Also terrified to be home alone
I know this is an old thread, but maybe someone is still reading the posts - especially the original poster: PsyKat.
Ever since I was a little girl (a LONG time ago) I have always been afraid of the dark and of being home alone at night. When I went away to college, and if my roommate or boyfriend was with me, I was fine. In fact, I slept better in total darkness. But if I didn't have someone with me, or nowadays when my husband is out of town (kids are grown and gone), I was/am a wreck! And I'm not just worried about a human breaking in and getting me. I wish it were that easy to remedy. (Security system, gated neighborhood, gun.) I also think about paranormal stuff. I SO wish I had NOT watched scary movies (especially The Exorcist at age 15) over the course of the years, but it's too late for regrets.
I've tried everything. Ativan and other anxiety meds helped enormously, but then I found myself unable to sleep under "normal" conditions without them. Plus I become too easily addicted to stuff, and I knew I liked the effects of benzos TOO much. I also tried melatonin, valerian, and magnolia bark - which all help a little - but not with severe anxiety. And forget soothing music, wearing myself out with intense exercise, and all that kind of thing. My fears are too great once the lights go out - or at least when I turn the lights down - and if I leave the music or TV on, I can forget getting ANY sleep. I do think a dog would be a great comfort, but we can't afford a fence right now. Cats are out of the question - my husband has asthma. Plus I've had cats in the past. They didn't help me feel "safer" or more comfortable.
The reason I'm writing is because I may have found something that helps - I'll find out in two weeks when my husband goes on a business trip for four nights. I've been taking lemon balm extract (an herb) for the past couple of months for general anxiety. (Worrying about money, family problems, my health, etc.) I have been very impressed by how well it takes the edge off my fears and worries. I call it my Don't Give a S*** pill! I can't remember if I'm allowed to name products here, but it is lemon balm in liquid caps - not the melissa leaves (from which lemon balm is extracted.) I hope it helps me get through my husband's absence, and I hope it helps someone else out there!