Signs You Are Scared Of The Dark

By Juliet Smith 10 months ago

You can't bear to think about darkness

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A phobia of darkness, or nyctophobia, is easily described as an extreme fear of the dark. Although it's more prevalent in children, it can effect people of all ages. I guess the first step of acknowledging that you have a fear of the dark is just thinking about the dark makes you shudder.

Even a movie theater freaks you out

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There's a difference between just feeling uneasy in the dark to having a genuine fear of it. It's normal for us to feel uncomfortable by darkness because we're unaware of our surroundings. Yet, if even the thought of normal dark places makes you not want to go, then it might be an extreme fear or nyctophobia.

You have difficulty swallowing when entering dark place

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One symptom of having a fear of the dark is finding it hard to swallow when entering a dark place. Your body may act very similarly to how it does when you're anxious, which you probably are if you're genuinely scared of the dark. This symptom might just indicate an extreme fear.

Your mouth goes dry when thinking of the dark

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Not only is it hard to swallow when you're out in the dark at night or in a dark room, you might also realize that your mouth has suddenly gone really really dry. As mentioned before, it's an anxiety response to the "threatening" situation that you're in.

You excessively sweat in dark spaces

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Another symptom of being anxious or scared of dark spaces is excessively sweating when you enter them. You know them massive sweat patches you get just because the lights went out unexpectedly? Yeah, it might not be as normal as you think and you might want to consult your doctor.

The dark makes you feel physically nauseous

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Some people who suffer from nyctophobia have actually reported that they feel physically nauseous when they enter a dark place. Some have even gone as far as saying that they have actually vomited just from being in the dark! It's safe to say that this is a big sign.

You hate driving down unlit roads

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Have you ever been driving alone at night and felt uneasy and uncomfortable while driving down an unlit road, with just your headlights to light the way? Well, it's actually pretty normal to feel like that. It isn't until you start to refuse to drive at night that it becomes a problem.

You turn away when watching a TV show or film with nighttime scenes

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Usually we turn our heads away when there's some kind of gory screen on the TV, or if we're watching an intimate scene and our parents are there. Well, those who are extremely scared of the dark might just turn away when there's a somewhat dark scene that's appeared.

Your heart rate increases dramatically

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Have you noticed that your heart is beating a lot more than it should when you've found yourself in a dark place? It might be your Apple Watch that tells you, or you can just feel your heart starting to beat faster out of your chest. Well, this is definitely a symptom.

Your chest begins to hurt in the dark

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Another likely symptom to watch out for, especially when coupled with the sign before, is abnormal, erratic and painful chest pains. Chest pains are usually a sign of extreme anxiety and that's essentially the feeling you get from experiencing dark spaces.

You can't even turn off the lights without panicking

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Have you ever gotten into bed before and dreaded turning the lights of? What about when you've turned them off and ran to your bed as though something's going to grab you? While it can just be a normal feeling, together with some signs of this list, it could be severe.

You tremble and shake when it comes to being out in the dark

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Trembling and shaking when it comes to being in dark places is definitely a big sign of having nyctophobia. Nyctophobia can actually take over someone's life so much that they will actively avoid any places or spaces that aren't light, and that's a harmful behavior.

You have difficulty breathing when in the dark

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Much like the chest pains and heart rate above, darkness can also cause nyctophobia sufferers to experience difficulty breathing. It could be a sign of an anxiety or panic attack if you're caught in this situation and it's a sign that you should definitely get looked at.

You have a lot of trouble sleeping

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Naturally, people that suffer from nyctophobia are going to have trouble sleeping. When it's dark out, they might try and leave a nightlight on so that they sleep better. But sometimes, even the thought of it being dark outside is enough to have a restless night's sleep.

You can feel yourself detach when you're in the dark

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A coping mechanism that the body might employ when faced with dark situations is to completely detach itself and you start to dissociate. The reason for this is that the body and mind don't want to face the situation you're in right now so will look for any escape route.

You have terrifying thoughts

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When faced with a dark situation, your mind might start shooting you some terrifying thoughts just to make you feel that little bit worse. It's because you're body has gone into panic mode and the darkness might trigger some emotional trauma within you.

Your mind plays tricks on you in the dark

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Have you ever sat in the darkness and noticed that the pile of clothes looks oddly like a little, creepy child? Or that the coats hanging on your door look like a scary old man. Well, it could be completely normal to feel like this, but if you're experiencing more than this sign it could be a genuine fear.

You avoid any situations where you might have to be in the dark

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The point where it becomes a massive problem is when you start to avoid any social situation that you might end up in the dark. Whether that be a club, nighttime or a theater, just the chance of being at these places makes you feel physically ill and you'd rather not go.

You leave the TV on to sleep to

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To try and ease their fear of the dark, many people who suffer from nyctophobia leave the TV on while sleeping so the room isn't completely engulfed in darkness. The lack of sleep can lead people to feel fatigued throughout the day and affect performance at work.

You feel an intense need to escape the space you're in

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If you've ever found yourself in a dark situation that you just can't bear being in, you might have tried to flee as soon as you can. You'll make up any old excuse just to get out of there. If this is the case, then it's fair to say that it's taken a massive toll on your life and you need it looking into.

You've been known to cry and scream when in the dark

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You might have had nyctophobia since you were a child, especially as it's common in children. Has anyone ever told you that you have had episodes of screaming and crying when you've been left in the dark? This is an obvious sign of sever nyctophobia for sure.

You've had panic attacks in the dark before

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While many of the signs can accumulate to a panic attack, you might already know that you have had a panic attack in the past when left in a dark situation. Obviously, this isn't normal and you should definitely get it checked out by your doctor as soon as you can.

You experience intense emotions when in a dark room

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Those that are afraid of the dark might experience some intense emotions when they enter dark spaces. This is because the body's "survival instinct" is heightened, meaning that their emotions are heightened also. Nearly 45% of children suffer with nyctophobia, and 9% of adults.

You literally feel like you might die

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Without sounding a bit too dramatic, some people have literally said that they feel like they're going to die when faced with dark spaces. The feelings and symptoms they get when faced with these situations can be so intense that they feel like they're never going to end.

You get heart palpitations from the dark

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Much like the increased heart rate, heart palpitations can be another sign that you have an intense fear of dark spaces. It's almost like your body is telling you that it feels uncomfortable where it is. Sometimes, a traumatic past and childhood can be the reason for developing nyctophobia.

You feel anxious and depressed before getting ready for bed

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Nyctophobia can take over your life so much that you feel anxious and depressed when getting ready for bed. You know the feelings and experiences that your body is about to go through when faced with the dark and you're absolutely dreading it, triggering those feelings.

Darkness makes you feel lightheaded

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Darkness can have such an effect on those who suffer with nyctophobia that it literally makes them feel dizzy and lightheaded, almost like they're going to pass out. This can be a normal reaction to any kind of phobia that someone has developed. 12% of Americans have said that they have had a phobia in the past.

You've got some darkness-triggering trauma

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As mentioned before, trauma and a traumatic childhood can have an adverse effect on how somebody experiences the dark later in life. If you have trauma from the past that you feel like might influence your fear, you should speak to a doctor or counsellor.

You've watched a lot of horror films

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Of course, horror films have to be on this list. While you might not realize it, horror films can really have this type of effect on people, especially if you watched them from a young age. Although the viewing experience is adrenaline-pumped, the aftermath might not be worth it.

You feel powerless over your fear

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Lastly, you feel powerless of your fear. Reading this list might be the first time you are finally coming to terms with your nyctophobia, which is fair enough. Some people feel like it's something that they are never going to get control of, and just part of them forever.

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