Heliophobia Is Why You Might Be Happy It's Getting Dark Early

by Lauren Martin

This past week, daylight savings ended and nighttime became the majority shareholder. To many, it felt like a hostile takeover, the moon hastily pushing out the sun, coming in early afternoon when just a few weeks ago, it was sleeping until 7, sometimes 8.

People resented the change, the transference of power from light to dark -- yet I loved it.

I love the darkness that settles in before we leave for work; I love that the sun no longer reigns supreme; I love that I'm a child of the moon.

I love the moon. I love the way it illuminates the night in a soft glow, an enticing and bewitching trance. I like the way the streets erupt in an orange haze, the lamps guiding you somewhere dark and unknown.

I yearn for the blanket of darkness that coats the mundane walls of buildings that could now only contain secret meetings, unknown portals and the promise of something greater.

I like the way lights glow from the inside, out, enticing you to enter. Or the way the cold of night invigorates you, seeping deep into your lungs, filling you with promises of the impossible. Like a drug, I love the way it invigorates and excites you.

These grand illusions of night, however, also come with deep depressions of day. This romantic, whimsical and dark love affair, can also be a phobia. Known as Heliophobia, or “fear of the sun," these obsessions with dark skies and aversions to sun-filled days can be paralyzing.

Some of the most extreme cases cause people to hide in their homes or refuse to be seen under the harsh and intimidating light of the sun. Many times, prompted by some trauma or serious event that occurred during the hours of sunlight, it can be debilitating and psychologically draining. But not every case is so severe.

While it may be a real phobia, it’s also a poetic mantra that only exists for those who understand the beauty of night and will take walking in empty, lamp lit alleys over sun filled streets any day. It doesn't have to be some crippling fear of the sun, but a consuming love affair with the night. Because when daylight savings ends, you have two choices: embrace the night's power or scorn it.

We need that taste of mischief.

Sometimes, it feels good to be bad. Sometimes, we need to break the rules, take off our clothes and just be a little wild.

Under the watchful eyes of the sun, you can’t get away with the things you get away with at night. The dark is for hooligans and artists. It’s for graffiti and bourbon. It’s for jazz-filled clubs and the sad, drowning their sorrows in whiskey.

It’s for the dirty, gritty, grimy things we don’t want to admit to in the daylight. It's for those ugly sides we cant't help but succumb to, learning and growing from our mistakes and our vices in the harsh light of day.

Your inhibitions can come out earlier.

Only at night do we come alive in ways we didn’t think possible under the light of day.

It’s when we give heed to our dark sides, our suppressed desires and innermost urges. It’s when we stop worrying about how we’re seen and start worrying about how we’re not. It’s when the pressure of the job, the responsibilities and the images were trying so hard to maintain melt away alongside the descending glow of dusk.

It’s when our creative sides feel free to roam.

There’s something about writing, performing and creating when the stars are watching and the moon is your spotlight.

It’s an audience without judgment, one you don't need to worry about impressing. It's the kind of audience that appreciates honest art and self-expression. It's for all those words you can't write, songs you can't sing and canvases you can't paint during the day.

It's when music sounds better and movies make more sense.

The dark was made for secrets.

The dark is for words you can't utter into the light. It's for confessions, secrets and admissions.

It's when you hear whispers and dark tales, people exposing their deepest urges and innermost desires. It's when lovers break up, make up and cheat. It's when kids get into trouble and adults cause even more.

It's when we first say, "I love you" in beds engulfed in that soft haze of moonlight that makes it feel like a kind of love you'll never have again.

It has that mystery to it.

There's something magical about the dark. It's when we believe in things unknown. It's when our fears are most heightened and our imaginations most engaged. It's when our impulses take over and all those things that never seemed possible in the light of day now seem all too real.

It's when our childlike innocence comes back to indulge us in all those stories of make believe and "what ifs."

It's for cleansing the day away.

The night is for washing away the worries of the day. Everything always seems better in the morning because it's the night that helps sooth the pain and calm the fear of tomorrow.

It makes everything that happened earlier look unimportant and childish. It has a knack for putting things into perspective and diluting the importance of our errors

And if you can't do it on your own, it offers you the option to drown your sorrows in elixirs and remedies that can help wash it all away... if only for the moment.