People Break Down What Still Scares Them No Matter How Old They Get
Caleb Woods/Unsplash

In theory, we're supposed to outgrow our childhood fears and settle nicely into a slow burning existential dread like a proper adult.

In theory.

In reality, some fears just stick.

No matter how old you get, or how much math you do to convince your anxiety that it's probably NOT going to happen... some things just stick.

Reddit user iron_horse_ asked:

"What's one thing that still scares the hell out of you no matter how old you get?"

When I was young, my dad's car spun out on an overpass while I was driving with him. I was sitting upfront because there wasn't much of a back seat.

The car came to a stop facing the wall, the windshield framing the long fall that we could have taken. Just a few more inches forward. If he had been going just a little bit faster ...

It's probably not a coincidence that my first actual panic attack happened as I was driving on an overpass on a rainy night.

It just stuck.

Here's what "just stuck" for Reddit.

The Stairs

michael douglas stairs GIF by Justin Giphy

"Walking up the stairs at night when all the lights are off downstairs."

"No matter how hard I resist, I always end up sprinting."

- metee_agar

"For me, I start at normal speed then constantly speed up until I'm going so fast I often fall. It's so stupid."

- PreciousAliyah

"Same! I’m usually the last to go to bed, so I’m the one turning off the lights most nights while everyone else is asleep."

"I imagine my family hears my loud sprinting thuds every night and thinks I’m insane lol"

- largecucumber


blue planet oceans GIF by BBC America Giphy

"The thought of being dropped in the middle of an ocean."

"I'm terrified of the emptiness - nothing but water stretching into the horizon in every directions. Treading water and wondering if you should even try to swim or give up and let yourself sink into the ocean ... and to God Knows What that lives there."


"When I was in the Navy, I'd look out at the sea and it wasn't too bad most of the time."

"There are people watching out in every direction all the time, and there's usually someone working topside to keep an eye on you when you fall in."

"But even the THOUGHT of falling overboard at night is terrifying to me."

"It is damn near pitch black, so even the people watching at night won't see you, and you'll just sit there watching the ship's lights fade into the distance, knowing they'll never find you in the dark."

- MS-07B-3

Mirror Mirror

scared looney tunes GIF Giphy

"Often times when I'm washing cleanser off of my face, I fear that when I lift my head to look in the mirror, there will be a stranger/monster/axe murderer suddenly standing behind me."

"I've had this paranoid thought since I was around 7 years old."


"Same but I’m always scared about me being the monster. Like I look up and instead of my face, there’s some demonic entity🙃 "


"I think this is one of the more common ones."

"Any time I shampoo my hair I make sure to rinse really quickly so that the bathroom demon doesn’t have time to show up lol"

- poecilio

"It's odd because looking in mirrors is the only time I can see behind me, but it's also the only time I am scared something will sneak up on me from behind."

"It's completely contradictory to logic. I should feel safer while looking in a mirror."

- snapwillow

Lights In The Dark

Im Watching You GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Giphy

"Small, red lights in the dark."

"My TV has one that’s always on, but not many things do anymore."

"It makes me extremely anxious and on guard. Maybe that I’m being watched? I can’t really explain it and I’ve pondered why get all wigged out for a hot minute."

- SpoolBus6Oh

"They always remind me of eyes in the dark."

"They belong to some strange, terrifying mystical creature that could kill you at any given moment. It watches from the shadows. Waiting. Watching. Always."

- ScaredBlackCat

"For me it's the possibility of the light winking out for a split second, then coming back."

"That tells you that something is moving right there in front of you in the pitch darkness - and the only thing you know about it is that it's there."

- Prudent_Hawk_7476

Sleep Situations

new jersey woman GIF Giphy

"I can't sleep with my back to the door. I saw a movie as a kid where a girl was sleeping with her back to the door and someone came in and stabbed her in the back."

"Also, the closet door has to be closed because there are monsters in there at night."

"I will still occasionally jump into bed so the monsters under the bed can't grab me."

"A dark house, I flip on every light as I walk through."

"So I guess this means I'm afraid of the dark? *Sighs*"

"I'm 47. I guess I won't be growing out of it anytime soon."

- r_ylenia

"I have this!"

"I'm so traumatized that I can barely go to the bathroom without getting shivers and adrenaline boosts. Going to sleep is horrible."

"I can only sleep if I face the wall and I have to distract my brain from projecting horror stuff on my retina. I always fail."

"I don't know if I'll grow out of this (I'm a teen.) It's bad. sometimes I even look constantly behind me just to make sure I didn't spawn a demon by breathing or something"

- colorfulblack

"I'm 27 years old and can confirm El Cucuy is DEFINITLEY in the closet."

"Haven't seen it... but I know it's there. Never leave a closet door open at night."

- PancShank94


"Spiders. God damn spiders."

"Big ones, small ones, fat ones, skinny ones, all of them. They keep me awake at night thinking about them."

"The idea that there is probably at least one hiding in my room somewhere at this exact moment freaks me the f*ck out."

"I once punched my sister in the face for putting a fake one on me."

"When I was a kid, I was going to take a shower and a daddy long leg came crawling out of the drain hole. I puked from the fear and didn't take another shower from the next 2 months."

"Spiders can all die in a fiery pit. They're all gross and disgusting and I hate them."

- aizen_vx

The Floor Is ... Crabs?

bbc one crab GIF by BBC Giphy

"Bathing in lakes and seas."

"Once, as a small kid, I went for a swim in the sea only to discover that the ground was covered in small crabs."

"I'm not talking 50, I'm talking thousands of small crabs that would be everywhere where I put my feet down. I was stepping on them, they were scrambling over my feet. I couldn't touch the bottom without touching a crab."

"Now I hate to go swimming if I cant see the bottom."

- LakeTop7461


Scared Bruce Campbell GIF by Ash vs Evil Dead Giphy

"It's bizarre, but it freaks me out when I randomly wake up at 3:33am or happen to notice the time at 3:33pm."

"I think it was some Exorcist movie when I was a kid. I just look the other way like 'nope not noticing this devil sht!' "

"The funny part is I'm agnostic."

"Mom was catholic, though, and quite nuts so this may have played a role in my legit fear of demons, even if rationally I don't think they're real... Probably."

- Otherwise_Flan_7854

Just Bots

Robots Free Yourself GIF by The Chemical Brothers Giphy

"The Dead Internet Theory"

"It's getting scarier and more obvious as we get older."

"The theory is that internet "died" somewhere around late 2016 to early 2017 and is being discreetly replaced by bots designed to selectively challenge or reaffirm your opinions to maximize engagement."

"This is also supported by the spread of link rot and content drift. Read up. It's not as tin-foil-hat at you might be thinking."

"People massively undervalue their intuition these days, and are quick to play the tin-foil-hat card when something like this is brought up."

"If something feels off, it usually is."

- Spxders


Virtual Reality Fire GIF by The Weather Channel Giphy

"Bushfires. I live in a very bushfire-prone area."

"It was made super clear growing up how awfully terrifying fires are. They kill. It isn't quick and painless. An extremely intense wariness and fear of them has always been deep-rooted in my mind."

"Just the sight of smoke on the horizon makes me nervous. God forbid I see it on a hot and windy day."

"F*ck fires. So much."

- No-Acanthisitta423

Stairs Again

Chris Hemsworth Movie GIF by NETFLIX Giphy

"Heights, glass railings, steps/escalators and especially around children."

"As a small child I fell backwards down a escalator and managed to catch myself before a point at which I probably would have died."

"It still scares me today. All I saw was the mall floor and glass railings as I fell."

"My ex husband had a little cousin that died on steps. It really bothered me - he was a gorgeous, happy little kid and I spent so much time around him."

"He happened to fall a day after we spent time with him."

- ChineseChaiTea

Welp ... Reddit has just given me a bunch of new stuff to lose sleep over at night. What about you?

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