The fear of being alone
The fear of being alone, or “Autophobia”, is the constant notion of being alone or isolated. For us who live with this fear, we need not be physically alone, but believe that we are being ignored, unloved, threatened by intruders, and so on.
Now that you know a small tidbit of this phobia, its time to give you a better understanding from someone subjective to the fear. For those of you with questions, concerns, or relations to this subject, I hope this will shed some light on the subject.
to start off, I would just like to give you a small bit of insight to the differences of just a generic “Fear” vs a “Phobia”. (you can choose to agree or disagree as you please) with a generic fear, you are afraid of something to a point that even though it bothers you, you can handle to a certain degree. When put in the direct line or mindset of the fear, you are uncomfortable, a little timed, and would prefer to avoid it if possible. But you see, with a Phobia, the fear is highly more intensified. When a person has a fully developed Phobia, the mere thought of the fear can instantly put you into a panic attack. When in direct line or mindset of the fear, you start to break down. it starts to take over you like a dull pain, swirls into anxiety, and for most, then starts into a full blown panic attack. (outer displays of reaction very with each individual) You try to avoid all aspects of the fear at all costs, and lastly, (this doesn’t apply to all but most) It is very hard for you to talk about. Especially is that fear is a personal one. Such as Autophobia.
Now that you understand the difference, Let me explain more about Autophobia. in order to do this, I am going to tell you my personal experience in living with this phobia. but before I do, I would simply just like to say that this is my first time talking about my phobia with anyone other then extremely close loved ones. I myself, have a very hard time talking about the subject, for when I do, I get emotional, and clamp up. (unable to speak) But, it has come to my attention that there are allot of misunderstandings of Autophobia, and I know that there are others who suffer the way I have and are looking for support. So this is me, explaining my story, and extending a hand to those like me, who’s lives have been consumed by Autophobia.
Those who know me, see me as a bubbly, loud, happy go lucky, confident, outgoing, always smiling person. And to a point, they are mostly right. But, For people like me, you don’t want to show your insecurities, you try to hide it in the best way you can so that no one will ask any questions. Because of this mask I wear, most would never even guess that I have a phobia. Only few, and I do mean few, know about it.
For me, it isn’t just the fear of being “Physically”alone, it goes much deeper then that. Although I know that there are people in my life who care for me, and will always be there, there is a constant lingering voice that reminds me nothing lasts forever. Everyone leaves eventually, whether it be Physically or mentally, Socially or emotionally, by abandonment, or by death, everyone eventually leaves. Hence why its very rare for me to get close to anyone, and when I do, i get anxiety about the littlest things for fear that I will do something, anything, that will cause them to leave me in some way.
You can imagine what it must be like to be romantically involved with someone in my position. now don’t get me wrong, I have been in love before. I have had my fair share of relationships, But, because of the affects of my insecurities, they didn’t last. My longest relationship was 4 years, and because of my phobia, I stayed with them. despite the abuse, being tossed back and forth, the cheating, lying, and hatefulness, I stayed. It took me 4 years to finally have the courage, and see the light. It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the love and support of a select few whom I owe any and every amount of happiness to.
Being “Physically” alone, is obviously another factor into Autophobia. For myself, it is hard for me to be on my own. especially in a quiet place. if in this situation for long, my mind begins to wander, i start to shake, I feel Physically sick and light headed, and eventually, my anxiety begins to take over sending me into a full blown panic attack. even as I sit here, Knowing that my house mates are just feet away in their rooms, I am uncomfortable and uneasy.
I have learned over time, that I can help ease (although not erase) my fear by having background noise. whether it be the TV, radio, music threw headphones, White Noise machine, anything is better then complete silence. (I’m listening to Music as I’m writing)
There are other things that can slightly help as well. for animal lovers who suffer from Autophobia, I strongly encourage you to get yourself a pet. (only if you can take care of the animal) The company of an animal when living alone in my personal opinion helps. they are there when no one els is, and are easy to talk to. they don’t know how to judge. if it weren’t for my babies (2 cats and 2 dogs) I don’t know what I would do when home alone.
one more thing I can say that helps me a little is the way I position my pillows at night. at night, its hard for me to fall asleep. my anxiety kicks in as my mind begins to wander once more, and all I can focus on is my anxiety. once again, I play white noise for distraction, but, I also position my pillows in a certain way for more security. one under my head, and the other long ways beside me. (works best with double bed or larger) because I sleep on my side, that pillow is always up against my back, or in front of me. It may seem a little silly, but even in the smallest degree it seems to ease my anxiety a little.
For myself, and anyone els who suffers from Autophobia, it isn’t a laughing matter. everyday is a struggle, and although we get threw it, its always there following us everywhere we go. But, we find ways to help manage it in order to stay sane.
I hope this article has given you some insight regarding Autophobia, and for those of you who are like me, I hope that something helped you in any way. I know your struggle. I am here, just like you.