Tuesday, August 03, 2010

My one and only (I think) phobia

I've been wanting to write about my growing fear of thunder.

I can't remember always being afraid, I think it began when I was around 14-15, or something. And I can't remember being very bothered by the fear the years since that, except for maybe last year and especially this year. Now it's bordering on a phobia.

Brontophobia: Fear of thunder

Astraphobia: Fear of thunderstorms

I'm not completely sure which one I might have, but I suppose Astraphobia could be it.

Symptoms copied from Wikipedia:
A person with astraphobia will often feel anxious during a thunderstorm even when they understand that the threat to them is minimal. Some symptoms are those accompanied with many phobias, such as trembling, crying, sweating, panic attacks, the feeling of dread, and rapid heartbeat. However, there are some reactions that are unique to astraphobia. For instance, reassurance from other people is usually sought, and symptoms worsen when alone. Many people who have astraphobia will look for extra shelter from the storm.[1] They might hide underneath a bed, under the covers, in a closet, in a basement, or any other space where they feel safer. Efforts are usually made to smother the sound of the thunder; the person may cover their ears or curtain the windows. A sign that someone has astraphobia is a very heightened interest in weather forecasts. An astraphobic person will be alert for news of incoming storms. They may watch the weather on television constantly during rainy bouts and may even track thunderstorms online. This can become severe enough that the person may not go outside without checking the weather first. In very extreme cases, astraphobia can lead to agoraphobia, the fear of leaving the home.
Luckily there has only been a thunderstorm once this year. But I've had some of the symptoms just by knowing it might happen. A desperate wish to be somewhere else, somewhere where there are no chance of any thunderstorms. A quickening of heartbeat. Desperate crying. And a tick, I guess you could call it, where I scrape or rub my fingers on the inside of my hands repetitively.

That one thunderstorm was a few weeks ago, at night. Mum and dad was home, thank Merlin, and mum offered to sleep on a spare bed in my room, but I refused. I have to get through it on my own. So there was, lying on my back, holding my tiger close (Yes, I sleep with a stuffed animal at nearly 24 years old, he's a much better sleeping partner than a man, though there are certain men/man that I would tolerate a lot from.), the power was out, it was hot. Glimpses of light was visible through the blinds which are supposed to block out all light. The rumbling was shaking my bed. Eventually I fell asleep. But I was deadly tired the next day. My heart had been hammering in my chest, my breathing heavy, my mind seeking safe places.

During the day, I can manage well enough. But I can't comprehend surviving a night of thunderstorm while being home alone. Should it happen at night when I'm not alone, I think I can manage. I'm not so afraid just thinking about it, since I lived through that night a few weeks ago. But I can't even comprehend being alone at night during a thunderstorm. That scares me to no end.

It's said that to overcome a fear, you have to seek it out. So of course I have to have one of the fears that are most difficult to seek out. Chance controls whether or not a thunderstorm comes. Because I have no problem reading about it or seeing it on TV. And I know what it is that's happening, as much as someone like me can understand from the physics of the world of course. But it's just an irrational fear, like fears are in most cases.

It's awful being afraid of an entire season. And I don't like summer in general, too warm, too many bugs, too much pollen, and then thunder on top of that. Merlin, I want winter. I want to live on Svalbard.

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