Apparently, if you come face-to-face with something you fear then you’ll find that the scary thing isn’t actually that scary at all, and you’ll be brave, move on from it and be practically cured of that fear.
This is not true.
For weeks now I’ve been petrified of finding a spider in my drink. I don’t know where this fear has come from exactly (probably because my mum always made me change the cat’s water outside and there would always be dirty spiders swimming in it) but I’ve just been feeling like it would happen. Today it did. I picked up a glass of water that had been sitting out for a few hours in the middle of the kitchen bench. The clean, tidy kitchen bench.
I almost drank that water. Almost. I almost put that goddamn glass to my mouth. For some reason I just felt the need to tip out the water and refill it though.
So I tipped it down the sink and noticed a large thing drop out of it. Large. Not exaggerating because I’m scared of spiders. Large. Good riddance you bastard. Does this mean that suddenly I no longer feel burdened by this feeling that a spider was going to make its way into my drink? Nope. Am I suddenly braver having faced the very fear that has frozen me solid? Nup.
I feel worse. Why? Because now I know that it can happen. It’s a legitimate fear, it’s possible. From now on every time I pick up a drink my fear is going to double. Actually, quadrupled because I didn’t even see the spider when I picked that cup up, I only saw it fall out of the cup. The water hides them. This is something that is actually making me consider getting rid of all my possessions and living in a small room where I can see everything.
I fear being robbed. I have been robbed before. ….Twice. People wonder why I am so anxious about leaving my house, and worrying about my home when I’m not there. It’s because I know how brazen thieves are. I was first robbed during the day while I was home with the door open listening to music, the second time at night while our lights were still on. Thieves are the worst pieces of people because they invade your safety, your peace of mind, your home.
The thing is though… fear kills life. I don’t want to be scared, panicked, unhappy… I want to be free. How do I be free when I’m scared to take a sip of water, or worry about whether or not I locked my back door? Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer. I just know that the only way to battle against anxiety is to continue to fight the battle everyday. Everyday you fight it gets easier. I promise.
Want to know how I know? Because when I saw the spider, for the first time, I didn’t scream.