Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nightmare on Dan Street

I'm in your brain, making you scared.

Tall Dan(tm) has what we think may be night terrors. Let me use an article from another website to explain.

"What Are Night Terrors?
Night terrors are known by several names: sleep terrors, night terrors, sleep terror disorder and pavor nocturnus. In all cases, the sleeper has very frightening dream episodes which, in turn, cause the sleeper to experience extreme physical effects for anywhere from five to thirty minutes. The sleeper may twist around in bed or sit up and cry out as a result of their fear, often with their eyes wide open in a stare, even though they remain asleep. 

A person with night terrors may also experience other physical changes which are usually associated with fear such as:
  • Rapid breathing – The sleeper can appear to be panting or trying to catch their breath.
  • Increased heart rate – The heart can be felt through the chest with a rapid rhythm.
  • Sweating – The sleeper might be sweating all over and may appear flushed as if they have been running.
Some people remember that they had a night terror the next morning. They may even remember what was frightening them and that they could not seem to wake up. They may remember vague images of frightening animals such as spiders or snakes or people who were trying to hurt them. On the other hand, most sleepers have no memory of the night terror when they wake up." 

The focus is on the highlighted portion above. But take the sitting up and crying out and add in him violently grabbing me and/or shielding me from whatever the scary thing happens to be. Sometimes he'll even talk to me, saying things that make absolutely no sense. Usually this happens when I am 100% sound asleep, dreaming of cute kittens and Donald Glover. Imagine being ripped from your happy place by someone who is acting like bombs are falling on your bed.

This happened a few nights ago, which also happened to be a night during our most recent heat wave. Our apartment gets very, very hot and I don't handle heat well when trying to sleep. We actually stayed up pretty late that night because it was so hot and we knew that we probably wouldn't get any quality sleep time until it had at least dipped below 80 degrees outside. I may have taken a vicodin and a benadryl to help with the sleeping (Just as an aside, I am not a drug addict, I spend way too much money on clothing to be able to afford a drug habit as well) so when my head finally hit the pillow I drifted to dreamland pretty much immediately. I'd say about 1:30 AM, maybe a little less than an hour after going to sleep, I was jolted awake by Dan violently sitting up, saying something loud and incoherent and putting his arm across me to hold me down. Remember "stopping short" from Seinfeld? Kind of like that, only scary and not at all funny. You may think I should be used to this, after all he has done it many times before. You forget that I was just woken from the sleep of the dead and my drug addled brain couldn't handle such things. So I basically thought it was zombie apocalypse time.

Thinking we were all about to die, I yelled "WHAT?" at him and he just stared at me, not moving, breathing heavily. Again, "WHAT? WHAT IS THE MATTER? WHAT IS HAPPENING?" and nothing, just *blink blink* crazed stare. I think then I shook him and asked him what the hell was going on. As soon as he started becoming aware of what was going on, I proceeded to flip out. I screamed and then went into the bathroom to calm the eff down. This is not a good way to deal with the situation, I realize, but my adrenaline was pumping and I had just prepared myself for zombies, so I wasn't feeling so great. Turns out Dan thought someone was coming in the bedroom to get us (maybe zombies?). At least I know when zombies do actually come in the bedroom to get us, Dan will try to protect me. He's a nice man.

Usually it is a giant spider or something equally scary and gross that is somewhere in the bedroom and about to get on me or him or kill/eat us. After a few minutes he either goes right back to sleep or wakes up and is all, "it seemed so real!" Here is my favorite exchange from one of his episodes:

Dan: OH MY GOD! (shoots straight up from bed and points at the closet)

Me: What is it?!

Dan: Oh my god, he's stuck! (still pointing at the closet)

Me: Who is stuck? (thinking somehow our cat Ron is stuck somewhere, even though the closet is closed and barricaded shut by laundry baskets)

Dan: HE IS STUCK!!! (more panic)

Me: Who, Dan, who is stuck? And where? (more panic)

Dan: Bob, he's stuck in the closet!

Me: Who is Bob?

Dan: A Pokemon.

Me: Um, hey Dan, go back to sleep.

Dan: What? Oh, ok.
PIKA! I'm in your closet! PIKA!


  1. Ha! Scary at the time, I'm sure. But take consolation in the fact that it makes for a funny story at least! Peter once woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me he was a warlock and he "turns time into other time." It was classic.

  2. L and I both have night terrors. A Xanax before bed turns them from terrifying to merely weirder than shit, and mellows the reactions. Maybe too personal a Q for here, but do either of you have PTSD? It can be the cause.

    We should hang out soon. I keep realizing how much we have in common and also how much I think you kick ass.