By: Blonde Two

I don’t think my fear of jellyfish is a phobia. If it was, I probably wouldn’t get in the sea without full body covering. My worry that one of the mysterious floaty creatures might one day choose to wrap itself around my face is very real but I don’t usually let it put me off my daily sea swims. As the sea warms up the jellyfish quite often decide to take a holiday on the English Riviera (who can blame them, its lovely and we have over 20 beaches to choose from). There’s no way I can get through a whole summer without swimming, so this year I decided to tackle the jelly-fear issue head on (but not on my head).

Exposure therapy is a treatment for anxiety and phobias that involves exposure to the source of fear in a safe environment. I had a few thoughts about how I could achieve this:

  1. Swim inside a bespoke plastic bubble (too much plastic)
  2. Build a giant partitioned jellyfish tank in the garden (would require the neighbours’ garden as well)
  3. Swim through a shoal of live jellyfish (tricky to tell if they’re alive or not)

None of these ideas made any sense (not an unusual occurrence for me) so I opted instead for ‘photographic’ exposure therapy. In other words I decided that if I could take photos of the jellyfish, I might be more likely to make friends with them

So I took my camera (the waterproof one) to the sea. Unusually it didn’t take long to find a jellyfish. There he was, blobbing happily along next to me. At first I opted for my usual ‘slightly-panicked-swim-away’ technique but then told myself off and returned to attempt a photo. The result was amusing (about fifteen minutes after the event). I prepared my camera, adjusted my goggles and got ready to dive to the jellyfish’s approximate location. I was prepared to look around for Mr JF but as I ducked my head under, there he was, almost sitting on my camera lens.

I’d like to be able to tell you at this point that I calmly snapped away but the reality was far more flappy and girly. I didn’t think I had taken any pictures but when I got home there was Mr JB. All floaty and mysterious, on my computer screen. Perhaps there is hope for our friendship after all.