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Author Topic: I'm afraid of the dark...
-Firefly-
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(I wasn't sure where to post this, so if this would be better suited under another board, feel free to move it)

So, like the subject line says, I'm afraid of the dark, and I'm 19, so I think it's ridiculous, and it's something I should be over, right?

When I'm in the dark, the rational part of me knows there's nothing to be afraid of, that my room is perfectly safe, and that various horror movie characters (girl from the Exorcist, or from the Ring, or zombie/mutants from the Hill have eyes...) won't pop up and kill me and/or scare the living daylights out of me.

The irrational part of my brain, however, just cooks up these ideas, and I can rarely fall asleep with my back to the door. Last night, I even had to go and take my dressing gown off the hook on my bedroom door because the way it was placed made it look like the girl from the Ring (at least, to my waaaaay overactive imagination it did)... I told myself it was my dressing gown, I knew it was my dressing gown, but I still had to go take it down...

I also have poor night vision, so that doesn't help matters at all.

If there's someone else in the room with me, whether they're in bed with me, or on the floor beside the bed, I'm not nearly as afraid, and often not afraid at all.

It's pathetic, I know. But I've been afraid of the dark since I can remember.

So, does anyone have any tips, or advice on how to overcome these stupid fears?

Any help is very appreciated. [Smile] I'm very tired of being this paranoid.

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feefiefofemme
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I'm afraid of the dark as well. Not terrified, but still pretty darn scared. I'm pretty much a paranoid person in general (scared of small spaces, scared of overly large spaces, scared of having my back to a room full of people), but usually it doesn't get in my way of doing things.

In any case, in regards to overcoming fear of the dark, I find that, if I have to walk into a dark room, it helps to whistle or sing something cheerful. As lame (and awfully Disney) as that sounds, it really does help me. However, I have no suggestions as to how to fight your fear when you're laying in bed at night (since you can't exactly fall asleep singing). I haven't quite conquered that one myself, and so I'll be checking back to see what other people have to say.

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-Lauren-
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Can you fall asleep to music, perhaps? When I got really sick a few years ago, I set up my CD player to play music really soft, and it glows gold.. just enough to slightly illuminate the room.

I'm not afraid of the dark outright, but it's comforting to know that if I need to get up and can't reach the light, I won't be in total darkness. The music helps me stay asleep, too.

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mellygirl
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I am soooo incredibly scared of the dark. It's terrifying and I feel like such a dweeb sometimes. I take night classes and have to have someone I know (who isn't another defenseless girl like me) to walk me home afterwords. My (now) roommate Andrew always came and still comes to get me, but he thinks it's just to keep me safe on a big campus... I think he started to figure it out when I started asking him to check my room before I went in there if it was dark. He's really sweet about it, and doesn't (usually) make fun of me for it.

And as for the scary movie thing, I learned that it's best if I don't watch them. The sad part is that i love law and order, but I can't watch that either unless I have Andrew home with me to hang onto me and make it better. I hate it, but I have yet to figure out how to make it go away. Strange that we're both comforted when there are other people around. For you, is it just anyone that makes it better, or does it have to be a "protector" like for me?

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*Melanny*

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-Firefly-
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I definitely feel the safest with a protector figure around, especially if we're cuddling (lol). That just makes me feel safe and warm, and like the dark can't scare me anymore.

I'm also much less afraid if I have someone like one (or both) of my best friends sleeping over. Although, almost none of my friends know that I'm afraid of the dark. Feels too embarrassing to say.

I try to avoid scary movies if I can, because I know what they do to me, and I really hate them, but I always get roped into seeing some by friends. Again, too embarrassed to say that I'm afraid of them.

Right now, falling asleep to music won't work very well cuz my dorm room doesn't have any space for a CD player other than my alarm clock, but when I move out (soon soon!!!), it's something I'll for sure try. Thanks for the suggestion Miss Lauren!

And a thank you to BiGoddess and Mellygirl for their input too! [Smile]

Anyone know any other tips and tricks to get rid of annoying fears?

[ 05-30-2006, 10:41 AM: Message edited by: blysse_norwood ]

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oOo Lea oOo
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Ya know, I have a little fear of being in a dark place, alone, too. I'm not necessarily afraid of the dark, but what's in, or could be in, the dark.

I have to sleep in a position to where I can view the entire room, and often enough, I keep a small light in my bathroom on so it shines a little on the door way (I keep my door open)making the hallway a slight bit visible. I have no windows in my room, that helps.

Sometimes, since I sleep the best on my stomach and I can't see anything from that position, I'll get underneath the blankets, with only a portion of my face exposed (1-so i can see out into the room, 2-because I'm claustrophobic)

Also, I have a huge, fluffy body pillow on the left hand side of my bed so it acts as a 'person' behind me and I usually cuddle with a pillow or something infront of me. Something touching me all night gives me a little more of a sense of security.

If I'm outside alone, for example: I'm walking home from my boyfriend's alone (which doesn't happen often considering he walks me most of the time, and if not I drive) I will sing a song. Or think outloud. That helps. I agree with BiGoddess: Humming or singing when you're scared can calm you down.

--------------------
And I say thank you for the scars
And the guilt and the pain
Every tear I've never cried
Has sealed your fate.
Did you take me for a fool
or were you just too blind to see
that every effort made has failed
and there is no destroying me?
Atreyu

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kitka
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blysse - and anybody else who's scared of the dark [Smile] - some thoughts

Fear of the dark has nothing to do with age; it's something that's largely hard-wired into all human beings from birth, as a survivial mechanism. There are a lot of older people who're worried in the dark.

I used to be scared of the dark too. I don't do well with scary movies... the last one I saw was "Signs." If you're prone to being paranoid in the dark, try not to watch scary stuff for a while, and your hyperactive senses will calm down.

We all realize that there's a difference between
a. everyday darkness, which is normal
b. potential dangers at night, which is healthy
c. the implications of horror movies, which are largely fictional

The trick is to separate the three.
Singing, thinking, and positive thoughts are definitely a step in the right direction also, and help solve your fears short term. For the long term, think of it this way:

Being in the darkness is actually very empowering if you're aware of your own mental alertness and physical strength. Remember that in the dark, your other senses are heightened, especially hearing. The dark camoflauges you just as well as it does anybody else.

The first time I had to do orienteering in the woods alone, in the middle of the night, I was pretty worried. I had heard all kinds of rumors about "crazy meth addicts" wandering in that area, so I was pretty worried. As I made my way through the course, I realized that those rumors were just that. Think about it - if you wanted to hurt random people, would you sit around in the woods at night? No, you'd loiter at a 7-11 or a WaWa where people actually are. Somebody would see you then, and you'd take off.

I also felt less scared knowing that I could defend myself. The more time I spent in the darkness, I learned to like it, and now I actually enjoy it. Fear of darkness has a lot to do with self-confidence. If you convince yourself that you can beat the proverbial thing in the closet, you'll feel a lot better.

[ 05-30-2006, 03:05 PM: Message edited by: kitka ]

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daria319
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I'm still unnerved by darkness as well. Most of this comes from being sent into dark rooms and either stepping on tacks, earrings, etc, or being tripped by the cat -- almost every time. I'm also partially deaf in one ear, and mostly nightblind. When I do try to see, my eyes play tricks on me, and I think things are moving when they are not.

Outside is worse, because the ground is uneven -- falling is no fun, especially on Georgia red clay.

It's pretty much the "Oh no, I'm gonna fall and hurt myself" fear for me.

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"You owe me two lifetimes and a pair of perfect blue eyes."

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oOo Lea oOo
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My main problem in the dark is walking in a street. I have no problem at all in my own yard or in the woods. I wander around in the woods while I am camping, I hike alone, etc.

But when I am alone in the dark with unknown people, or in a place where there are no people but someone could see me (i.e. a street walking home alone at night .. someone stopping ..etc) I am worried.

I think alot of that has to do with being raped. The guy used to walk up and peck on my window before hand and get me up, and I've had neighbors tell me someone was in my yard at night snooping around the windows, little things like that.

When I know he isn't around, I'm better about it, but knowing he knows about where I am at now, and isn't too far away, I am paranoid.

That's the reason I am afraid of 'what's in or could be in' the dark.

I can watch horror films or anything of that sort and be perfectly fine, that isn't the issue.

I'm not afraid of somehting under my bed or in my closet, I actually find it comforting to sit in the graveyard by my aunt's grave, alone, at night, just spilling my guts and getting things off my chest. (Maybe that's weird to you, but it's comforting . . sometimes)

Graveyards, especially at night, are a place many people find fairly freaky.

Anyway, that's my story [Razz]

[ 05-31-2006, 01:42 PM: Message edited by: oOo Lea oOo ]

--------------------
And I say thank you for the scars
And the guilt and the pain
Every tear I've never cried
Has sealed your fate.
Did you take me for a fool
or were you just too blind to see
that every effort made has failed
and there is no destroying me?
Atreyu

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Boldly Obscure
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This might be kind of a stupid idea, but i think it's worth at least suggesting... When my friend was little she used to have really bad nightmares and she told me that eventually, someone (don't remember exactly who it was, maybe her grandma) just told her to say "I'm not afraid of you" (to the monsters) right before she went to sleep, and she never had nightmares again. I dunno if this could possibly work for fear of the dark, but could be worth experimenting with [Smile]
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mellygirl
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ooo lea ooo, I know how you feel on that. The guy I used to date lives not far from my house and after we broke up he raped me. It's hard because we used to meet in this empty field and now I have to drive thru there every time I'm on my way home... and so because when he raped me he hid in the dark and then attacked me, it makes the dark even more scary that it already was. I've been afraid of it since I was little, but it definitely got about a billion times worse after that... I'm glad I moved to college out of my parents house and now I'm not around that area so much, but the dark still scares me... knowing anyone else could do the same thing here.

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*Melanny*

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oOo Lea oOo
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Yea, like I said though, It's not that I am afraid of the 'dark' but if I am in a specific place where I could be visible some how, i.e. vehicle lights, street lights, etc. I am a bit paranoid. Even in my house, if I sleep alone, simply because my house has been broken in to, and the guy was caught snooping around my window at the middle of the night (which is one of the reasons I have no windows in my bedroom at my new house)

It gets easier. Somethings are still hard for me to do, but I am not as bad about it as I was 5 years ago, thats for sure!

--------------------
And I say thank you for the scars
And the guilt and the pain
Every tear I've never cried
Has sealed your fate.
Did you take me for a fool
or were you just too blind to see
that every effort made has failed
and there is no destroying me?
Atreyu

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Sugapllum fairii
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I remember when I watched the Amityville horror I got so frickin scared! I locked my door so no one could get in, drew my curtains, slept with the light on, everything!

A method I used was listening to tappe casettes as you lie in bed (if you happen to own a radio that plays casettes :s) and get like a book on tape. Then when you're lying in bed, you'll be concentrating more on whats going on in the story and then you will be less likely to think about the things make you scared of the dark.

Everybody is at least a little bit scared of the dark inside. Let's face it you can't see what's going on so you would be right to be scared. Don't think you're the only person your age who has this.

Hope I helped just a little lol x

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Oh I Wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair, 77 and 69 revolution was in the air
She rocks go to www.sandithom.com and listne!

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icygirl88
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I used to be afraid of the dark and now I'm not anymore. What I did was to just become very logical about the situation. Do not allow your imagination to get carried away - really. Force yourself to get a strong grip on reality and not on fantasy.

What happened to me was this: I was so frustrated with this old fear that eventually, one night when I was scared, I thought to myself, "Honestly now. You've slept in this bed most nights of your life, and guess what? Nothing has happened. The robe on your door is the same one you wear to the bathroom in the morning. And the shadow in the corner is that pile of clothes that you are too lazy to clean up. Get a grip!"

Somehow that worked for me, and I realized that my room at night was really the same as my room during the day. I can't really relate to the rape situations - I think that's a bit more serious because of past experiences. Hope this helps.

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BiLLaBaBy017
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I am afraid of the dark too. When I'm home alone I have to have EVERY light in the house on, no matter if I'm in that room or not. I just have to. And I have to leave the light on in my bedroom until I get so tired, then I turn it off and go right to sleep. I know it might sound weird but it's true. I just can't be alone in the dark.
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Beppie
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I'm not all that comfy in the dark myself either. I definitely agree about playing some music or an audio-book (years ago, when I was about 12, I used to listen to these motivational tapes from the 80s!) These days, living in the city, I usually have a little light coming in even in the depths of night-- enough to keep me sane, anyway, but when I visit my parents out in the country, I am reminded of what pitch black truly is-- and all my old irrational fears about ghosts and such come surging back. [Razz]
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Lap Cat
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I think you'll find that you are not afraid of the dark...

But what's in it [Smile]

I reconmend getting used to walking into dark rooms - beat the fear, then you'll see that the dark is a place for YOU to hide, not anyting/one else [Wink] ....That's what i did anyway

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:D

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-Firefly-
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Hi,

Thanks so much for all your input and advice. It's really helped!

For a little while, I decided to leave my computer on when I went to bed, and have some music playing on there. The light from the screen helped too.

These days, I'm not listening to music anymore, and I find I don't really need it. I just tell myself that I'm stronger than whatever I'm afraid of (hurray for martial arts!!), and I manage to fall asleep no problem.

I still get paranoid about the dark sometimes, but I'm doing a lot better.

Again, thanks so much everyone!

[Smile]

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cool87
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I know a girl who is 21 years-old and is still afraid of the dark. It can be totally normal. It's a fear just like being afraid of spider. The fear we have depends on the person and we can't exactly tell why we have that fear, it's a complicated brain processus. Sometimes we can find the reasons behind the fears, other times you can't. If you're too concerned about that fear and that it disturbs you too much, I would strongly suggest you to consult a psychologist. He could try finding the answer to your fear if there's one of course. Sometimes it's just an experience you lived as a kid when it was dark that you don't necessarily remember but your brains still got a short memory from that experience and it emerges when you're in the dark.

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Shentax
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What Kitka said was very reassuring. I stood up to my own fears, and stuck out my chest and said I can totally defeat whatever comes my way in the darkness. And to my suprise it actually worked. I was doubting it in my mind when I thought of doing it, but after it, it felt very reassuring. I have the same feelings about the dark in every way blysse_norwood has, but also keeping the T.V. on has been so helpful in my situation because its very comforting hearing people talking as if they're there, and if anything even were to happen(highly unlikely) that they would be there to see it.
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akaChrys
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I know I have a vivid imagination, so I stay clear away from horror films becuase I KNOW ill get nightmares, and freak out in the dark.

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Id rather be hated for who Iam, then loved for who Im not.

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aniagrace
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I have trouble sleeping well when I am alone in a dark room and so I tend to sleep with the TV on (but the sound off). If I have company I can sleep alright in pitch darkness though. When I do sleep in a dark room I tend to have these odd dreams where I am laying in bed with my eyes wide open but I can't move or can barely move and I can't scream out. Sometimes I get a vague sense that I am not alone in the room. Sometimes I think I see things moving around in my peripheral vision but I can't focus on them. The level of detail in these dreams is often dead on accurate to the conditions of my room even down to things like a specific piece of dirty laundry on the floor. If I am having a normal bad dream or even just a dream I can usually wake myself (just realizing that I am dreaming usually will cause me to wake up) but in these dreams I can't wake myself even though I know what is happening. And when I do wake up I am often laying in the exact same position that I was in while dreaming. These dreams freak me out so much that I often don't even bother trying to go back to sleep. But I don't have them if I leave a light on, have someone else in the room with me, or if I am not at home.
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