How to not be afraid of spiders anymore*

*Or more accurately, how to be slightly less scared of spiders.**

**As long as they don’t touch you and aren’t too big.

I have always been afraid of spiders. They are definitely in my top three fears, alongside clowns and ventriloquist dummies.

When I was a kid I was pretty bad and would freak out if I saw one of the eight legged hell spawn. Things would be thrown, there would be screaming and all sorts of rather embarrassing behaviour.

Now if I see a spider I can remain calm and catch it. Or kill it quickly. I kill too many, but I can’t always get to a glass and card without losing sight if the spider. And I’m more afraid of the spiders I can’t see. Those are the ones that can crawl on me later, and the shock sees a reversion to the freaking out response.

image

Tried to find a non-creepy spider picture. Failed. So have Spidey by Chris Giarrusso

But it’s still an improvement.

I still fear getting bit by some horrifically venomous arachnid that has stowed away among some bananas, but for the most part I operate a “don’t bother me, and there won’t be any trouble” policy for spiders. And it all started a few years ago.

The spiders that used to bother me the most were the corner lurkers. They were in awkward places, out of the reach of a well aimed newspaper. I’d lie in my bed knowing that up above me they were lurking.

Around this time I read the “fact” that you swallow something like seven spiders a year/lifetime (I’ve seen both versions of this fact). This meant that every day I woke up and checked that all my little web spinners were with me.

And then I heard a tip to stop you being afraid of stuff.

You name them.

It’s a wonderfully simple idea.

If you give something a name, it stops being an anonymous terror and you see it as something else, something with a bit of personality. Not just a mindless beast out to get you.

So, I named every spider in my room. And I was less afraid of them after that. I’d climb into bed, check that all were present and go to sleep.

Of course, for this to work you need to give them decent names. Ideally ones that are not in the least bit threatening. The plan falls apart if you name them things like Crippler, Deathstrike or Stormageddon, Destroyer of Worlds.

I opted for things like Boris, and after that I didn’t fear them. I actually got oddly attached to them. I still checked on them, but partly because I wanted to make sure they were okay. Boris lived the longest and became a fixture until he croaked and it was kinda weird not having him dangling up there.

So, that is how you become slightly less afraid of spiders. As long as they don’t get on you.

Hope that helps.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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