Phobias and Panic Attacks

Monday, May 19th, 2014

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this in-depth, but after what just happened to me, I thought it might be interesting to discuss…

Most people know I have a fear of bugs; I’ve never been shy about hiding that fact. But I don’t think until today did I realize just how far my fear stretched.

In general, I can deal with little bugs. Ants, and the like. Anything bigger, and I will revert back to my little-kid self and somebody will have to come and kill it for me. This is especially true for creatures that fly (or jump). If I’m home alone and spot a bug, I will close the door to that room and move to another one until Mike comes home and can find and kill it. If there’s a bug in the way of where I’m walking, I will find another way, even if it takes me longer. I have been this way for as long as I can remember.

So this morning… I took a load of laundry down to the basement. I had the clothes in the washer, detergent poured in and about half the quarters in their slots. It was then that I noticed a plump, black…something. I freaked. Initially I thought it was the biggest spider I’d ever seen, but because I refused to get near it, I couldn’t be sure. Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, I noticed something even bigger crawling out of the floor drain. It was about an inch in length, maybe (probably) longer, black, brown, lots of legs and what looked to be a pair of wings, but again, I couldn’t be sure. I watched it for a few minutes (it felt like hours…) and that’s when I realized the spider-looking one was dead. I returned my attention to the thing that crawled out of the drain (if that’s not a bad sci-fi movie, I don’t know what is) and my first thought was it looked like a beetle. Or a cockroach. A larger-than-life beetle or cockroach. I started to have what I think was a panic attack; I was shaking, breathing heavy, and then came the tears. I was completely petrified and afraid to make any sudden movements. I thought about just leaving and returning upstairs, but I didn’t know what to do about the clothes in the washer. When the thing made its way to the other side of the room, I very slowly made my way back over and finished putting the rest of the quarters in and got the machine going. And then I made a beeline for the stairs.

That was about an hour and a half ago. I need to go back down and change the clothes over to the dryer, but I don’t honestly think I can. Mike is trying to calm me down via texts, but he won’t be home for another six hours, and as much as I don’t want to leave the clothes sitting in a wet pile for that long, I might have to.

They say in order to conquer your fears, you have to confront them. But how do you do that when you’re having a meltdown over just the thought of going back? Do I cover myself from head to toe in the event that it bites or stings? Do I arm myself with some kind of weapon? (Something long-handled, such as a broom? Chemical warfare, such as Raid?) What if I go back and it’s nowhere to be found? That would be worse yet. I know people have all kinds of fears and phobias, but sometimes I feel like I’m alone with this. It’s not “just a bug” to me. It’s much, much worse.

As of now, I can’t do it. I can’t go back there. I’m going to have to wait for Mike. And even then, I still don’t know whether I’ll be able to follow him into the basement. It seems like such a simple thing, and for most people, I’m sure it probably is. But for me, it’s become this huge ordeal that’s now affecting my daily life. What to do? Sigh.

[EDIT]

When Mike came home, he promptly went into the basement to switch the clothes over. He then came back up to get a broom. The plump, black dead thing was even too big and creepy for him to get close to. He wouldn’t even kick it out of the way with his shoe, hence the broom. This is a guy who isn’t afraid of bugs, so imagine how I must’ve felt with a phobia. Unfortunately, the unidentified drain-crawler has decided to go into hiding. I think Mike thinks that I’m exaggerating its size, but I assure you, I’m not. Needless to say, he will have to do the laundry from now on. I can’t go through that again.

Leave a Reply