Monday, June 11, 2012

Night Terror

Last night, about a half hour after I fell asleep I awoke to the most terrifying sight I could ever imagine--a strange man standing over me with a gun pointed right at my forehead.  I screamed a blood curdling scream and yelled, "Oh God No!"  I pulled my blanket over my head, cried, prayed and waited for the bullet to bring pain and or death.

The next thing I knew, my husband was standing by me, asking me what was wrong?  I had experienced a night terror.  There never was a gun man in my room, I had hallucinated him into my existence, but to me it looked and felt extremely real.  When I truly woke up and became aware of what was going on, my heart was still beating out of my chest, I was sweating, and my body was trembling.

Wikepedia describes a night terror like this:

Children who have night terrors are usually described as 'bolting upright' with their eyes wide open and a look of fear and panic on their face, and they will often scream. Further, they will usually sweat, exhibit rapid respiration, and have a rapid heart rate (autonomic signs). In some cases, individuals are likely to have even more elaborate motor activity, such as a thrashing of limbs -- which may include punching, swinging, or fleeing motions. There is a sense that the individual is trying to protect themselves and/or escape from a possible threat which can lead to physical injury of the individual. Although it seems like children are awake during a night terror, they will appear confused, be inconsolable and/or unresponsive toward attempts to communicate with them, and may not recognize others familiar to them.

They say children because Night Terror's are most common in children..  It is estimated that 1%-6% of all children will experience a night terror at some point in their lifetime. It's not very common at all, but both of my children have experienced them.  Less than 1% of adults will experience a night terror... so I guess I am a lucky one.

I have experienced these frightful half awake/ half asleep  episodes a few other times that I remember. Usually I see some sort of devil or demon floating over my head.. and although they scare me they have never terrified me the way this imaginary gun man did.

I am a weird sleeper.  I have experienced all sorts of fun sleep disorders--- sleep walking, sleep talking, insomnia, sleep paralysis, and now sleep terrors.     I even used to strip in my sleep, in my teen years I frequently would wake up without my shirt, and then find it somewhere different all together, on the other side of my room, or the other side of my house.  In college I once even showered in my sleep because I woke up with wet hair, smelling of herbal essences and wearing a bath towel.  The more I read around the internet about these things I can't help but get a little freaked out.

Wikepedia also has this to say:
There is a close association with mental  disorders in adults that suffer from sleep terror disorder. There may be an increased occurrence of sleep terror disorder particularly with those that have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder. It is also likely that some personality disorders  may occur in individuals with sleep terror disorder, such as dependent, schizoid, and borderline personality disorders. There have been some symptoms of depression and anxiety that have increased in individuals that have suffered from Sleep Terror Disorder.

So, does that mean I'm crazy, or going crazy?  My kids are real  lucky (sarcasm people) because from what I read it looks like they have a high probability of inheriting my sleeping woes.  They've already had night terrors, and both of them talk in their sleep.

Have any of you ever experienced this sleepy time weirdness?

1 comment:

  1. oh my gosh, how terrifying! Someone breaking into my house with a gun is one of my worst nightmares.
    Don't even get me started with the devil/demons. I hate those type of movies. I watched the exorcist when I was very little, and that little girl still terrifies me.