I am not afraid… I am not afraid…

For years I’ve been plagued with a sleeping disorder, and didn’t really know it.

Rather, I knew it, but didn’t do any looking into it until this morning. I guess there’s hundreds of reasons not to look into health problems, particularly ones that centre around the mushy mass in your noggin, but I’m blaming this on pure lazy/forgetfulness.

See, sleeping disorders, as is their nature, tend to happen at night. Well, by morning, I’ve usually long forgotten about whatever little hiccups I’ve had in my slumber and just continue about my day. At first this particular problem was infrequent at best, and easily forgotten.

However, I’ve noticed over the last few months it’s increased, and is now bordering on commonplace.

So, what’s the problem already, eh? It would seem (from my trusty Google search), that I suffer from Night Terrors. Sounds exciting eh? It’s not.

night terror pictureBasically, I wake up in the middle of the night, disoriented, in a quasi-dreamlike state and am usually fixated on something or someone being in the room (it rotates between people, creatures, insects, etc.). It’s damn creepy to be sure, and to be honest, I’m the fortunate one, because after about a minute or two of freaking out, I just settled down and fall back asleep.

Maggie, on the other hand, can do nothing but sit there with a wide-eyed WTF expression on her face and question just who the hell she’s married.

Night terrors are quite different than nightmares. They occur in the fourth stage of sleep (the one just before you get all REM paralyzed), usually within the first hour after falling asleep. Though a lot of people who have night terrors wake up screaming, I don’t seem to do this (thank god).

The first night terror I remember having was when I was about 18 or 19. I had been out partying with a friend and ended up crashing at his place. I slowly woke up in the morning convinced that there was a large bumble bee hovering in the corner of the room (refresher – I fear bees like no other). Slowly my vision cleared, and I ‘woke up’ fully to realize that I was panicking over a splotch on the old wallpaper.

The next time (in memory) that this occurred was when I was about 23-24 and living with my ex. I don’t actually remember this one, but she explained it in detail the following morning. Apparently, in the middle of the night, I bolted upright in bed, turned to the room’s outside wall and beckoned someone/thing to “come in”. She was, unsurprisingly, quite weired out.

Fast forward about a year later, I was now living on my own in a basement room of a shared house. This time I woke up by myself at the end of my bed with my rather large and heavy wardrobe (complete with 19″ TV inside it) on my lap. I’ve no memory at all of what happened – but assume it’s related.

I don’t remember any particular incidents after that, until Maggie and I started to live together. Now they happen on a semi-frequent basis (none quite as disturbing as that last one). Generally, they sometimes involve me being convinced that there’s a person in the room with us, but more often than not it’s a bug or spider in the bed or on the walls/ceiling.

Thankfully I finally got off my ass (or rather got on it) and started searching around online. I found the Night Terrors Resource Center, a great site with lots of information about this – including tips for the partners of us sufferers (really, I think they deserve the “sufferers” title more).

Maggie’s suggested I see a TCM doctor about it. So perhaps soon I’ll be drinking herbs and getting poked with needles in search of a cure. Interim, the site states that one of the underlying causes is ‘stress’ (what isn’t stress a cause of, honestly), and though I don’t “feel” stressed (I’m total dao yo!), I’m going to start doing some anti-stress exercises before bed and stop thinking about work before I fall asleep.

We’ll see if any of it helps.

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