A No Good, Terrible Case of Murophobia

My name is Louise, and I suffer from an irrational fear/phobia/paranoia of all rodent-like creatures.

It's sort of officially known as murophobia. Hypnotherapy is recommended as a cure. 

I have no idea how it originated—no one in my family growing up had the same fear, and my husband thinks I'm kind of ridiculous with the sobbing and clawing at my own skin that goes on at the mere mention of the M-word.

It can probably be traced back to a repressed memory, which by its very nature was so panic-inducing that I've completely repressed it.

BUT have you seen a mouse skitter across a linoleum floor when you weren't expecting it? Can you blame me?

Despite my well-exhibited fear/phobia/paranoia, life has found it utterly amusing to continue challenging me with exposures. It's like someone is playing candid-camera-cognitive-therapy, and I'm the unwilling participant.

I've lived in student housing with mice and once had to call a cab to get to my night-shift job because there was a raccoon lurking near my parked car (yeah, I don't like their beady eyes and claws, either). 

I also (unknowingly) slept in a mouse den in JB's parents' garage. We were dating then, and I had to sleep on a fold-out sofa bed. When I pulled back the covers, I noticed it was filled with cat kibble. Already knowing my tendency to meltdown at the mention of the M-word, he told me they had really, really smart cats. I believed him. It's baffling that we're still together. Because, yeah, I figured it out eventually. 

We like the wooded areas and trails that wind through our current neighbourhood. We love the big trees in our front yard. It seems the creepy rodents do, too. 

The sound first started haunting/taunting me two days ago. The little one and I had just returned from the big kids' bus stop. We were standing in the kitchen, and it sounded like someone was trying to unscrew one of the potlights in the ceiling. Then the dragging and shuffling sounds started, and I felt my knees go weak.

You okay, mama?

We left the house. I texted JB. 

Hmmm, are you sure it's not the pipes? 

The PIPES!?!? The sound going on in the tiny space between our kitchen ceiling and my bedroom floor conjured a clear (and horrifying) vision of the rodent condominium complex being constructed above my head. 

Long story short, Mo the exterminator and wildlife extractor came (and laughed and laughed and laughed) and confirmed there were squirrels living between the walls. I put my head down and initiated deep breathing.  


We talked about how much work would have to be done to be able to list the house on MLS and just start over somewhere new. Maybe a condo. In the desert. No trees. No foliage. No rodents. 

He laughed and laughed and laughed some more.

There is nothing jovial about my mood, though. In fact, I'm in a downright rotten-stinky-awful-foul mood. I am on the verge of tears. I've lost my appetite.

And though I greatly appreciate how much my friends are trying to show their solidarity by sharing stories about squirrels chewing through the walls of their children's room or making nests among the towels in their linen closets, I really wish they would STOP (pretty please?). 

I'm expecting to a get a lot of work done while we wait for Mo to come and move the squirrels down the street, being that I won't be able to shut my eyes for ONE. SINGLE. SECOND.

Damn you, murophobia. I really wish you'd hitch a ride on a squirrel's back and skedaddle. 

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Elan Morgan

Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works through Elan.Works and is a designer and content editor at GenderAvenger. They have been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health, Woman's Day, and Flow magazines and at TEDxRegina and on CBC News and Radio. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.