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Why am I like this/what should I do?


Mammu
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So, basically, I've got a problem with Apiphobia, Agorophobia, Thalassophobia and the phobia of spilling liquids. (Apiphobia - basically a phobia of bees and other bugs who sting, like wasps, etc; Thalassophobia - fear of the oceans, can extend to others or all natural bodies of water; Agorophobia - the fear of big crowds). All of these have brought me a lot of problems in every aspect of my life but this summer is the worst. And before you ask, yes, I am going to a therapist because of these plus depression and anxiety. Also, all of these phobias have been diagnosed by a professional. 

So, the consequences of other phobias I've got under control for now ( for example: I got a fan because I don't go swimming and can't cool down otherwise. There is a heatwave happening in my country right now), except for Apiphobia. It makes me not want to go outside at all and to keep windows without bug nets closed. I also keep my own door closed just so no bees get into my room (other family members keep windows open). But, we are currently renovating and since I want to repaint a shelf, I need to shave some of the previous paint off. I have to do it outside tho. Guess which habitants are the most frequent outside atm? Yep, bees. I've already gotten ridiculed by my mom that I'm not working on the shelf at all. And I can't do it in the evening/at night because the machines makes a LOT of noise. So, I have to do it in between 6pm and 10pm because teh heat is too much during the day. (for context, it's 7pm atm). 

So, the problem today is that since my parents left today and I was left home alone, my mom expects me to work on the shelf today (I said that I'd do it myself so she's not forcing me). I tried to go outside but, you guessed it, there are a LOT of bees outside, They are literally EVERYWHERE. I tried to do it but I had a panick attack when just trying to be outside. 

I just can't do it. I can't go outside but I have to work on the shelf. I'm crying as I'm writing this just because I'm so upset. What the hell can I do? My therapist suggested me to stay away from situations that might trigger my phobias but the situations just keep coming up and there isn't much I can do. Does anyone have any advice on how I could solve this situation and convince my parents that my phobia isn't "made up"? For refrence, my dad is a hard-core military person, who has done 30-40 years of marshal arts and my mom worked on a farm as a kid and lived very far from her school and city. They were also pretty poor when they were young. 

Can someone help/have any advice? I just don't want to have another panick/anxiety attack....

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey Mammu,

It's lovely to hear from you again. I just want to say thank you for sharing your story with us about your phobias. I can really see how much this is impacting your life, and I just want you to know that we are here for you and can help you through this. How is it going with your therapist? I hope that you're finding their input useful. 

I know that your therapist has suggested staying away these kinds of situations, but I think that the more we can gradually expose ourselves to them, the better we can cope. I'm wondering, have you ever heard of graded exposure therapy? This is where you create a 'ladder' almost, with your most feared situation at the top, and then you have smaller steps from the bottom which build up towards facing the main fear. For example, say your main fear is of bees, the most feared situation might be being in the garden when bees are there, and smaller steps towards building up to that might be 1) looking at pictures of bees 2) watching videos of bees 3) watching bees in the garden from inside the house 4) watching bees in the garden from the door when they are far away 5) watching bees in the garden from a few meters away, etc. Do you see what I mean? It's a really successful therapy and you might want to ask your therapist about it. 

Also, with the panic attacks, I'm wondering, rather than trying to avoid having them at all, it might be a better idea to focus on ways to manage them when you have one. What do you reckon? 

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