Are you afraid of the dark?

I do not think so.
I do not need a light when I stumble from the bathroom to my bedroom.
I do not need the colors from the TV to guide me to the mounds of pillows on my bed.
No.
I wouldn’t say it’s dark I’m afraid of.
It’s not the absence of light or the silence of the night.
It’s not the way I can hear every twig snap, the late night wind rushing through the trees, rustling the branches.
It’s the way I can’t stop the never ending stream of consciousness.
The what if’s, should haves, why didn’t I’s I keep at bay through the day won’t stop.
They attack, waiting for my total comfort before going over every minute of the day, the week, the year, looking for what I did wrong and picking it apart.
Over, and over, and over, and over again.
During the day I can keep myself busy enough, the world is loud enough, to keep myself afloat.
My head is able to just break the surface, suck in a breath before I go under.
But at night, I’m drowning in the deep end.
Dizzy, unable to find the surface of the water, let alone get my head above it.
I lie in bed, nestled under the mounds of sheets and comforters, sweating beneath them all but needing every pillow and blanket to feel safe enough to sleep.
I stare at my ceiling, counting the cracks and the imperfections hoping I’ll be tired enough I can close my eyes.
Instead I compare those shadows playing on the wall to the darkest parts of my mind.
The shapes twist and turn, play with the very sliver of light from the moon coming in through the window.
They play in the places I wish I didn’t know.
They play with the thoughts that echo in my brain, my own voice reverberating and vibrating in the small confines of the cage I’ve built.
The thoughts remind me breathing would be easier if I didn’t have to do it so often.
The dark never scared me.
My mind is the one who haunts me.

**I am not a poet but I wrote this last year during a dark time, and writing anything is better than nothing.

I will always publish the words I write. Even if I only get them out here, it’s better than keeping them in my notes on my phone.

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