Living with a Phobia

Everybody is scared of something. Scared of heights. Scared of fire. Scared of clowns. There isn’t a soul alive that isn’t scared of anything - and if they say they aren’t… they’re lying. 

I’m scared of a lot of things, fire, electricity, wasps, thunderstorms… but there’s one thing that trumps all of those… mice/rats. 

I recently wrote a post about the stigma with anxiety as well as talking about it on lovely Hannah’s blog, and it was just before this that I took the step to speak to someone about the effect it has on me, and how I can start working towards beating it. I had my CBT session and this is where the truth was uncovered, I was suffering from a phobia. 

After discovering I think the word phobia is really overused - and I can totally see why. Previously I thought that a phobia was being really scared of something, like how I used to force my dog to stay in my room during a thunderstorm, or switched off all the plug sockets to minimise a fire. But now I know it’s when something actually controls your life. Let me explain. 

I always used to think I would be great on I’m a Celebrity…Get me out of here. Until the year before last. I was in my second year of Uni, had left to go home in a rush and left my tiny halls room/cupboard in a bit of a mess. I even tweeted ‘apologising to future self’ for the mess. When I came back it looked like someone had gone in and ripped stuff up. I deep cleaned it and thought I’d just gone a bit mad. Then a couple of weeks later, I saw it, the dark shadow sprint across the room from behind my fridge/freezer. I remember feeling so physically sick as I ran down to tell security, who poked around with a broom, shrugged his shoulders and left. I slept in the kitchen that night. And the following night.

It happened again a few weeks later. It was the night of my final deadline at BRIT. I had one piece of work to edit and then I was done. So naturally I’d still got loads to do and was planning an all nighter. Halfway through and I saw that familiar dark shadow make a break from the bathroom. I screamed at it and it ran back in, as I ran down to security. Once again, I didn’t sleep in my room that night, I finished my work in the common room, and naturally fell asleep haha. They came in and sealed my rooms holes up that night, and that was the last time I saw one in my own room during my next two years at Uni. 

However, it didn’t really end there. It was at this point that I started developing some really odd habits, and it started taking over. I couldn’t sleep with the light off when I was in London for over a year. I used to go through a bottle of bleach a week because I covered my bathroom in it (where the mice where coming in) as I read that they were scared of the smell of it. I couldn’t sleep in silence because I would start imagining that I could hear them scratching away. They saw one in our kitchen and I ate nothing but tuna sandwiches for A WEEK. But it was when my grandparents discovered that they had a mouse problem that it hit me that the Isle of Wight was no longer safe from them and I HAD to do something about it. 

So thats where we are now. I’m awaiting my Intense Phobia Therapy which I think I will be writing about on here - as I can’t find anything online about it to cure my curiosity.

But I wanted to speak a bit more about how it effects me, how it isn’t just being scared of mice, and writing about this is making me really nervous (ironically) but it’s something I want to write about, so bare with me. 

- I always think I see them. I know this one sounds a bit crazy, but hear me out. For anyone who’s ever seen a mouse/rat, they move so fast you could easily convince yourself you haven’t seen it. They move so fast, silently and look as though they could be a shadow. So I always feel on edge now, overtime I think I might have seen something out of the corner of my eye, the smallest shadow, my head is constantly twitching to see if it was a mouse. It’s so hard to relax, because I know you can never guarantee a place to be mouse free, which terrifies me. 

- It affects my eating. The other day, I was in London and a mouse ran over my foot. I was on the way to an interview, and it knocked me sideways. I had just thought that I was getting somewhere with this and I took about 10 steps backwards. I stood at the top of the station leaning on a map not being able to breathe. It was horrible. I didn't eat for dinner that night, and I genuinely think that was the reason I was ill for the next day. I don't know what it is and I know it sounds ridiculous but something about them just makes me feel so dirty, disgusted and hjdshfdjsh

- It affects my sleep. With all the articles flying round the world wide web, you'd have to be living under a rock to not have been told that 'electronic devices will ruin your sleep'. I know that. YOU know that. I'm not stupid. But I cannot physically sleep in silence. I am starting to move over to the wonderful Andrew Johnson apps (review coming up) whenever I don't have something big on the next day, which hopefully will get me less reliant on watching Friends on repeat.

- It affects the way I do things. I will now not go on Tottenham Court Road station. I will only get on or off at stations that are going to be busy. I will walk the long way if it's going to be less mouse likely. I'm looking at moving back to London soon - and I'm dreading if I see one. I'm thinking about living on the outskirts of London so it's less likely. I could go on... it's impossible to say quite how much this has affected me, I can't really remember a time before it. 

Don't worry, I know how ridiculous I sound. I know it's pathetic to let a small animal that's scared of me take over my life.  Everytime I get on the Tube now I get insane heart palpitations just IN CASE I might see one. I just can't help it right now. But I'm really working on it. 


  1. I hope your therapy helps. This sounds like an awful phobia to have xx