Saved by a Spider: Connection is Key

Spider with Suicide


A long-legged spider hung

above where I, twenty-one,

lay on an attic cot

in the abandoned house

I’d climbed into—


the place

I swallowed all those pills

but woke up—frightened, disappointed,

baffled really.


Now what?


I touched the cool brick next to me,

remembered ivy choking

the chimney at my parents’ home—the tendrils,

the suckers clinging.


Nauseous and dizzy, an eerie motor

screamed in my underwater brain.


But the spider

beside me, alive with me—


ignited a small spark.


I sat up,

placed my feet on the tilting floor,



So I did.


Often we adults who have Post-traumatic Stress from preverbal trauma are convinced we are different and, therefore, separate from others. It’s easy for us to feel weird and apart from ‘normal’ human beings. Our early isolation due to illness, or other traumas, and indeed, the fact that we may look different because of these early issues–for me, a jagged scar stretching across my belly–brands us as other.  

For humans, connection with other living beings is as important as basic necessities, such as food and shelter. Those with trauma need this connection even more. Sometimes survival hinges on the slightest contact to survive. Thank you, little spider.

4 Responses to Saved by a Spider: Connection is Key

  1. Hi, Wendy!
    You’ve done it again. No matter how distracted I am, once I tune in to your channel, I feel a connection, as I’m sure is true for others as well.
    For me, even though I’m married and have a nice home and many “comforts,” there has always been a hidden part of me that feels uncomfortable in my own body. In my teens and twenties, no matter what my official situation was (student, teacher, paint salesman, husband for awhile, etc.) I often either resisted or succumbed to an impulse to wander off into some God-forsaken part of a woods to sit in a bramble patch or pile of rocks, looking for and identifying with ants and spiders and critters with broken wings.
    Like you, I’m a victim of trauma in infancy and have never fully gotten over it. And like you, I’ve worked very hard to become as whole and loving a person as I can be. A few weeks ago, I became a grandfather to a little girl named Clara. My wife and I are going to visit her and our daughter and son-in-law tomorrow. It’s a happy time for all of us, but for me there’s always this deep-down memory of trauma that makes me feel slightly apart from all the joy.

    • So good to hear from you, Robert! As always, you know exactly what I am talking about. I have been wanding in EMDR the different parts of my body, trying to get them all on the same page. In any event, I was taught that my body was my enemy. Actually, the pain was my enemy. But I grew up wondering when my body might seize up and take me down again, for the pediatrician told my mom, and I overheard him, that he wasn’t sure there wouldn’t be some future stomach problems. So my gosh, to feel so weird and different so early on. It takes a toll on one, as you know. Thanks so much for writing. I took a risk with this post, and I was rewarded, for I heard from you! Congrats, Robert, about your brand new granddaughter! xo xo Wendy

  2. Robert and I know several others in your circle know very well how early trauma can extend its web to dog if not capture our life. We’re so glad that the very dark and dangerous days you so effectively portray here seem to be behind you. Yes, we can at times (or more often perhaps) feel burdened by our inner pain, but as Robert’s response reminds us, there is a world of beauty and celebration out there. Thanks again for sharing so sensitively.

    • Luckily, I’ve got you both in my life to remind me of 1) the fact that the “dark and dangerous” is way past and 2) there is so much to be thankful for and to enjoy. We’ve got our “circle” of folks who ‘get’ each other–who understand each other beyond what anyone else can ever know–and for this, I am grateful for sure. I also thank whatever enabled us to make it this far on our journeys: spiders, spouses, sunshine……….

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