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.