Saturday, August 15, 2015

I'm So Brave - My Story of Fighting Spiders With Tears in My Eyes

I have arachnophobia. It's not the typical "Oh I'm a girl and I'm scared of spiders!" Nope. This is the real thing. I've written about it before. 

Since the last time I wrote about my fear (in 2008), I've had a few more experiences with spiders.

Back in 2009 I was on an excavation in Utah for the UNEV pipeline. I told the crew that I had pretty bad arachnophobia and I would really appreciate it if people kept them away from me since I didn't want another panic attack. I'll take care of the snakes, scorpions, centipedes, etc. and you deal with the spiders. Easy, right? Nope! I was under a tent analyzing some artifacts when a few guys came up to me and asked me if I could look at an artifact that was in their scoop. I said sure and then they showed me a huge spider that was in their scoop. I jumped up and yelled and the guys all ran away laughing. Over the next few minutes I just sat there freaking out. I was trying to keep it to myself but the one of my fellow analyzer turned to me and said, "Courtney, it's okay. Just cry."

This guy knew me pretty well. I actually hunted snakes (to capture, not kill) with him at field school back in 2007. So he knew I was serious.

Well I ended up crying all day, ALL DAY. Seriously, I can't control it. The guys ended up feeling really badly about it. I just don't understand why people have to see me have a panic attack before they believe me!

Back in 2012 I was on a survey when I came across a tarantula. He was just walking along, minding his own business when all of a sudden this girl jumps and screams at the top of her lungs. He jumped, I jumped, I cried, and he ran away. I had a good crew with me so they helped me calm down and we continued the hike.

Flash forward to last Wednesday. I was at home, about to leave for dinner with my coworkers. Before I left I remembered that I needed to get our passports out so I could scan and send them to our Travel Agent so she could issue us our Visas. I went into the bedroom, got the safe, got our passports out, secured it, and then saw the spider. He was just hanging out on my bed spread. I screamed "NOOO!" at the top of my lungs and then jumped up on the bed, ran across it, jumped down, ran through the bathroom and into the kitchen. I've never moved so fast in my whole life! 

I got a cup and a note pad from the kitchen, took a deep breath, and headed back to the bedroom. I tried multiple times to catch him with the cup but he was too fast! After a few seconds of this my anxiety caught up with me and the panic attack began. I was crying, bawling, uncontrollably. I was yelling, I was screaming. My whole body was seizing up and shaking. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I had no idea what I was going to do.

So I called Josh.


That was all I managed to get out between my sobs.

Josh told me that he couldn't come home and that I would need to calm down and take care of it. After a few deep breaths, I went back into the bedroom. The spider was on the side of the bed and I could see him in the mirror. I put a large bowl under him (to catch him when he fell) and then I took a big swing at him with my notepad. Again, he was too fast. He took off running and I started yelling and crying again (yes, Josh was listening in on speaker phone). 

I continued to chase the spider until he ended up on my luggage. I then went to the back to find some bug spray but all I could find was ant/roach spray. That will have to do. I came back into the bedroom and unleashed on him. But again, he was too fast! He finally ended up on my luggage again. This time I smacked the notepad down so hard I was sure I got him. I moved the luggage but I couldn't find a body. OH NO! Where is he?!

I then noticed that my luggage was a little bit unzipped. I put it on the bed and slowly unzipped the top part... nothing. I then slowly unzipped the bottom part... AND THERE HE WAS! Just looking up at me! I yelled, zipped the bag shut, ran to the front door, and threw the bag into the yard while yelling "GO ON! TAKE IT!"

I gained my composure and then headed outside with my ant/roach spray in hand. I unzipped the bag, turned it over, and threw it on the ground (hoping he would fall out). NOPE! He's got a death grip on the bag. 

I had no choice. He left me no choice. I unloaded the ant/roach spray on him. He did not like that! I sprayed him until my beautiful bag was covered in chemicals and he was dead. 

30 minutes. The whole ordeal took 30 minutes. I continued to cry as I cleaned up the mess and called my coworkers to tell them I would not be attending the dinner. The panic attack was still happening and I didn't want to leave the house. 

Now, a few days later, my body is still sore. I feel like I had a full body work out.

But I did it! I took care of the largest spider I have ever seen indoors! I don't know what it was. I tried to research it but I started to get anxious when all the pictures of spiders popped up on my computer screen. 

I'm working on it guys, I really am. I've killed smaller spiders that are in the office or in the Raptor but this one was huge! Probably about the size of my palm.

Phew. Crises averted. For now. I just hope he didn't bring a friend.


Haylee said...

Wow! I didn't know that about you! You're the first person I've know that legitimately has arachnophobia! Way to go! That is a really big step! I'll pray he didn't bring any friends! :)

Lacey said...

This reminded me so much of a clip from the Mindy Project. There are no actual spiders in it, so you're safe watching it...

Lacey said...
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Lacey said...
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Cheryl said...

I love you!!!! You are so brave!

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