Overcoming a Fear . . .

. . . Even if it may seem crazy to most of you!

I don’t have many phobias, heights are fine, even snakes, as long as they aren’t venomous, do not bother me. Spiders, well strangely if they are outdoors in the garden they’re okay, as long as I know where they are and they don’t run towards me, they’re okay. Mice are cute, sharks are scary but I’m not likely to encounter one.

Rats however are a different kettle of . . . well rats really. And they terrify me, always have. I’ve had a recurring dream for decades about rats climbing up the drain into the toilet, I won’t keep you awake with the details.

So, earlier in the year when I walked into a tent at an agricultural show and came face to face with a whole load of them, my heart started beating way too fast. Just as I was beginning to feel sick and turned to get out a smiling girl approached me with a rat in each hand asking would I like to hold one.

‘Uh, no thanks I’m actually feeling rather anxious just being here, I think I’d better go’ did I actually look daft enough to hold a rat???

‘Well’ she said, ‘you’re managing to look atย Jeremiah, well done, now isn’t he cute?’

I tried toย slow my breathing and talk sense to myself while sheย muttered something about them being gentle, loving pets who like nothing better than snuggling up on their persons shoulder.

‘Perhaps you would like to stroke him? his fur is so soft.’

She continued to talk to me about Jeremiah and his siblings, breeding, feeding and winning prizes in the show. I started to feel a tiny bit calmer and my inner voice told me that I would never have a better chance to overcome my fear, than right then with such an understanding lady encouraging me.

Suddenly I heard myself say ‘Will it turn its mouth towards me f I stroke its back?’

‘No, it’ll be fine go for it.’

I did it. I may not do it again, I’ll never be a fan and I have no idea why anyone would choose one as a pet, but I’ve felt a big less phobic since that day and a real sense of achievement. Crazy eh?


So here he is!
If you have a picture that shows achievement, most likely more sensible than mine visit http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/achievement/ to join in.

34 thoughts on “Overcoming a Fear . . .

  1. You are much braver than I would have been.

    In the ’80s (I’m old enough to remember them) there was a local man who had a pet rat. He would walk into town with it sitting on his shoulder – just for the sake of watching people squirm. He was banned from food shops etc, and you could often see him arguing for the right to enter. I haven’t seen him for years.

    Perhaps he got eaten !!!

    1. The man or the rat? I’m old enough to remember the 80’s, 70’s 60’s and 50’s. Did you watch that tv program just now about food, gardening and diy programs in the 60’s?

      1. The man – I reckon the rat ate him ๐Ÿ˜‰

        No, BOTHER! I missed it – I knew it was on, too. Must see if I can find it….. Was it interesting? (And I don’t believe you are that old )

  2. When my daughter was around twelve years old, a friend gave her his pet rat in a cage. His name was Poncho, and he was white with brown spots and very affectionate, snuggling on her shoulder. At Christmas time, we allowed him time in the tall tree where he happily ate the popcorn strands. I got over any fear of rats from him. However, after a severe bout of anxiety with claustrophobia, I managed to reduce it to a livable level, although elevators are still
    not my favorite places.

  3. congratulations on dealing with a phobia in a very sensible way. I couldn’t convince my DH to accompany me into the black rat temple in India. I thought they were all quite cute and there didn’t seem to be thousands of them, only a couple of hundred maybe …..

  4. Good for you, Gilly. A pet rat is one thing; a rat in the wild, getting into things, eating food, etc. is completely another. When my grandparents were alive and lived on the farm, my grandpa killed them whenever possible as they’d get into the corn, chicken house and so on.


  5. A lovely evocative piece of writing Gilly. Your capture your fear beautifully, obviously re-feeling it as you write. What courage to pat.

    Spiders were my phobia once, until my new husband, 40 something years ago, said “I’ll remove the spiderโ€ (a daddy long legs, that scary monster) “but I’ll go too.” Now my fear is heights: again a love affair made me face it, this time with alps in Slovenia. I found the cable car harrowing, and had to psych myself up for the downward journey, but I needed to be amongst these new objects of my passion!

    And what a delight to be directed back to old posts, and to have a chance to encounter your travelling adventurousness in Karni Mata.

  6. oh Gilly, i just dislike them. it’s not a fear, it’s just a plain old ‘how gross’ when i see them. one of the first i came across was during my university days, and i was walking on campus along a path lined with shrubbery to the right and left. it is actually a beautifully landscaped place, UBC (University of British Columbia) if you care to google it.
    in any case suddenly a rat leapt on the path in front of my from the shrubs on the left to those on the right and it was most definitely not love at first sight. i keep thinking what horrid, wretched little rodents they are, and the germs they spread, and the mess they make.
    and then here’s your photo. i have to admit – that is one cute face.
    even so, i am still not feeling the love. but kudos on you for that achievement!

  7. That’s a big achievement, Gilly. I don’t know if I could get over that fear or even feel slightly more comfortable with it. I hate rats and since I’ve heard of them getting into some teachers’ apartments here, I’m always on the lookout for them. I think I would scream bloody murder if I encountered one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Gilly, I must admit his little face is pretty darn cute. I’m proud of you facing your fear and petting the dang thing. At least these were the domesticated variety, and not found in a sewer or alley. Eek!

  9. Overcoming our fears is indeed a great achievement. I am afraid if rats too. One time a big field rat entered our house and my dad wants us to chase it out. Creepy and scary. Good think it went out the house by itself.

I would love to hear from you . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.