I've spoken about my bufonophobia before (possibly at length), and I posted about finally taking matters in hand and seeking professional help.
That was in September last year, but I only managed a couple of sessions with him until he went on leave, and then it was the Christmas holidays and then I tore that ankle ligament and couldn't drive for a number of weeks and then, then it was autumn again and the toads went back into hibernation and the issue became less pressing.
So it was with some apprehension this last spring that I approached Toad Season.
First we heard them - the little fuckers were literally at it all night. Mating, spawning, fighting for new territories.
We didn't see them really, but my goodness they made a lot of noise.
Husband would glance apprehensively at me across the room.
'They're really going for it this year,' he'd say.
'Verging on extinction my ass.' I'd retort. Nervously.
Then one day, in the middle of the afternoon, the puppy dug one out of its daytime slumber and BEHEADED it on the lawn.
Yup, headless toad on my lawn in broad daylight.
The phobia walls came closing in, and I'm not proud, but I had to get my 4 year old to go out there and put a bucket over it while I cowered in the doorway battling to sound calm and encouraging.
Back to the shrink I wondered?
But then I started thinking about what he'd said about that switch in my brain. The one that instantly links the sight of toads to heightened adrenalin and anxiety.
I decided that instead of focusing on the toad, I'd try and manage that switch.
And get this you guys, I think it's working.
I've gotten so that I can see one without breaking out in a sweat. I can be on the stoop and see one on the lawn and just stand still while Husband removes it - not rush away through the house slamming doors behind me as I go.
Last evening I saw one on the lawn and later, while seeing my brother and his wife out I saw another under their car.
I closed the gate, glanced left and saw a third in the shadows.
No nausea, no sweats, no racing heart.
I'm not going to pick one up and test the prince theory or anything, but I think I'm starting to flip that switch. I think I'm starting to beat this thing.
No pictures with this post for um, obvious reasons.