Friday, July 17, 2015

What Lurks in the Shadows

I watch Austin as he tries to be brave enough to walk down the dark hall way to his room, the fear that overtakes this boy is like watching something out of a horror film.  He is terrified!  I tell him not to be frightened and run ahead to turn on the lights so he can go ahead without being scared.  He is still hesitant.  I go with him to his room and tuck him in bed, trying to calm him.  I put on his desk light, I try to sooth him by speaking softly and distracting him by talking about his video games.  He eventually calms but explains he is still very afraid of the dark.  We have discussed this subject many times and it seems that at 10, it is worse now than ever.

I explained to Austin that I used to be afraid of the dark but (my parents were not so understanding) I got used to sleeping in the dark.  There were no lights or night lights in my room when I was little.  A terrible way to deal with a fear so intense, I could not move.  I would watch the walls in my room and pray nothing would move outside to cast a shadow.  I was genuinely terrified!  I completely understand where Austin is coming from and I am doing my best to help him. Sometimes I bring him out to the couch to watch a bit of TV and he falls asleep quickly so I get him up and walk him to his room, he goes right back to sleep with no problem at all.

It is not easy to see Austin running from a dark room or terrified to walk towards one.  He is afraid of what "lives" in the shadows, what might be lurking there.  His imagination can be vivid and he can come out with some pretty frightening tales but to him, the fear is very real.  I pray that eventually this will pass and he will outgrow this fear.  Watching Austin as frightened as I was once, I am compelled to calm him, so I walk these steps with him.  He is comforted that I am walking beside him, holding him, step by step, together.

All the best! *HUGS*

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