Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!


Imagine my disgust as a person who strives to be unique and walk to the beat of my own drum, I find myself with the most common phobia known to man…the fear of spiders. Worse yet, it’s not my only fear. There is also the fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of dirt… Wow, that list is long.

I can’t say I have conquered many of my fears, but what I have done is learn to face them. My fear of heights used to be so extreme that I couldn’t stand on a chair. The problem with having this fear is it gets in the way of having fun, if you let it.

Spelunking…I found myself in the situation where I was attached to a rope (or whatever they call it) and was asked to lean over the hole backwards until I was horizontal and then start walking down the side into a 100ft deep hole. I did it and I am damn proud of it.

I have been to mountain tops via the chairlift. Sure I have to concentrate on my breathing, but who would want to miss that view, it’s spectacular! I have ridden in the highest gondola in the world that stretches the longest span. I didn’t look down, but at least I went in it. So much for my fear of heights! I may not stand on the edge of an open cliff, that’s okay, common sense says one should not stand to close to the edge without a safety harness anyway!

My fear of flying most certainly comes from my Mother, as most of my fears probably do. And, I have had some horrible trips in planes, but at least I get on the planes, I didn’t used to. In high school I missed out on trips to Morocco and Paris because I refused to fly so far. As I matured something strange happened, my curiosity to see the world and find out what’s around the next corner got the better of the fear! I didn’t want to miss out on other opportunities to see the world, so I refused to let the fear overcome.

I have flown quite a bit in my lifetime and have learned to practice little things to help me with my anxiety. I must look out the window on takeoff and landing and have the ability to look out the window at any time during the flight. I concentrate on my breathing or else I will forget to breathe and start to feel dizzy. The important thing is, I just do it. Amazingly, I find myself with family in Canada while I live in Australia which necessitates a yearly trip across the ocean. Such is life, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

My fear of dirt definitely comes from my Mother. I was in my 20’s when I learned that most people do not mop their floors three times a day. It was at that time I decided to try to handle small amounts of dirt in my life and not be so concerned with having my house spotless. Unfortunately, it took me many years to learn how to control this phobia. Consequently, I have missed out on many picnics because I couldn’t eat outside where there is dirt and I spent more time cleaning my house than spending quality time playing with my kids. But I am getting better. I now only clean the house once a week, although I still like order, except in closets and drawers where it has become a free for all!

So, why is it that those pesky little spiders still send me in to a panic attack?  The other day Al and I went off to the store. Al was driving. Suddenly a huntsman spider crossed on the outside of our windshield. We had the windows down so Al immediately hit the button to put the windows up. I, in my panic hit the button on top of his finger and pushed harder. I know it doesn’t make the window go up faster, but logic does not come into it when one is dealing with a phobia. The spider decided to go down into the vent on the hood. Our vehicle is fairly new, so it has screens on the vents to filter out air pollution. That fact didn’t’ help me as I struggled to close all the vents inside, pulled my legs up and hyperventilate all at the same time.

Al pulled over as soon as he could. I was out of the vehicle in a shot. Pacing up and down the sidewalk, crying and trying to breathe! It was horrible.

Worse, I now had a choice to make…get back in the car and go home or walk home which was an option because I was not that far from home. I stood for a minute and told myself, “this is an irrational fear, that spider can not harm you” and I got back in the car.

I got back in the car because I understand that irrational fear is a state of mind. It’s okay to be scared, but I can not let that fear rule my life. If I did I wouldn’t be living with the most wonderful man in the world because I had to get on a plane to get here and move to Australia…known for it’s spiders, killer spiders! And, I live in the area where some of those killer spiders live, the feared funnel web.

We made it home without the spider showing itself again. Al, being the honey that he is, got a hose and flushed the huntsman out of the vehicle.

The thing is I know I have to get on top of this fear, after all, what if I had of been driving? I can not cause an accident because of a spider, so I am just going to have to learn.

I have been making baby steps. I went through the spider building at the wildlife park. I never would have done that five years ago. Yes, I have had my house sprayed several times and it’s due for another spray as spiders are showing up in the yard. I try not to let it affect me, but I notice myself choosing to sit inside more often rather than out in our beautiful yard. I will get the yard sprayed again, but I also will continue to work on controlling the strongest emotion of mankind…fear.

It’s okay to be scared as long as one has the courage to not let the fear run their life. For this reason and this reason alone, I am not and will not get on a plane, leave the man I love, the life I have built here, to go home to where spiders are way smaller and much less formidable of an opponent! That would be giving in and that’s just not the way my drum beats…no, it beats my way!

4 responses to “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!

  1. Karen February 7, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Judy, you are my hero!!!

  2. Jaime lee February 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    So I now know where my anxiety is coming from

  3. Alan Brooks February 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Well Kitty, I think you are very brave. To me, if you are scared of something and face it – you are brave. If spiders do not scare someone, they are not brave to deal with it. So I don’t mind chasing them away, even though I don’t like killing them.

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