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Need HELP! Triggered last night and still having trouble.


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I have a phobia of snakes. HUGE Phobia. I do not even say the word and I have reactions just hearing the word or seeing photos.

Anyway, last night, I leaned over to pick up my dog in the back yard and there was one right in front of him. I saw it and ran. I started hyperventilating, got dizzy, couldn't see- everything went black and I felt like I would pass out. My duaghter opened my car door and told me to sit down. (She's a bright little 6 year old!) My kids know about this phobia but this is the worst reaction I have ever had, I guess because its the cloest I have ever come to one.

I am still obsessing about it and having anxiety symptoms. When I waslked outside and felt the wet grass against my foot, I immediately thought it was another one on my foot and freaked again! I keep "seeing" them in everything even remotely similar, like a piece of thread hanging off of a pillow or a piece of pasta my kids must have dropped on the counter last night. I can't put my feet on the floor. I have sat with my feet up on the sofa with me. When I brushed my teeth this morning, I had to sit on the bathroom counter so I didn't touch the floor. I usually leave my front door open about 4 inches so my pup can come in and out but today I am terrified one will come in so I locked it. I kept my pup in too because I am worried he'll find another. I keep wondering if I would even know if one got into my house. Surely this is not the only one- I know there must be more somewhere. Everything reminds me of it and I am so on edge right now. I even yelled at a complete stranger today because I was walking through a parking lot, obsessing about this, and she did not yield even though I was in the crosswalk. I actually yelled at her! I never yell at people but my nerves are very raw right now.

I don't know what to do about this and don't want to spend the rest of the weekend or week or month like this. I thought about calling T but really what could she do? Does anyone deal with issues like this? How do you get past it?

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi lifeless,

To be perfeclty honest with you, I also have a terrible fear of snakes and do not know what I would do if I ever confronted one like you did. By the way, fear of snakes are one of those very common fears. There are certain things that humans have an almost natural fear of: fire, spiders, snakes, heights, etc.

I do not know if your therapist uses cognitive behavioral therapy. If she does, then, use those techniques to talk yourself down from your fears. If she does not then go to the book store, Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc, where they sell many self help books on now to reduce fears, anxieties and phobias. The techniques will not remove your fear of snakes but will help you reduce the anxieties when this type of thing happens.

For example, tell your self that the snake was more scared than you were, and that is true, by the way.

Refrain from walking outside in bare feet. I always were my sneakers with sox, just in case.

This may seem odd to you it works and is suggested by many psychologists: reduce your fear of snakes through exposure. By exposure, I mean, learn all you can about them. We fear what we do not understand. Read about them, look at pictures, watch some of the science programs on TV about them. Go to the zoo where they are safely in cages behind windows. Do these things slowly and gradually, do not push your self. A little at a time is the way to go.

What do you think about this??


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