I Used To Be Scared Of The Dark

I used to be scared of the dark,
I used to be terrified of the dark;

It was a toss-up between darkness and big spiders,
As to which was my worst phobia,
Possibly darkness,
Since darkness itself lent the possibility of hidden big black spiders…
And countless imagined monsters,
(Or just knife-wielding humans);

My brain picked up on everythingβ€”
I’d take in the news, which would horrify me,
Phrases and images would stick in my mind,
New terrors got added to the list of possibilities;

I always imagined,
If I was out in the darkness, at night,
That it would be only a matter of time,
Before I’d get kidnapped, or murdered, or both,

I actually believed that’s what happened in the dark!
Especially to little kids,
I could not even go upstairs by myself,
If the lights were turned off,
I cannot describe how spine-chillingly awful that was;

It was even used against me as a punishment,
Quite a lot of timesβ€”
I’d get locked out of the house at night,
For being such a torment…
And boy was I scared;

When I took up the hobby of astronomy,
I gave no thought to how I’d overcome this fear,
For even at 16,
It was just as strong as ever,

But I was totally enraptured by the possibilities of having a telescope,
Having been struck by the naked-eye views of planets in the evening skies;

So, I got my telescope,
And astronomy was a bitter-sweet thing, for meβ€”
A continual mix of fear, fright, drenched in cold sweat,
And wonder, delight, at some spectacular sights,
Looking through the eyepiece for as long as I dared,
Or until I heard some sudden sound which science couldn’t explain;

I’d always be utterly relieved to call it a night,
And head on back inside!

Even by the age of 22,
This had not left meβ€”
In fact, I only really started to overcome this fear of darkness,
Once I lived on my own for the first time, at 25;

And now that I think of it,
I remember many times, having the thought stuck in my headβ€”
There’s something, someone out there,
I heard something…

And it taking me half an hour, an hour,
To work up the courage just to go into the next room!
Right up to my late twenties,
Experiencing this fear of the dark;

Now, sleeping in my car in 2019…
Oh, I quickly got over that…
And I reached my absolute peak,
When I slept in the middle of nowhere,
Down a narrow track off a road going nowhere,
In the middle of rural Cornwall;

Or how about the time, driving back up to Scotland when the A1 was closed,
Diverted for 100 miles over the Borders mountains,
In the middle of the night, in thick fogβ€”
And having to stop in a lay-by for a quick pee, very hurriedly,

β€”Now that, was an achievement!


7 thoughts on “I Used To Be Scared Of The Dark

    1. Wow, thanks for the comment. Sorry that you’ve also suffered this! Some anxiety will be necessary as it makes good sense, but I’m sure that as we’ve increased night-time lighting, this would’ve got worse/more common. Then in combination with media horror stories… would be interesting to think about what the factors are and how much is genetics vs environment.

      I hope that this gave you some hope, anyway! That was a big reason for writing it. πŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah it did give me hope that I’ll get over it someday!

        Mine is very likely due to environment because I watched horror movies way earlier than I should have.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Yeah it did give me hope that I’ll get over it someday!”

        Cool! πŸ™‚

        “Mine is very likely due to environment because I watched horror movies way earlier than I should have.”

        Ah! I can imagine that. Although my parents really shielded us from stuff that was rated above our ages. My imagination was way too active and I couldn’t bring myself to watch many. I found myself watching Scream on TV one day, in the middle of a sunny afternoon, since it just happened to come on and everybody at school were talking about those movies, and Scary Movie. I decided to see what the fuss was about. Well I gave up halfway through or something, it was absolutely terrorising me!

        Nowadays that sort of thing wouldn’t cause any reaction in meβ€” because I see how clichΓ©d and silly it is, so it’s harder to empathise with the person in it. But I can’t watch genuinely gory stuff, or when there’s gratuitous violence, e.g. in game of thrones I skipped some scenes. I empathise too much with it and feel some of the pains physically even, besides the emotional pain. Also I used to always imagine my family in those scenarios which was even more scary!

        Sorry, long essay!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah I remember watching The Sixth Sense and being absolutely terrified. I’m not really scared to serial killer stuff but I am scared of super natural stuff like ghosts. I know deep down it’s a silly, irrational fear but my brain is annoying sometimes.

        I had to skip some stuff on GoT too- the super violent stuff was kind of too much for me and like you I tend to really empathize with characters. Even if they are the bad guys I kind of feel bad for them when bad things happen to them.


  1. It began like a horror story for kids and ended up as a horror for adults too. Brilliant in a way. But a bit hard to read too, brings out some emotions. I hope writing this gave you some relief, I can really spot a lot of tough feelings in here.


  2. Suffered from night terrors and all manner of nightmares, but no more!
    If I encounter Tall Man, Dark Man, Grey Aliens or any monster in the night, I now charge head forward and punch, kick or scream at whatever it is! The only problem with this is that I do occasional fall out bed, hit the floor and much, much more.

    But pillows on the floor do help though!


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