Thunder and lightning scare me to death

by Elaine Dawn
(Nottinghamshire, England)

Ive always known that thunder and lightning scare me to death. I am 41 and i have had this fear since i was caught in a storm on the way back from school when i was 9.

I was walking through massive open field, 3 or 4 football pitches big, and i remember the sky was black and angry, and the thunder was right over me and it kept on flashing. I was totally petrified, but i could not find the strength to even run home. I was sure it was after me and the faster i tried to walk, the more it seemed to come after me. So when i finally got home, i ran into my room shut the curtains and turned on the light, and jumped into bed and buried myself, to get away from it. I did not have a tv or radio in my room then, but if i had, i would have turned them both on to drown out the sound of the thunder, just as i do now. I close all the windows and curtains, and the back door. Its worse at night.

I thought it was me being irrational, but i do constantly check the weather if i hear there could be storm coming. I even keep an eye on the time because i expect the storm to start when the weather people say so. I have been caught out whilst driving, and it is horrible. I have every symptom possible, i hyperventilate and go very rigid, and my hands start to sweat and i struggle with driving and the worse thing is, i cannot stop the tears falling down my face, but these are totally silent tears of fear. I feel so helpless because i cannot control anything, and it makes me feel quite embarrassed.

Thankfully, and very thankfully, i have never, yet, been caught out at school whilst waiting for my children. I have told my children if it does thunder, they know where to find me (i would be sat waiting inside the school office area.

This fear does affect my life and it is horrible, because nobody really does understand, unless they suffer too. If i hear a distant rumble, i very quickly make my way home. In the summer, i do keep an eye on the forecast, and it there is going to be a stormy day, i have to plan my day around it. Thats how its always been.

I was working in factory once, when all the lights went out during a storm, and because i panicked, no-one could believe what they where seeing. I felt so stupid but i cannot control it. I start to hyper- ventilate and its horrible because no-one really knows how to react.

I did call a friend once to take my daughter to school for me because i was too scared to go outside.

I would have thought that as i got older, it would have subsided a little. No. Ive always said to my 2 children, if i ever went to America, or Australia, or those countries where massive thunderstorms are common, well, it would either kill me, or cure me.

What is strange, is, i can just manage to watch very distant lightning from a window (a closed one may i add), but only if i know the storm has passed by and it isnt going to upset me. The other weird thing is, i cannot watch the lightning of a storm that ive just been caught in. That one can just go away and leave me alone, because that is the monster i want to hide from.

Storms are my childhood monster and they still leave me feeling very shaken and upset, like a very frightened child.

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