Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sleep Dread

As a kid, I was deathly afraid of the night. Each night when it was time to go to sleep I would make sure all of the doors in the room were closed, wiggle my stuffed animals into place on either side of me and tuck the covers around my neck. I would be so tired and so overheated but was convinced that the moment my eyes closed, Freddy Kruger or a vampire would jump out from the closet and it would be too late for me to save myself.
I would also keep my knees bent because I knew for a FACT that something at the bottom of my bed, under my covers, would bite my toes and then pull me down by my leg, into the depths of Mordor.

I know this type of fear is common in children, but I also know that nobody else who was in my dorm, or the various dorms I lived in, up until I was eighteen, had it as bad as me.

To make matters worse I had bad growing pains, later these would become charley horses almost every night for years. But they would wake me in the night, making me have to go through the whole terrifying process of falling asleep again while in pain. On my worst nights I would creep into my friend Kiri's bed, who bunked beneath me. She had a funny habit of banging her head on her pillow to go to sleep but other than that, I was able to go to sleep so much more easily. But it meant getting reported on the next day.

Even when I married Dallas, I was still terrified of the night and would wake him up several times telling him I was scared. And I would still sleep with my stuffed animals!

I realize now that it must be some form of anxiety. The funny thing though is that as soon as I left Scientology it went away and I haven't really thought about it much since, until now.

Last night after we tucked Archie in for bed, he sneaked out of his room a few times. We told him to go back to bed. The last time he came out, he was sobbing. This is the second time this has happened in two weeks.

Something has started with him that wasn't there before. Once in a while he would be afraid, but now it is almost every night. He tells me the things that he is afraid of. Certain things in his room look like monsters to him in the dim, green glow of his (Incredible Hulk) nightlight. Or he is afraid that a "Wererat" is going to get him. (for those of you who haven't seen the critically acclaimed "Frankenweenie," a Wererat is basically a rat werewolf :)

I feel guilty for passing on this terror to him because it was something that was so consuming for me. But last night when I was soothing him, giving him his (magnesium) drink so that his legs don't hurt (he also inherited this), I realized that it is different for him than it was for me. Although I don't know how to make him unafraid, or better yet help him make himself unafraid, at least he does have me there to climb into bed with him if needed, sing him a song, wipe away his tears, to rub his legs and this makes it not so bad. Its also interesting how just being able to be there for him in some weird way heals me. I feel a sense of defiance toward these monsters like "You may have tormented me, but not my little boy!" I might be a crazy person, I know.



As his mom, I know I need to figure out the best way to deal with this. I am here for him, and I can offer him empathy and protection, but I also don't want to be a crutch that makes it so he never learns how to deal with it on his own and then has to deal with it into adulthood like me! I had this until I was 21 and wouldn't wish it on anyone.

I'm guessing that this fear somehow goes hand in hand with managing your emotions, something that I don't think anyone in my family particularly excels at. But I do think that if I tried, I could somehow work through it with him whether it is building the necessary mental strength and/or finding routines to cope with the fear- if that is even possible....I hope.

Has anyone else dealt with this?

4 comments:

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  2. Perhaps Calm magnesium powder or a homeopathic remedy would help. Or a Good Fairy night lite? Yes I've dealt with this! Food additives and chemicals are often related to this...and sugar.

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    1. Hello! Thanks for stopping by! I am now using a special blend with B vitamins and magnesium and life has been a whole lot easier. Its actually the Calm for kids! I am trying out an essential oil blend too :)

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  3. I used to be afraid - I was fine up until I was 4 yrs old. Then one night I saw something outside the window and screamed for my mom. I knew even then she didn't really believe me but I was sure I was awake when it happened. And from then on I was afraid until - wait, I still am! lol. If my wife is away, I generally have trouble going to sleep without a light on. I don't know but I think it may be rooted in a fear of alien abduction. it doesn't help that I suspect that that is a real phenomenon that people experience. James

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