I Have Irrational Arachnophobia

The Halloween season is the worst part of the year.

A.J. Bryant
6 min readOct 28, 2021

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I use baby shampoo because I never close my eyes in the shower. I am terrified of a spider falling on me or crawling out of the drain.

I approach bananas in the grocery store with anxiety and trepidation, because one time I read a story about arachnids in banana crates.

My spider fear is near debilitating. I am not alone, as I know that fear of spiders is one of the most common on the planet. But I believe my case is extreme.

I wouldn’t dare use Google to find a picture for this post. Instead, I decided to take a picture of a silly-looking lawn spider up the street.

Halloween walks around my neighborhood are fraught affairs. Everywhere I go are white ‘webs’ wrapping around people’s bushes, dangling spiders in trees. I cannot describe how much I hate it.

But I think Halloween spider displays are more garish recently. Growing up I don’t remember giant spiders, like the one in the picture adorning someone’s lawn. Now I regularly walk by a house with dozens of black felt spiders with bright red eyes, crawling all over their house.

I think the children’s song the Itsy-Bitsy Spider is abominable. Does anyone else find it strange that we socialize toddlers into thinking spiders are silly creatures?

Think about this — is there another animal that has as famous a children’s ditty, while simultaneously representing one of the most common global phobias?

Merely reading the word ‘tarantula’ on a screen, without a description or a picture, increases my anxiety and sends my heart rate pounding. There is a scene in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit about large spiders lurking in the woods. I nearly had a heart attack watching the movie, just thinking about it.

And don’t get me started about the spiders in Harry Potter, or Shelob in the Lord of the Rings.

If I see a picture of a spider, I cannot get that image out of my head for hours, sometimes even days. Every time I close my eyes, the image is with me. I can’t shake it. I can look at other things, I can watch television, read a book. But it always comes back to mind, mocking me.

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A.J. Bryant

Adopted from Kerala. I write about adoption, my intercultural marriage, and contemporary India. Prawns are my love language. @adoptedkeralite