I was terrified of spiders, big ones, small ones, hairy ones, I did not like them. I would freak out if I knew one was in a room, and the thought of them made me anxious and sweaty. I think my fear stems from a small spider falling on my face, from a wall, when I was a child, and I had issues with them ever since. Arachnophobia is very common, and spiders are hated by many. Getting over a fear of spiders is possible though. I did it.
When I first moved to London, to work as a nanny, I lived with a lovely family, who had a small cottage in their garden, which was where I resided at the end of my days work. It was perfect, except for ONE thing, it came with some seriously monstrous house spiders, that seemed to think they had a right to share my living space, and would scare the daylights out of me at frequent intervals. I would either have to get the Dad of the children I nannied for to come and get rid of them, or I would use a can of hairspray to spray them to death, then vacuum them up! (Yes, I know this is mean, please don’t send members of the Spider Lovers Society round to get me, I am reformed, I kill spiders no more)
It became a bit of a joke, my fear of these hairy beasties, and I used to dread spring and autumn, when they were most prevalent They are harmless, but are big, hairy, scuttle fast, and like to lurk and appear when you least expect them. Until one day, one of my friends, for my 21st birthday, sent me a voucher, for a Spider Therapy Course that she and some of my other mates had clubbed together to pay for me to attend. London Zoo do a special day where you can go and learn how to not be so scared of spiders.
I thought she had lost the plot, and was pulling my leg, and was totally aghast. I did NOT want to go, and have to face big hairy spiders! But when I rang them to book, the lady at the other end of the phone was so lovely, and reassuring, that I decided to give it a go, and went along.
The day is geared around talking about our fear of spiders and why we are scared. Lots of myths are dispelled and techniques similar to CBT are used to talk about our reactions to spiders. There is also hypnotherapy and some learning.
You also get to meet spiders, some big and rather scary looking ones and some British and not as scary. I was able to hold a Mexican bird-eating spider.
It was an AMAZING feeling, she was very gentle and slow, and her feet tickled, and she didn’t seem at all bothered by me. She was actually quite beautiful, and serene and it was truly a magic moment! I held a massive, hairy, quite scary-looking spider, and didn’t freak out, throw up, scream or try to run away! I am still not a huge lover of spiders, but they don’t freak me out, I can happily pick one up in a wine glass and despatch it outside, I can watch tv programs with them in, and see pictures without being upset. Just as well really, because I am married to a South African who is terrified of anything that has eight legs, someone in the house needs to be able to cope with them, don’t they?
How could you be scared of that little face? I’m not anymore.