One day, after I explained to my husband how one should run away if held up at gunpoint (the odds are in your favor that your attacker will miss), my husband looked at me and said, "My god, you live in a terrifying world."
I guess I do let things snowball in my brain. When a squirrel fell from a tree one day, narrowly missing my head, I turned it into a revenge-assassination attempt (I had run over a different squirrel earlier that morning). I'm constantly planning my escape route from any number of disasters, and I can tell you the odds of being killed by the ebola virus, anthrax, terrorist attack, hurricane, or all-of-the-above (not likely to all happen at once, thank the lord).
The worst part of my brain activating these dark, reverberating circuits is that I'm finding I have little "safe" time. Even when sleeping, I can't escape. Last night, I dreamt that I was being suffocated by a man dressed in a long, dark coat and top-hat. He was squeezing my ribs so hard that I could feel them cracking and puncturing my lungs. It was so real and painful, the kind of pain elicited by the combination of lacking oxygen and having your chest compressed by a truck. I tried to escape, but the man followed me until I became paralyzed with fear. I could feel myself trying to move and scream in real life, but it was one of those moments where you only partially wake up, that almost-awake dreamstate. My husband started shaking me before I was officially murdered--I apparently looked like I was convulsing in my sleep and was screaming "No--go away!".
I understand the concept that sleep is needed for memory consolidation and for linking abstract ideas into meaningful concepts. What I don't understand is how that man got in my dream. Isn't it bad enough that I live my waking hours afraid?