Awake And Afraid

My daughter was recently telling me about a nightmare she was having.  It sounded very vivid and as she spoke of it she began to make sense of it.  Talking about the nightmare made it less scary.  My daughter is around the age I was when I began suffering from what I felt was something far worse.

From about the age of 12 until I was 20 I suffered from “Night Terrors” and “Sleep Paralysis”.  The sensation usually consisted of being partially awake and unable to move.  There was often a feeling of someone or something in the room with me.  As I lay there paralyzed, I would be unable to move or make a noise.  However, I could move my eyes to look around my bedroom- often locking in on a shadow.

In my teenage years- I developed a couple of fears because of this.  Hypnophobia: Fear of falling asleep.  Nyctophobia: Fear of the dark.  Both of which caused me anxiety and produced more Night Terrors.    A vicious cycle.  I began falling asleep with some sort of light on.  Eventually I would have my tv on at a low volume to try and fall asleep.  I would be mesmerized by infomercials until 4am on a school night.

In my later teen years/early adult years I suffered from paranoia.  Mostly attributed to what I would call “self-medicating”.  The paranoia made the Sleep Paralysis and Night Terrors even worse.  When I would finally be able to move from a bad one, I’d awaken in a cold sweat.  Terror in my mind and my heart racing.

Then one day it all stopped.  No reason at all.  They just never came back.  I’m really happy this happened.  I hope to never suffer again.  But my sleep pattern has been messed up for decades now.  I’m not sure if I will ever return to a regular eight hours of sleep.

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