Second, what am I doing? I'm having one of those days where I am getting things done, but if you asked me right now what I did this morning I would have to check the check marks on my to-do list because I can't remember. I made it to work on auto-pilot (but at least with the right bus pass). I did not have a restful sleep last night. I had another night-terror. I can feel them coming, intellectually know what's happening to me, yet still can rouse myself.
Last night's episode was the sort that alien-abduction stories come from. I "dreamed" (it's a weird place were you are dreaming but not truely asleep either) of bright lights outside the windows and felt like I was being pulled toward the window. The whole time, I'm fighting to move, wake up, anything, and - of course - can't. Then I felt like I was leaving my body and being lifted toward the ceiling. In my half-awake, not-wholly-rational state I the thought that I was dying crossed my mind. And in a moment where everything is in your mind, a thought like that is very really. So, feeling there was a genuine and literal do-or-die urgency to it, I found the means to consciously take a very deep breath and keep breathing hard, deep, and fast.
Elaine woke me up at that point and asked if I was alright because I was "breathing funny". "Bad dream," I groggily and laconically explained, and then dropped off into real sleep. In retrospect, getting control of my breathing was a triumph. Previously I'd been trying to move a hand, open my eyes, roll over, or anything else to just wake up and get out of the paralyzed state that defines these events. Of course it doesn't work because what is happening is the hormone that prevents one from acting out one's dreams and flailing around in one's sleep has already been released but one's brain hasn't otherwise made the switch from awake to asleep - so there you are, your awake brain trapped in your asleep body, unable to do so much as open your eyes, but asleep enough that whatever suffocating horror you dream up feels real. In a way it is like the opposite of lucid dreaming. In a lucid dream you know you are alseep and dreaming and can make your dream self do anything you want, including wake up. In a night-terror, you feel you are awake (and my lucidity to know that I am *in* a night-terror is unusual, not that it helps much) and should be able to control your waking self but can't, and whatever random nonsese your dreaming mind wants to add to your sensory input is indistinguishable from real perception. Your respiratory system has already slowed to a sleeping level, so the awake part of you mind tells you with very real feeling desperation that you are suffocating. I may think that I am opening and closing my hand in a desperate attempt to get Elaine to nudge me awake and out of this suffocating half-sleep, but really I'm not moving and appear to be pleasantly asleep. It seems however, based on last night, that conciously influencing my breathing is doable.
So, to Elaine, if I am "breating funny" again - wake me up, I am not having a good time and that's the only thing I can do to let you know it.
That was just the start of the night. The whole night I was plagued with rotten dreams that I can't rememeber the details of. I just have some vague memories of blood and failing to be able to defend friends from horrible things.
Oddly enough I am in a pretty good mood today, other than being tired. I'm glad it is the weekend soon.
Oringinal post: http://mbarrick.livejournal.com/726017.html