It was in the late 1970’s and I was living in Belgrave in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne. My husband at the time, was a keen fisherman and liked nothing better than getting up before dawn and going fishing. I hated being on my own in the dark so I used to dread the hour or two from when he left until the sun came up.
This particular morning I heard him leave and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I crept out to the back door just to make sure that it was securely locked. Adding to my anxiety, I discovered that it was a pretty dodgy lock and only needed to be wriggled a little and it would open. I decided to fortify the place by putting furniture against the door. I felt a little bit better and went back to bed.
Sleep still eluded me as the house rattled and shook with strange noises. The fear escalated as I imagined what might be going on outside my doors. It was a very old wooden house on a steep block of land.
I imagined someone outside my window and I was sure they were evil and out to get me! I was so convinced of my imminent death that I decided to call the police and report an attempted break in. The police arrived and I heard them checking around the outside of the property. Eventually they came and knocked on my door. I had to remove the barricade before I could speak to them.
They went to great lengths to assure me that there was no one about and that I was in no danger. I only felt slightly better after they left as I still felt the great lack of security and my exaggerated sense of vulnerability. Fortunately the sun came up, as it always does, and my fear subsided.
Next day I examined the property myself and was greatly embarrassed to find that if someone had wanted to get in my window they would have needed a fireman’s ladder to reach it as their was NO WAY anyone could climb up that steep wooden wall.
My biggest lesson from that experience was to recognise how fear can grow totally out of proportion and take over completely and leave common sense and practicality way behind. I also learnt that it is good to have doors that actually DO lock – it makes me feel a lot safer.
I still have a chuckle when I see photos of that house and remember how my imagination really got the better of me that day.