Thursday, December 13, 2007

#1 of 7 Radom things

1. Night time fears.

I am afraid of the dark. Not the moonlit night, but complete darkness. If I can't see my own hand, and have no idea visually of what is around me, I freak out.

I still suffer from sleep problems, I used to have really bad insomnia till I turned 20. It seemed like I just stared at the walls all night long. Perhaps I was afraid to close my eyes, to surrender to dark, and the unknown of sleep, for who would watch over me if I wasn't watching over myself?

It takes me a good hour to fall asleep, and I need a plotline, a story to tell myself, as a transition between this world, and that other, dreaming one. (Except for about two times a year, when I just fall asleep.)

For the past 12 years or so, I occasionally have hallucinations while sort of asleep ( I have read this is quite common). I will see someone standing over the bed (male), and I scream. It used to really scare me, (not sleep paralysis, I know because I would wildly kick about the air, or run across the room and turn the light on), and then I would sleep with the light on for several nights afterward. Now after I scream, which tends to wake up Bob, who used to jump up ready to protect, but now just rolls over sleepily and says "what?", at which point I say "oh it just that guy who isn't there again", and we both go back to sleep. As a general rule however I do not sleep on my left side till light has entered the sky. For some reason it happens more if I sleep on my left side. I need to face out toward the edge of the bed, not have my back to it.

This actually started in high school, but back then it was a giant, I mean GIANT, spider, almost the size of the bed, hovering above my bed at night, and I would shoot out of bed, and be downstairs with the light on, before I was awake enough to tell myself "hey, you know that isn't really there right?" "yeah, of course I do". "Okay then, go back up to bed". Which I would reluctantly do, with plenty of lights on.

So really I am making progress. Sometimes I even manage not to scream, but I do still always startle, and get that lovely jolt of adrenaline, before I go, "oh yeah, tis nothing".

Before going to bed, I check that all the doors between us and the outside world are locked, (and if opened during the day, check that windows are shut and locked). I make sure the stove and oven aren't on. There are also three items I unplug, but I leave all the rest plugged in. I make sure nothing is out that could be considered a weapon, like rope, or a screw driver, or (of course) knives. Bob wil use the biggest knife for the smallest job (like peeling an orange. Women do this task without a knife) and then will leave it out on the counter. I have some irrational fear that someone will break in, and while probably not originally having intended to kill us (or else they would have brought their own weapons), will decide to anyway because of easy access to killing implements (and also over annoyance that we don't have anything of value to steal).

Once upstairs I make sure that the door at the end of the hall is closed (in that room there are two little doors to attic-like crawl spaces), and that my studio door is closed. I can't sleep if they are open. Bob and Cheese make fun of me for this "what do you think is gonna happen?", I reply "I don't know, monsters perhaps. Monsters who can't turn doorknobs because of their big awkward furry hands.". For some reason it is like an unknown, a variable exists in those doors being left open. A variable I don't wish to risk. Nothing can be ajar either. Doors are either all the way open or all the way closed, same goes for shower curtain. There is something creepy in half opened, slightly ajar doors. I also do not like chairs not being pushed under desks, but left fully out like some invisible person or ghost is sitting in them. So I will tuck the chairs in, and complain to someone (if they happen to be nearby) that they ought not leave them out. Cheese enjoys this, as he thinks it is funny. "What will happen?". me- "Well of course, ghosts will feel invited to come sit in them." The child enjoys shaking his head at me "You're crazy, sooo crazy" he giggles.
Hmm..well maybe, but the thing is it just makes me uncomfortable. Uneasy.

I usually wake up several times a night.

And I still check on Cheese when I wake up. I go into his room, to make sure he is still breathing, then I check that has water in his glass, and make sure he is covered up (if it is cold). I pet the cat once or twice (who sleeps, and/or hangs out, on Cheese's bed at night. I can't pet him more or he will purr loudly and wake up Cheese, who will then yell at me for petting the cat). Cheese is now 11, I try to do this less than I used to, and I had been making some great progress fall of 06, that is until this time last year, when my cousin's little sister went to wake her up for school in the morning, and she never woke up. True there was something wrong with her heart, but for someone like me, who already had irrational fears, who was already plagued with the concern of what can happen in one second, in one moment, if one is not watchful enough, not ever vigilant, it felt like a reminder. But I know she wouldn't want that, she wouldn't want me to find her death a reason to embrace and hold fear closer, but instead to embrace life fuller (in all its unknown variables).

I have faith, I consider myself to be a spiritual person, but somehow I seem to lack trust.
I wish I could be more relaxed, let go of some of this.
I'm trying.


Akasha Savage said...

hi taffiny...I found you through vesper ( she awarded me too!!). I love your blog, you write so well, I will definitely be visiting often. I could relate so much with what you said about darkness. I have a fear that there is someone under my bed at night, waiting to grab my ankle, so I always make sure my feet aren't hanging over the bed when I sleep. Irrational I know.

All the best with writing your novel, I have one in progress too, I know what an up-hill struggle it is. :)

Paul said...

This was a fascinating post. I know it is a part of your life and it must be extremely difficult. It makes an interesting read as a blog post.

It's good to hear that things are improving with your sleep, though you probably never look forward to going to sleep at night.

Paul (strugglingwriter)

kyklops said...

I used to have "night terrors"--the feeling that you're awake (when you're asleep), but paralyzed and in the presence of some (undefined) "evil" presence.

I have to say that I don't believe in "ghosts" and stuff, but I definitely believe that we often have very strange, subjective feelings.

It's funny how, since I've gotten married, gotten a steady job, etc., my night terrors have disappeared...

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Oh you poor thing - nighttime, sleeptime sounds so awfully fraught for you. I remember as a child being terrified of the dark - I used to tear up the stairs as though the hounds of hell were waiting for me. I used to check in the wardrobe, under the bed... It was dreadful being so scared and I empathise with you totally.
I found though, when I had my first near-death experience a few years ago, that my fear of the darkness melted away. Now I find the darkness peaceful and comforting. Strange, isn't it, and yet maybe not, because I learned that beyond and within the darkness there is brilliant light.

Taffiny said...

I look forward to going over to visit you on your blog. :)

I hope things are going well with your novel.
I need to get back into it again. I have only written about a hundred words this past week! I really wanted to finish (rough draft 1) before 07 turned into 08.

It is funny that knowing that I am being irrational does very little to change the way I feel, or act. (I am glad you are a bit irrational too, I like the company).

Oh, I hope it doesn't sound that bad. I don't get the night scream thing often.

The rest of it, is a bit tedious (but there isn't much emotion in it, I don't fight it, I just do it, part of my nighttime ritual, like brushing my teeth). I do look forward to going to bed, because I am always so tired. It just takes me longer to get there than I could imagine possible. And as long as I have a good daydream and do eventually slip into dreams, all is good. I am used to waking up 2 times a night. It is just when I wake up 4 times a night, and don't fall back to sleep for long stretches, that trying to sleep seems not worth it.

I look forward to being asleep, just not in trying to be asleep. So I like sleep, I just wish it was easier. Head on pillow, sleep, dream, wake up in morning- that sounds incredible.

True night terrors sound horrible, thank goodness you don't get them any more. That is nice that freedom from them has been a gift, brought by stability and love.

I didn't mean to imply that I believe in ghosts ( I guess I think it could be possible but even if so there aren't actually very many around). I think it is more some symbolic fear, the chair not pushed in, as though something is there, but it isn't, a space not filled, or filled in unknown ways. Like you say, strange subjective feelings.
But then again, maybe despite...
Oh never mind. :) I don't understand me.

It isn't awfully fraught, it is okay. It used to be horrible when I was younger, but usually now I do sleep, and am not afraid to do so. (I just do the silly door close things first. And don't sleep on my left side).

Sorry that you got so close to death, very glad you came back. It is wonderful that you found peace, where you used to feel fear, that you have a knowing that transcends.


Vesper said...

I'm sorry you have to go through this but I'm glad you're getting better. Is this part of the price one has to pay for imagination, I wonder?

Taffiny said...


For some of us perhaps, who let our imaginations get the better of us, and who are overly emotionally sensitive without cause.
Oh well, I am glad too that I seem to moving in the right direction, just wish I could move quicker.