Does something make you really scared?
I was at the dentist a few weeks ago. There seemed to be a problem in one of the consultation rooms – different dentists and nurses going in and out in a hurry. What could it be? Not enough anaesthetic for a patient? Serious problems with surgery? No, it was far worse than that.
The practice manager was summoned, and she came out with a spider in a glass. Phew! Situation resolved. The staff all looked far more relaxed. Life could continue. Had I been afraid of going to the dentist, I think this might have tipped me over the edge.
Afraid of a spider?
Why are we afraid of things like spiders? Is it rational? I read an article that suggests that we don’t even need to encounter a spider to be afraid – if our parents had had a bad experience, it might rub off on us, too.
I have always wondered why people were frightened of wasps. I was stung once as a girl and yes, it did hurt, but it wasn’t the end of the world. In fact, I found people running away from them to be quite silly and irrational. Little did I know.
I was weeding the final patch of flower bed in our back garden a few weeks ago. The area was starting to look tamed rather than deliberately wild. My little boy starting talking about buzzing, and asked why bees and wasps made that noise. I didn’t really think much of it until I must have stuck my fork into a wasp’s nest.
Stinging insects everywhere
You don’t need to hear the whole sorry tale, but the highlights include wasps in my hair, behind my sunglasses and seemingly crawling everywhere. Little boy bemused by his Mum’s wild banshee-like screaming, and husband laughing as he flapped a tea towel at my now static-infused hair to try and remove the crawling, buzzing horrors. The sting next to my eye went down after a few days.
Now, I appear to be the person who legs it when a wasps comes on the scene. I can no longer tell people to calmly put down that cup of orange juice that has a wasp on the inside – no, the fear and panic come along before I can rationally remind myself that if I move away quietly, I am unlikely to be stung.
I am a little sad that I may now have traumatised my children so much that they also have a fear of wasps, but I have learnt something. Just because someone is afraid, it doesn’t make them irrational. And as the saying goes, once bitten, twice shy.
Once bitten, twice shy
Just because we tell ourselves that most spiders in this country won’t bite us, it doesn’t stop many people from being unable to tolerate them. And just because I now know that a wasp sting next to my eye really does stop hurting the next day, I can’t imagine being very pleased to have another occasion where they are crawling all over me. It really wasn’t the end of the world, but that is not how it felt at the time.
I hope I will now be more understanding if someone tells me they are afraid. After all, everyone is afraid of something, aren’t they?
What are you afraid of?
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