The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Franklin D Roosevelt

I don’t generally like to talk about fears, and to be honest I don’t really have many of them. Fears to me are always conveyed as a negative, a weakness that I wouldn’t want to expose for ‘fear’ of it being used against me. But I never realised until recently how your fears can bring positive energy to life.

This weekend was a particularly tough one for me. To explain I must rewind a little bit.

The Top 3 fears in the world include; the fear of heights, the fear of snakes, and most obviously, the fear of spiders. I’m not afraid of any of these.

No, my fear can be down at #14 of the Top 100 Phobias of the World. Monophobia: The fear of being alone. It’s a fear that I’ve had for a number of years now, stemming from personal issues I’ve been through. But I never recognised that it was the reason behind my anxiety until it was pointed out to me.

People who know me closest would probably find this quite a shock and more often than not I can be found in my room, sat at my laptop, completely alone. But I’m never really alone.

I still live with my parents. So whenever I’m home, there’s usually 1 if not both of them in the house with me. The noise the accompanies them keeps my mind and body calm. This weekend however they were both away. It’s something that I encouraged, as my parents never get to enjoy time away without me. It’s something that I was also looking forward to, as I lived at home during my time at University, so it was my first time finding out whether I could look after myself – even for just 3 days!

I must admit that I really enjoyed it for most of the time. I was able to catch up on Orange is the New Black on Netflix, went out for lunch with my brother, spent a morning with my Best Friend, played my music as loud as I wanted and sat in the garden reading my book and enjoying the sun.

However I made sure to also make it as productive as I could. I put clothes in to wash and hung them out in the garden, did my own food shopping, cooked and cleaned the dishes. It was very domesticated.

But even while these things took up quite a chunk of my time, I found myself getting lonely. In those little in-between times that I generally wouldn’t notice had my Mum and Dad been here. Standing around waiting for food to cook would usually be accompanied with finding out about their days at work, putting out the washing would usually be a two person job, sitting in the garden I would usually listen to the sounds of my Dad mowing the grass.

But one significant time I noticed myself feeling really anxious about being ‘lonely’ was bedtime. Now, being a single pringle for my entire lifetime I’ve never really slept next to another human being (other than sharing a bed with friends on holidays), so you might be wondering how I could feel lonely if I’ve never known what that felt like. But that moment I got in to bed after locking all the doors, switching off all the lights and closing my eyes, I’ve never felt more alone. The house was eerily quiet. And there were times I would start to feel panic.

Now you might be wondering where the positive energy I mentioned at the beginning comes in. Well here you go.

This entire time that I was in my house ‘alone’… I was never really on my own. No, one of the other reasons I haven’t explained for me staying behind while my parents went away is that I was staying to look after my dog, Oscar.

Those who may not have dogs might not understand, unless you have other pets, but dogs are immediate mood boosters. Oscar was my absolute saving grace this weekend. Simply stroking Oscar helps to put me at ease. The times I found my anxiety creeping up I would simply nip down to the kitchen, sit next to him for a few minutes stroking his head  while he slept and I instantly felt calm. I have this silent connection with him that I’ve never found in another human being to this day. Sure, he can rattle me to no end, but at the end of the day he brings me more happiness than anything.

So this weekend was a real eye opener. I found out that yes, I could live without my parents. I could buy my own food, clean my own clothes and cook my own meals. But I’d have to do it with a dog by my side.