Paul has completely fucked with my head this week.
I know fear. I know terror. I thought I understood hypervigilance before, but I see now that it was only a mild version thereof.
I awoke from an odd but since-forgotten dream, itself perhaps unsettling but not especially frightening. But it was with abject horror that my woken self greeted the seemingly-endless darkness and, particularly, the normal noises of the night (floorboards creaking, freight trains passing, distant traffic, etc).
I lay here (for I am still in bed, it being 3.55am) frozen numb with dread and a very childlike fear, unable to turn around towards the door to make sure that no one – or, indeed, nothing – was lurking there, ready to pounce. I waited. Breathless, frozen, nauseous and petrified. And then I took a large, determined breath and spun myself around.
To nothing, claro que si, but the usual array of the room, albeit bathed in this infernal blackness. Of course. I knew rationally that I was almost certainly safe, but the places that therapy has taken me to these last two weeks are dark indeed, both metaphorically and literally, and they have evidently stayed with me, whether consciously or otherwise.
Dark. Blackness. It alone has been enough so far tonight to have me tearing my hair out. It both facilitates and exacerbates my dread. Hiding places for bad things abound in this uncertain, quite unforgiving light.
The closest I have experienced to this sort of pathetic horror was an almost-nightly fear I experienced when I was…oh, maybe six to eight? Maybe even younger? I would go to bed quite normally but subsequently lie awake in frozen but silent alarm, utterly and completely convinced that a member of the IRA or similar was outside my door on the landing, ready to come in to torture and ultimately kill me.
Every creak of the floorboards was, I truly believed each time, a step in his deliberately slow progression towards my door, and towards my death.
Naturally, I realised that statistically this was quite unlikely, but of course that was useless knowledge. Sometimes I would curl myself up into a ball and hide under the duvet in what was then the paradoxically comforting darkness, willing whatever my fate was to just hurry up and happen, to just be over. Other times, when I was feeling ballsy, I would quietly crawl out of bed and surreptitiously tiptoe to the door and stand there, chest silently heaving, before flinging open the door and throwing my head round the corner, adrenaline-driven towards confrontation.
But there was never anyone there. The friendly neighbourhood terrorist was, time after time, a mere figment of my own mind.
Despite all that, I have never been scared of the dark, not to my particular recollection. I don’t want to be scared of the dark. It may have hidden the “bad things” when I had exposure (or imagined exposure) to them, but it also hid me from them. But here, at the age of 27 rather than seven, it rather looks like my mind has sought to play out what should have been a phobia of my erstwhile brathood, not of the here and now. Yay yay. Thanks, brain.