Monday, February 6, 2012


The house is dark. Silent, except the hum of a dehumidifier. And then I scream at the top of my lungs. Blood-curdling scream, I believe is the way my family describes it. My mom bursts into my room and finds me on the floor. I'm pointing at a spot near my ribs, shrieking, "Don't you see it? Don't you see it?!"

Moments later, I blink away my craziness and stare at my mom. "What are you doing in here?" I ask her. And why am I on the floor, I wonder.

At the age of 19, I experienced my first night terror. And they would continue sporadically over the next few years.

If you've never had a night terror, I can best describe it as being awake while a tiny piece of your brain is still dreaming. I can't count the number of times I'd jump out of bed, convinced that there was some sort of bug or poison in my sheets. I wouldn't realize that it was a hallucination until several minutes later when I was jumping up and down in my bathroom. For some reason, it was always the bathroom - run into the bathroom to seek solace.

The best occasion may have been the time in college when I woke up screaming and telling my roommate that there was a half-pitbull half-woman in my bed. Then I went back to sleep, but not after telling her "Oh was just my pillow." While I slept soundly, she was wide awake until her alarm went off.

The odd thing is that night terrors are most common in young children, while mine didn't start until half way though college. Additionally, I had none of the traumatic occurrences or sleep disorders commonly associated with night terrors.

So, when I live a life consumed by ho-hum normalcy, from where are these night terrors creeping in? Just like I have no personal experience with murders or investigations, I have never woken to find an actual snake in my bed. It's almost as if my creative mind is running rampant in the nighttime, giving me something to write about.

Similarly, my WIP originated from a crazy nightmare I once had. I've never kept a dream journal and most of my stories come from my conscious daydreams. Still, I sometimes wonder if these night terrors exist solely to fuel my creativity.

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