Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ophidiophobia - It's a Big Word I Know!

I had a rather nasty phobic experience last night which prompted me to wonder how many people really get what that means.  Because I know what being scared is, and it's not the same being phobic, not even close.

I'm not afraid of too many things, other than the usual...climbing to the top of a Harvestore (big blue silo), ghosts, blue tongue lizards...I'm not even scared of snakes, I'm phobic.

I managed to conquer my fear of climbing the Harvestore by...climbing the Harvestore.  It took me weeks, after school I'd climb a little higher every day and sit there in the caged ladder to 'acclimatize'.  It worked, once I got to the top I wanted to do it all the time.  I felt like I was on top of the world and the view was to die for!

So, yes, I understand that fears can be overcome.  Phobias on the other hand, completely different story.  Oh, I know, I've heard about hypnotherapy, immersion therapy and there is probably a bunch of other therapies that I'll never be doing!  So for now I'm stuck with ophidiophobia, it's a mouthful but put simply, it's snake phobia!

I'm not sure when or how it began.  But I do recall many encounters with those dreaded creatures, probably every encounter I've ever had actually...a tree snake outside the window...a brown snake in the garden...a red belly black under Nan's back steps...Dad being bitten by tree snake in the dairy while I was with him...a kookaburra flying away with one dangling from it's beak...watching one being eaten by the hay baler and ending up in a bale of hay...almost stepping on one walking to my Nan's house next brother bringing a dead brown snake by the tail into the house just to 'scare' me (he realized by my reaction that it was a very bad idea and never did anything like that again!)...a baby one that reared up just off the track when I was bushwalking...a massive python across the road while we were on our honeymoon...even dead ones on the side of the road.

On each and every one of these occasions I got tears, my heart started to pound (I mean pound!), I couldn't breathe properly, I got dizzy and then often got a headache to top it all off.  And it can take hours to recover fully.

I've heard about desensitization and so on a couple of occasions I have tried 'facing my fear' and putting myself face to very distant face with snakes (honestly, my heart is racing just writing all of this) because I would love to get rid of this ridiculous phobia.  Once I purposely went to the snake show at the Ekka...FAIL...left quickly blubbering.  I went into the snake cave at Australia Zoo.  Well of course they are all behind glass and mostly sleeping but heart was still racing.  And last night, I saw a post on a Facebook friend's page that was titled, "Biggest Snake Found Dead".  Well, I thought, here's an opportunity for some more's dead after all (oh, I did forget to say I've never been able to touch one in a book or look at one on TV either!).  So, I opened the link.  And I will put the link on here just so you really understand why last night I had a major panic attack.  Please, please do not click on this link unless you really can deal with snakes.  And unlike my Facebook friend, I will give you a warning that the snake IS NOT dead and strikes the camera.

I'm feeling whoosie just copying that link for fear that I was going to see it again...I didn't...but it's still in my head.

It was stupid of me really.  I certainly won't be doing that again.  I did it one other time on Twitter when Tara Moss posted a photo of her pet.  I know she has pet snakes so what was I thinking??  It was only a picture however, not video, so it wasn't as bad.  What was bad however was her response to my tweet about my phobia.  You can see the picture and her reply to me (mumto2angels) here...

I love getting tweets from celebrities but honestly, for a woman who is supposed to be very intelligent, she has no idea!

Phobic reactions are ridiculous...they really are!  If I didn't experience them myself I would be telling myself to 'get over it', 'grow up' or 'stop being a drama queen'.  Seriously, I am the type of person who is usually very controlled, I can 'hold it together' in most situations.  But this is one thing I am totally out of control of.  I don't like it, but that's how it is.  I hope you understand.  Because most people just don't.


  1. I am really uncomfortable around amputees particularly people missing finger digits - I am not sure whether I am phobic but I really try to avoid being with people who are missing fingers. My father in law lost one in an industrial accident, so you can imagine how much fun family dinners were. My grandfather was missing a finger so who knows, someone must have told me a horrible story that I have blocked from my memory.

  2. Sorry, I'm ok with snakes ... not that I've come face to face with one since we moved to Oz 11 years ago.

    I do hate spiders. I have no idea why we moved here knowing what I know about spiders, but I feel more in control of the fear now. As long as they don't surprise me I can deal with them. Funny thing is, the biggest spider I've seen was in the UK. Far bigger than anything you have here.

    I'm not sure I know anyone who has an intense phobia of snakes.


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