Nightmare or Night Terror?
The most difficult part about suffering from Night Terrors is that people, including doctors and other medical practioners, often misdiagnose or dismiss them as a Nightmare. But when you have had a Night Terror, you know the difference is far greater than 180’degrees.
Night terrors rule our lives, for those of us who have them. They cause us to be sleep deprived, suffer from anxiety, fear, confusion, short term memory and physical pain. In my own experience I have woken with crushing pain in my limbs or sometimes my back or hands alone. Other times I wake up to a burning sensation in my eyes as though I have been sleeping all night without closing my eye lids or blinking. The worst of all this is not even being able to try to go to sleep. My own personal dilemma I have been trying to tackle: I am afraid to go to sleep. I admit this comes and goes, but is always lingering in my mind. Once I am aroused from a night terror I do not want to go back to sleep. I often want to run from my own bed because it is the place which I associate my terrors with. Those of you who again, suffer from night terrors, know what I am talking about. It feels like every day I can only operate at 65% maximum on a good day and less on a regular day because each night is like being retraumatized. The fear and anxiety in the dreams is so intense I have awoken to severe chest pains and shooting pain up my left arm. Other times this is accompanied by pain in my throat and neck and it becomes difficult to breathe. Every night. Every week.
The most exhausting part of all of this is in the morning when you’re finally relieved of your night shift you get to do it all over again that night. *sigh
I have a perfect understanding of nightmares. In fact I understand that they are bad dreams that sometimes are accompanied by sweating, shaking and a lingering feeling of your dream. I envy you people. At least you get to work on your issues. So many times when having night terrors I awake trying to scream, clawing at my pillow (which by the way is ripped up now) and I only wish I could remember what it was that happened so I could try and solve this mysertious haunting. Sometimes I can remember, I can remember really well, and it can even feel like a week later I had the same dream five minutes ago even when I didn’t. And for me this can be good because it’s like a chance to figure out what it all means. But there are other times when I only have flashes, like 3second video replay in my head and it’s stuck on repeat and irritates the hell out of me. And then, like I mentioned earlier, there are times I wake up confused and find myself in the fetal position crying and I don’t know why. I can’t recall anything. I just go through the rest of the day feeling upset, nervous, anxious and on edge because I know something happened. Something did happen. I just don’t know what. But no one else can tell me but me. It’s very frustrating.
This is why, in conclusion, I always drink a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. I am doing my best to soothe the terror so I can be calm and cool and go to work and then do it all over again.