F is for Fear

I have a lot of fears.

I’m afraid of tornados, hurricanes, really bad thunderstorms, gigantic bridges over water, and the word “panties” to name a few.  I’ve been known to do a freaked out heebie geebie dance over spiders before and after squashing them into oblivion with a Chuck Taylor.  I’m also terrified of the idea of people who I love dying.  I like to think that aside from the panties thing, most of my fears are pretty common.

Some of my fears are kind of weird though.  Like, I’m afraid of heights, but I love to fly, love roller coasters, and really dig going up in super tall buildings like the Sears Tower (Yes, I know it’s now the Willis Tower but it’s always going to be the Sears Tower, damn it!).  I’m afraid of being in water that I  can’t see across, but I love being in and around water.  I know, I’m a special girl.

I don’t like spiders, but I can generally work up the courage to kill them or suck them up in a vaccum.  The water thing is still near the top of the list, but I managed to go on a multi day cruise without anything close to a panic attack.  When a bird is in a store, I hate it.  Bird houses in zoos where you’re supposed to walk through and gaze at the birds and they can fly around you are a huge no-no in my book.   But if there’s a bird outside and it doesn’t invade my space bubble, I’m not going to go running away from it screaming or anything like that.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have these fears but for the most part I can face them.

There’s one fear though that I’ve discovered that I simply can’t face.  In fact, it is by far the most paralyzing fear I’ve ever experienced and it’s one that I never knew I had until I had to face it.  It’s such a true fear that even thinking about writing about it in this post is starting to freak me out.  I’m sitting here bouncing my legs nervously and deep breathing just in anticipation of explaining what the hell I’m talking about.  

I’m absolutely 100% terrified of bats (so much, in fact, that I will refer to them as Beasts for the remainder of this post).

The summer before last I was sick (there’s a shocker, when am I not sick?) and was in bed with my beautiful kitty Kira.  I was watching movies on my laptop via Netflix and just chilling.  My mother was sick too but was downstairs in the living room. It was probably 1:00 or so in the morning, and I was nearing the end of a really odd James Franco movie when a Beast flew in my room.

I made a noise that I couldn’t possibly begin to explain in text, fell out of the bed (bruising my knee and getting a carpet burn in the process) and slammed the door shut as fast as I could (locking my poor kitty in the room with the Beast) and ran down the stairs to get my mom.  By the time I was downstairs I was literally shaking from head to toe and out of breath because my heart was beating so fast.

When we went upstairs armed with tennis rackets I experienced the flight part of  Flight or Fight for the first time ever.  I simply could not go into my room.  I couldn’t help my mom try and find the Beast.  Hell, I couldn’t even get close to my closed bedroom door.  I wanted more than anything to run back down the stairs and hide in my car.

Mom was scared too, but she was more badass than I was.  While she was in my room going to war with the Beast I was so freaked out I had to sit down on the floor in the hallway because my legs gave out.  The night ended with her making contact with the Beast but not knowing where it ended up.  Therefore we she closed the door and I slept downstairs on the couch.  (Kira did, by the way eventually get out of the room so she didn’t have to stay in there with the flying Beast of Doom… instead she spent the night hiding under Grandma’s bed.

The next day when my mom found the Beast (sans life) and wanted me to look into my trash bin to make sure that it was in fact the Beast in my trash and not some weird stuffed animal or something, I nearly came undone again.  Shaking hands, having to sit down as far away from the bin as I could… Then when we’d decided it was the beast she asked me to hold open a trash bag for her I totally spazzed out.  I recall asking her if she’d just throw the whole bin away and I’d buy another one but she wouldn’t let me.  So I held the bag and then did a heebie geebie dance as she dumped the trash into the bag and I tried not to see or touch anything.

I slept on the couch for at least a month after that and never opened my bedroom windows again that summer.

For the record, I just did three heebie geebie dances in my seat while typing those last few paragraphs.

Last summer I was able to open up the windows again… well, just the one with the very sturdy screen actually… the other one stayed taped shut. Yes, taped… the whole window was falling apart and had to be taped.  I still freaked myself out every so often thinking about the Beast, but I did okay for the most part.

This past fall as many of you know, we moved into an old farm house that would accommodate my grandpa living with us.  And yeah, living on a farm in a farm house means more critters.  I’ve heard coyotes for the first time in my life (super creepy) and we have so many freaking birds around it’s kind of ridiculous.  My bestie lives next door and her cat Lola catches mice a lot, so I moved in knowing that mice were a possibility.  Since we moved in, we’ve seen one mouse and it was dead.

So last weekend after being in Chicago all weekend for St. Patrick’s Day I got home on Sunday night and my whole body was screaming.  Almost everything hurt to move and I was looking forward to just chilling on my bed watching tv, reading, and hanging out with Kira while trying not to move much.

At one point I got up to go downstairs to the kitchen and I seriously had to take the steps one at a time because my body hurt so bad.  I made it down and back up again though and was in bed reading a book with The Celebrity Apprentice on in the background.  When it was over and the news was coming on, I was about to put my book down and get some sleep when damn it all… a freaking Beast in my room.

My first reaction after once again making that noise I’d made before in the other house was to pull the covers over my head and hide. Yeah, real brilliant.  I stayed there for a moment and then bravely peeked out of the covers.  Still there, still flying around my bedroom (which is much larger than the last room meaning that the door was further away).  Back under the covers I went and I considered grabbing my phone from the nightstand and calling my mom (she was once again in the living room).  I quickly decided however that would be a stupid choice because then I’d be staying in the room with the Beast.

With the swiftness I hadn’t had earlier when I took the steps one at a time, I RAN out of my room and down the steps to get my mom.  I also forgot to shut the bedroom door.

After swearing a lot my mom decided she needed to go out to the garage to get her Beast Hunting Supplies.  I stood at the bottom of the steps and heebie geebied as I saw the fucker flying around in my room.

As Mom went up to do her thing, I sat in my Grandpa’s living room holding back the Alex the Special Dog because he’s Mom’s little shadow and wanted to go upstairs with her.  Grandpa was oblivious to what was going on and just kept watching whatever crime show he was watching as I sat there shaking and flinching each time a sound came from my mom upstairs.

She got the Beast and once again I had to get something for her to put it in.  I nearly gagged doing it, but I actually tied up the trash bag this time and held it at arms length until she was able to take it from me because I’m pretty sure my legs didn’t work at that point.  After it was all said and done, I sat down on the couch and pretty much had a panic attack and had to take an Ativan.

This all happened Sunday night and it is Wednesday now.  I’ve slept on the couch every night since.  Last night I almost tried sleeping in my room, but simply couldn’t do it.  If it’s possible to have PTSD from this, I’m pretty sure I have it.  I jump at the littlest sounds, every time I see a shadow or something move I freak out thinking it must be a Beast even when it’s day time and I’m not at home.  I was even at work on Monday and the movement of a post it flag nearly scared the piss out of me.  When I think about my bedroom I think of the Beast and I get scared all over again.  My hands are shaking right now as a matter of fact.

Yes, I know that I’m bigger than the Beast and that it’s most likely more scared of me than I am of it… I know all of this.  That doesn’t however stop me from freaking the hell out over it.  It is by far the most real fear I have in the sense of not being able to force myself to face it.   Oh and finding out that they apparently once had a Beast problem in this house didn’t help me at all by the way.  If anything it made my anxiety jump a few hundred points upward.

Thankfully my mom “gets” how scared I am and hasn’t tried to tease me or make me feel stupid this week (I can do that on my own quite well).  But it really sucks.  This morning when I was in my bedroom getting ready for work and I sat down momentarily on my bed I almost cried because I want to sleep in my bed so bad and yet I’m so freaking scared to do so.  (I have a new bed, by the way.  My first new bed in at least 15 years and it’s amazing.  I’ve had it for almost two weeks now.)  I absolutely hate feeling so helpless and so scared over something like this.  I don’t anticipate sleeping on the couch for a month this time, but I guess we’ll see.  I can tell you that even though I don’t know if the Beast got in through my window, I won’t be opening it up again anytime soon which sucks because I love being able to have fresh air coming into my room.

Please, if you care to comment, refrain from telling me your Beast horror stories, or giving me facts about them.  I appreciate your wanting to share, but I can’t be more serious when telling you that sharing those things won’t help me at all.  Especially right now when I’m clearly still in freak out mode over all of this…  It would be kind of like buying balloons for someone who is afraid of them.   So yeah, please don’t scare the already scared girl!

One response to “F is for Fear

  • marmeladegypsy

    Hey, I’m none too fond of bats either, and I won’t share any horror stories. But I think you tell this well — and maybe part of the coming to terms is the getting it out there. I know — doesn’t make it any better when the bat flies at you, but in a sense, it puts you in control. Nothing weird about having fears or feelings — we all do, some with far less grounding than bats. Hang in there. Get GOOD screens!


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