When conditions collide

Here’s something else about me. I have severe arachnophobia – I mean pretty much any size (even money spiders), I can’t even look at a picture and I’m not overly keen on writing the word.

I am absolutely terrified. I can be frozen with fear, unable to decide which way to go, or I can bolt out of there like lightning. I shake, my heart races – all the usual symptom of true fear. I’ve been known to dash out of my own bedroom leaving all the lights on, the TV blaring and move into the spare room. Last year I moved out of my room for 3-4 nights because of one. I even made my parents help me move everything out of my bedroom to find the bugger. Still, I couldn’t go back in there to sleep for a while. I have also occasionally been known to come in from the garden and head straight for the drinks cupboard for a sip of something to steady my nerves after I’ve come across a particular kind unexpectedly.

As you are all probably aware – I have OCD and one of my compulsions is to check the doors, windows, TV, gas etc before bed – usually more than twice. The trouble comes when my phobia collides with my OCD. Tonight as I was unloading the dishwasher I heard my Mum exclaim there was a very big spider in the lounge – Dad went in to help her get it out, but it moved too quickly and it went under some furniture. This means it’s still there. When lights go out and the house quietens down – they come out more often (certainly in September). I have done my checking once (and I tried to do it mindfully and methodically) but now I’m in a dilemma. My phobia is keeping me from going downstairs to do any additional checking but my OCD will kick in as I get sleepy and will urge me to go downstairs and check.

This is not the first time this conflict has arisen. Sometimes the OCD wins, sometimes it’s the phobia. Maybe it’s because I didn’t see it this time so in my mind it’s enormous, but I have a feeling the phobia might win out. Not sure though.

Anyone else ever had a conflict like this?

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