David, like many people in this country (perhaps more than you might at first think), used to suffer from arachnophobia which is defined as an intense and irrational fear of spiders. Of course, even though David knew his fear was totally irrational (he described it as such himself), it didn’t make it any less real for him. As anyone with any phobia will certainly be all too aware, the phobia is irrational but very real and its effects can have quite an impact on the sufferer’s life.
Imagine what life would be like if you were so scared of spiders that you could not even enter a room if you spotted a spider lurking within? To not be able, for example, to go to the bathroom because there was a spider there and nobody else in the house to remove it? That’s got to have rather an impact upon your life!
Acrophobia, fear of heights, is one of the most common phobias around. It can be a crippling, debilitating, irrational fear which prevents us from enjoying normal everyday life. It can cause us to avoid even seemingly simple things like walking across a perfectly safe and sturdy bridge – imagine the impact on everyday life when such straightforward actions are impossible or, at best, something which can only be done very slowly, carefully and with a lot of panic.
Many people are literally terrified of dentists, to the point of feeling that they’d rather be dead than visit one. That was the position of Matthew, who said when he came to see me – “I have not been able to go and see a dentist (since I was very young), as even the thought of it always filled me with dread and anxiety”
Liz came to see me about her phobia of flying. She said that even the thought of going to the airport was extremely stressful for her, let alone actually sitting in the plane and taking off. As you can imagine, it was causing a real problem for the family when they went on holidays.