Tuesday, May 28, 2013

If I Went to Therapy

I felt pretty good about myself after slaying Pete single-handedly. I thought "Hey, maybe my fear of spiders isn't so bad after all." After I posted about The Spider Incident, Chris and I went down to the basement to watch a movie, and I went to check on Pete's rotting carcass in the windowsill.

 I expected to see this.

"How's Pete doing?" I asked.

"Are you sure he's dead?" Chris said.

"Yeah, trust me, he's dead. Look at his rotting carcass! He's obviously dead!"

"Really? He's still in his web though..."

As Chris ran back upstairs to grab something he'd forgotten, I realized what he'd been looking at, and it wasn't Pete. There was another, bigger, badder spider living in that windowsill. He had probably commandeered Pete's web like the thieving bastard he was.

This is what he looked like.

I involuntarily released my Spider Yell, which is the noise I make upon seeing a spider (similar to a Rebel Yell). It's a cross between a cow mooing and a village idiot yelling. Yeah, for some reason I scream like the exact opposite of a little girl.

It's okay. I got this. I thought. The Scrubbing Bubbles were still right there from the last time I had had to protect my home from spider takeover. I could easily grab the can and spray Pete 2 to smithereens in a matter of seconds, and we could go on our merry way.

Remember how Pete struggled to overcome the rapid foaming action of the Scrubbing Bubbles before ultimately succumbing to his tragic demise? Well, Pete 2 did the same, only he managed to drag his bubbly carcass out of the suds and make a soapy escape.

I screamed again. "GET BACK IN HERE!" I yelled to Chris. "It's ESCAPING!" If I'm not mistaken, it was also getting bigger and faster by the second. "Chris! Come kill it for me! NOW!" I started to panic. He wasn't running back fast enough. Pete 2 was scampering away. My hand that held the can of Scrubbing Bubbles shook uncontrollably.

And I couldn't help it. I started crying. I cried as one might cry when someone breaks into their house or tells them their pet has been hit by a car. I panicked like I was stuck in a fire or on a doomed airplane. I couldn't catch my breath. I was snotting and sniffling like Adele at the Grammys. The cry was not proportional to the cause.

Chris finally came back in, valiantly saved me from the spider, and sat me down on the couch. He wasn't sure whether to laugh or be concerned, so he opted for both.

"You need therapy," he said, half joking. Well, maybe 25 percent joking. Okay I just checked with him, he said "Three percent. I would go with you to therapy if you wanted."

After therapy, maybe spiders would look like this. All spiders, not just this kind.

And I briefly considered it. I believe my employer offers some sort of mental health benefit. And honestly, my fear of spiders is starting to impact my life. I won't go camping because of it. I avoid kayaks and canoes, and pretty much all nature-y things because of it. When I think about my peers' world travels, all I can think about is the myriad spiders they probably encountered, and how I'm better off sticking to America.

But then I thought What's a therapist going to do about it? If my therapist was bad, I would have wasted time and money. But what if my therapist was good and able to cure me? What would it take to cure someone of a spider phobia?
This is what it would take.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? I don't know much about behavior therapy, but from what I can discern from AP Psych, therapy would probably involve:
  • Letting spiders crawl on me.
  • Petting their furry legs. 
  • Fostering a pet tarantula and possibly taking it for a walk on a leash.
  • Being locked into an iron maiden full of spiders.
  • Lying down on a couch to talk about my childhood, with the therapist concluding that I have mommy and daddy issues, and they are to blame. 
  • Writing therapeutic poetry about spiders named Pete and how they have to go home to their children after work just like the rest of us.
  • Being made to feel incredibly guilty about all the spiders who have been killed on my behalf. 
  • Learning to refer to spiders as "who" instead of "that."
  • Eating chocolate-covered spiders.
  • Watching videos of spiders preying on other terrible creatures, such as mosquitos. Doing so with my eyes propped open, à la A Clockwork Orange.
  • Etc.
As you can see, going through behavior therapy would be much, much worse than just going through life with a phobia. Why would I pay someone to put spiders on me? So the therapist could tell his buddies at happy hour, "You'll never guess what I got paid to do today!" and they'd all laugh, and he'd pay for everyone's drinks with my appointment fee.

Okay, but serious question time: Has anyone ever done behavioral therapy? If so, what was it like?? And what are you afraid of?


  1. One of my best friends is in behavioral therapy and it's REALLY helpful for her. She's agoraphobic, meaning she has huge problems around people/crowds/even leaving her house--which obviously she can't live a productive life going on with that phobia. Her therapy makes her do things that challenge her--say, go to a party and not leave for 15 minutes, or eat lunch in a busy food court. Much of her therapy lately was building up to being a bridesmaid in my wedding, and she made it through the entire ceremony without breaking down or having a panic attack, so it's definitely working! I'm not sure how it would work with a phobia like spiders, though, but in general, I'm very pro-therapy.

    1. I'm glad it's working for her! I can only imagine the arachnophobia equivalent of eating lunch in a busy food court. I think I'm too scared!

  2. I haven't been in behavioral therapy, but I've gone to regular therapy! (Whatever the technical name for it is, haha.) And if you went to that kind of therapist, they'd want to talk to you about why you have such a fear of spiders, what it stems from and ways for you to deal with or cope with your fear — but not by sticking spiders all over you! I found therapy to be very helpful, as a chronic worrier. I'm also a big believer that most people could benefit from therapy during at least some point in their lives!

    1. Good to know! I guess I just assumed phobias were dealt with using behavioral therapy, since I learned something about that ages ago in psych class. Obviously taking one class makes me an expert haha

  3. It depends on what kind of therapist you go to - you might have one who teaches you coping skills in general, or you might go the systematic desensitization route, depending. Even if you went with SD, it would be things like imagining you're in the same room, imagining you're next to, etc. with you being able to calm yourself at each stage. :)

    1. hmm I think I might be able to handle imagining being in the same room as a spider!

  4. I haven't had to deal with a spider for two years (the benefits of living in a high rise), so I know I would have a similar or worse reaction trying to deal with one now. My solution is to vacuum those f*ckers up and never actually deal with my issues.

    1. Does the vacuum trick really work? I always assumed they would just crawl right back out. But I don't know the mechanics of vacuum cleaners, so maybe that isn't possible.

  5. Hahaha! Therapeutic poetry. I would say try curing yourself by accomplishing everything on that list but given this story it might make things worse.


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