by Anonymous
(North Carolina)

I am 13 years old.
I am terrified of insects.
This is my story.

The teacher pulled a picture up in class the other day of a roach on a woman's hand, and I began to cry. I did not used to be scared of bugs, I have never like mosquitos, crickets, or beetles.. but it's gotten to the point where I run from ants. I have recently conquered a bit of my fear, I rub the fuzzy back of a caterpillar with my finger, but I can still not let it walk on me. I will NOT touch bugs, even with gloves on, and when they crawl on me I cry. Someone I love could be being eaten by a giant beetle and I would leave them to die. I know it's terrible but that's how bad it is. I'm going camping this weekend and I'm scared. This is going to be a disaster. It all started, I believe, when I had a dream 5-6 years ago. I was sitting in my Grandmother's driveway, with a magnifying glass. A little red fire ant came under the magnifying glass. I drew a circle of chalk around the ant to trap it inside (chalk normally can keep ants in a boundary) and held the glass over the ant. The sun reflected and began to heat on the ant, this angered the ant, and the size he grew under the magnifying glass was epic. When I removed the glass, this new size remained, and before me stood a giant, angry fire ant towering over me. He chased me in my dream. I woke up with sweats, shakes, and screams, and for the rest of my life so far, every time I think of bugs, I began to shiver and if one is near by I shake uncontrollably. If someone scares me with a bug, I will probably scream and run, and when I can't run anymore, I collapse on the ground sobbing and picking at my skin to get the bugs off (even if there aren't any there) As I type this I am constantly brushing the "bugs" off of my face and back and arms. All these weird little tickles are all over me and I'm shaking, thinking about this. I feel a mosquito bite my right elbow and shoulder as I type this. There are no bugs on me. I feel things crawling in my ear.

This fear is becoming overwhelming. We can no longer visit the beach. In our beach condo, we were to stay for a week last summer. On the second day, I went to shower in the bathroom. I opened the shower door and turned on the water. I stepped in, and something in my mind told me to look down first. I backed out for only a moment and saw before me my worst fear. A giant black water beetle climbed out of the drain. I slammed the door and ran out of the bathroom naked. I clenched my teeth, stepped back in the room for ONE MERE SECOND and snatched a towel off of the counter. I wacked a lot of hair things and bottles on the floor and took off full speed to the kitchen, and laid on the floor, the towel draped over my backside. My mother, hearing the noise, checked the bathroom. She came back laughing. LIKE IT WAS SOME KIND OF JOKE.
I wouldn't bathe until we returned home and still a few days after. I "bathed' by wetting a soapy cloth and standing in the kitchen and my sister holding up a towel like a shower curtain and washed my hair in the sink with washcloths over the drains. Yes, it's that bad.

I do not want to get over my fear. I just want to let you know.

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