|| Challenge Four – The Other and the Unfamiliar ||

|| Darkness ||

Most of us have a little fear in us when it comes to the dark. Any creaking floorboard, rustling trees outside or random bump in the night will send shivers down your spine. Its not really the darkness itself but what lies within it, what terrifying creature is going to jump out and get us.

When I was about 8 or 9 years old I watched my first horror movie without my moms consent. From that day onwards I have been petrified of the dark. Over the years i thought to myself come on just get over it, it was only one movie, but i just couldn’t. I get myself into such a state that I make myself feel physically ill or even start crying.

I then delved a little deeper. Over the past year and a half I have been battling to breathe properly, I can never seem to get a good breathe of air at times. I have to yawn to feel like i can breathe properly. My first thought was that I have asthma because my mother has it but it turns out that I don’t. I then thought it’s just in my head but it didn’t go away. It took me a few months to figure out that I actually have anxiety, this explained a lot because whenever I get stressed out my breathing starts to to spiral out of control.

According to Isaac M. Marks and Randolph M. Nesse anxiety increases your awareness of situations that may damage your reproductive resources. Fear of the dark often displays itself as apprehensive anxiety. Whenever I’m in darkness my senses seem to come alive and my anxiety starts to take over. It plays a role in the way I response to my fear of the dark and it’s never a good response. Whenever I fall asleep at night I always need a light on if no one is sleeping next to me and the door left a little open.

For this particular challenge i decided to stay at someones house that I am not familiar with. I would not try and fall asleep but stay awake in pitch black darkness until midnight then go home, no lights and no door left open. To completely put myself in a place I do not know both physically and mentally, face my fear head on. Bear in mind that I haven’t slept without a night light or someone next to me since I can remember. I had to seriously mentally prepare for this challenge. I kept reassuring myself that it was going to be fine and that it won’t be that bad.

While I was sitting there I became completely still, almost like I was frozen onto the bed. The room had a mirror in it and windows with black out curtains. I tried to think of happy thoughts so that I wouldn’t concentrate on thinking about the darkness. My imagination started to run wild, I started to see blobs of black shadows moving around the room and then my anxiety started to kick in. I started to get super stressed out and tense up, I wanted to leave the room and turn the lights on. I kept telling myself that this isn’t real and that everything I see is just my imagination. The feeling I got is literally something I cannot explain, I felt cold. It felt as though something or someone was constantly watching me. I hated it and I never want to be in that situation again.

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