Tag Archives: parasomnias

Not a good night’s sleep

I fell out of bed two nights ago. David heard the thump, and ran upstairs to find me sitting on the floor next to his side of the bed. My heart was pounding and I had no idea how I’d gotten there, but I was all too aware of what I’d been doing a moment before; there had been something beside me, looking rather like a wire carapace, and if it was able to touch me (which it was just about to do), I would die instantly.

It is a recurring nightmare for me. And unusually realistic, as I suffer from a condition called parasomnia, a type of sleep disorder. Generally it manifests as a night terror; dreams so frightening that I may yell out or bolt from bed. On one occasion when he was three years old, Peter entered our bedroom just as I was experiencing a terror, and in my confused state I believed him to be a little monster and I tossed him to the ground. The next morning he said “mommy, you flinged me”. That, of course, scared us all, (and broke my heart) and for awhile I took an anti-seizure medication in an effort to control the episodes.

With time, my night terrors decreased in frequency and I went off the medication. However, I still have one of these dreams every three or four weeks, and they are remarkably similar in theme; death is potentially a breath away.

I would rather never expereince these terrors, although I cannot remember a time when I didn’t. The anti-seizure medication helped, but it came with its own laundry list of side effects.

If there is a bright side (I’m always looking), my survival instinct is strong. I fly out of the way of perceived threat. Funny, I always hated being caught. So much so, that in a game of chase as a child, when cornered, I would sometimes reach out and tap the person who was ‘it’ before they could tag me; as if that somehow gave me back some personal power.

At the moment, a long, narrow bruise, 10 inches long, blooms on the inside of my right arm. There is another, slightly smaller, on my right thigh. I do look as if I’d participated in a skirmish. But the important thing is, I awoke, victorious, the next morning. Slightly battered, but this time on the right side of the bed.