A Slightly Hysterical Letter from an [Arachno]phobic to Non-[Arachno]phobics

I’m going to publish this from the MS Word document I just whipped up now because if I wait until the morning when I have calmed down, I will find it too cringey/whiny/ranty/vulnerable to show to the light of day. This is about arachnophobia but could be related to social anxiety or probably any phobia/anxiety problem…

  • “Please don’t make light of my phobia just because you don’t understand it. I don’t understand it myself. Before I fully know what’s going on, a thousand red lights have lit up in my brain and I’m screaming and standing on a chair. Please understand I don’t know what I can do to stop that, but I really am sorry that it embarrasses you.
  • Please just be glad you don’t have the same problem and help me to have the shortest and least traumatic experience possible.
  • Please don’t try and force me to face my fear. If you do this when I am at my most irrational, this will impress itself in my head as something I will be afraid to do even when I am back in a rational frame of mind. Only I can make the choice to face my fear. You probably don’t know how to face this fear, so please don’t act like you think you do.
  • Please don’t tell me off for panicking… when I’m panicking…
  • Please don’t use my phobia for a prank. I know you mean it in a spirit of fun but doing this tells me you aren’t even trying to imagine the fear I’m feeling or that you think I’m only exaggerating a petty fear. I really desperately wish you would understand but this is the strongest evidence to me that you do not.
  • Right now I can’t imagine how I will live the rest of my life with this level of fear in these situations. I’ve imagined some extreme scenarios relating to this, and the unfortunate truth is that many of them are plausible.
  • Please don’t laugh at my fear, because then I will have to deal not only with my fear, but with an increasing distrust towards humanity. Please don’t feed that.
  • Even if you think I might be an attention seeker exaggerating a fear that isn’t such a big deal, please give me the benefit of the doubt and treat it with discretion anyway. In case I really am out in the deep end.
  •  I really am out in the deep end.

Sincerely,
Arachnophobe”

Baby Steps

Just a short one today! I’ve come to a milestone, nothing major but it’s a start.

I’ve started to get professional help for this thing. I don’t know if it’ll work but I have to explore my options. And I also managed to tell someone I know about it today. And even though this is completely out there, actually talking about it, I’ve been pretty level-headed about it the whole time. I couldn’t have done that a few years ago, so I guess that’s a good sign.

That’s pretty much all I have to say. That must be a record for non-waffliness 🙂

College Days (Part 1)

Ok, so I think now is a good time to make some sense of how social anxiety affected me at 6th form college. Hopefully in times to come I’ll be able to look back and think “I’ve come a long way since then!”

As I wrote before, I left college 3 months ago and I’m starting university shortly. If you’re not familiar with the English education system, college (sixth form) is a bridge between school and uni, usually attended from 16-18 (in my case 17-19 though) There’s a few different qualifications you can study after leaving school, and it’s your choice if you study any at all; in my case I chose the academic option of A Levels, where you choose 4 subjects in the first year and drop 1, continue 3 for the second year.

Two years ago I left my tiny independent Christian school of 20 and set out for college. I knew it would be very different from the s Continue reading “College Days (Part 1)”

Some Background

I feel like some background is probably required.

According to http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-social-anxiety-disorder?page=2 there are a possible mix of causes for the development of Social Anxiety Disorder. These are biological, psychological, and environmental.

  • I’m not sure if biological factors are that responsible for mine, if at all. I mean, my mum was extremely shy growing up, but that was kind of due to her family and school environment. On both sides of my family there’s a strong pattern of introversion, but I’m not sure if any research shows a link between this and social anxiety. Introversion is seen as a negative trait in Western society, when it actually has many benefits and doesn’t mean a person is excessively shy or retiring. Dictionary.com shamefully defines an introvert as “a shy person” when this simply isn’t accurate or backed up by scientific evidence. I’ve written to them at length a Continue reading “Some Background”