The first thing I was aware of was the burning in my lungs as they screamed desperately for air. My eyes flew open and I realized I was underwater, way under. The waves were crashing above me, sounding louder than thunder. I could barely see the sun, shining brightly above the surface. The rocks below me were pressing into my back and the backs of my legs, and I could feel then cutting my skin. I had time to realize that there was something big on top of me, something heavy, smashing me against the rocks, before my lungs began screaming again, burning for air. Finally, the last of my air left my lungs, and I couldn’t stop them from reflexively expanding. The ocean poured into my mouth and lungs, and I knew no more.
I sat up in bed, gasping for air, and barely stopping myself screaming. I pushed my hair shakily out of my eyes, and realized I had been sweating, like I always did during a night terror. I grabbed the towel next to the bed and wiped my face off, and then pulled off my protective gloves. I reached for the notebook and pen next to the bed and scribbled down the dream, every detail, just like Dr. Cassidy told me to. I jotted down the time, 7:08 am, and then climbed out of bed to grab my video camera. Hitting rewind, I watched myself in reverse, and then stopped when I saw myself lying down. I jotted that time down and shook my head. 7:00 am, on the dot, just like always.
Dr. Cassidy called them nightmares, not night terrors, but I knew the truth. I even showed him the video tapes. After seeing them, he ordered a ton of tests, including an EEG, and a sleep study, where they watched me have my night terror. They all agree, even the other doctors I consulted. They’re nightmares, just nightmares they say. A night terror is something that happens mostly to young children. They’re characterized by frequent recurrent episodes of intense crying and fear during sleep, with difficulty arousing the patient. This usually happens before you enter REM sleep, what I call “deep sleep,” during non-REM, which is usually in the first 4 hours of sleep. My night terrors happened everyday at 7 am. I tried something my doctor recommended, and set my alarm for 6:30. I have, in fact, set my alarm for 6:30 am for the past two months. I will either wake up at 6:30, which is the goal, or I will turn the alarm off in my sleep and wake from the night terror. They normally occur two or three times a week, never the same days.
If those things weren’t enough for me, Dr. Cassidy said, I should consider the fact that I always remembered my dreams. Most people experiencing night terrors never remembered their dreams. I thought Dr. Cassidy was full of shit, at least on the subject of my “nightmares,” but he was a good doctor, and I wasn’t about to give that up. Plus, he was cheap, which was something. Also, he was the only psychologist I’d ever had that didn’t think all of my problems came from my childhood, or that didn’t creep me out so much that I couldn’t look at them.
Yeah... there's a lot left unsaid and that's a horrible way to end what I have but, let me know. :)