Far be it from me –

Talking about Night Terrors

on July 16, 2016

Growing up in a dysfunctional family and experiencing multiple traumas in my adult life led to me becoming psychotic  in my late thirties.  I was hospitalised for 6 months and endured 6 treatments of Electro Convulsive Therapy.   My recovery was slow and difficult and it took me seven years to wean myself off a cocktail of  anti psychotic and anti depressant medication.   Twenty three years later I still struggle with Post Traumatic Stress  – flashbacks, nightmares, feelings of distress and latterly I  have been experiencing night terrors.   Childhood night terrors are called Type A and they tend to disappear of their own accord, whereas Adult night terrors are called Type B and are enduring.   They are not genetic.   They are linked to childhood trauma which is relevant to my case.  Trauma to the psyche causes brain chemical changes.  Night terrors are linked with increased susceptibility to respiratory problems.

The first time I experienced a night terror I could hear screaming.   It took me some time to realise the screams were coming from me.   I leapt out of bed and was sobbing uncontrollably.  In other night terrors I was shouting “get off me get off me” “he’s going to get me” There was a rising panic.  Sufferers report a feeling of extreme fright, of falling, of choking, of dying, of being unable to breathe. Heart rate increases.   I am told what I am shouting out: I am unaware.

Night terrors are much more serious than dreams; sufferers can kick, strike out violently, even injure themselves during the sleep cycle.  Sufferers can leave their homes without waking up but will have no recollection the next morning.

I feel shaky after having a night terror though usually I go back to sleep.   I feel affected by it the next day and then feel  frightened and very reluctant to go to sleep in case it happens again.  I have sought counselling but I found the counsellor lacking in knowledge on the subject and I had no confidence in her.   Night terrors are not like a nightmare where  you are aware you are running away from something, or you can feel yourself being shot at, or you can see flames or your attacker  Night terrors make you scream or cry or shake but you do not consciously know why.  They are extremely distressing.

I am interested in hearing from other sufferers and to know if anyone has successfully stopped the terrors or who has any advice for sufferers.   I am researching night terrors and have much to learn.   So please do comment on this post    Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 responses to “Talking about Night Terrors

  1. […] You are invited to share your experiences by commenting below Judith’s full post here […]

  2. I enjoyed this even though I feel for anyone wracked with fear when it comes to going to sleep. Terrible that sleep should be stressful when it is the one sure escape many of us have from stress. I am fascinated by dreams and the subconscious. I hope we see the day that dreams can be managed through therapy but it seems that they are what the mind does to heal, deal, and sort out difficult and unresolved issues in our lives. Prayers for relief. Talking about them hopefully helps.

  3. Thank you for sharing your experiences so thoughtfully. I can relate to significant nightmares though I’ve not had them for several years now. I taught myself to mediate when I was in high school and have continued to practice mindfulness throughout my adult life. I’ve also done years of my own therapy work though I found I could not tolerate EMDR. I’m still prone to episodes of anxiety, depression and detachment/depersonalization but breathing, mindfulness and daily exercise help me stay grounded. I’ve never had a complete psychotic episode but I have had episodes of significant body image dysmorphia and debilitating hypochondria in relation to trauma. Reality checking, deep breathing, exercise, prayer and meditation usually help bring me back. I’ve also always found humor helpful. 🙂
    I believe our healing is a lifelong process. I wish you well.

  4. Ramona says:

    I’ve had night terrors for as long as I can remember. Exacerbated by stress and the inability to fall back asleep later in life I stumbled upon 2 medicines. Intuniv (guanfacine or tenex) 1mg and Minipress (Prazosin) 5 mg. Serious life savers. I can function during the day since I actually slept and stayed asleep. No amount of counseling was going to fix my sleeping problem. Sleeping pills were not an option.

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