One of the things that few people understand about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is how nightmares and sleep disturbances can make life difficult. Last night or more appropriately early this morning was a really rough patch. I’m lucky that the really vivid nightmares have grown less frequent the longer that I have been working on healing. Last night was a rough one.
Sometimes the nightmares are so vivid that they wake me from a sound sleep. They can take the form of loud noises that leave me checking to see if someone is breaking into my home, or checking that I am in fact awake. Last night the nightmare was of someone pounding on my front door like they were trying to break in. It was so loud in my own brain that it woke me up from a sound sleep to check my doors and windows that someone was not in fact trying to break in.
I am hoping that some day I will no longer be held hostage by my own fear at night. When the nightmares were at their worst I was afraid to sleep at night. I have experienced sleep paralysis and night terrors. Sleep paralysis is your body frozen to the bed, and you cannot move even if you are seeing hallucinations in your room. It usually occurs when you are making the transition between sleep and waking. Some of my worst nightmares have happened during this time. Night terrors are nightmares so vivid that you could almost swear that they are real if you weren’t aware that you are dreaming.
Vivid nightmares are the stuff that makes for excellent inspiration for horror stories like those by Stephen King. At least when the early morning light arrives you know that night has ended, and there is hope that the next night may be more peaceful than the previous.