Fear of (Being In) The Dark

When I was a kid, I was afraid of thunderstorms.  I do not know that I was actually afraid of the storm itself.  I certainly feared that the power would go out.  How was little-me supposed to see if all the lights were off?  (By the time Twister had come out in 1996, I had gotten over my fear.  Storms are more interesting than power outages are scary.)

Yet I still have a concern about being in the dark.  Good thing I do not work in a movie theater.  <eyeroll>

If there is one sense that I am terrified of losing, it is sight.  The initial onset would be terrifying.  How would I get help?  When we had landlines, I could feel the buttons and know I was dialing 911.  Now?  With a hunk of touchscreen technology that I cannot see?  I could be fiddling for days with no results.  (Yes, I know; I should turn on talk-to-text or some other fancy function.  Here, the irritation of those functions is greater than the possibility of me going blind.  I am playing the odds game.  I hate voice-activated devices that much.) 

I suppose I could knock on my neighbors’ door.  I only know one or two of them.  It would certainly make for an interesting way to introduce myself.

I know that people lose their sight all the time.  Stress.  Not wearing the right prescription.  There are plenty of causes of blindness.  They all scare me.  Sure, the vision might return.  It worked out fine for two of my friends. 

If sight was not restored?  That would be a tremendous adjustment to make.  I like comics.  I like movies.  I enjoy seeing the sunrise over mountains.  It would be very difficult for me to enjoy life without those sights.

My newest fear?  The scariest fear?  No, not Covid.  That has been downgraded to a ‘concern’.  Thanks, medicine!  I appreciate you, science!  Nope, if you really want to upset me, diagnose me with dementia.

Dementia, Alzheimer’s; no matter what version I would be saddled with, it would be my version of a living hell.  That not having someone to go get help in the blindness section?  That applies here too.  I live alone.  Changes would have to be made.  Big ones.  Who would decide things?  Would I move into a home or would I have to get a caretaker right away?  How would I remember all my passwords and pointless comic book information?

A large part of my identity is wrapped up in my intelligence.  For better or for worse, I like my big, beautiful brain.  The endless amounts of useless knowledge, the trivia, and the fact that my noggin works a little weirder than others.  Thankfully, my family has no history of such illnesses.  However, the very idea of losing that important aspect of me bothers me greatly.

What to do?  Well, I try to keep it far, far away from me.  There was an article that stated what folks can do to prevent dementia

  • I get enough exercise.  We have discussed this plenty
  • I never drink.
  • I never smoke.
  • I read, do all the New York Times crosswords, Wordle when I can, and I am one of those goobers with a lifetime account with Lumosity.  (Hey, it could work.)
  • I force myself to be sociable.  I go to church.  I poke my head out of the projection booth.  I chat with my coworkers.  I may not spend a long time at weddings, but an effort is made.
  • And diet?  You have seen what I buy.  …  Perhaps five out of six will save me?  It still puts me solidly in the ‘favorable’ group.

I do what I can.  I take steps to protect what I have been blessed with and trust that God will take care of the rest.  I have seen people suffer from dementia.  And ‘suffer’ is the word for it.  Not knowing who they are talking to or where they are. 

I did not really get it until I saw, “The Father.”  Anthony Hopkins can still command any room that he is in.  Once I saw how confused he was; that was when I had a glimpse of what dementia would be like.  It seems terrible.  As if you were going insane and there was not a single thing anyone could do for you.

So?  What to do with the fear?  What happens when you worry about confronting the inky darkness?  That there exists a possible version of your mind that you dread ever facing? 

When you look into the abyss, do not blink.

Science suggests ways to fight it off.  I engage in those.  If they do not work?  If my fears (currently unfounded) happen to rear their ugly head?  Then I trust.  Trust in people who have said they loved me.  Trust that science will keep working on a solution.  And, just like when we were waiting for a Covid vaccine, I trust that God will continue to take care of me.  Even if none of it makes any sense to me.

Being a scared little kid did not stop the thunder from booming or the lightning from cracking.  Worrying about darkness does not make the world any brighter.  (I would argue that it actually makes life darker.)  I carry on the best I know how, and tackle the difficulties when they become a reality.  I do not spend every waking moment worrying about what might be. 

The fear does slip in every once in a while.  Nobody ever said I had to give in to the fear.

About Cosand

He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.
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