Rational or Irrational?

Okay, so I saw a blog this morning about weird phobias (sorry, I don't remember who posted it- it was early).  It got me thinking quite a bit about fears, and how some are rational and some are irrational.  Then I started thinking about my personal fears and why I have them.


I don't have many fears, but I do have some.  One of them is spiders.  I can't stand them.  I won't go near one unless it's near my daughter (maternal instincts kick in).  I think of this as a rational fear considering I've lived my entire life in areas prone to Black Widows and Brown Recluses.  Not nice spiders.  The only spiders I can stand to be around are Daddy Long Legs (don't ask why, 'cause I really don't know) and also Tarantulas (they're more like small, mutant dogs than spiders). 


Next, I am afraid of drowning.  Once again, I consider this a rational fear because I'm not the strongest swimmer, and I didn't even learn to swim until I was around 8 years old.  I can hold my own in a pool, but you can bet your ass that if I'm on open water, that life vest is on good and tight.  I also don't consider this irrational because it doesn't stop me from going out there and fishing on a boat, or tubing or trying to water ski or scuba dive.  I don't panic when I fall in, I just am afraid because there is the great possibility that I could drown.


I'm insanely afraid of clowns.  I find them creepy.  I will run away if one comes near me.  I think it's realy scary that these people dress up and hug little kids.  It's also unnerving to me because you can't really see their faces.  I don't like that at all.  And I certainly don't want someone whose face I can't see touching me.


Now, I have to admit that not all my fears are rational.  My most irrational fear, I think, is my fear of the dark.  I'm terrified of it.  Now, I could try to shove it off on the fact that I am night blind (even in my own home where I know where everything is I'm feeling around like a blind person).  But I know it's worse than that.  I go into an anxiety attack if I have to go outside in the dark on my own.  Even if it's just to my car outside and the porch light is on.  My heart starts racing, I start to sweat, my entire body starts to tremble.  To me it's a totally traumatic experience to go outside in the dark alone.  Even if someone else is with me, I stay as close as possible, ensure there are lights on if possible, carry a flashlight and still, my heart races.  If I'm alone at home, I have to have a night-light on somewhere.  Once, while my husband was in Iraq, I got insanely close to calling our friend Joey to come over because I swore that I heard the door open.  I didn't sleep most of the night, and kept my hand on my scuba knife the entire time (none of our guns are here with us) and I kept as many lights on as possible.  I have no idea why I am afraid of the dark.  There is no explanation for it.  I was never attacked, I don't have any memories of anything bad happening to me in the dark, nothing.  But I'm terrified of it. 

It does bother me to have a fear that I have no true explanation for, but I deal with it.  It sucks, but it's not going to change any time soon, so I guess I gotta get used to is.

Uploaded 07/18/2008
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