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Hey, you guys! Chuck here!
In this blog I’m all about telling you my secrets to success and then documenting my success as it happens so that you can see first-hand that these secrets to success actually work! I’ve talked a lot about a success I’ve already had (being alcohol-free for over nine months)! I’ve talked a lot about a success I will definitely have (losing half of my body weight)! But, today I would like to discuss a success which seems a little more uncertain! I have a lot of fear and trepidation around this issue and right now it certainly feels like I will probably never have success in this area. I’m talking about overcoming my extreme bat phobia.
I have experienced a lot of unpleasant sensations in my life. I’ve had panic attacks, severe depression, ear infections, toothaches, etc. But, I can honestly say that being in a room with a bat is by far the most unpleasant sensation I’ve ever experienced. You know the feeling you get when someone jumps out from behind a corner? You know how you involuntarily let out a startled yell? It’s like that, but sustained. I scream involuntarily for extended periods of time, my heart rate accelerates immediately, and I begin hyper-ventilating. And once the screaming stops, it usually takes me about an hour to calm back down.
I’ve done quite a bit of research, and what seems to be happening is that some deeply held belief in the subconscious mind is triggering an inappropriate fight or flight response! When I see a bat, my brain sends a signal that I’m in more danger than I actually am and my entire body goes into an immediate state of panic.
Now, this hasn’t been an issue until recently. I went thirty four years without ever seeing a bat in person. But now, just in the last year and a half I’ve had four bat encounters. The most recent bat encounter I had was at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Hastings, Michigan. It’s the church where I was baptized and confirmed. I hadn’t been there in over a year and last February, I felt like paying a visit. We had been having an especially warm winter and I was feeling a deep sense of gratitude towards my creator and I thought I’d pop my head into St. Rose and just say thanks. About fifteen minutes into the mass a stupid bat flew through the sanctuary. Have you ever seen a bat in flight? It’s so stupid! I grabbed my things and literally ran out of the church! And, obviously, I haven’t been back since!
My extreme bat phobia has begun to effect other areas of my life! I’ll often flinch when I see a butterfly. I get anxiety when I go into old houses or churches. And it sucks, because I love butterflies and old churches!
Over the next seven months I intend to make concentrated efforts to overcome my phobia once and for all and I will document my success (or lack thereof) here on this blog. We’ll see how this goes! In the process, I hope to raise a little bit of awareness. There is a lot of ignorance and stigma surrounding bats and there is a lot of ignorance and stigma surrounding people with extreme phobias. We’re not just wusses. It’s not simply a matter of manning up and confronting our fear. It’s a legitimate anxiety disorder and should be treated as such.
I do think it’s important to confront your fears. But, it’s equally important how you confront your fear. If you just man up and charge at the object of your phobia, you can end up having another traumatic experience and just making the phobia worse. I want to confront my fear, but I want to do it intelligently. I want to confront my fear in a way that effectively rewires my brain and allows me to be freed of my anxiety once and for all! Wish me luck! And in the meantime, if you have any questions or you’ve had your own experience with an extreme phobia that you’d like to share with me, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.