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.