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Afraid of the Dark No More

by Gabriella Grace 4 years ago in coping

We're all really just reaching for the light.

Photo by h heyerlein on Unsplash

I spent years being afraid of the dark. As a child I felt terrified of the dark but I never knew why. I had conjunctivitis at the age of three and woke up with my eyes glued shut with muck but I already felt afraid of the dark by then. My mother used to think it was because I watched horror movies with my dad (before I was three) but I already felt the fear before then. As I grew and learned I became more and more afraid of the dark until...

I had worked so hard to get all of the things I thought I wanted in life. I left home at 15 to escape what I considered abuse. I got jobs, moved a few times, entered relationships, had a kid, got married, had another kid, bought a house, got another job, sold my house and bought another house, bought lots of "things," put my kids into a semi-private school, my household had a five figure income. I ticked off everything on my tiny bucket list and I was miserable and I was still afraid of the dark at 26. Then the darkness came for me and I saw that it came from me. I still had no idea why I was afraid of the dark. I became even more fearful and was afraid of almost everything. I began to fear losing control more than anything and then my Nanna died and I found myself staring into a yawning pit of darkness so huge and so terrifying that I held my breath. As I stared into the black maw of that darkness I fought it and suddenly thought "Why not?" I'd fought so hard for so long and here I was anyway, standing on the edge of what I thought was hell. My fight had not got me anywhere really. I had filled up with all of these things but I felt completely empty and without my Nanna I felt devoid even of emptiness. Grief called to me and threw its ugliest blackness up to kiss my lips and I stood there not caring anymore at all. Then I opened up my arms and dropping forward, I dived in with my head thrown back in surrender. Straight into the blackest darkness I'd ever seen or felt.

It felt like I fell forever and I became more sure as I dropped that this pit was bottomless. This darkness I had fought and feared for so long was not suffocating as I'd expected it to be. It was not cold, nor horrifying, nor evil, nor dangerous to me in that moment. Rather, it felt safer than anything I'd ever known and as I continued to observe I noticed something else was with me in the dark—a light held me. It held me as I fell and it held me as I landed in mid air too. It tightened its embrace as the wails of ages left my heart and broke it open so fully that I felt it shatter into a million pieces of agony and pain. That light held me tight as I screamed and writhed, and roared and howled. That light filled all the places within me as the darkness poured out. And then I saw the Light. I was stunned to see it and although I knew it was there and I saw it there, I could not yet see it in myself. I felt it though, and I went back out into my life.

It was many more years before I recognised why I'd once been so afraid in the dark and realised that it was not actually the dark that I had been so afraid of all that time. I had been afraid of the Light and more accurately, of being one with the Light. The darkness had always shown me the light of who I am and I was not yet ready to see that. I wanted to believe I was the darkness and that there was no light within me and for a time I had succeeded. I played small my whole life and I drew people to me who helped me learn to shine by behaving in ways towards me that made me feel even smaller. I didn't know then that as a being of Light, I needed the darkness to define me until I learned to define myself. I didn't know that darkness does not and cannot exist without light. I was only seeing with literal eyes and what I saw scared me. My heart saw truth though and used the dark to show me and grow me. I am no longer afraid of the dark on any level, in any way. It is what it is and so am I, and that is enough. I'm still a little afraid of the Light but the fear diminishes with each breath. We will all find our own way through our own darkness in our own time. Our breath will lead us safely in and out again if we only trust it and go with it.



Gabriella Grace

My main passion is parenting my Inner Child in a nurturing, loving way. Supporting others as they learn to love and accept themselves through self-parenting has been the priceless gift that has come out of that and is now my life's purpose.

Read next: Why Mental Health Disorders Emerge in Your Early 20s

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