Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Paralyzing fear...

This morning I awoke to my puppy (who even at only 9 months old, has an extremely intimidating bark) barking like crazy at my bedroom window. Mark had already left for work over an hour ago. My first thoughts, maybe he's barking at the cat. Correction, hopefully he's barking at the cat. After a solid minute of this, he doesn't let up, and then proceeds to bark down the hallway towards the living room window. I start to get really nervous. Sadly, my first instinct is to put on something more than my underwear and tank top that I sleep in in case I have to run away. I throw on my sweats, but still haven't moved from bed. Neither has Captain. I then proceed to grab the pocket knife that I leave at my bedside and squeeze it tight. He keeps barking, at the window in the bedroom, and down the hallway towards the living room. He won't stop. I try to see if I notice anything through the crack of the blinds......nothing. Captain is still going nuts. I grab my cell and call Mark, no answer. Call again, still no answer (I know he's probably in his morning meeting). I feel myself getting more nervous, more stressed, I have 9-1 dialed on my phone now just in case. Captain still has not let up, and I do not have the nerve to actually walk up to the window, or walk outside for that matter, to check out what the deal is.

Now, you are probably thinking, why on earth am I getting so worked up. Am I really that chicken? He's a dog, probably just barking at the wind. 

Well truth is, I am that chicken. If I were in a horror movie, I'd be the person paralyzed by fear other than blubbering like a baby. I'd most likely be the first person to be killed off because I'm just crumpled in a corner unable to defend myself.  

Why/how can someone be that chicken, you are now probably thinking. The answer to that is: I am not completely sure. 

As a kid I distinctly remember my sister waking up in the middle of the night and calling out for mom and dad. My first instinct was to run downstairs to see if she was okay, but I was immediately stopped by my second thought: What if someone is attacking her? Now I should have let my love for my family run me down those stairs and protect her, but I felt like I literally could not move my body out of bed. Sure enough within moments my parents went running down and thankfully it turned out to be nothing more than my sister being startled awake by the newspaper being thrown at the door.  

Why didn't I react? I've always wondered. Why couldn't I bring myself to check on my family. Was it the logical part of my brain saying I wouldn't be strong enough to fend off any attacker, so then my parents would be left with two dead children instead of one. Is my "fight or flight" response always going to be "flight", except I don't even have the balls to run away.

I have regretted my actions from that night for a long, long time. For a while I just chalked it up to being a kid, but honestly, 15 years later, I'm still the same person. I get instantly panicked and paralyzed by fear.

In the last two years, my house has been broken into twice. The most recent time being only about 6 months ago. Both break ins were traumatizing and I wasn't even home when either of them happened. The violation of our home was unbearable. I cried and cried and cried in Mark's arms, and then cried and cried even more afterwards dealing with all the people coming in and out of the house to try to repair the damage. I still get nervous pulling up in the driveway when I know Mark isn't home yet, and I still get nervous every time I am about to leave the house and have to set the alarm, but slowly I thought I was getting over it. Mentally I thought I was getting stronger.

Today's incident with the dog is another example reminding that I am definitely not over it. I love that my dog is a reactive barker (i.e. barks when he sees or hears something foreign), because it should scare away any potential intruder, but that being said, when he continuously barks without letting up (like this morning), I fear that who ever might be out there is more than just some punk kid looking to grab some merchandise. What if that punk kid, is a mass murderer, or a junkie on some psychotic rampage. No barking dog is going to scare someone like that away. I know, I know, here I go again assuming worse case scenario. 

Eventually Mark calls me back and I stay on the phone with him while I check out the bedroom windows and then walk out the front door and check down the yard etc. Captain has calmed now that I'm walking around the house. Mark tells me everything is fine, and he's just a phone call away if I need. He reminds me that both previous break ins happened when no one was home, and no cars were in the drive way. This reassures me. We say our I love yous and we hang up. 

I sit down on the couch and immediately start crying. I just can't help it. I can't control it. I don't want to be afraid, but I don't know how to take the fear away. I don't want to hesitate going in the shower because I might not hear if someone tries to break in. I don't want to hesitate to take the dog out for a walk because who knows what kind of disaster I will come home to. I assume it's common for everyone to get a little nervous once in a while, but the nerves for me come so frequently and so intensely that sometimes I feel like I can barely even function. Most of the time my coping method is to just ignore the negative thoughts, but I know I need some work to develop a method that really strengthens my mental capacity to deal with situations like this. 

Well that is all for now, time to drink a hot cup of tea and get myself relaxed. 

Take care!


  1. Having been broken into myself it stays with you. The feeling of the invasion of privacy is hard to shake and you get reminded every time you hear or think your hear something. Having a dog highlight all the sounds outside your house also good a sense of security as you will be aware if something is outside with the protection of your dog Just having the dog make noise most intruders will move along knowing there is a dog inside. I hear that most break in are by people you know and know your routines which plays into what you said..

    1. Thanks so much for posting your comment! I've heard similar things about people knowing your routines. The first break in happened when I was in school and Mark was working in Delta full time so our schedules were pretty consistent & therefore predictable. The second break in was a little more by chance, it was literally the first day in about 6 months that we didn't have at least one car parked in the drive way. Thankfully now, I'm working pretty unpredictable hours now so someone would have to be pretty ballsy to think they can catch our house without at least one of us being home.