This is easy for me, I may be scared of many psychological terrors which are just lurking in my mind, but what I’m really scared of, what I develop actual physical cold sweats over, is spiders.
This exercise is great for really studying and identifying just what it is you’re scared of. It forces you to analyse the physical manifestation of your fear and recognise the elements that cause such extreme feelings.
On drawing my spider, I understood that it’s all about the legs and those horrible little hairs. It also didn’t help that one of my earliest memories was realising there was a monster of a spider quietly perching on my five-year-old shoulder, waiting to be discovered, lurking malevolently, then disappearing down my back while shock left me shaking and screaming. It was not my bravest hour.
I decided to go for detail in my picture; I felt I needed to really do a deep dive into the physical elements which I detest so much. Halfway through the drawing, I realised that I was really slightly in awe of what I was drawing; love it or hate it, the spider is quite a remarkable creature and the detail of its being is really quite fascinating to take a step back and study.
I’m definitely not at the point where I can be anywhere near a physical arachnid, but on spotting that instantly recognisable scuttling movement out of the corner of my eye, I can take a deep breath and picture my sketch with its emblazoned statement. It doesn’t cure the phobia, but it does help to focus my mind on the irrationality and stop me from getting too caught up in the fear.
You can draw your pictures of your fears as detailed or as abstractly as you wish; this is designed to specifically express how your fears appear to you, how they make you feel. As with all art therapy exercises, you will find the mind becomes as involved as the hand, allowing for a deeper self-analysis which can be cathartic.