Conquering My Fear With CBT

We all have things that we don’t like, things that we’re frightened of. Mine is spiders. Over the past few years my fear of them was getting worse, and it was beginning to have an effect on my health. Whenever I came face to face with a spider in my house I’d cry hysterically, have a panic attack, and usually throw up. I couldn’t even bare to be left in the house alone in case one would appear.

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A year ago, I decided to conquer my fear with the help of CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy!

Whenever I would tell people about my fear, I’d feel stupid because comments like ‘well you’re bigger than a spider’, or ‘you shouldn’t be frightened of something like that’ would often be made. That didn’t exactly help with how I was feeling. Every time I’d enter a room in my house, I would stand in the doorway and look at all corners of the floor, and the ceiling, checking that it was a spider-free zone, and that it was ‘safe’ for me to go in the room. I’m very lucky that I have understanding parents, who decided that we should look into therapy. Our friend recommended the wonderful Louise, and having a brief chat via text, she was more than happy to see me.

THE PROCESS

Over the course of two months, I had several sessions of CBT, and it was incredible! Louise helped me understand how the brain worked, how to tackle situations and think rationally. Most importantly, she didn’t judge me and I felt so comfortable and happy to finally be getting the help I wanted, and needed.

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Throughout the sessions, we’d talk about spiders and different ways that I’d approach situations, how I’d feel, and how my anxiety was affected. We, of course, had to start bringing actual spiders into the session. Over the weeks I’d practice looking at them, holding them in containers, catching them, and even letting them crawl on my skin, something I NEVER thought I’d be able to do.

At first, I really didn’t know what to expect with the therapy. I didn’t know whether it would work, whether it would help. My outcome wasn’t to just ‘get over’ my fear of spiders, because it’s not that easy. I just wanted to be calmer and learn to handle the situation. Looking back over this past year, it’s unbelievable to see how much it really did help. I’ve been able to get rid of spiders in my house without a second thought, even staring at them up close to inspect them before I set them free! I’ve been able to stay in alone and NOT feel anxious, and it’s no longer something at the front of my mind.

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In my final session, Louise even took me to an exotic pet shop (Blaydon Exotics), and I held a Chile Rose Tarantula! The whole experience was amazing, and I’m so glad that I got help – it’s something that I’d certainly recommend. It’s not ‘stupid’, it’s not a ‘waste of time’…it’s beneficial and one of the best things I’ve ever done!

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