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AIBU: I'm not going to grow out of this, am I?!

(107 Posts)
glowingtwig Sun 07-Jun-20 20:07:42

Posted in AIBU for traffic because it would be really helpful to hear people's thoughts...
I've always been susceptible to feeling really spooked out by anything to do with death or ghostly things at night. I have been like this for as long as I can remember and slept in a bunk bed in my brother's room until an embarrassing age, despite having my own bedroom- it always felt off and i'd get spooked out by a painting I thought was scary, that sort of thing.
I got better for a while living on my own in an end of terrace cottage, I felt really comfortable there and it has been the only place I've been able to fall asleep in the dark with no tv on.
I'm now a few months off turning 40 and live in a really ancient house with DH and DD 7 months but I keep getting awful intrusive thoughts about the elderly lady who lived and died here before we bought the property (another family lived here in between). For example, getting up for the loo in the night I imagine her standing behind the door, or being carried down the stairs and out of the house, dead. The thoughts are there in my head before I can stop them and I can literally feel the adrenaline fizzing through me. I imagine the other people who lived and died here (the house is 400 years old) and for ages after DD was born couldn't have her things in the oldest part of the house in case bad things had happened there.
It does seem to have got worse since having the baby, so I wonder if hormones have something to do with it. DH is loving and supportive but doesn't get it really.
As soon as daylight comes, I feel ok. It's like the light washes away every fear I have. I can't even sleep in the spare room or DDs nursery if it's dark, but in the light, I'm fine. I dread winter and the long dark nights (this was definitely worse immediately post-partum).
I confided in a friend to see if she ever had anything like it and her reply was 'no, that sort of thought has never entered my head'.
I feel like my life would be better if I wasn't this way and don't want DD to end up afraid of the dark, even though I'd try my best to keep it from her. I really thought I would just grow out of it one day, but I'm not going to am I? I'm ridiculous.
(Reading this back I imagine people saying why'd you buy an old house then? But my mum's house is 1960s build and I'm the same staying at my friend's in Scotland and that's a new build).
I suppose I'm just after some advice how I can get over this finally and stop these mad intrusive thoughts and fear of the dark.

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Stressedinlockdown Sun 07-Jun-20 20:26:17

Ohh hun that sounds awful.

I’m wondering whether some CBT be useful? It’s obviously having a real impact on your life now and as you say you don’t want your daughter to pick up on these thoughts. CBT might help you figure out the cause of why you think that way and help you find a way to rationalise and change your way of thinking x

Aquamarine1029 Sun 07-Jun-20 20:27:57

I really think you need to be a lot kinder to yourself. You are not ridiculous, perhaps a bit more skittish than most, but I hardly think that's some moral failing.

A question... Do you keep your house pitch dark at night with no ambient lighting?

StarShapedWindow Sun 07-Jun-20 20:33:44

I think it’s one of those rly hints where the more you think about it the worse it becomes. You need to break the cycle of thought. Can you leave the lights on?

StarShapedWindow Sun 07-Jun-20 20:34:14

Sorry, one of those things

mintich Sun 07-Jun-20 20:36:40

I get these thoughts! When I first moved in to this house, I got them all the time! I got my priest round in the end to bless the house which made me feel a lot better. I get thoughts still occasionally but I just try to think of something else.

glowingtwig Sun 07-Jun-20 20:38:30

Thank you for replying @Stressedinlockdown I did wonder about some sort of counselling... this fear must have come from somewhere right? I've always had a very vivid imagination but just don't know why the night and darkness is such a trigger for me. I'm not sure exactly what CBT involves though or even how to go about accessing it.

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glowingtwig Sun 07-Jun-20 20:43:21

Thank you for your kind comment @Aquamarine1029

Also @StarShapedWindow If DH is staying away for work (pre-COVID obviously) I take my laptop upstairs and put something on to fall asleep to. Other than that lights are off, except dd has a gro egg in the nursery. But if I'm up for any reason the lights go on... no way could I walk across the landing in the dark.

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Itisbetter Sun 07-Jun-20 20:43:56

Just turn the lights on. Being scared of the dark is no different than being scared of anything else.

picklemewalnuts Sun 07-Jun-20 20:45:16

I was similar, and still have moments. I thought I'd got over it then realised that actually it was just never as dark where I live now.

Even so, when I get up in the night I have the occasional moment when I have to remind myself it's not real.

Don't indulge the thoughts, don't stop and wonder about them, just grit your teeth and force yourself to behave as though you haven't had that thought. It gets easier.

I feel all those things, but I rationalise that it's not real and I have to ignore it. It's like forcing yourself to put your hand in a feely hole. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

glowingtwig Sun 07-Jun-20 20:45:35

@Itisbetter it's more that it's dark outside. Having the lights on doesn't really help that much. It's just weird.

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SparkLee Sun 07-Jun-20 20:46:51

Oh op I could have written your post. I am just like this. I have a bedside alarm clock and am a terrible sleeper. Every time I wake up at 3am I imagine a scary demon being at the foot of the bed, and my mirrored wardrobe is at the bottom of the bed too which doesn't help! We have glass doors and a patio door, and I have to draw the roller blinds when it gets dark as I am terrified of seeing a face or a creature staring back at me 🙈 I really don't have much advice but I wanted you to know you're not alone. (no pun intended 🙈)

picklemewalnuts Sun 07-Jun-20 20:47:10

If you can, go on night walks with your DH. Look at the stars. Do it gently, just a minute outside the door, then a bit longer and a bit further. You ne3d to kind of acclimatise.

mon15 Sun 07-Jun-20 20:49:42

I was always afraid of the dark when I was younger & have never grown out of it properly even now aged 36. Like you op I often have strange thoughts&will wake up thinking someone is in my room etc&i immediately jump out of bed&flick the light on.
It's happened in every house I have lived in&ive moved a lot which makes me think its nothing to do with houses at all&more to do with the person&my over active brain

Aquamarine1029 Sun 07-Jun-20 20:49:58

I think you need to take a first logical step - get some soft lighting for night! I highly recommend Himalayan salt lamps. The put off a lovely, very soft warm light that let's you see everything but not assault your eyes. I have them all over my house and they stay on 24/7. I'm not afraid of the dark but I would never want my home pitch black at night. Honestly, that doesn't make any sense to me because it can be dangerous if you need to walk around.

glowingtwig Sun 07-Jun-20 20:53:02

@SparkLee @picklemewalnuts thank you so so much, I really felt like I was the only one feeling like this.
How do you squash the thoughts? I've tried saying to myself 'stop being silly' but the thought is in my head too fast sad

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jiskoot Sun 07-Jun-20 20:53:11

I'm the same (ish), if I get up to go to the loo in the night I take my phone with me and use the light from it to light my way, no way could I do it in the dark and it's just a few steps across the hallway. I can't fall asleep in a pitch black room either, always have something playing on my ipad.

Doesn't help that we've moved to the country and it's pitch black and the house is 150 years old.

Doesn't bother me though, my dh has always just told me to turn the light on if I get up but I don't want to disturb him. I've always been this way and it's just normal for me. Don't get me started on things hiding under the bed...!

OutComeTheWolves Sun 07-Jun-20 20:55:29

I'm like this op except I've never told a soul not even my dh knows.

The issue I'm having is now my son is exactly the same and I've no idea how to deal with it because I've never dealt with it for myself.

Things came to a head recently because ds always gets in our bed when he's scared and I allow it. Dh basically bollocked him and told him he can't keep getting in our bed but I over ruled him because I can't stand the idea of ds sitting frightened in his bed all night and I know from experience that he won't just 'realise there's nothing to be scared of'.

glowingtwig Sun 07-Jun-20 20:56:52

@mon15 @jiskoot it is good to know I'm not alone, thank you.
Salt lamps sounds a good idea and night walks. Although it's more when I'm fastened in the house and it's bedtime I'm worse. No issue at all driving at night etc.

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yelyah22 Sun 07-Jun-20 20:57:03

This is definitely a case for some CBT! Something somewhere has set this off in your head and (unfortunately) the more you do to appease it, the more it sets in.

I would suggest something like what mintich said (or a non-religious version - a cleansing of some kind - I suggested similar to a friend who bought a house where something bad recently happened) but I think from what you've said and how long it's been going on, t's probably worth tackling how to make you be able to deal with the intrusive thoughts, rather than legitimising them by saying you're cleansing the 'bad' away (when in reality, there's no 'bad', it's just your brain conjuring it up, if you see what I mean?).

oiboi Sun 07-Jun-20 20:58:09

Yup, totally get this. It's just about manageable in my own house if my husbands there, but I still freak out if I have to go downstairs over night on my own.

If he's not at home I'm really scared, I'll put the telly on timer to fall asleep. If I go away on holiday/hotel I cannot settle in a room alone, I'll barely sleep just doze whilst telly is on with some inane comedy in the background.

Radio makes the fear worse, only a telly can make it bareable and then it's just stopping me freaking out not actually stopping the anxiety. It's all fear of the supernatural and not anything I can fully explain. I've been like it for as long as I can remember.

glowingtwig Sun 07-Jun-20 20:58:34

@OutComeTheWolves sorry you have this too, isn't it horrible? Do you have any idea why you feel that way? Wondering if something has triggered mine when I was a certain age, when I was little.

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Winter2020 Sun 07-Jun-20 20:59:16

You could get your house blessed. Either a priest as suggested by a previous poster or if that's not appropriate for you a spiritualist type. I worked somewhere where my colleagues got someone in with dousing rods who talked about lay lines and put steaks in the ground. Even as a placebo affect it might just make you feel better.

If you get worse speak to your GP as there may be medication that can support you.

Handsoffisback Sun 07-Jun-20 21:01:45

I live in a very old house on a farm where sadly a baby died nearly two hundred years ago. Sometimes I imagine the baby crying, to the point where I’m almost sure I’ve heard her. Other strange things happened in this house and on the farm in general and at first I used to be scared, especially in one of my children’s bedrooms. What has really helped me is speaking out loud to ‘it’ or when I feel something. I find it stops the thoughts overwhelming me if that makes sense? Sometimes if I think I hear the baby I will say ‘ssshh it’s ok’ and it stops the thoughts. I realise that sounds crazy but it really helps me personally x

glowingtwig Sun 07-Jun-20 21:02:44

We do have a family vicar but I think I'd be embarrassed to ask him (he used to be a GP and is quite rational and I think he'd think I was a bit mad).
I wonder too if I'd be worried about stirring anything up that was paranormal confused
It is so reassuring to hear I'm not the only one, although sorry for the other posters experiencing similar. Madly, generic hotel rooms on my own I'm not too bad.

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