look what was on the wall just above where the kids should be sleeping.
(On my screen it is actually life-sized, about 3 cm long)
They could see that it was a white tail and therefore a dangerous spider and wouldn’t go to bed – who could blame them. Man-child was still at basketball so it was up to me. I had to ‘make the spider go away’ all by myself.
First I found the camera, then I found a suitable container to catch the spider in. Naturally I had to take a photo as evidence of my brave feat. Then I had to catch the spider without screaming or passing out. It took far more concentration than I imagined, just to hold the container without shaking. By this time, naturally the spider was lingering near the ceiling, just on the cornice so it was a nice curved surface that didn’t make things any easier. The spider ran across the ceiling, above the bed and toward where I was standing. Freak out time was impending but finally, somehow, it was in the container with the lid on. I had to concentrate on not losing control as it was angrily running around the container as I am holding it. Mere millimetres of plastic between me and it. Even as I type, goosebumps are rising and I am getting the chills.
At this stage, the kids wanted to keep it with them in the bedroom! There was no way I was leaving it in their room, but I wasn’t going to ‘make it go away’ either. I took the container downstairs, left it sitting on the back of the couch and I returned back upstairs far away from the spider, waiting for man-child to come home and ‘make it go away’.
I am so proud of my efforts in capturing the spider and not passing on my fear to the kids. Yay me!