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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Symmy Offline
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Ghosts - July 6th 2011, 09:31 AM

Ok this is all gonna sound really stupid but I've been afraid of mirrors, bathrooms, and the dark for as long as I can remember. No joke.

I know it's probably irrational, but I can't shake them. I've never believed in ghosts, and I'm completely atheist, but the more I think about it, the more I can't shake the feeling there's stuff watching and judging everything I do.

In horror movies, which I like - I'm careful not to watch alone and to talk and stuff afterwards - I freak out and tense up at even the slightest reflection on a window or an eye. I expect something weird to happen in it, even if it doesn't make sense in the movie. I look for it. All of my phobias have just gotten worse lately and I see this stupid stuff in even normal TV shows now. A year and a half ago, I got a plain full length mirror in my closet, because I wanted one. But ever since, I refuse to go to bed without my closet door closed. I feel like there's something in my closet. Not in the mirror, in the actual closet. But I didn't feel this way until I got the mirror.

I have issues with bathrooms. When I picture a murder, ect, I realize it would happen in times of weakness. Because I'mm not in control then. The bathroom is one of those times. Often I'll check in the shower and in drawers. And of course see nothing. I'm absolutely terrified of the automatic light turning off., because something will come out of the mirror. OMG I sound dumb.

I can't shake this feeling of being watched. Its wherever I am. Unrelated to mirrors. It happens mostly at night, but its not the night time that does it. Its the absence of other things to think about. I just don't think about it other times. I've never seen anything but shadows in the corner of my vision, which is obviously my imagination. But I always look for it. It was in my kitchen earlier, even though my brother was downstairs with me. It followed me to my room. Wasn't looking at my computer until I started typing. I used to think it was just me, but I'm having a lot of trouble lately not seeing it as some kinda ghost. It scares me.

Every night, in bed, I feel itchy. Just random itches, constantly, one after the other. Sometimes I'm scared to scratch them because of whatever put it there. No its not the blanket.

I've never had any weird traumatic events to cause this. It's gotten worse over the year, even though the feeling should go away. I don't know what to do to fix it.

Last edited by Symmy; July 6th 2011 at 09:33 AM. Reason: added stuff
   
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Re: Ghosts - July 6th 2011, 02:48 PM

Hey Symantha
I FEEL THE EXACT SAME WAY! Like someone's always watching me, and wherever I'm not looking, that's where 'it' is.
I suggest, try to figure out what EXACTLY you're afraid of. Like, does your house make funny noises, like creaking or something? (believe it or not, that's just your house contracting slightly because of the cold) And it's also most likely when you've just watched a horror movie? I'm sure everyone feels a little freaked after watching one.
Another bit of advice, when I was younger and afraid to go into the dark, my mom used to tell me to think about my fear in a funny way. i.e., I used to be scared that a dead frozen man was hiding in the dark (don't ask why) and my mom told me to imagine him wearing a clown suit, or dressed in woman's clothing. It really did help!
And you say you're mainly scared of bathrooms? Me too. For some reason bathrooms are very creepy places at night. Probably because they're all cold and gloomy. Mirrors freak me out too. I honestly don't have an explaination for this...maybe look it up?

About that 'ghost'. I can assure you that there is nothing there, or preferably, you are NOT crazy! It happens to everyone. As soon as you are a little creeped out, your mind starts playing tricks on you (and I don't mean schizophorenic hallusinations, just small little things) In other words, if you're 'expecting' to be afraid, or see something, you will. It's just a natural human thing.

And lastly, are you absolutely sure nothing traumatic happened to you? Like even getting lost in the park as it's getting dark, or something like that?

Anyway, good luck! Hope you can shake your fears!!


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Re: Ghosts - July 6th 2011, 02:51 PM

Oh, and ooonneee more thing.
You could also try Exposure therapy, where they'll put you in dark room with a mirror and have you sit there for a while. I think it helps you get over your fear when you finally realise that nothing's there.


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Re: Ghosts - July 6th 2011, 07:32 PM

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Originally Posted by ellabella:) View Post
Oh, and ooonneee more thing.
You could also try Exposure therapy, where they'll put you in dark room with a mirror and have you sit there for a while. I think it helps you get over your fear when you finally realise that nothing's there.
I don't have much to offer for the OP but in response to this, it's not something I'd recommend. Though I haven't done any hard research on it, I have heard that it can some/oftentimes make the fears even worse for the patient. I can vouch for that first-hand. As someone who struggles with arachnophobia, exposure therapy (or "flooding," as I know it) did nothing to help it. All it did was put me through an unnecessary amount of very severe distress. I imagine it would be similar with you, especially when you're already experiencing your mind playing tricks. It will only be exacerbated by the stress and anxiety you experience in exposure therapy.


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Re: Ghosts - July 6th 2011, 08:53 PM

I Googled a little, and found a forum where someone had this exact same set of phobias. Nothing was missing. Why would these go together?
   
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Re: Ghosts - July 6th 2011, 09:53 PM

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Originally Posted by Symmy View Post
I Googled a little, and found a forum where someone had this exact same set of phobias. Nothing was missing. Why would these go together?

Phobias can lead on to one another. Like, I have a phobia of sharks, which leads to a phobia of big fish, which leads to a phobia of boat trips, which leads to a mild phobia of going in the sea.
They're not always triggered by traumatic experiences, or not what you'd consider traumatic at the time. Every child has a fear of the dark at some point, it's that natural instinct that tells you that not being able to see is wrong and scary, so that fight/flight system kicks in. It could be that you've heard a story, read a book or newspaper headline or anything when you were younger, and that's stuck in a negative way to your fear of the dark.
The feeling of being watched is quite common, and that too can stem from being so afraid that it's making you paranoid, which wont be helped if this affects your sleeping pattern at all.

The best thing to do is to consider seeing a counsellor or therapist who can talk you through these phobias, their origins, and how to combat them. I personally disagree with 'flooding' as for me, it simply reduced me to a whimpering ball in a shark tunnel. But that does depend on you yourself and the phobia in question.

For now, try to associate the dark, bathrooms and mirrors with positive thoughts. When you think of the dark, think of nice peaceful sleep, or a starry night [Maybe even put some glow in the dark stars on your ceiling] When you think of bathrooms, think of warm bubble baths with candles and aromatherapy oils [Maybe try this one for real - make it somewhere safe and relaxing] and when you think of mirrors, think of getting dressed up for a party or prom, and think of how lovely you look.

I know it isn't easy, but talking these things through and learning how to overcome them will make it seem a lot better. For me the association thing works on certain things, but it depends on the situation, though I'd really recommend giving it a go.

EDIT: Ooh, as for the warderobe, try physically working with it. Put some pretty fairy lights around it that you can switch on at night, or really go through it and chuck out stuff you don't want/need. If you believe in karma, donate unwanted things to charity and remember that act when your warderobe feels scary - you helped someone using it, so that will keep you safe. [It sounds weird, but it works for people sometimes]

Last edited by DeletedAccount7; July 6th 2011 at 09:55 PM. Reason: More info :]
   
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Re: Ghosts - July 7th 2011, 12:31 AM

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I don't have much to offer for the OP but in response to this, it's not something I'd recommend. Though I haven't done any hard research on it, I have heard that it can some/oftentimes make the fears even worse for the patient. I can vouch for that first-hand. As someone who struggles with arachnophobia, exposure therapy (or "flooding," as I know it) did nothing to help it. All it did was put me through an unnecessary amount of very severe distress. I imagine it would be similar with you, especially when you're already experiencing your mind playing tricks. It will only be exacerbated by the stress and anxiety you experience in exposure therapy.
I also feel it's important to clarify that if you DO give exposure therapy a shot, you should NOT do it on your own or with a friend's/family member's help. Only do this when you're with a professional. They can judge when to take things to the next level, and when to terminate a session prematurely if you're not handling things well. Attempting to do this on your own definitely could make things worse for you.





   
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Re: Ghosts - July 7th 2011, 12:40 AM

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I also feel it's important to clarify that if you DO give exposure therapy a shot, you should NOT do it on your own or with a friend's/family member's help. Only do this when you're with a professional. They can judge when to take things to the next level, and when to terminate a session prematurely if you're not handling things well. Attempting to do this on your own definitely could make things worse for you.
Even guided by a professional made it worse for me, though it was not formal treatment as in it was not their specialty. But I still would not give it a go. I don't believe in that way of approaching something.

But to the OP, yes, Psy is right, if you go ahead with it, see a professional who's qualified to do it properly.


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