Saturday, March 6, 2010

Night Terrors

There are nights when I dread going to sleep.  When bedtime becomes a high stress time in my life.  Tonight is one of those nights.  While exhausted I'm putting off the actual sleep part.  One little know fact (until now) is that I have some wicked nightmares.  I've had them since I was a child.  I've dreamt of werewolves chasing me through forests, of bears breaking open the windows of my house and "getting me", of vampires ripping my throat out (that one after mistakenly reading a vampire romance), of ending up in Afghanistan running for my life (after watching the news), of being stranded or trapped in any variety of situations.  

These dreams are not just dreams, they are lifelike.  In fact, I cannot tell the difference between the dream and real life.  There are times when I've woke up disoriented, not entirely sure if I was still dreaming or if I was actually awake.  When I wake it's with the full body shake and twitch.  Literally jerking myself out of sleep.  Most nights it's difficult to fall back asleep.  There are a number of strategies I use.  Positive self talk.  Reading.  Taking a Gravol (motion sickness pill - makes me drowsy).  

This week I had a humdinger of a terror.  One who's residual tendrils are still stalking my thoughts.  I can't remember the last time I had a dream as violent as the one Thursday night.  Thursday, in my dream someone tried to kill me and the sensation and image is very vivid and real for me.  I know dreams have meaning but Friday night when I slipped into sleep my brain took me back to the place - it took a major effort not to fall back into the scenario - a scenario I'd rather not replay.  I literally woke up coughing.

And tonight I made a major error.  I watched the movie Dances with Wolves.  For the most part I love this movie but the bits where the horse and wolf die tend to haunt me.  So now I have more violence etched in my brain.  As an adult I know better than to watch a movie I find disturbing before I go to bed.  But as an adult I sometimes do things I shouldn't.  And now I'm paying the price.  I'm scared to sleep.  


BCxFour said...

Ugh...I am so sorry. I cant imagine - that must be so hard for you. Your mind tricking you - waking up not knowing what is real or nightmare. My mother has these sorts of dreams and often woke me up screaming at all hours of the night. My poor father has always said he will die of a heart attack one of these nights - right after mom lets loose with another blood curdling scream. We used to joke my mother had PTSD. Post traumatic SLEEP disorder. I am sure you have already discussed options with your doctor - but on the off chance you havent...have you thought about asking for a sleep study? There might be more going on in your brain while you are sleeping than just dreaming. Nightmares/terrors like you describe have been linked to seizure disorders in some patients.

Hang in there... close your eyes...I am trying to send you telepathic fluffy bunnies & lambs. Can you see them? They are hopping and playing in the fields of your mind!

Country Girl said...

Must have worked because I had a normal sleep last night! I haven't talked to the doc - just chalked them up to an overactive imagination - but I will now - thanks.

Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind said...

Go see a doctor sweetie! Good sleep is a key to good health, you body and mind need it. A GOOD doctor will help you deal with the physical and pychological factors that may be at work. I have had nightmeres all my life and like you I dont know that I am dreaming so know how scary it is and that once you wake up the fear doesnt go away because unlike dreaming about dragons or mythical creatures the fear of bad men or wild animals is (sometimes) real.

Read up on it or go see your doctor, help yourself because it is important that you have PEACE while sleeping:)

Country Girl said...

I suppose it's a good thing that they don't occur very often. I'm down to maybe 2 or 3 a year.

But I will ask the doc's opinion when I see him next. Just something that hadn't occurred to me could be medical.

The Canadian said...

I will try BCxFour's idea and send you telepathic fluffy bunnies and lambs everynight! :)