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Achluophobia: fear of the dark.

As I lie in bed each night, darkness envelopes me. I feel as if I am blind, hardly able to make out shapes and silhouettes. I tear back my duvet cover and hold my hands out in front of me, reaching out for anything I can use to help me find the door. Stumbling, I fall onto the carpet and lose all sense of direction. I feel trapped, lost and alone. The silence is so eerie. I get up and find the light switch. I am no longer afraid.
Atelophobia: fear of imperfection.

I wake up in the morning, brush my teeth for five minutes and splash my face over and over again after covering every inch of it with soap. I run my hairbrush through my hair: fifty strokes on the left side of my head and then on my right. I dress myself in perfectly fitting jeans and a cashmere sweater, ironed so that there are no creases whatsoever. Applying my make-up, I slightly smudge my eye-liner. Frustrated, I wipe it all off and start over. This is why I am late for school every day. But I don’t mind, I look flawless.
Atychiphobia: fear of failure.

Pencil in hand, I begin to write down answers for the maths test. I am exhausted after studying all night but I am determined to do brilliantly. I finish the questions and hand the papers back to my teacher. She marks them all and places mine on my desk: 57/60. Damn. I bang my fist on the desk, making everyone turn their heads towards me in shock. 3 answers wrong. I wanted, needed 100%. I feel useless, idiotic.

Altophobia: fear of heights.
Linking arms with my friends on the way home from school, we enter the shopping mall. Harriet’s telling a joke she read in a magazine. I stop giggling abruptly when I see a sign outside the lift reading ‘out of order’. I am engulfed with panic. I’ll have to take the escalator downstairs. Jasmine tugs at my arm, wondering why I've stopped walking. She pulls me over to the top of the escalator and I try to persist but no words escape my mouth. Looking down, I am petrified that I may fall. I feel an overwhelming urge to lie down and I try to steady myself so I don’t plummet to the ground. I faint into a state of unconsciousness, tumbling through the air.
The doctor tells me I landed flat on my back at the bottom of the escalator and cracked my spine.
Ankylophobia: fear of being paralysed…

Fear rules my existence.

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