I have two phobias. One is a fear of heights and the other is snakes. As I have gotten older, I've learned to control my fear response to both things, which I find interesting.
When I worked for the county doing West Nile Virus surveillance, trapping and counting mosquitoes, I spent a lot of time trekking through swamps and back woods setting up my light traps. Snakes were a part of the job. Since I couldn't be screaming my fool head off every time that I saw a snake, I gradually taught myself to freeze, clench my jaw, and wait for them to glide by on their way to do whatever snakes do. I continue on doing whatever it is that I need to do.
Same way with heights. I still don't like them, but sometimes I need to just suck it up and deal with it. Our business is buying houses and rehabbing them either for rentals or for flipping. I work with Tim and we haven't got time for me to be a baby. That being said, I can't do pitched roofs because walking on uneven surfaces sometimes causes my wonky knee to give way without warning, but walking on a flat surface is okay. It makes me squeamish and I have to move slowly. I avoid looking down.
There are a lot of snakes at the retirement property. As we remove debris, we find them and we get rid of them. I know that people will disagree, but when you're hauling stuff away and find 30 snakes, well, that's more than any habitat needs.
PS this is not an exaggeration.
It is also why I'm not ever going to live in that house. But since that house holds a lot of the stuff we are going to use in the new house, we need it to stand at least through this winter. So once the trees were removed, we needed to repair the damage.
It was chilly and we worked all day. Despite my fear, I climbed up and down ladders fetching and carrying. I also hauled sheets of tin from a pile of used tin that Tim saved because it was in good shape and he knew it would eventually come in handy. At one point I was pushing a large sheet of tin up a ladder to the second floor roof for Tim, It was heavy and bulky and dirty. I was high up and trying not to look down. As I pushed it over top of the ladder a snake shed slid down and across my hand.
I've never dealt with two phobias simultaneously. I clenched my jaw and there was no screaming. I did not fall off the ladder.
Sweet mother of God, this was a stressful day and I'm so glad it is done.