Hello again, back to my story.
My next stop is a local, highly recommended psychologist. I’m thinking, this will be better, at least I don’t have to drive into Toronto for these appointments. It is very expensive, so I am hoping for a quick fix! Ha!
I arrive on day 1, and we go through the details, when I started to fear wasps and bees, why, exactly which situations bother me, and what my reaction is when the phobia is triggered. I also explain all the work I have done so far, researching about wasps and bees, and all the steps I completed in the graduated exposure therapy. My main fear is when one buzzes around me, especially near my head, or lands on me. Driving and having one appear in the car is downright dangerous as I forget about driving and go straight to panic attack. This has happened to me a few times, including once on a very busy highway.
Dr. G suggests we go outside and walk around where there are lots of wasps (which means anywhere and everywhere, in September). She observes me, and no wasps come near me (of course) so nothing to see here! We go back to the office and wrap up the session.
She studies me for a moment then says, “I’d like to try something”. She opens up her lunch bag and takes out a bag of grapes. I think, that’s weird. All of a sudden, a grape hits me in the face. Then another. I flinch. She is throwing grapes at me! I think that flinching is the appropriate response, but Dr. G suggests that she has figured out my phobia.
“I don’t think you’re afraid of wasps, because you flinched at a grape. I think you’re just afraid of objects coming near your head.” ($150 an hour, in case you’re wondering what I paid for this revelation).
I don’t recall much after the grapes, but I did ask, “Wouldn’t anybody flinch if you threw a grape at their face?” I don’t know what her response was, it was a rhetorical question really.
I never went back.
I still have the phobia, and in fact it is worse now. The last couple of years it has transformed into phobia-triggered Tourette’s. As I run away, I yell various profanities loudly for all nearby to hear. (This could become a problem if I return to working at an elementary school. Doing yard supervision while running, screaming and swearing is not a good way to earn respect).
For now, I try to enjoy nature despite the flying machete insects, and I always travel with my trusty friend, Laura Zepam. She can always calm me down.