Entomophobia/Arachnophobia problems

42LegAPede

Arachnosquire
Joined
Feb 14, 2016
Messages
61
Hello, I have created this account for the sole reason of making this post because (I'm a pussy), I am afraid of many of the arthropods I keep (to be honest I am not really afraid of the insect, but rather touching it or anything having to do with it on/near my face). I have been dealing with this chronic fear of the creepy crawlies most of my life, ever since my first introduction to hornets when I disturbed their nest while playing on a swing when I was five. I have been stung and have had encounters with hornets, wasps, bees, dirt daubers, etc. over the years too, which doesn't help.

Now that I got that out of the way, I just have a few questions about entomophobia.

1. How can I get rid of it?
2. Can I go somewhere for someone to help? If so, where?
3. If I do not get over my fear, will I be looked down upon in the scientific community if I still have it by then?
4. Is it logical to get a degree in entomology with the phobia?

The problem is that I am terrified of having to touch or handle any of my creepy crawlies in the house and it would help not to have a panic attack and look retarded when I jump out of shock.
I use tongs. Yay.

TL;DR - Answer my questions because I am afraid of insects and stuff.
 

Venom1080

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
4,583
generally learning about your fear will help you get over it, at least a little. worked with me at least. plenty of people here keep tarantulas but are still scared of the long legged true spiders, so no ones looking down at you on here.
 

Garth Vader

Arachnobaron
Arachnosupporter
Joined
Jun 25, 2016
Messages
436
I think there is hope for you! I treat people with phobias and other anxieties and there's lots of help out there. Learning will help, and approaching the insects with open eyes and observing all the information will help eventually lower the fear. Basically you can't talk yourself out of the fear, you have to experience new learning opportunities that teach your brain you are not in danger when you are around insects.

It might be helpful to talk to a well trained behavioral therapist who is familiar with exposure therapy principles to help. They will be able to assess what's going on with your specific fears and behaviors.
 

BobBarley

Arachnoprince
Joined
Sep 16, 2015
Messages
1,482
From what I hear, there aren't many creepy-crawlies in Antarctica ;).

I personally think that learning about them as well as experiencing their amazingness is the best way. Just do research on them in general. Look up how a t eats. Look up anatomy: A tarantula uses hydraulics to push out its legs. Look up interesting behaviors: Hysterocrates species love water, and they seem to enjoy large pools of it. And the colors... OH MAN the colors!!! Thrigmopoeus psychedelicus, Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens, Pamphobeteus ultrarmurinus, and the list goes on and on.

I think you'll find that they are amazing creatures.
 

chanda

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
2,067
I used to be terribly afraid of spiders, particularly black widows. I once *shot* a green lynx spider with a bb gun. At close range. Repeatedly. :(

What finally got me over my fear - and turned me into the arachnoholic that I am today - was repeated exposure and education. I caught a black widow in my yard and kept her as a pet. I watched her and studied her. I read up on other bugs and spiders and learned how to identify them and other bits of information about them. When I went out hiking or was working in the yard, I would watch for bugs and spiders and take pictures of them. I started keeping other bugs and spiders as pets. I am now at the opposite end of the spectrum, where I am in a constant struggle to find cage space for all the bugs and spiders that I want to keep as pets. It didn't happen overnight, but it gradually changed me from wanting to kill any spider on sight to wanting to pick them up (only the non-medically-significant ones), take pictures of them, and/or catch them and keep them.
 

Anoplogaster

Arachnodemon
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
675
People don't look down on stuff like this in the scientific community. If you are pursuing science, you are judged based on the quality of your science, not your phobias. In fact, as a biologist, I find the psychology behind phobias a fascinating thing.

And as mentioned, exposure and education really is the best remedy, I think. Just understand that it IS a phobia and reason with it. Learn about what these organisms do and why they do it. I used to not be into spiders, myself. I wouldn't say that I had a phobia of them, but I wasn't a fan of the idea of keeping them. I caught lots of bugs as a child, but spiders were always uniquely creepy to me. Until a couple years ago, I held a rosie for the first time. The way she curled up in my hand with her knees over her face, all I could think was "Wow! She's like a terrified kitten." Once I made a semi-serious decision to possibly own one, I did a bit of Googling and was BLOWN AWAY by the diversity! Species with so much color that you simply can't help but love them! At first, I thought they were altered photos. Then I saw some at a reptile expo and was shocked. No photoshopping necessary!

They really are amazing creatures. Spend enough time on these forums, you will get a chance to talk to some REAL SPIDER NERDS:shy:
 

Jacob Ma

Arachnoknight
Joined
Feb 2, 2016
Messages
281
I wouldn't look at the situation and call/treat yourself as "retarded" or any other derogatory words/phrases, as one who treats his/her fears in such a way will never truly relieve himself/herself from the problem. Like a few others have said, educate yourself on the situation so that you know what to do in the face of a situation where you would encounter the problem. It also helps that you are already interested in the scientific part of insects and other arthropods, so continue to indulge yourself in daily doses of exposure to various articles, internet posts, other literature, pictures, and videos, and pay close attention to any details you observe and keep a mental note of them or perhaps write them down. Expressing your thoughts in some form that does not cause physical harm will offer gradual steps to an interest or alleviation to the subject of matter.

I would take your fear like some people in medical professions take their jobs. Not everyone is up to performing autopsies, operations, or even human interactions, yet there are plenty of different medical professions out there that deal with person-to-person confrontation to developing drugs and treatments to be sent off for others to administer. Find your own area that you would like to profess in, and capitalize on that aspect. However, do not force yourself; rather, take time and look at different aspects from different perspectives and try to develop a method that you could easily get used to.

Of course, you have any of us to consult at no charge! If you want more one-on-one experience with someone, then consider a therapist or close friend/family that may console you in your encounters. Just look for the thing that is most available to you and what you can do for it.
 

Andrea82

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
3,611
You are afraid of the creepy crawlies you keep? Not sure if i read that right. If yes, i think you are already halfway there to conquering your fears!
Admitting you're terrified is not weakness, it takes guts to acknowledge that and face it. :)
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
Staff member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
3,831
2. Can I go somewhere for someone to help? If so, where?
If you're looking for professional help, try finding a therapist that specializes in exposure therapy for phobias. Specific phobias (like the fear of insects or spiders) often respond very well to this type of therapy, and you can sometimes see great improvement in just a few sessions.
 

SlugPod

Arachnoknight
Joined
Sep 28, 2015
Messages
193
First things first, don't use derogatory words and phrases, like Jacob mentioned.

Next, I'm still really afraid of roaches and working on it.
Best thing I can recommend through my experiences and journey is to learn about them.
Look at pictures, look at species that don't frighten you as much. Try to even look for pretty species.

No one is going to look down on you unless you keep using such awful language like you did.
Don't be offensive and you'll be good.
 

UltimateDracoMeteor

Arachnosquire
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
95
1. How can I get rid of it?
2. Can I go somewhere for someone to help? If so, where?
3. If I do not get over my fear, will I be looked down upon in the scientific community if I still have it by then?
4. Is it logical to get a degree in entomology with the phobia?
1. Learn about your pets. The best way to get past fear is to change it to fascination and respect. Then, if you have handleable pets, try holding the more docile and slow ones (millipedes and darkling beetles come to mind). Eventually, you'll begin to enjoy the interactions.

2. I have heard of some places that help with entomophobia and arachnophobia, but they are rare.

3. Jerks who aren't understanding might, but most reasonable people will try to help you rather than hurt you.

4. I would say you probably shouldn't get a degree in something if you're afraid of it. Unless you plan to go into pest control, where you can kill the things you hate.
 

Stugy

Arachnolord
Joined
Apr 21, 2016
Messages
648
One of my biggest fears: Roaches. I just got 4 domino roaches TODAY from Peter Clausen (bugsincyberspace). It seems that most of the fear is gone now. Apparently domino roaches are the cutest little bugs I've ever seen. On to centipedes now! :anxious:.... ehhh i'll save that for later. Good luck on the fear conquering!
 

socalqueen

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
221
I think the fact that you own critters despite having this huge fear shows a lot of courage in itself, you're already half way there!! I would look into exposure therapy, if that's a possibility for you, as they specialize in systematic desensitization, and will help you face your fears Head on by helping you slowly observe, interact, touch/hold, etc. All research points to therapy, exposure, and an understanding of your fear (when it started, what happened, how it makes you feel, etc), and an understanding of insects (anatomy, temperament, purpose, etc). There is a part of you that loves bugs, by truly appreciating them and seeking therapy, it's a phobia that can be overcome. I wish you luck!
 

RTTB

Arachnoprince
Joined
Dec 4, 2016
Messages
1,766
Phobias are incapacitating. Gradual exposure and baby steps can help alleviate it.
 
Top