Hola (take thirty-eight) Amigos!
This is a subject I haven’t spoken about before on this blog but I feel like now is as good a time as ever. From the age of about 7 to the age of 15 I battled a serious phobia of rain. It seems pathetic and laughable now, for years I couldn’t get my head around it, CAMHS never overly helped me get over this phobia instead just taught me relaxation techniques and gave me risperidone to hide the anxiety I actually experienced every time a dark cloud came over where I was. With a blog about this I guess the best way to start is at the beginning so here goes..
I know now that this phobia stemmed from my mum being taken into hospital for a serious illness with her heart when I was only 6. When the ambulance came the weather was a usual miserable and dark January day. This became what I focused on when my mum was taken away from me for 8 very long weeks. I have always been close with my Mum, since I was a baby it’s always been her that’s my rock and every scary hospital appointment I had she would be the one by my side. To have that suddenly taken away from me was traumatic and would’ve been for anyone – even more so when I had attachment disorder to her. The easiest thing to blame in my mind was the weather, this escalated until I had a major phobia of the rain, and I don’t use the word phobia lightly – my pet hate now is the word phobia being used wrongly. For 8 very long years of my life, everytime it rained or it was slightly dark outside the emotions I felt as a 6 year old whose Mother was likely to die would fill me.
It took over my life, at every CAMHS meeting I would lie and pretend I was okay, rating my excruciating fear as only a 4/10 when really it was easily a 9 if not a 10. The arguments I used to have with my mum who would stress to me not to sugar coat it because I really did need help was unbelievable. I had one psychiatrist that helped me for several years, coming to my house to teach me relaxation techniques and i’d slowly get better, but once she left CAMHS I hit an all time low. This phobia took over my life, living in England, rain is not something you can avoid easily and my school attendance as well as my social life really did plummet. Eventually, I got to an age (15) where I wanted to stop letting this one petty thing control me and I was determined to go through whatever I needed to do to get rid of this phobia. I had meetings with a woman who came to me at school weekly and after 6 months of sessions with her I finally felt ready to fight this battle on my own. I’m still convinced I owe it to her but she used to drill into me that it was me who overcame this fear on my own and she only provided me with the tools needed to do so. To this day I feel like I owe her my life as she really did completely change it but I know it was my determinism that got me past this phobia which controlled every aspect of my life.
The reason I thought about writing this blog was because today I was driving on my way home and the rain was pouring down, for the first time in a long while I tried to remember what it was like to be filled with anxiety while water came from the sky. Now, it’s almost impossible to remember the life I had with a rain phobia, one that was controlled by an emotion of being purely terrified. There is simply no other word to use which would explain the way I felt, I was consumed by the emotion of being terrified, even on sunny days I was worried about the next time the rain would fall. I was the only child to have their most used app as the weather forecast. To anyone who has a serious phobia then I understand, the most important thing to remember though is that the emotion you feel about your phobic is not due to that, it’s due to what you associated with it. It’s important to separate these two things and to admit to yourself why you feel like you do. It means talking about a traumatic experience in your life but I assure you it’s worth it. Separating your emotions and your phobic stimulus is a key factor in overcoming your phobia and I wish I’d learnt that in CAMHS, long before the mentor I had through school.
A few years ago my biggest want in life was the Speakmans (if you’ve heard of them you know they’re amazing at helping people overcome their phobias) to reply to my countless emails asking for help. Now, my aims in life include being a successful author and having a family of my own one day..if this isn’t proof life gets better then I simply don’t know what is. We all have the strength to overcome the demons we give ourselves. The brain is a very scary place when it leaves you challenging whether life really is worth it but I promise you it is. Mental health problems are not something to fear, if you need help I beg you to talk to someone.
I’m only ever an email away – firstname.lastname@example.org
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