London, UK

I never realised I had a phobia, or shall I say I stayed in denial about it for over 20 years. I had all the classic signs triggered in my body; clenched fists, racing beat and fast intense breathing. Still I hadn’t joined the dots up and put it down to “silly me getting worked up over nothing!”

But, there was something about the rain that made me feel uneasy because deep down I knew the rain was a key trigger of my discomfort. It’s not that I didn’t like the rain, it’s what I anticipated was to come with the wet conditions. If I dared set foot outside what I might see…on the damp ground. 

I’ve grown accustomed to keeping this strange fear to myself because not even I could find a rational reason for my fear of worms. There, I said it. Seeing the faces of other people when I used to talk about my reasons for avoiding certain activities like gardening, or simply being out in the rain. The look of confusion on their face and the containment of laughter made me want to keep this all to myself instead of seeking help. 

My denial continued throughout my twenties with my personal battle just trying to walk to the train station on those dark damp winter mornings. The mornings I would fret over before leaving the house to set off for work. The mornings where I would spend time looking through my window to study the conditions of the rain and the ground hedging my bets on the likelihood of seeing them or mistaking twigs for them.

It was only when I started to refuse to leave my house on those rainy mornings that my husband urged me to seek help and no longer let it get in the way of my life. And that’s where things started to change for me. 

I swapped my personal shame and embarrassment for self compassion and went all out to get the help I needed to manage my phobia, so I retrained in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Meditation teacher training to learn how to manage my mind and calm my nervous system down.

I gained the confidence to speak up about my phobia because it’s not just a silly thing after all; it’s an anxiety disorder which is often overlooked and can lead to further mental health problems if it gets out of control. 

Now, I can walk in the rain without obsessing over the conditions of the ground and trying to prevent a panic attack by using lots of positive self talk, self-kindness and breathing techniques when I see the things I don’t like. I still have my moments though, and I’m fine with that because I allow myself the space to bring my body back to balance instead of being hard on myself. 

I’ve learned to accept how my body responds in certain situations and this acceptance is the start of a new journey of self discovery and curiosity of this phobia instead of resistance.