Friday, September 08, 2006

Trying to tell me something?

These days SoaP doesn't mean Dial or Ivory or Irish Spring. It means Snakes on a Plane, which I have to tell you because I can't even go over to the site and get a link for you.

But why? (you ask)

I've got a phobia. Hell, I've probably got a few but there's one that's grown and changed with me. Lucky me.

I remember getting off my bike behind the big girls at the end of street and a little garter snake looked up at me and stuck out his little forked pink tongue. I promptly dropped the bike, probably crushing the snake (sorry big guy!), ran the whole block back to my house and got inside and halfway up the stairs before I collapsed in inconsolable sobs. And by remember I mean can see as clear as day in my mind's eye every time I even think about it for a moment and this was more than 30 years ago.

I do not remember having an experience where I was harmed or surprised by any sort of reptile before that point. From that point on, though, it's happened plenty. I find it impossible to be in the room with a snake, to look at photos, to watch them on screen, to read about them, to think about them, anything at all. I'm getting skeeved just writing this. I am occasionally kept up at night with a persistent mind's eye view of a snake. If I close my eyes I keep seeing a snake or feeling one crawling up behind me or wiggling across my legs and I have to get to a point where I am more exhausted than I am afraid and there were times when I was a teenager that getting to that point was impossible.

For a long while I've been doing pretty well. I've even been thinking that I'm getting better. I mean, sometimes I can see an ad in a magazine with a snake in it and turn the page really fast and can still keep reading. A few months ago I even noticed a pattern. If I am feeling mentally, physically or emotionally unwell that can trigger a spate of unprovoked phobia. So I thought, "Hey, cool, I have a warning flag. Maybe sometimes I'll have the phobia and realize that it's highlighting something in my life I need to pay attention to."

So about 2 months ago when I started to have trouble getting to sleep due to the appearance of Kaa in my mind I figured I should try to see what's going on. Let's see, we've got the ear thing which I'm trying really hard to cure and the dad getting married thing and a trip to help mom with her house (post forthcoming I promise) and some uncertainty about how I'm handling my finances but I feel like I'm facing all those as close to head-on as I'm able. I can't figure out one more thing. And the snake thing? Totally getting worse. You didn't think that Steve Irwin thing was all about him did you? But seriously, I've had to sleep with the light on (oh I'm so sexy) I've tried music but that doesn't help, I'm getting a lot less sleep and I keep running across snakes all around me. A random episode of the Dead Zone from a previous season (the one thing I haven't loved about the DVR) that I might have just deleted but I had a little time and wanted something going on while I did something else so I watched it. Big ribbony snake strikes out at some woman! It's making the back of my neck freak out just remembering it. That's just one in a long line of things. Also it turns out to have happened the day after I felt like I was getting a little better with the sleeping and the not freaking out.

I keep thinking on it. I keep trying to see where I can get better. Maybe it's work, I'm being lazy and I'm afraid I'm going to get caught. So I'm trying to be more careful and do more work there but it's slow going. I'd love to get to the bottom of it. I mean, really, I like sleep and being able to wash my face with my eyes closed.

Today I'm walking with determination to Floor Barre, afraid of being late. A guy is walking toward me. It's New York, a ton of people are walking toward me, also with me and perpendicular to me. It's just weird that this guy is wearing a super long scarf. It's white with a green pattern. I cut my eyes over just enough to realize that it's not a scarf. It's alive. And I ran. While shivering. And rubbing my arms up and down. I am such a brave little toaster. Also, really cool and classy. Fortunately no one was looking at me, they were all looking at him.

Apparently the universe is upping the stakes.


Am I going to be in some life or death situation soon where I need to handle snakes? Am I going to get my big break as the love interest in a remake of Indiana Jones? Will I find out that my soulmate breeds cobras and it's the only thing s/he's ever wanted to do?

To be honest I had pretty much decided I was OK with keeping this phobia and not trying to dismantle it. Occasionally it's a pain in the ass but it's not changing my life much. Well, until now with the sleeping and whatnot.

In the Dog Whisperer he goes in, asks a family about their goals for and with their dog then gives them tools and homework and a detailed explanation of why their dog is acting in a certain way. I wish people therapy worked like that. I wish I could just go in and be all, "I want to fix this and this and this is how I walk in the park." and have some expert tell me what the homework is to fix me adn why I'm like this. It is my experience that they don't like to give you any answers, though. Apparently you're supposed to figure it out for yourself. That's what you're paying all that money for. I'm not judging, I promise, I know it works for most people but so far it hasn't for me. It just makes me mad at the nodder.

Bleh. Maybe hypnosis. Maybe hard liquor. What eats snakes? Can I get one of those?


  1. To answer one of your final questions, go here:

    So, does this mean that you were unable to get through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?

  2. dang. Mrs. Chili beat me to it. Ricki Ticki tavi is THE BEST source of anti-sssssssssss you'll ever find. I too....seem to posess some similar phobia, but remember clearly reading about Ricki Ticki Tavi and knowing that the universe was right and just. Mongoose anyone?

  3. Anonymous8:36 PM

    How funny; I was also going to suggest a mongoose. Wikipedia warns, however:

    Some species, such as H. edwardsii, the Indian mongoose, are popularly known for their ability to fight and kill venomous snakes such as cobras. They are able to do this because of their speed, agility and cunning, but typically avoid the cobra and have no particular affinity for consuming their meat. When placed in combat with vipers and snakes that are more rapid than cobras, as is often done for gambling, the mongoose typically loses.

    You know I like to find meaning in absolutely everything, but in this case, I'm going with science. It's hard wired for you to be afraid of snakes. We're all hard wired to fear things like snakes and heights, but sometimes your amygdala decides to go all overacheiver and sends you on an unnecessary adrenaline flight.

    For the record, desensitization therapies are very like learning to walk in the park, except with snakes.

  4. Sister! I feel your fear.

    So, the other day I opened the garage door as I drove up and something fell from it. When I walked out to get the mail, I realized it was a (seriously) itty bitty snake. I screamed and ran.

    You understand I'd be in a padded room if it had happened to fall ON ME or NEAR ME instead of having it fall in front of my car while I was in it, no?