How TikTok helped me get over my crippling fear of spiders


I joined TikTok in early 2021 for the cute animals — think pandas and corgis — but weeks later, an unexpected creature appeared on my feed: a jumping spider. I had a lifelong spider phobia and panicked right when I saw it. I could feel my skin crawl — I was convinced it had somehow jumped through the screen and onto me.

I’d taken many steps to address this phobia in the past. Exposing myself to spiders I met on my porch, listening to guided hypnosis sessions on YouTube, and even trying real-life hypnotherapy sessions to “cure” my fear hadn’t worked.

But this time, choosing to stay and face my fear once again, I found that my panic response was neutralized when I noticed other details highlighted in the video — the fact the spider was called Bea, that she was tiny, her squeaky “voice,” the things she was “saying” about chasing bugs. Rather than virtually swat her away, I was surprised to find I wanted to see more of her. 

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