How I Stopped Terrorizing Myself

Mindful’s managing editor Stephanie Domet explores how choosing self-compassion in the face of things that go bump in the night, made for kinder days and easier nights.

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I’m standing on stage in front of 150 people, the spotlight bright in my eyes, the microphone solid in my hand. Their faces stare up at me, expectantly. I’m there to tell them a story. For a lot of people, being on stage in this way is a nightmare. Stage fright can make your heart pound, your mouth go dry, your limbs quake. But not me. I’m comfortable here. My worst nightmare awaits me later, at home. It’s also what I’m on stage to talk about.

“For decades—my whole life, practically—I’ve lived with a persistent, debilitating fear of being murdered in my bed,” I tell the audience. They laugh uproariously. They’re not being insensitive—I’m telling it funny. That’s how I always tell it. I run through the list of ghosts that haunt my overactive imagination: Sasquatch, vampires, Adolf Hitler, the Loch Ness Monster, Jesus—that crown of thorns, all that blood—those phantoms of my childhood. Then the Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy, the Zodiac Killer—the true-crime menaces of my late-night adolescent reading. Fear has been my constant companion for as long as I can remember.

It’s not totally surprising. I was a girl in the 1970s and ’80s in southern Ontario. I…

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  • Mindful Staff
  • September 21, 2023


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About the author

Stephanie Domet

Stephanie Domet is the author of two novels and a nonfiction book for middle grade readers. She’s the cofounder of the AfterWords Literary Festival and a contributing editor for Mindful. She lives in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, where she is, indeed, grateful to be alive, in the best way.