Hard Day’s Night

Well, it was bound to happen. I finally had a full-blown night terror last night.

But, I am not all that upset about it seeing as it’s my first major one in nearly a year of being on medication.

For those who don’t know my history and can’t sort through my archives (yes, everyone tells me they are a royal pain, I’m working on it!), here it is in a nutshell:

I had a rocky childhood with an alcoholic father, I started repressing memories (called dissociation), it carried on into adulthood, at some point I started having night terrors (ten times worse than any nightmare you have ever had, including seeing things in the room and punching Bryan) and I went through 10 years worth of insomnia because I was afraid to go to sleep. And I gave Bryan insomnia because I would scream my head off in the dead of the night.

I had a sleep study, was diagnosed with arousal disorder, tried various crazy meds, and last Thanksgiving, hit on a combo that worked for me.

I went from 3 night terrors per week… to virtually none.

Since then, it’s been a process of uncovering memories from childhood that had been buried so deep I can’t tell if they are real or not anymore, but my therapist promises me it doesn’t matter – I just need to let my brain process them and file them in the right place… finally.

I actually remember my night terror from last night (generally you are so deep in stage 4 sleep that you don’t know that the fuck is going on)… but last night was FUN! Blood was dripping from the ceiling on me. Then I held up the blanket to shield me and the blood burned right through it. In separate tiny little holes, and they flamed up like lava. Evil and menacing.

When I came to, I was frozen in fear and near hyperventilation. It took a long time to calm down and I ended up just getting up way early this morning because I just couldn’t sleep again. (Those of you who got daybreak emails from me now know what I was doing!)

It’s amazing how quickly all the feelings rush back – how I used to be almost every single night. Terrified of what I was dreaming, terrified that I was waking the household up, terrified of what I was uncovering in my head. Just plain terrified.

And I’m so damn lucky that I have had the last year of peace.

This article has 31 comments

  1. Catherine

    That’s terrible, Aimee. And yet I admire how positive you are about it. Here’s hoping you sleep well tonight… and every other night for that matter!

  2. Sizzle

    that sounds horrible. i’m so sorry! i hope this doesn’t mean more are to come.

    it’s fascinating and scary how our minds can disassociate like that. the things we do to survive, right?

  3. Alicia

    Can’t say I envy that part of your life, but you are quite brave to share it with the rest of us!

    What I am envious of is the awesome time it seems you had watching your friends run in the rain. What a great supporter you are to trail them in the dry car!

  4. joansy

    I’m in awe of how well you’re handling it and thrilled that you made it a whole year. Wishing you must rest tonight . . .

  5. Sarah

    Hugs to you.

  6. Alpha DogMa

    Hey my husband has an arousal disorder, too. But I think it’s probably different than yours. At least I hope so.

    All kidding aside: I admire you for working on this and not letting it rule your life.

  7. soccer mom in denial

    Ugghhh…. our dear friend is suffering from similiar PTSD things from childhood abuse. Just horrid, horrid stuff. He too has trouble sleeping.

    Oh I wish I could hug you for real.

    Hug. And sweet dreams.

  8. samantha Jo Campen

    I just hope that that one night terror means you’re on your way to healing and peace.

  9. painted maypole

    I’m sorry it happened again, and hope that your next stretch between them is evenlonger (or, of course, unending!) But the work that you are doing… good for you. this”I can’t tell if they are real or not anymore, but my therapist promises me it doesn’t matter – I just need to let my brain process them and file them in the right place… finally” was refreshing to hear, because I wonder sometimes about the reality of everything remembered, and I love the outlook that whether it is real or not is not as important as PROCESSING IT. If it is bothering you, it needs to be dealt with.

    Wishing you a peaceful night…

  10. Lisa

    You’re a very strong woman, Aimee. I can’t even begin to imagine what that’s like. I hope this was just a fluke and you have a much longer stretch this time around.

  11. jessabean

    Hi, new commenter here. As a person suffering from major depression, I truly feel for you and admire your honesty and courage.

    I really hope the night terrors stay away. I’ve never had them, but they sure don’t sound like fun.

    You are a bigger person for sharing and not letting it control you.

  12. Charlotte

    I’m also new here, and just wanted to sign in and say how sorry I am. I hope you have many more nights of beautiful sleep and that this was the last night terror ever.

  13. zenrain

    i’m so sorry, many hugs from all of us up here…

  14. aimee / greeblemonkey

    Thanks all, very very very much. And a heartfelt welcome to the new commenters, especially you who shared stories too – hugs to all!

    I did sleep well last night. 🙂 Of course, I stayed up till midnight to make sure I was REALLY tired, too. 😉

  15. Jientje

    Hugs from me too Aimee, how terrible. But just because it happened again last night, doesn’t mean it will be happening every night again like it used to. I am sure that you’ve gone past that already. But I think you’ve done the right thing, gotten up early, sending some e-mails, commented on some pictures… ( I thank you for that, I really should be giving all of yours a four or five star rating!)
    You’re a strong and positive kind of person, I can tell just by reading a few items on your blog.
    BIG HUG.

  16. Tree

    (((((((HUGS)))))) to you, my friend.

  17. Sue at nobaddays

    What they all said above me … and big hugs. Seriously. The virtualness of the Internet sucks sometimes.

  18. Mr Lady

    I have them, too. I don’t have them nearly as badly as that, but I do have the very real repressed memory flashbacks sometimes. It’s awful.

    Dude, feel free to call me at 3:42 in the morning. I’ll fund something to make you laugh at!

  19. Kelly O

    Holy crap!! That totally sucks. I hope last night was better, and that you’re still asleep.

    It’s amazing, isn’t it, when those of us with shitty childhoods have kids. It’s like an act of faith that the world can be a better place, or an act of defiance.

  20. monstergirlee

    Here’s wishing you another year (or more) of easy sleep.

    Sorry you had a bad one – that sucks.

    ps. in case you’re wondering, I don’t have a blog, but if/when I do you’ll be the first to know 😉

  21. Beverley Viljoen

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Beverley Viljoen

    This post struck a cold chord with me because my sleeping experiences have been similar, although not as terrifying.

    The closest I have come to physical- izing the dreams is crying in my sleep. The dreams are horrifying, and I suffered more when I was a child. Not to the point of full blown insomnia, but bed was not my favorite place in the world. My mom compensated by hanging the ugliest dream catcher in the world, but it stayed with me for more than 10 years. I just now took it down when I moved into my own studio.

    Pash says I need to go back to therapy, but I had a good childhood…In my case, can’t it just be lack of exercise?

  23. carrie

    I hope that was the last one for a very looooong time.

  24. gretchen from lifenut and elsewhere

    Oh, man, Aimee. How horrible. I am so glad you have found relief and hope the one recent bad night was a total fluke.

    So sorry!

  25. Noble Savage

    I used to have night terrors when I was a kid but not nearly as bad as what you’ve described. They were really scary for my family though.

    You’ve got a great attitude, I have no doubt you’ll find a solution.

  26. JennyMoose

    Hugs to you, Aimee. You are working so hard at slaying those dragons. I pray for peace in your heart. Maybe all the wonderful memories you are making will just plain crowd out the old icky parts. My shink compares them to crabgrass- even when you have a beautiful healthy lawn there is always a few weeds trying to get a foothold. Well, he said it betterm but you get the drift. We love you Aim.

  27. sue

    Just goes to show how far you’ve come that you rarely have them now. Sorry you had to be put through it, that’s just horrid. I, too, had an awful childhood but never had the night terrors. In my case, the night was my friend because it was the only time I was left alone.

    Here’s hoping (along with everyone else) that things get better as you work through it all. You know we’re pulling for you!

  28. aimee / greeblemonkey

    Continued thanks to you all, for your good thoughts, shared experiences and your best wishes. It really means a lot of me. 🙂

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