Scared Shitless

Have you ever been literally terrified? Have you ever seen someone terrified? I bet you think that you have, but you probably haven't. I experienced true terror for the first time in my life last night. Don't worry, this isn't going to be a depressing blog post. No one was hurt and I wasn't afraid for anyone's life...Well aside from my own.
     Before I tell you what happened, I should probably explain my greatest fear. We all have one. Maybe you're afraid of heights or small spaces. Some of us I'd imagine go our whole lives without really ever knowing our greatest fear. To be clear, when I say "greatest fear" I don't mean things like losing a child or dying alone. Yes, those are things to be afraid of, but those are not things that would bring about the type of fear that I'm speaking of. Fear that can only be categorized as terror.
     My greatest fear is ghosts or anything like it (demons, ghouls, ect...). I know this is true for me because it denies all logic. Logically, I do not believe in ghosts or the like. Spiritually, they have no place with me. However, there is a part of me, the more primitive or perhaps the scared child in me, that still believes in their existence. This manifests in my everyday life. At night I feel vulnerable. When I'm sitting or sleeping, my back has to be at a wall-- ya know, so anything ghoulish can't sneak up on me. Shit you not, I made sure to set up my writing desk just this way. When I'm walking in the dark from my car to the house after work, I have to keep my eyes on the ground before me. Otherwise, I'm searching for things and convincing myself that I'm seeing what's not really there. 
     It's a fear that I have under control. I try not to think about it mostly. Just push it aside. Logically and spiritually, I don't believe in ghosts so my fear is pointless. Not to mention, I have NEVER SEEN A GHOST. Never. Not once. Sure I have some spooky stories to share and I've heard plenty of them ("Well, my cousin's best friend's brother saw one once."), but I've never actually seen a transparent person walking through my yard or that woman with her hair in her face (Ya know, that chick in every ghost horror movie. *shivers*) standing in my room. All of that being said, I realized last night just how strong my fear truly is.
     I've felt edgy for days now. I don't know why, but nighttime in the summer is scarier to me than nighttime in the winter. So I've had to try a little harder not to think about ghoulish-beings. Last night though, it didn't matter. It was 4 am. I was brushing my teeth.
     I normally shut the bathroom door when I'm readying for bed. Yes, because I feel vulnerable to ghostie attacks with it open. A strong imagination. A blessing and curse. I can dream up the most amazing things that leave me in awe, but It's just as easy for me to imagine something jumping around the open door frame at me.
     So I'm brushing my teeth. I generally shut the bathroom door, but I choose not to because some mosquitoes have followed me in and I'm hoping that they'll find their way out. I believe I was focusing on my teeth. Not thinking about anything in particular, just making sure to get my circular motions just right. Then I get the impression that something is next to me. 
     This happens to me all of the time. 10 out of 10 times I'll turn and see nothing or maybe the dog. This time ... there was a head. Two pairs of eyes leaning around the door frame and staring wide at me. Now, before you freak out or insist that I call one of those ghost shows that I'm too afraid to watch, let me just tell you that it was my dad. He had seen the bathroom light on and was coming to turn it off and popped his head around to see me. 
      What I saw was not my dad. I saw my greatest fear realized and I lost complete control of my actions. There was a person standing there that shouldn't have been there and it was too close for me to get away. There was no thought, just fear.... No, terror. 
     I screamed or more liked shouted in fear. It wasn't the high pitched scream that women always make in movies, but it was long and drawn out. I don't consider myself the screaming type, but my shout might have been affected by the toothbrush and gobs of foam filling my mouth. I quickly moved away as I screamed and half hunched over. I don't know if I was hunching over because the fear was incapacitating me or if I was aware of the paste falling out of my mouth and I didn't want it getting all over me. Both are very possible. 
     About halfway through the process of me moving away and hunching over, my mind became aware that it was my dad looking in and not a ghost. I also realized that I didn't have control over myself. My body was moving on its own. The scream coming from my throat didn't feel or sound like my own. It was the strangest sensation ever.
     As quickly as it all happened, it was over. I gained control of myself and my dad was immediately retreating back to his room, apologizing the whole way for scaring me. Truly he felt really bad about it. I was mystified, hunched over the running facet and shaking from head-to-toe. I had never experienced fear like that before. Even my dad said this morning that it was true terror on my face... and I was staring at him.
     I've been in a lot of scary situations and I've always acted with a fight instinct, but this time it was all flight. I suppose that makes sense. I mean, how do you defend yourself from a demon attack? Pretty certain that you don't, you just die. 
      I wonder if I would have reacted differently to this realized fear, if the perceived ghost-demon had been further away and not right on top of me, cornering me in a small bathroom. I think....maybe. I only have one experience to draw on. It was a similar situation. 4 am, getting reading for bed, but this time I was exiting the bathroom. Once again, it was my dad that I actually saw. He had just stepped out of the kitchen and was about to return to his bedroom when he turned and saw me as well. But, like last night, I didn't see him. I saw  a ghost. I instantly froze. Literally like a statue. And I felt this painful, cold, fear run from my head to my feet. Before it hit my feet, I realized it was my dad and I unfroze. I just clutched my heart and sighed with relief. So that time, I was able to fully assess the situation before I was taken by full-on panic. But, if it had been a ghost, I have no idea if I would have reacted or just remained frozen in fear. 
     I can easily say that the fear last night was the worst. It continued to affect me the remainder of the night. I kept waking up every 15-or-so minutes in a panic and completely confused. Around 6:45 am I actually had to remind myself that I was safe and that nothing that I was afraid of was real. I watched a bit of a documentary on Cleopatra to get my mind off it, but even then I only slept a few more hours. 
     I'm fine now though. Exhausted, but fine. I will surely sleep well tonight and when I get ready for bed, I am SO closing the bathroom door. I never want to experience that again. It's bad enough that my family will probably harass me about this for the next few years.    

If anyone has read this full post, I'd love to know if you've ever experienced a fear like this. OR if not, than what realized-fear would cause this sort of reaction for you? Thanks for reading!

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