A fear is frightening be it rational or irrational Neither are anything we can really control so why do people make fun of others with irrational fears? Is it a defence thing that means really in our heads we are saying thank goodness it’s happening to someone? Or are we just all mean and nasty?
I hate spiders. Really hate them. I have been known to be drawn to tears just listening to people talking about them. I know where my fear came from, but that doesn’t help me rationalise it. When I was about 6 I turned down my bed to get into it, and out crawled 2 of the biggest beast I’ve ever seen – the ones with the big bodies and the short thick legs. Needless to say despite my Mum stripping my bed to assure me there were no others lurking about, I would not return to that bed that night. To be honest with you, I’m not sure how I ever did again! There began my fear of the eight legged beasts. I know the ones we find in this country aren’t going to do me any real harm, but I can’t help feeling like a scared six-year-old when I see them. Since the children came a long I have had to hold my fear in check when there have been spiders about. I have dealt with them like a grown up while my heart raced and I felt like I could be physically sick at any moment!
Today I had to face my other major irrational fear. Thunder. After days of muggy weather, if finally broke yesterday with torrential rain. It didn’t seem to clear the air any, but the mugginess had me feeling out of sorts. I seem to get atmospheric headaches. I imagine there is a correct term for them, but whenever the air pressure is heavy and muggy, I get headaches. D was up at 3:30 am this morning having had a “bad dream” – I think he just thinks he needs an excuse to come through if he wakes in the night and just needs a cuddle. I went back to his bed with him, and he was soon snoring like his Daddy! The rain was lashing at this time, and I imagine that might be what had woken him. I returned to bed and tossed and turned as my head was really swimming. Hubby got up at 5:30am, as he usually does, but decided the weather was too bad to cycle to work, as he got back into bed, I heard the rumbles. It was a full on thunder-storm. No wonder my head was hurting! Hubby opened the curtains to watch the lightning display. I wrapped myself in the cosy (duvet to the rest of the world, but the boys started calling them cosies and the name has stuck), and tried to ignore it. The boys came through about 7am, and were fascinated by the whole thing. Now, again I know I am in no real danger of being struck by lightning, and I know full well the thunder is not going to harm me. My logical self says they are naturally occurring meteorological phenomenons that while there is an outside risk of something bad happening, the chances are really quite remote. However my irrational side says I don’t like loud noises that I can’t see the source and therefore I don’t want to be hearing it! Again, I know why I have this fear. As a child I was a very heavy sleeper, let’s be honest, I was a heavy sleeper up until the children decided to change that for me. I digress. As a good sleeper, the world could have ended and someone would have had to wake me to tell me so. I had therefore never heard thunderstorms of any significance until I was about 13 years old. I remember the day well. My Dad was a member of the Independent Order of Forrester’s – they are basically an insurance company that has a social side from what I understand of them. Anyway, Dad and his friend Rod were out scouting an area for doing some kind of children’s activity – my Dad ran the kids club. My brother and I had been dragged along. We were walking down some country lane when the rumbles started. They got louder and louder, until I was frozen to the spot. I was so frightened. I remember vividly being laughed at for it scaring me, but I could do nothing to avert that fear. Ever since that day, if I hear there will be thunder storms forecasts, I try to make sure I am somewhere I wont have to be out and about in them.
As a parent we have to make sure we don’t pass on our fears to our children. They will find their own things that they don’t like, and even frighten them without having to carry the luggage heaped on them by us. The boys know I don’t like things, but I try never to let them see how petrified I am in certain situations. It is not about me loosing face with them, it’s about not transferring my rubbish to them. D is frightened of everything in the world. I imagine its part of his aspergers that he worries about so much that really carries no fear and yet has little fear of things and situations that have a potential danger.
I think because I can trace the two really major fears I have to their origins helps in some way. It helps me to be logical about the irrational situation. It definitely doesn’t help me to draw a line under them and move on! I am frightened, and that’s the end of the situation.
I have plenty of other fears but I think the big ones are the only ones worth talking about otherwise I would be writing for another 6 months about the same subject. I will probably come back to it at some point as other situations arise in our lives.
It would be nice if we could be a little more understand when others say something scares them. By all means say there is nothing to be frightened of, but please accept the fear is real and making fun of it wont help me get over it. Fear is real to the person suffering it even if you don’t understand it!