Fighting Our Phobia of Spiders

Fear vs. Phobia

Fear. An ordinary human emotion, which – in a reasonable amount – helps us survive. But what if our fear outgrows to an unjustified phobia? The mere thought of the subject of our phobia grows into a panic reaction and anxiety that makes us avoid the given subject.

It is necessary to realize that our phobia is not justified, the panic fear is unreasonable, the object of our fear really doesn’t threat our life.

Both Michal and myself suffer a phobia of spiders. We know about it. When a spider sometimes accidentally appears at our home (understand a Central European spider which grows to a maximum of 3 centimeters), it is usually followed by half an hour long debate about what to do with it and a fight about who will approach the spider to do something at all with it. The idea of going to South America and sleeping somewhere in the wilderness in a tent or in some cabin has always made me feel anxious. Because the spider can easily get into the tent or cabin. And the spider will be bigger than 3 centimeters.

Get Rid of Your Phobia

But to go on adventures to South America is our big dream. We decided, that our dream cannot be taken away due to a phobia, that we will try to fight our fear. Fortunately, Prague ZOO runs a regular course called “Get Rid of Your Phobia”. This course is focused mainly on fear of snakes and spiders, and it’s goal is to convince participants that these cute animals need no fear. At the end of the day all participants get their chance to touch their dreaded animal and to prove themselves that they conquered their fear.

On the day of the course, we were up very early. Do you know that feeling before an important exam? Slight shaking in the stomach area, fear that you will not make it and conviction that if you do make it, your life will be a little better again at the same time? The more we were approaching the ZOO, the more our nervousness escalated. Fortunately, a very nice lector Frantisek Tymr, who accompanied us the whole day, was waiting for us in front of the front gate. The day was very challenging – we started with the theory of fear and phobia in general, we got to touch parts of the animals that we fear (“exuviae” or skin which the spider or snake had outgrown), visited the Indonesian pavilion to see a 10 centimetre big spider, which has it’s net only about two meters from the visitors, who usually have no idea such a spider lives there. At the end of the afternoon we all were tired, but the most important thing was still awaiting.

And finally… we touched the spider!

I was surprised that most people, who claimed in the morning to be terrified of spiders, willingly went to the desk and stretched forth their hands, on which they had slowly crawled 3 huge tarantulas. Even Michal had no problem with it. I stood aside until the others noticed that I still have not found the courage to reach out my hand. Nevertheless, the group enthusiasm overwhelmed me, I stepped closer and let the tarantula step on my palm. At that moment, an infinite amount of emotions mingled inside me – fear, relief, joy, pride… and tears spontaneously started to flow on my cheeks.

We were absolutely amazed when we were leaving home. I cannot say that I’m not afraid of spiders anymore. But I can say that I do not have a phobia anymore. And now, I will not let them spoil our journey. 

We survived the spider terror. Now we are ready for our South American  adventure.

What’s your biggest fear? Do you have any phobia? How do you fight it?

Stay tuned, videolog is coming soon!