Yes, I’m Scared of the Dark. Terrified, Really.


I have a lot of fears.

Well, maybe not a lot, but at least two or three that seize my body with terror & fill my mind with awful images & scenarios whenever I think of them.

Like drowning.

The thought of not being able to draw in a breath without choking on water & being submerged in a body of water petrifies me.

And snakes…my toes curled up & my heart nearly flew out of my chest just typing that s-word…so I think it’s best we just move right along to my final fear:

I’m terrified of the dark.

Yes, I’m 29 years old and I’m afraid of the dark-have been since I was a kid. Even as grown woman & mother of two kids, a small part of me is always convinced something will emerge from it to “get me,” even though my rational mind knows this isn’t the case.

But that’s the thing about fears, right? They aren’t always rational, are they? (Follow me, I’m trying to go somewhere, I promise.)

I think what scares me the most about darkness is that it places everything it covers into The Land of the Unknown…what was sure & recognizable in the light becomes shadowy, fuzzy & unclear in the dark. For a control freak like myself, I’m sure you can imagine why this freaks me out. I wish I could tell you that I don’t stay awake some nights wondering if the shadow in the closet is really from the ironing board that I KNOW is there…or from some horrific figment of my imagination it’s put there to f– with me. Seriously, I wish I could but I can’t. I don’t do it much when I’m with someone else but if I’m by myself? Forget it. I’m cowering under the covers trying not to think about how unsafe I feel…Sometimes, just to shut up & shut down the fears screaming in my mind I have to actually get up, turn on a light, and go physically touch objects around the room I’m in…just for reassurance.

Crazy, right? Weird, right? Yes I know. Stupid? Probably…but as I lay here in my bed typing this and trying to tell myself I’m not going to wake up with some stranger laying next to or on me, and that the boys & I are VERY safe, I’m realizing that my fear of the dark is really just a fear of uncertainty. I hate not knowing. Ambiguity and I are not friends. Not being able to see & know everything around me leaves me in a very unsettled place emotionally…which disrupts me mentally, and manifests itself physically into agitation, irritability, paranoia, and crippling anxiety. I even get intrusive thoughts sometimes. My mind smells any hint of fear & just takes off in about 20 different directions, all of which lead to something horrific happening. If I can’t see or know everything there is about something, a person, or where I have to go, I’m a wreck and not too pleasant to be around. This is one of the reasons I hate getting lost. Can’t. Stand it.

And it’s one of the reasons why even though growing up a military brat acquainted me with change & taught me the importance of adjusting & adapting to it, I’m not very good at embracing it like I should be. I know, you’re thinking to yourself “The chick who changes her hair color every time she blinks is afraid of change? What the hell?” But seriously, while I may not be afraid of changing how I look, I am terrified of how change impacts my life in other areas.

I like change…There are times my restless and adventurous little soul yearns for it…but then when it shows up ready to deliver I promptly begin to freak the hell out. I know-I don’t get the contradiction either, trust me.

So even though I was dying to pack up & move across the country…am giddy at the thought of marrying the nerd of my life…am relieved to be taking a break from work & school and looking forward to just being MOM….here I am, laying in a hotel room in Austin, TX, (IN THE DARK!) absolutely paralyzed by my fear of the uncertain…of what’s unknown…imagine Usain Bolt running around at record speed inside my head waving 500 “what if?” flags stirring up a fear tornado. That’s my mind right now.

A fear tornado. I’m dead smack in the center staring wide eyed at all my fears & questions swirling furiously around me.

What happens if Bertski doesn’t come back from PA next week because his train derails and crashes and I’m forced to be here by myself? How would we survive & live without him?

What if someone breaks in here or attacks us while he’s gone? How would I defend us?

What if he changes his mind & doesn’t want to marry me?

What if he hates it here?

What if I hate it here? And the boys? What if this was a mistake?

We haven’t found a place yet-what if we don’t? How long can we stay here at the hotel? Will they kick us out? Where will we go?

What if by choosing to “just” be Mom, I lose the other parts of me that make me…ME? What will happen to my passions, my goals, my ambition? What if I don’t go back to school & I regret it? Will my children think less of me if I don’t have a degree? Will I be setting the bar too low for them if I don’t go back?

Can we survive off of just one income?

What if the boys get sick or need to go to the doctor? Or me? Or Bertski? We don’t have health insurance…

What if I’m not strong enough to handle all of this change & I sink into an episode or my illness rages out of control again?

I could go on…but I’ll stop the list there. I know some of these fears are irrational, slightly silly & maybe even stupid-I know this, I do. But there are others that are valid & real and they’re the ones that cause me the most unease. I’m incredibly happy we moved. Grateful for the people we’ve met here & the connections we’ve made despite being states away from family & friends who have supported us for years. Thrilled that I’m doing this with the man I love dearly and my boys…

But I’m also scared shitless over the unknowns of this venture, of everything that sits in the dark, and restricts my vision of the future. We’ve executed a plan that brought us here, but large amounts of that plan have been rooted in uncertainty & our desire to just stick together & “make it happen”until we’re settled.

I’m afraid of the dark, because not being able to see what’s in front of me leaves me feeling very unsettled…uneasy…uncomfortable. I’m trying to take it all in stride & just learn to be okay with not knowing. I’m trying to embrace the nuances of change without trying to control it too much. It’s not easy, but I’m trying.

Well there you have it. I told you some of my fears, what are yours?

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4 thoughts on “Yes, I’m Scared of the Dark. Terrified, Really.

  1. Oh man I’m so scared of the dark!! I never lived alone because of it. Moving/change is always scary. And the list that you have is absolutly reasonable and not at all crazy. Those are fears anyone would have. Remember you are loved and there will be struggles, but this is a good decision and you WILL make it. Love you.

  2. first of all… TURN ON A LIGHT!!! why are you sitting in the dark if it scares you?? it actually doesn’t sound like you’re that scared of the actual dark, but maybe more of the thoughts that you have when it’s dark? is that a possibility? many people are scared of the things you listed, snakes and the dark, and most fears are totally irrational. like my husband, for example, when he first started his new job, which requires a lot of travel, he was terrified of flying, but ok with driving (LOTS of it). fear of flying vs. driving is totally irrational when you consider how many plane crashes there are vs. car accidents, but how many people have you heard say they are afraid to drive? probably not very many, yet many people are afraid to fly. logically it doesn’t make any sense, but it doesn’t really have to, if you are scared, you are scared. one time he was on a flight that connected to the next flight in detroit. while he was on the first flight there was severe turbulence, and he swears UP AND DOWN that the plane lost power and started dropping from the sky, only to suddenly regain power and start ascending again. when he got to detroit he was so terrified that instead of catching his next flight he rented a car and drove the rest of the way home, crazy, right?
    i always tell people that i have a vomit phobia, and that’s not exactly true. it’s not the vomit i’m afraid of, it’s what the vomit will inevitably bring, which is me, having a stomach bug, that’s what i’m really afraid of, stomach bugs. i almost didn’t have kids because of it, that’s how much i HATE stomach bugs. any other type of sick i can handle, but not stomach bugs. so, that’s my fear. this fear was realized this past spring when my daughter caught her first bug and then passed it on to everyone else in the house. i haven’t been sick to my stomach like that in years, and you know what? it was just as bad as i remember it.

  3. I’m scared of tiny spaces. I’ll ride an elevator but it’s not my favorite thing to do in the world. Crowded places, with lots of people? Eh. And let’s not forget public speaking. Lord, I have a full blown panic attack.

    And the dark. No, really and truly. My dad traveled a lot when I was younger, so i was home alone a lot. And man did my imagination run wild. Once, for example, it was in the middle of the night and I heard this loud crash downstairs. I tip toed to the top of the stairs and looked down. All I saw was a big white and black blob– I thought it was a shoe, a strangers shoe. I talked myself down from a panic attack and took a closer look. It was my stupid fat cat, not a shoe. And the big noise I had heard? It was the stupid cat knocking over the trash can. I’m tellin’ ya, the dark can really mess with your head.

    But you seem in a good place, Your acknowledging your fears and your working through them. You’ve totally got this 😉

  4. Oh, I am TERRIFIED of airplanes. As in faint-in-the-gate terrified.

    And I have the spiraling thoughts, too. Irrational ones, like that No1 is going to “dry drown” 3 days after swimming (DON’T google it) or that my husband will crash his car every day on the way to work. And if someone other than me is driving my kids? It tortures me. What helps me the most is picturing the most positive outcome and almost daydreaming about it.

    So, stop those thoughts by picturing your family all settled into that adorable condo, B happy in kindergarten – coming home to a snack so excited to tell you all about his day. Make it as vivid as you can. Write about it if you want. It helps me tons.

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