I woke up to the sound of screaming. It was very loud and close. I knew I was in danger, but I’d just been startled awake so I had no idea what was happening. I jumped out of bed still half asleep. It was like my body knew I should run for safety even though my brain didn’t understand why yet. My heart was beating so hard I felt like I could almost hear it, but the screaming drowned it out.
I felt physically shaken awake by the adrenaline, my heart was racing.
I started to wake up a little more and realized… I was screaming. I was standing up beside the bed screaming.
And that made me scream more because I immediately thought something bad is happening, I’m in danger.
Then, I heard someone’s say, “It’s just me… It’s just me…”
It felt like it took forever to recognize the voice and where I was, but it was probably only 26 seconds. The voice was Ben’s, I was at his place and I wasn’t in danger. [He came back to California for work for in 2020 and he became part of my bubble during the pandemic.]
I wasn’t in danger. I had a night terror for the second time in my adult life (my mom said I had them as a kid).
I’d had ONE years ago after watching a scary TV show. I actually blogged about it on this post. [Side note: This is where lifestyle blogging is the best – being able to read a diary entry of a life experience from the past good or bad can be helpful and interesting.]
After that one scary experience it didn’t happen again. I figured it was directly related to watching something scary (I don’t watch scary movies and at the time thought it was something different).
This 2nd incident happened sometime last summer. Then, it happened again… I’ve probably had about 5 or 6 night terrors over the last year.
Every time I feel so physically and emotionally shaken it takes a while for me to calm down and breathe normally, get my heart rate back down and feel like I’m okay. It sucks.
And it’s very scary for Ben (he’s the only person who’s been around when I’ve had them). I wake up to his voice trying to calm me down but standing across the room because if he comes closer I freak out more. Sucks.
Luckily, we’ve been able to laugh about it later because I like to make fun of myself. But when it happens I feel scared for my life, physically trashed because of all the adrenaline and overwhelmed emotionally because I want to cry, scream and apologize at the same time.
The most recent one happened last month when I was in Florida with Ben. Each time I assumed it was probably stress related because of the pandemic, feeling displaced and anxious. But when it happened in Florida I finally thought I should take note because I was on vacation and vaccinated so I should’ve been a lil less anxious?
I wish I would’ve kept track of how often, what time, how bad it was, what I did that day, etc. [See!! This is why you should blog everyday again Monica!] My mind was trying telling me something – but I didn’t stop to listen. I know better than that!
So I decided to write notes if and when I have a night terror (I’m keeping those off the blog to protect the innocent). And I’m sharing this whole situation in case you or someone you know is struggling with night terrors.
I hope it doesn’t happen again. But if it does I want to document any patterns or triggers…
If it’s stress related — I can do things to help myself feel more calm and safe.
If it’s Ben related — I need more therapy to navigate that.
If it’s watermelon related — I’ll just have night terrors forever because I just can’t quit it.
I’ll link to resources on night terrors below. If you’re dealing with this or any other health or mental health related issue please speak with a medical professional. Therapy is the best and can help you feel better, get along with the people around, have better relationships, etc.
Night Terrors Resources
- Night Terrors in Children (medical journal info)
- Kids Night Terrors info
- Night Terrors info from the Mayo Clinic
- Smart Watch App to help Night Terrors
- Lully Sleep Device is a device marketed for children with night terrors. I haven’t had time to research it yet for adults.
- Article on the Lully Device
- Interesting study of one man with night terrors that seem to caused by anxiety. From the article, “Although the episodes were initially associated with high levels of anxiety, it became apparent that the anticipation of an episode soon led to a self-reinforcing pattern characterized by catastrophizing, selective attention focused on the disturbances, and negative emotionality, all of which served in maintaining a state of heightened arousal, which in turn precipitated the disturbance by increasing arousal frequency.”
That last article is long and a lil dry but if you’re having night terrors or know someone who is, it may be worth a read. It made me feel better because a lot of the info associates adult night terrors with mental health issues. It doesn’t feel super helpful or informative. But that last article suggests the man’s night terrors where in part caused by the stress of his wife’s health issues (anxiety). So, yeah he can’t necessarily fix that but he can fix how he thinks about it and deals with the stress.
Reminder: If you are struggling with your mental or physical health – see a medical professional. Life is full of ups and downs. You deserve proper care, support and treatment if you’re on a down. Don’t be too proud. (It’s 1000% understandable to be too proud to post your shortcomings and embarrassing moments on a blog though!)
Knowledge is power. Be kind and curious with yourself. Stay positive.
The next post will be about running and eating.
Talk soon! xoxo, Monica
Did you have night terrors as a kid?
Ever have one as an adult?
Note: This blog and associated social media is a story of my own experiences and are not intended as medical advice or treatment.