Sunday, June 14, 2015

Afraid of the Dark

I've always had somewhat of a problem with the dark.

When I was little, I suffered from awful night terrors.  I used to force my mom to lay with me until I fell asleep and would panic in the middle of the night when I would wake up and she wasn't there.  Later, I slept with the hallway light on.  When my parents first moved to Kentucky, I slept in the living room for months.  The TV was always put on an hour timer, either tuned into a blank blue screen or with the sound down so low I couldn't hear it.

One day, it snapped and I was able to sleep anywhere, anytime, no matter the light situation.  This was a victory for me!  I could stay with someone in a hotel, pulling the blackout curtains completely closed instead of leaving a sliver open.  I could stay at someone else's place without worry about if there was a streetlight outside of the window to allow a little bit of light in.  I could sleep in my own house without the fear of a ridiculous electric bill.

I didn't realize the fear of darkness had become a part of me.

The more I analyze my depression this time around, the more I see the darkness is in my mind and I am still terrified of it.  There are certain times it creeps in without warning and I'm left scrambling to find light.  There are days when I am awake, walking around, thinking of the long list of things I feel I've screwed up, and I try and find some sort of glimmer of hope to cling onto.  All those bad things that were going to get me when I was six, seven, thirteen, sixteen, twenty?  They're long gone and replaced with these irrational fears of never being good enough and never finding happiness.

So so so so many great things happen to me!  I have had incredible experiences traveling.  I've met fantastic people and formed a small, strong inner circle.  I've fallen in love and given that person my entire heart without holding back.  I've read and watched and researched amazing topics and filled my brain with this vast amount of knowledge.

The darkness reminds me that I could travel more but that I'd have to go alone.  It laughs at the fact that I've filled my inner circle with four absolutely wonderful married friends who have families to spend their time with.  It allows me to think that my love for someone is going to finally be returned only to find that getting serious and committing is still the game plan for me and me alone.  It tells me to sign up for classes and maybe finally finish that degree that's less than 20 credits away and then holds me down in bed when I should be doing homework or going to lecture.  I can feel it wrapping its arms around me with a big hug every time I call Henry Ford only to be told that the next appointment they have open for new patient therapy is in November.

Ironically enough, at almost thirty, the thing I once feared the most -- sleep -- has become a welcome break.  I used to think the scariest thing was to go to sleep in the dark but I'm coming to the realization it's way scarier to be awake in it.

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