I haven’t had a night terror in a few years now.
And for that I’m very grateful.
But when my nights were affected by them, so were my days – I’d exist in an over-tired and exhausted bubble. They would come for many nights in a row, with a growing intensity. Then they’d taper off to once a week, to once in awhile, then they’d totally subside. Sometimes I’d remember that they’d come from a nightmare, and sometimes I had no memory at all.
They would almost always start with me sitting up in bed, half awake, half asleep. I’d throw the sheets and blankets off of me and spring up like some person in a horror movie. (I was in my own personal horror movie.) Then I would scream or shout. Sometimes I’d take it a step further, and fling open the curtains of my bedroom window, and stare outside, or I’d jump out of bed and run to my bedroom door.
When I shouted it went something like this – “Where is my daughter?” “Help!” “Where am I?” The consistent nightmare I’d have was me being trapped in a room, feeling my way from wall to wall, in the pitch black. There was never a door.
Sometimes after these episodes, I’d lie down and go back to sleep. Other times I’d shout myself awake.
When I shouted myself awake, my heart would be pumping in my chest as if I’d been chased by a dragon. (I was being chased by my own inner dragon called Trauma.) My heart would ache with fear, and it would take a lot of conscious deep breaths to slow it down.
I wish I could tell you why my night terrors stopped. Maybe it was because I began to journal my feelings every morning and night. Maybe it was my active practice of meditation, prayer, and ritual. Maybe it was because I’d finished writing my book, which had been a cathartic cleanse.
Or maybe I healed.
Sending love to all my sisters surviving, healing, and thriving from abuse and trauma.
I love you.