Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Bugs. And their ilk. Terrestrial arthropods. I have this phobia.
Usually it just makes me embarrassed, and the people around me either amused or annoyed; but it's really rather debilitating. For the past month or so, we've been having small, harmless beetles around the house, and I've been moderately freaked out about them. Two nights ago, when I was feeding the mice, I noticed that one of the cages was crawling with the frippin' things. I kept myself under control, finished the mouse-feeding, and went to bed. Last night, however, when I was preparing to feed the mice, I remembered the bugs and just started shaking and hyperventilating at the very thought of going into the room with them. J. said "I've had that kind of reaction after surviving car crashes, and you have it every few weeks. Do any of your therapists know about this?"
I've talked to them about it, but, again, it usually just sounds like something minor, more embarrassing than anything else, not like a serious, life-affecting phobia. But I guess it is. The world is full of insects (and their ilk); they pretty much own the planet. I don't mind them when they're outside, where they're supposed to be; but when they're in my house, or in my office, or actually on me, I just can't handle it. And since I'm living and working in South Philly rowhouses, roaches and ants and centipedes and so forth are a fact of interior life.
I don't really know what to do about it; when I went through therapy for social phobia, it was all about exposures"go out and do the thing you're afraid of so you know it's not so bad." I just can't imagine doing that with bugs. Maybe I'm catastrophizing, but I imagine having to go to a pet store and stick my hand in the cricket cage, or to a university entomology department to handle Madagascar hissing roaches. I'd rather have teeth pulled.
Oh well; I've got an appointment with my therapist today, and I'll bring it up, and see if she has any suggestions for serious phobia treatment.
[ at 12:00 PM • by Abby • permalink • ]