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Diagnosis: Achluophobia

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***Ok, real quick. As I was looking up the phobia of being afraid of the dark, I came across a list of hundreds of other phobias. I might be afraid of the dark and actual scary things, but fear of opinions, numbers, wind…sheesh, that’s gotta be tough!***

As I leap to the bed again tonight, I wonder if more people are as afraid of the ankle grabber as I am?

Please say yes.

I have leapt in, and sadly enough out, of my bed since….I think…6 years old. And I have many people to blame:

(these reasons make my debilitating issue warranted….to me anyway)

1. My parents for not finding me behind the couch in a stupor while secretly watching The Exorcist at 6 years old never, EVER to be the same again. Was allowing me to continue to watch just a punishment for getting out of bed? What, you never heard of a spanking??

2. My grandparents for continuously reminding us of La Llorona. Was there anything creepier as a kid?

3. The all petrifying stories my Grandpa Chavez would tell us of the young teenager being disrespectful to his parents and finding a baby with a mouth full of teeth that spoke in a deep voice calling himself *dun, dun, dun* The Devil!! Teen was never found.

4. Tom, early in our marriage, popping out behind doors to scare me…that shit ended quick when I convincingly threatened to punch him in his throat the next time he did it.

5. My dad’s scary story of the damn monster who grabbed your ankles as you stood next to it of !! Go figure I’m paranoid of that!!

6. My sisters…ahhh…those ever loving OLDER sisters who love to tease. I remember when Natalie would tease me by talking in a low voice when we shared a room in high school saying “I’m going to get you…” “Natalie, stop it!!!” her “What? I’m trying to sleep so be quiet!!” me “I heard you. Stop.” her “I’m coming for you…” me “KNOCK IT OFF!! MOOOOOoooooM!!!!” her “ahahaha.”

and….

7. Sorry mom, but I have to call you out as well…The sweet and light hearted nap time story of the beast from the “M” mountain who would come down at nap time and look through windows and take children who were still awake.

Actually mom, that’s genius and I wish I would have tried it with my own non-napping children.

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So here I am, a nearly 33 year old (reminder:I’m still 32) freaking out bc of the noises coming from my mom’s kitchen. I’m sitting in bed wondering at what point I will see a figure walk by that stares blankly at me. This is her new house that’s perfect and gorgeous and lovely, but I can’t put it out of my mind that Reagan’s face could appear at any moment.

Funny thing is, I used to LOVE horror movies until I first had Carissa and The Exorcism of Emily Rose was coming in theaters. One night as I was up nursing her and her non-sleeping little self, I saw the trailer. I was freaked out and from then on refused to watch tv in the middle of the night because of it. Only horror flick I’ve seen since then is the Paranormal ones and each gave me nightmares for weeks.

Thankfully, Tom finally let my fixation for turning on lights throughout the house go after we were married 7 or so years. It used to be a thing (not a good one) between us, but now he has just realized how pathetic I am and gives me time to “chase the light switch”: He turns one on as I turn one off…

That’s love right there.

But the weirdest part?  I picture myself in a situation with the scariest of monsters, HUMANS, and I find that 10 times out of 10 I’m on Dateline or 20/20 sharing my story of survival. Put me with a scary, devilish, creepy ghost and I’m pretty sure I keel over and let the monstrous creature do the inevitable; but thankfully I’ll have gone in to shock and won’t feel a thing.

The most embarrassing part is that the kids will eventually learn of this issue as they get older. For now, when they wake up from a bad dream I have to turn on my acting skills that still work like a charm. Carissa: “Mom, I saw a ghost walk across my room. Me: “Oh honey, you were just having a nightmare. There’s no such thing as ghosts.” Then I lay with her in the dark, pulling the covers up to my nose scared shitless and praying I don’t see it, too.

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