Thursday, 21 October 2010

The overactive imagination

Ever since I can remember I’ve been terrified of the dark. But as the years go by, this fear seems to have developed into the world's most overactive imagination.

The moment the sun goes down it leaps into overdrive, often fuelled, I'm certain, by eating cheese for dinner. My flat, which, during the daylight hours, is a safe and cosy haven, quickly transforms into an eerie, shadow-filled hiding place for ghosts, ghouls and murdering maniacs as soon as night draws in.

It seems physically impossible for me to watch a horror film without enduring weeks of sleepless nights afterwards. For a fortnight after Silence of the Lambs, I slept with the light on, maintaining the logic that doing so would fend off any crazed local transvestites who got their kicks from spying on me through night vision goggles.

Psycho was probably a film that had the most influence on my daily routine. Try as I might to buy a clear shower curtain, they don't seem to be in vogue at John Lewis. So I generally speed through my shower, positive the curtain will be whipped back any moment by an assailant ready to subject me to a frenzied attack.

Although my imagination is one of my best features, I wish it wouldn't automatically assume a hooded maniac brandishing a kitchen knife is hiding in my wardrobe every time I'm home alone. Call it barmy, but I've even adopted a routine of checking inside the cupboards and behind each door whenever I come into the house. Never mind that the burglar alarm was on and there's no sign of a break-in. An ordinary person might call me neurotic.

I'm not quite sure what to do to banish my irrational fears. I’ve tried facing them - forcing myself to watch horror films in a dimly lit room whilst alone in the house. That, unsurprisingly, did nothing but freak me out even further. And my attempts to give up cheese failed miserably after I got halloumi withdrawal symptoms one day in.

So I've decided to cut the scary movies out of my life altogether. Friends who invite me to watch SAW in 3D are immediately turned down. My small collection of horror DVDs have been carted off to the charity shop. I even spent a fortune buying an array of lighthearted films and rom coms.

 Now I'm not sure what I'm most terrified of - grisly films or the fact I now have the same DVD collection as my mother. But I'm certainly sleeping a little better at night.

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