I am sure all of you know that phobia is fear – so this is obviously a post about some fear of something. I just learned that nyctophobia is intense or severe irrational fear of the dark. I have it. Apparently, I have always had it.

My mom recently told me a story of when I was 6 or 7 and we arrived at the beach. My mom always wants to go see the ocean (as if it disappeared in the few months we were gone). It was dark when we got to Rehoboth on this particular trip – but we went down to the beach anyway. Rehoboth has lights on the boardwalk – but they don’t reach the water’s edge. I have no memory of this, but apparently I began crying hysterically once we stepped onto the beach beyond the reach of the streetlights. I screamed and cried so much, that we didn’t even make it to the water’s edge. I think waiting for the ambulance outside on my dark street the night my father passed solidified my adult nyctophobia. I was 15.

At any rate – I do not like the dark. More specifically, I do not like entering dark rooms or areas by myself. I immediately flick on a light or try to illuminate the room with my phone. I don’t sleep with a night light (I can handle the dark once I have surveyed the area with all the lights on), but I get anxious and my heart starts to race if I can’t get to the light switch fast enough. I can run in the evening with a group, although, I wait for the other runners to arrive before I get out of my car. I run from my car to the door when I get home late at night and I will not, EVER, go out to my car by myself – even if I left my phone out there, I just lock it and hope for the best.

This is what makes this time of year very difficult for me. But, my new position at work, the tilt of the earth’s axis and this rotten, but very lovable pupdog is forcing me to face my fear.

She loves, and deserves to go for a nice walk after work. There are many evenings when we are several blocks away from home when dusk begins to sets in.

It is especially troublesome this weekend. I am visiting my grandmother living in an independent living community. There is no fenced yard, so I have to take her out for walks in the evening.

So far, I am handling it and thinking of it as a chance to practice – RELAXING – something that I have never learned to do. I am home before it gets really dark and there are a few great street lights and floodlights in some key places.

There may be something to this ‘facing your fear’ idea. I used to think – Oh well, it’s getting dark – we missed our walk… Now I think – Let’s go! We have to hurry! I guess that is an improvement.

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