Hi. My name is Brian and I have lilapsophobia. That means I have an irrational fear of tornadoes. In fact, just looking at a picture of a tornado makes me feel a little apprehensive. And, yes, I am self-diagnosing.
I’ve been terrified of storms for as long as I can remember. It started when I was a very young child. I have vivid memories of my mother looking out the large windows at the front of my parent’s bedroom, praying loudly as she watched vicious-looking storm clouds approach. I sensed her intense fear and somehow internalized that these impressive acts of nature were something to be afraid of.
A few years later, after we’d sold our house and moved into a trailer, my mother’s fear became even worse. As threatening clouds would fill the sky, she’d put me and my sister in the car and drive several miles to my aunt’s house or our concrete-block church. I’m sure she was in no condition to be driving and we’d probably have been much safer staying put.
As a young adult, I was so afraid of being caught out in a storm that I’d frequently check the weather before making a trip to the supermarket. I still worry about inclement weather on road trips to this very day.
The advent of the internet has quelled some of my fear. I can loop the radar image for my area and I’ve learned enough to figure out what is really bad and what just looks threatening. My heart-rate still quickens when I see dark clouds, though.
I love rain, thunder, wind, and even lighting, but I despise even the thought of tornadoes. Since we are constantly told that they can develop at any time without a warning, I can even feel threatened by the smallest thunderstorm.
One afternoon, after I’d just gotten home from work and was alone, scary-looking clouds began to move into our area. We were already under a tornado watch and it wasn’t long before a tornado warning was issued for our county. I called my neighbor who told me to come over. Upon arriving, she said she wanted to show me where we’d get to protect ourselves.
After taking me back to a bedroom and opening a closet door, she said, “Well, get in.” I laughed and said, “Mrs. J, I don’t think we need to get in there right now.” She replied, “We have to see if we fit!”
My partner is currently out of town visiting his sister, and since he has been staying with our neighbor at night for her first couple of weeks back at home, I fulfilled those duties last night. I figured I probably wouldn’t rest well since I wouldn’t be sleeping in my own bed and she keeps her house so warm, but I had no idea how miserable the night would turn out to be.
Yesterday evening, after we had watched the local news and realized that there was a threat of tornadoes, I ran back over to my house to get my trusty weather radio. I figured that we could sleep peacefully, knowing that we’d be alerted to anything serious. Yeah, right.
That thing went off so many times I lost count, always with watches or warnings for other counties. Even though I can set the radio to only sound warnings for my county, I have it set to pick up warnings for the entire region. My reasoning is that if there is a tornado heading my way from the next county, I’ll have more of a warning. Unfortunately, this means that my radio often alerts me to weather events in the surrounding states.
No sooner than I’d fallen back asleep, it would blare again. When my alarm clock sounded this morning, it took me a while to figure out that it wasn’t the weather radio. Considering that I was still alive when I woke up, I’m sure I would have been better off to have just left it at home.
Today’s forecast calls for more severe storms, but I’m predicting sleepiness and irritability. Argh.