Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Face the Fear

There aren't many things that I'm scared of. Ninety-nine percent of the time I'm a fully functioning, coherent human being, that can stand up to most things, people and situations.
There are some things that I just plain 'don't like', such as being somewhere where I can't see my feet; ie: Pitch darkness or murky water, but I can get on with the 'not liking'.
There are some things that I am naturally 'scared of' such as being in the middle of a pub brawl or caught up in somebody else's fight, but that's a rational fear, and again I can deal with it.
But when it comes to things that really do scare me, I tend to fall apart, and in style.
The main things that set me off like a quivering wreck are spiders, level crossings and for some
unknown reason other than I had a nightmare about it when I was about three years old, hydraulic machinery, especially when it's coloured orange.
I haven't been to see anybody about these phobias. Instead I've been trying to deal with situations that involve the things as and when they occur, and with the hep of a book title - Face the Fear and Do It Anyway* - I've been coping well, and even getting better.
There have been good times like when I managed to ignore a very small spider that was on the wall across the room from me, and the time I managed to drive across a level crossing with my eyes open for once, but sometimes it's all gone hideously Pete Tong.
Such as the time I was in Southall and saw that where a building had been torn down, there was instead an open lot with loads of huge hydraulicky-type machine things.
The hideous titan things were just standing there, silently waiting to catch then squash me, and it took me a few deep breaths before I plucked up the courage to walk past. My then boyfriend was very patient with me, but then he suggested that I confront my fear of them, after all, they were just machines and with no-one operating them, they weren't going to to anything.
So the next evening we were set to walk past again, only this time I walked up the the very edge of the lot and right by the gap in the fencing. With the encouragement of the boyfriend I edged closer to the biggest of the bastard things and was almost within an arms length of it when from out of nowhere, the biggest fuc darned doberman that was working as a guard dog, woofed almost right in my face.
I screamed, the boyfriend screamed, the dog barked again and again, but was (very luckily for us) right at the end of it's chain and could go no further.
It was not the best way to go about trying to get over a fear about something else.
But the worst thing for me was when I was alone in the house and knew that I was going to be alone for at least another three hours and a fu*& off, huge spider came and set up lodging in my bedroom.
As I said earlier, I can 'cope' with small ones, but I swear that this bastard was about the size of a small hamster. Akay, maybe not quite that big, but for me being a confirmed arachnaphobe, it seemed that size, and it was on the wall, in my room, right above the television just sitting and staring at me.
As I tried not to hyperventilate I thought about anybody who I could call to come and help me remove it, but everybody I knew was out or away, and my then boyfriend wasn't coming over to mine for at least as I said, three more hours.
I decided that the fire brigade would more than likely not come out to rescue me, so gathering all my bravado I grabbed a nearby vase.
I took the flowers out and emptied the water out of the window, all the time keeping one eye on the beastie in case it decided to jump at me.
Then, (after a quick swig out of a bottle of vodka I kept to make perfume from) I nonchalantly crept up on the fecker.
It was just about to run when I managed to get the vase over it, thus stopping it from running up my arm and climbing on me, woohoo!
I'd left the window open, and all I needed to do was get a piece of sturdy card and place it between the vase and the spider.
It was then that I realized I'd left the card on the other side of the room.

Three hours later my boyfriend got back to find me crying, and still holding the vase against the wall in case the spider got out and went for me.
If it had been a snake I'd have been fine.
But I still think I'm getting better. Slowly but surely I'm facing the fear, and now always keep an empty vase and card by my bed, just in case.
Maybe one day, I'll manage to drive across a level crossing with my eyes open again, too!

*I've only ever read the title of the book as it seemed succinct enough in the information given.