I‘ve had been afraid of the dark for as long as I can remember. I saw several therapists throughout the years to overcome this fear. I’m talking about sleepless nights and nightmares, all the way from my early years until I was 28.
To me it was terrifying and I wasn’t even sure why. I didn’t know if it was because I was scared of the dead or just afraid of the dark. So my mom took me to different psychologists when I was about 12. I remember like it was yesterday, –“Do you fill your fridge with trash?” – One of the psychologist asked me. – “NO, I can assure you my fridge is full of yummy food!” – I replied, thinking it was a weird question. – “Then, why is your head full of trash? Don’t put trash in your head”. – He said. As my first therapy session ended, my fear was just as strong and my desire to continue with therapy was gone.
I stopped going to therapy for a long time, and after college I decided it was time to go back. As a grown woman and I couldn’t be scared of the dark. I did it for about 3 months and nothing changed.
One day I convinced myself that I should turn all the lights off and just let myself be terrified, because that was the opportunity to face my fear and be brave.- “There’s no bravery without fear” – I said to myself.
Well, turns out my fear was stronger than my bravery, so this motto didn’t work for me. That’s when I thought about Mindfulness meditation. A few years back I had started meditating, “officially”, because I had meditated for many years during my Tennis career, without knowing it.
So I said, maybe I could try Mindfulness.
As it turns out, meditation was my answer. As I started my mindfulness practice I invited my fear in. This time I did not turn off the lights completely, but just enough so it was dark and I became a bit scared. As I sat there, every day for about 2 weeks, I was able to relate my fear with childhood memories. When I let my thoughts flow, I realized I was having flashbacks of when I played “The Ouija” board game as a kid. Every second I thought about it my heart would beat faster until it felt I was having a panic attack. But I stayed with the feelings, with my thoughts of fear, and all the sudden my heart slowed down. I realized playing those games was a mistake, but then again, nothing weird had happened since. You know, like dead people showing up at my bedroom.
Numerous studies have shown that meditation changes the brain and rewires it, helping you change thought patterns and behaviors. As you learn to observe your thoughts without engaging with them, you are able acknowledge and identify the root of the issues or behaviors affecting your life.
I’ve always been a strong believer that the solution to most of our issues lies within us. For that I’d say, Mindfulness meditation it’s better than therapy and even medication. I just turned 30 and I am fearless, at least of the dark. I can confirm that what therapy didn’t help me overcome, Mindfulness Meditation did!