I've had this issue since I was little. Normally, they say that people tend to grow out of it. For me it only appears to be getting worse, and I've found a strong link between when I've had these episodes to stress. I'm writing today because last night is probably one of the worst that I've ever had. I term it night terror because I'm having a fear induced response that will trigger me to either run, or be bed ridden from fear as it occurs. Sometimes I remember them, sometimes I don't.
Last night before going to bed, we had watched the new show on discover channel "North America" which features nature, and the struggles of animals. Last night I rolled over to look at my bed partner to realize that he had a bunch of hairless baby animals on his side. I looked at the foot of the bed and saw a "Big" animal, who I thought was coming for the babies, which in turned made me scream and grip my bed mate pretty hard to force him to not move in fear that he would knock the babies off of him. The reason why It was the worse because I literally felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest, and I found it hard to breathe, almost like I was having a panic attack.
Other senario's are people standing at the foot of the bed, or getting into my face. Bug's crawling over me, or gigantic spiders, and snakes at my feet. I've reasoned with myself to figure out that a lot of time's in the bug situation I sometimes wake up with dots before my eye's and wonder if it trigger's a dream, thinking I'm seeing bugs and my mind just manifests what I cannot see.
If it was just me, it wouldn't be so bad, but my family is affected by it. My fiancé loses sleep, and it has came down to me going to sleep downstairs because I don't want to scare the crap out of him, or wake up my toddler. I have a strong fear of hurting them because my dream's have triggered a fear response out of me that could harm them
For instance, I had thought that our dog was choking, and I was intent on getting his collar off from around his neck.
My toddler, I thought she was suffocating, so I often times would run to her room and pull her out of her bed.
I had completed a sleep study and they had found nothing, (because I didn't have one). I'm considering video taping myself through the night just so that I myself can truly see what's going on, and what this behavior is centered around.
After the sleep study I was referred to a psychologist, where she had prescribed me a high blood pressure medicine that was found to help control night terrors, And also a strong sleeping medication. I was off of both within two weeks because I was fainting upon movement, and the sleeping medicine was actually making me wake up irritated and irrational towards my fiancé while sleeping.
I wonder if I need to be making a lifestyle change, or figure out a way to make my body at ease before I go to sleep, as I do feel that it is strongly related to stress.
Does anyone else suffer from this, and if so are you finding way's, either through your doctor or your own changes to control it?
One helpful approach is to "take control" of dreaming, while dreaming by conditioning during wake times.
In my case, many years ago when I had nightmares, I learned to wake myself up by practicing waking myself up when I was already awake. That is in my case I had environmental situations that were present in the nightmares and every time I encountered similar environment situation, say the basement or cellar, I'd open my eyes wide - soon I was doing that as a nightmare was shaping up and I woke up before it really got going, soon the nightmares stopped.
A more suffocated approach is called "lucid dreaming" - See on web search, and consider Dr. Stephen LaBerge, Stanford. I read one of his book with its audio CD. I have not succeeded in achieving the lucid dreaming capability, but I haven't tried very hard as my troublesome dreams, every night, are more trouble mares than night mares.
Good luck, and the good news is medical science tells us we dream during REM (random eye movement) periods and those are the periods of the most restful sleep - I think most of us just don't remember what they were dreaming about, I do.
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