Call me a worrywart, call me anxious, call me a child - because I would agree with you. I can remember being small, shuddering under sweaty covers in the summer, peeking through the top with one eye around my room illuminated by an angel-shaped night light. This ritual would happen nightly as I thought, I can't wait to grow up and not be scared anymore.
I bought more night lights. Crosses, additional angels, and filled my bed with stuffed animals until I noticed that even they looked eerie in the dark. When my anxiety disorder began to fully blossom and explore every inch of my mind at 17, I started to have night terrors. I would wake up screaming, seeing ghostly children and contorted black figures at the edge of my bed. Feeling something otherworldly pull my ankles as I slid across my mattress, laughing in a deep, evil way, as I ran to my parent's room.
In college, I had a roommate. Then I had a boyfriend. At home on breaks, I would sleep with my little sister, mother, anyone who would let me. I didn't sleep again by myself until I was 22. Even then, I needed a light on.
Fast-forward to the month before my 25th birthday, when the monsters are just as real as ever. I live in a newer place that I'm still getting used to, but have a boyfriend to sleep next to who puts up with my ever-faithful night light usage. Whenever he is gone, or simply on a different floor in the evening, I can feel the figures from my night terrors coming back to whisper. I worry about what lurks behind the dark corners throughout the kitchen and dining room, and wonder if a person is standing outside of the window behind the blinds.
It's no way to live, but after a recent traumatic loss, I find myself feeling like a child once again - running and jumping to my bed in the middle of the night after using the restroom because I'm scared of what is underneath. Being afraid to shower if I'm the only one home. I'm not a psychologist, but there has to be something there, right?
On a lighter note - now it's time to poke some fun at me. And hopefully some of you can relate. Because I have definitely laughed out loud in embarrassment over the things that have spooked me over the past week:
1. I cannot take a shower without thinking of Psycho. Like I said, showering when no one else is around can be a little creepy. I end up risking soap in my eyes as I refuse to close them. Once, I even tried showering with the curtain open because I was so terrified. That obviously led to a huge mess.
Source: Dread Central
2. My favorite childhood Beanie Baby gave me the creeps. Do you all remember Chim-Chim? I have written about him before, and those who know me well may have even seen him. Chim-Chim is a Beanie Baby monkey that I've had for 22 years. I like to position him on my dresser so that I can see him while I sleep. But the other night, with his head slightly cocked to the side, he frightened me so much that I had to turn him over. In the morning he looked uncomfortable and I felt bad. Chim-Chim would never hurt me.
3. The garage door was too loud. I was walking in from work, calming down as the stress from the day and rush-hour traffic began to melt off my skin, when my boyfriend shut the garage door like a normal human. Our garage door is loud, and I yelped, dropped half of my things, and began running inside in a hunched over position for about four steps before realizing what was actually going on.
4. My floor creaked from the next-door neighbors. We live in a two-story townhouse, connected to neighbors on both sides. The buildings were built in the 1980s, so although I have snazzy new carpet and tile, there is still a lot of creaking going on. I was getting ready for work in the morning, with my back facing the bathroom. Suddenly, my neighbor on the other side of the wall started heavily walking, vibrating the floor. I, again, shrieked and turned around sprinting a couple of steps, half expecting to see a person running at me from the bathroom. The noise stopped, and I stood there panting as the ceiling fan squeaked. (I honestly wish I could have cameras around because the amount of times that I must scream, go into half a ball, and start running around is probably pretty entertaining.)
5. The latest episode of Pretty Little Liars. Yes, I still watch this show. And yes, it is ridiculous. But also sort of horrifying? For a show about teenage girls (and now young adult women as they leaped 5 years ahead), it's pretty intense. There's a lot of murder and stalking. I realize this makes me really lame, but I have to be honest with y'all. And who is devoting all of this time to tormenting these girls anyway? And how can they all afford these nice apartments without any jobs? I have a lot of questions.
6. Some crazy-ass story about a weird person in a bathtub who licks hands. Does that ring a bell with anyone? I think it was a scary tale people used to tell at Girl Scout camp, or send around on AIM to 10 different people or else some girl with no eyes would come to your bed at night. But I remember there being a dead pet involved, as the person realized that a fellow human was actually licking their hand the whole night. And they were in a bathtub? I don't know, but these fragmented details are enough to make me wary each time I get up to use the restroom.
7. The fact that I often WAKE UP AT EXACTLY 3:15am!!! I've seen The Amityville Horror, and am not about to deal with any of that shit.
Okay, well now you all know how I am an easily terrified little hedgehog. Hopefully one day I'll be brave, and stop being afraid of the dark...and bathrooms because that seems to be a theme?
If anyone has any advice or tricks on how to be a functioning human who isn't afraid of their own shadow (or garage door), I'm open to those as well.