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Arachnophobia, Spiders and ME…. An Update

Almost four years ago, I wrote about how sound therapy helped me with my arachnophobia. It wasn’t that I didn’t like spiders, it was more a case of a debilitating fear that changed the way I lived my life.

When I was doing my first sound therapy qualification, I was the guinea-pig for a new technique we were learning. It was an hour long treatment, and was designed for us to learn the techniques involved, rather than for me to be healed of this phobia (when treating someone like this, it would take more treatment sessions). However, just that one treatment had an effect. I wrote at length about the changes that happened over the years in my last post about this.

But I wanted to give you an update, because it struck me the other day when I was out weeding in the garden, just how far I’ve come, and how much I continue to improve. From a base of not being able to say the word “spider” or touch the page of a book that had a picture of a spider on it - even to get rid of the picture that was causing me such anxiety and fear, I’ve now got to a place where I don’t flinch when I see spiders in the house. Mostly. Big spiders still have an effect, but most of the ones I see don’t and I don’t generally need them removing.

<img src="" alt="The tuning forks that changed my life!" />

The tuning forks that changed my life!

The tuning forks that changed my life!

The exception to this has always been my bedroom. I have been known - even within the last year - to sleep on the sofa rather than sleep in my bed knowing a spider ran under it and can’t be located. But a few weeks ago, as I crawled into bed, worn out from a busy a day, I noticed a spider on the wall above my wardrobe. This would normally require my teenager to get creative in reaching it and removing it. But this night, I just couldn’t be bothered. I was so tired. Too tired to care that there was a spider in my bedroom. And so I turned off the light and went to sleep. This has never happened before in my life, and I’m now 47 years old! (By which I mean, of course I know I have slept with spiders in the room before, it’s impossible for that not to have happened. But I have never gone to sleep knowing where one was). When I woke up the next day I was ridiculously pleased with myself!

And things continued to improve. Very recently, on getting into bed, I felt an itch on the back of my leg. I went to scratch it, but found instead a large, hot, painful lump, and the tell-tale sign of spreading red skin around it that told me I had been bitten by something my body didn’t like. Looking at it, I was able to rule out the usual things - midges, mosquitos, horseflies, bee or wasp stings. After checking there was nothing actually in the bed with me(!), I tentatively asked wise Dr Google what the hell had bitten me. And wise Dr Google told me I had been bitten by a spider, probably a False Widow. Well. You might imagine the hysteria that followed.

Except that it didn’t. In days gone by, not many years ago, a spider touching me would have brought on a complete breakdown. But knowing I had just been bitten by a spider caused … nothing. Well, I swore like a sailor, mainly because the pain was incredible. But I was calm. The offending creature was not in my bed and didn’t appear to be nearby, so I went to sleep. I swore more the next day, when the pain increased, as did the swelling, and when I ended up having to take a week’s worth of antibiotics because the damn thing was infected. But that was more to do with antibiotics that than the knowledge of what had caused it. Wow.

<img src="" alt="These little critters ran over my foot" />

These little critters ran over my foot

These little critters ran over my foot

And then we come to my weeding session in the garden the other day. My garden is a herbalist’s dream - by which I mean the weeds grow well and are all kinds of useful, but they are overly abundant. One particular plant seems to love the conditions in my garden, and so I have an abundance of horsetail. My which I mean, we are suffocating in the stuff. I spent an hour uprooting handfuls at a time the other day, masses of the stuff, and with every section I cleared, I uncovered a nest of little pale spiders. Hundreds of them at a time, all running around the floor, while I stood there in my flipflops. An earlier version of me would have been hysterical again, but I just rolled my eyes - of course there were spiders hiding in there - and got on with the job in hand. Even when a few ran over my foot. I kid you not.

To be honest, I was more concerned about the masses of tiny green caterpillars that were shaken free; I’ve a garden full of home grown veg that’s doing pretty well, and I didn’t want those caterpillars anywhere near my peas and broccoli!

So, unless you’d like lots of pictures of the vegetable beds in my garden, that concludes this update about my continuing improvement, and how even after all these years, I’m still amazed by the power of sound!

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