Have you ever had the feeling that something was watching you?

Like something or someone you couldn’t see was staring at you? Watching, waiting for you in the dark even though you couldn’t see or hear them.

You get that feeling when you turn your back and your worst fears suddenly emerge from that black.

The insistent, pointless paranoia in your mind, screaming at you not to turn off the lights.

Afraid that—even after checking every space and crevice—someone would be hiding, waiting for the perfect chance to strike.

Sometimes, it would get to the point that you can only sleep if there’s a wall to your back, or you are cocooned in a blanket so you’d have some semblance of safety back.

But in the light, you feel fine, like you could run a mile without anyone by your side. You could laugh or joke with your friends, and you would barely look twice at anything, even strangers.

But why is it only at night that I can’t take the silence that plagues the halls? Why is it only at night that I am disturbed by the creaking of floorboards or whining of old walls?

It’s not like I don’t feel safe in my own home; that’s not the issue. I love my family and my friends, and I have no reason to assume anyone would want to hurt me.

I try to be a good person. I don’t do drugs; I don’t get into fights; I’ve never been threatened once, and yet that dark paranoia still comes.

Honestly, sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy.

Honestly, sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy.

I’m afraid to tell people I’m not comfortable sleeping alone with the window or door open because I’m afraid they’ll treat me differently.

Even now, writing this, I’m scared of how people will react to me. I’m afraid they will look at me and shudder or call me insane. I’m afraid they’ll call me dramatic or tell me to “Get over yourself” even though I’ve never considered myself to be narcissistic.

But I know it’s important to write about my fears because I know there are some people who feel the same.

People like me, who are afraid of the dark, who also lock their doors or bind their windows so they can sleep peacefully at night.

I’ve come to realize—ironically—that maybe it’s not my paranoia that’s the issue, but the stigma that being afraid of the dark makes me crazy.

Maybe, instead of mocking myself for my worries, I should instead accept them because why should I be ashamed to be afraid?