Butterflies and Moths: Beautiful or Creepy?
Does the mere idea of butterflies make you feel uncomfortable? Do you dread visiting parks and gardens, because you might encounter flying insects?
Are you afraid that others will judge you because of your fear of moths?
If any of these scenarios seem to fit, consider two possible reasons: lepidopterophobia or mottephobia.
As uncommon as it may seem, a fear of bugs is very real. Celebrities with lepidopterophobia include actress Nicole Kidman and model Kylie Jenner. During an interview, Jenner once said that without a butterfly’s artsy wings, it’s just a bug.
If you suffer from an extreme fear of butterflies, know that there is hope. Read on to find solutions to overcome this fear.
Butterflies and moths are useful insects, because they pollinate needed plants.
They are known as accidental pollinators.
What Is Lepidopterophobia?
Lepidopterophobia refers to an overwhelming fear of butterflies and moths. Those with this condition react strongly when an insect accidentally touches or crawls on their skin. They may even get the jitters at the mere sight or thought of a winged bug.
Why the phobia begins varies, but insects or bugs that flutter may have something to do with it. This phobia is related to entomophobia (fear of insects) and mottephobia (fear of moths). Sometimes, lepidopterophobics are also scared of birds and other flying creatures.
The fear tends to form in early childhood up to the teenage years. For some, a swarm of butterflies and moths may trigger specific childhood trauma or a negative experience. Sudden development of this phobia can occur when someone goes through a period of high stress. It can also be caused by the loss of a loved one, especially if the event is associated with insects.
If you have this condition, you may find it difficult to explain. You can’t put into words how much it bothers you to see people wearing butterfly-patterned clothing or accessories. Nobody understands why you leave the room when moths appear on TV. Others may find moths and butterflies pretty, but you’re just creeped out.
How can you cope with irrational thoughts about butterflies and other flying critters? Read on.
Symptoms of Lepidopterophobia
Naturally, symptoms of this phobia can differ from one person to another. Retention of this fear happens in the pituitary gland in the brain. A phobia is clinically diagnosed when it lasts for six months or more.
Both your body and mind may be affected by this extreme aversion. Here are some known symptoms of lepidopterophobia.
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty breathing
- Flight reaction
- Dry mouth
- Panic attacks
- Avoiding leaving home
- Avoiding going to the zoo, park, or public places with trees or plants
- Anxiety attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
- A constant need to scratch and touch skin
Self-Help for Lepidopterophobia
Accepting that butterflies are harmless can be overwhelming at first. Your reaction may seem exaggerated and unrealistic, even to yourself. Phobias don’t often make sense.
Overcoming phobias takes immense patience and strength. And sometimes you may have to try different treatments. But don’t lose hope. Every phobia can become manageable with the right care.
To start, take smaller steps to get help. Desensitizing yourself is a gradual process.
What Can I Do to Overcome Lepidopterophobia?
Facing your fear is the best course of action. Research suggests that a lack of control over the mind and body can lead to developing phobias.
One of the most effective ways to rid yourself of the fear is to practice relaxation and breathing techniques. Try meditating for a few minutes each day. Eventually, you’ll come to believe you are in control of the situation, which may boost your confidence.
There is an approach called mere exposure effect. Gradually gather information about these insects. Then, expose yourself to butterflies and moths in a controlled atmosphere. As you gain familiarity, your fear may begin to wane.
You could even use your creative side to attempt to face this fear. For instance, draw a picture of a butterfly or a moth from an internet page.
Professionals suggest that lowering your caffeine intake may also prove beneficial, because it relaxes you.
Getting Professional Help
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common form of professional therapy which can help you overcome your fear of butterflies and moths. CBT can help with your thought processes. Group therapy is another option. Share your fear with a supportive group and gain insight into your phobia from those who experience the same. A phobia tends to hold you back from socializing, so a regular support group is invaluable.
Talk therapies also exist. Talk to a mental health professional about your phobia. While you’re at it, talking to trusted friends and family is also helpful. It will remind you that you’re not alone in this journey.
It can never hurt to consult an expert on this subject. Talk to a therapist and gain more knowledge about why this bothers you. Together, you can discover the reason behind your paralyzing fear of butterflies or moths.
Helping Children Cope with Lepidopterophobia
Parents play a vital role in helping children cope with irrational fears. Parents need to encourage their children to talk about what scares them. Work to reassure and boost your child’s confidence level.
Consult with a pediatrician if the fear is affecting your child’s daily life. Art therapy and exposure therapy may help them overcome their phobia. With a little help from a pediatric mental health professional, your child may be able to recognize the harmless aspect of butterflies and let go of their fear.
Follow These Simple Techniques
A phobia is when a fear reaches a point that it disrupts everyday life. It will not disappear on its own. But there is always a solution to overcome or at least better manage your fear.
There are multiple therapies available. First and foremost, it’s important to build self-trust.
Whenever you feel a panic attack starting, remember to take a deep breath and repeat to yourself “I am bigger than this irrational fear.”
Phobias form a conflicting thought process in your mind. This in turn weakens the nervous system. Therapies such as acupuncture help reduce stress. Meditation or yoga as well work to calm the body.
When to Seek Medical Help
If your life is hindered by constant thoughts of fear, seek professional help. Do this as soon as you can, especially if you are unable to find purpose or meaning in life.
Phobias can worsen to an extent where it builds a wall between you and:
- your work
- your daily routine
- your relationships
- your personal goals
- your public life
To overcome this fear, it’s important to know when to seek help. Thoughts of self-harm are a major reason to consider professional help to bring you back in balance. Don’t let a phobia of butterflies stop you from experiencing life to the fullest.
Once you’ve learned how to better cope with your fear of butterflies, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. Realization, acceptance, and a conscious effort are all part of the journey to curb an irrational fear of butterflies and moths. With positive thoughts and wise decisions, you can conquer lepidopterophobia.