Scary October #29

Only three more days left of the month, so you won’t have to read much more scary stuff, although if I were to be completely honest, my ‘scary’ stuff hasn’t been too terrifying, has it?

Today I thought I’d talk about phobias and things we fear. I took several Psychology courses back in university. First, I took Psych 101, the intro to the subject. As an educator, I then took Child Psychology and when I studied to work with Special Needs students, I took Abnormal Psychology. It was fascinating to read about how different people think, how their minds grow from infancy to adulthood and how a fearless child attributes danger to certain things which can eventually grow into phobias.

My mother-in-law and Hubby both have claustrophobia, the fear of tight spaces. This is not a hereditary thing, but a learned behaviour. I’m not sure how my mother-in-law’s phobia began, but Hubby has mentioned an incident as a child where he fell through deep snow and was trapped there for some time until he was dug out. More than likely, his claustrophobia stems from that point in his life. That’s probably why he originally chose the high steel as a career choice – lots of wide open spaces in THAT job! 🙂

We’ve already touched on arachnophobia, the fear of spiders in this post. My daughter used to have this fear to a greater extent than she does now. Her hubby told her he did not want her to kill any spiders because his Cree heritage believes that spiders contain the souls of those who have passed on. His sister died in her teens and he believes that whenever a spider is in the house, she is coming for a visit. Shortly after the birth of their child, Daughter would sit nursing the baby and said she often found small spiders gathering around her. She lives in the house her grandparents’ built (and her grandmother died there), so she is now inclined to believe that both her grandparents and Hubby’s sister came to say hello to the baby frequently during those first few days.

I, personally, have a fear of heights or acrophobia. This is most evident when I have to climb down a ladder and must focus on how far away the ground seems. It doesn’t help that my hips lock up, which makes it difficult to step down without the ladder wobbling.

Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach, Christmas Day, 1979

When we were in Hawaii, just after we got married, we went to see Diamond Head and its military base, Fort RugerBoth Hubby and I had to face our fears that day. The entrance at the time was a long, dark, L-shaped tunnel that ended in a bunker deep inside the dormant volcano. The floor was uneven and because we couldn’t see very well, Hubby’s claustrophobia kicked into high gear. My eyes have little problem with semi-darkness, so Hubby placed his hand on my shoulder and followed my lead until we got to the gun slit.

Through the gun slit, looking out over the ocean

Further in was a room with a metal ladder clamped into the rock wall where we could climb to the flat top of Diamond Head and drink in the beauty of Waikiki and the gorgeous aquamarine ocean. Although I found the ladder tall and a little rickety (Hubby insists it was solid enough), I swallowed hard, focussed on the opening above me and made it up all the way. The view really was breathtaking, I must admit, but when it came time to face the ladder to go back down, I panicked! We let all the other visitors go down first, then Hubby began the descent. I turned around and he placed my foot on the first rung. I clung to the ladder’s sides as Hubby took each foot and brought it down to the next rung. I eventually got to the bottom without having to see the distance to the floor below me. It was a very embarrassing experience, especially when everyone applauded when I finally touched the ground!

The view from the top of Diamond Head

Me, behind the ‘handler’, on my way up into the wild blue yonder!

A year later, we went to Acapulco, Mexico and Hubby convinced me to go parasailing. Oddly enough, I was fine with it. Maybe I felt secure in the knowledge that the parachute I was attached to would not let me hurtle to my death. Maybe it was the fact that I knew which ropes to pull to control my descent – and I didn’t have to climb down a ladder! I enjoyed it immensely and wished the experience lasted longer. It almost made me want to try sky diving – almost! 🙂

The Diving Cliff, Acapulco, April 1981



One thing I’d never try is this:

See that diver standing on the edge? It’s really hard to determine from the photo just how high the cliffs actually are, but this is certainly not a sport I would be inclined to try – ever! My stomach clenches just thinking about it!



There are literally thousands of fears and phobias that one might get. Some can be quite debilitating, forcing the phobic individual into a living nightmare when facing them. I’ve only touched on a few here. Do YOU have any fears or phobias you’d like to admit to share? 🙂

12 comments on “Scary October #29

  1. I have my issues with spiders, though I was unaware about the Cree belief; had I known this before, I’d have been a lot more charitable with some of the ‘visitors’ I’ve gotten, and offer my apologies for some of those encounters…

    What always surprised me was the number of acrophobes in New York; with all the real estate that moved upwards, the legions of people who go to their desks and studiously avoid looking out their windows every day was surprising. Apparently, acrophobia can be trumped here by peniaphobia, fear of poverty…

    • Interesting, J. D. I think maybe Hubby has a bit of peniaphobia, too, or maybe he’s just a skin-flint. He hates spending money if he doesn’t have to! lol

      Hope your spider fears have lessened slightly. I still get a little freaked out by the bigger types of arachnids like those ugly hairy tarantulas, but the smaller ones I can deal with – or I’ll let my cat eat them! lol

      • I’m not sure I’m going to try to deal with my feelings about spiders, because it seems Fate gives me reasons not to.

        The last time I seriously used acclimation therapy to deal with it, putting myself in place to be around spiders and being in proximity to them to relax, was August of 2001. A month later, I lost a friend from high school when the planes hit the World Trade Center.

        And this year, I write an article at the beginning of this month about spiders to put those feelings into words, and am now spending the end of the month hunkered down as Hurricane Sandy floods the Battery and Red Hook, with 36 hours to go before the worst of it blows through.

        Either there are forces in the universe that have declared I should always be a little uneasy around arachnids, or those departed spirits that visited me as spiders are b-slappn’ me back to the Stone Ages for what I did. Either way, yeouch…

  2. Years ago, spiders and I had an understanding; if I needed to stand on something to kill one, I wouldn’t bother. So the spiders and I lived in relative harmony. They stuck to the upper walls and ceiling and I stayed on the floor.

    Now that I am married and with a son, I have been forced into the role of spider killing machine.

    “SPIDER!” I’d hear. “KILL IT!” And I am pressed into service. It doesn’t bother me, mostly. But sometimes, when I’m clambering up a stepstool, I do get the troubling notion that I am violating the terms of a peace treaty.

  3. I don’t have a problem with spiders, just as well as the house in France is spider heaven, I don’t kill them but do try to put them out when I can there is one great big hairy bloke though who does a nightly walk across the living room. I don’t know where he lives but late at night, very late when there is only me left out he comes and follows the same route across the front of the fireplace down under the sideboard and then – well I don’t know what then. I like him, we have a mutual space sharing thing going!. My son who is a big tough Triathlete has a read phobia about snakes and goes pale and trembly even looking at a picture of one, he says he believes it comes from one day when swimming in the red sea and one slid over his legs – that’d do it I guess.

    I don’t have any phobias but once in Thailand we visited a village built on stilts above the ocean, it was a wonderful place but the walkways were very rickety and I did that freezing up thing there, had to cling to the hubby to move along and there were girls tripping back and forth as though they were on an ordinary pavement. Odd isn’t it. A very interesting thread thanks – Diane

    • I can relate to that, Elizabeth. Bugs aren’t very likable. I’ve seen displays of dead bugs that are absolutely HUGE, which are enough to give me the ‘willies’! Some have beautifully iridescent carapaces, but I still wouldn’t want to meet them while they’re alive!

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