Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the jerk

I've mentioned before how I don't believe dreams are particularly meaningful.  Mine never make sense and frankly, the ideas wake up to at 3:00 a.m. don't make much sense by 8:00 a.m. either.  (Although it did seem revolutionary and visionary to think of publishing my last novel as a blog post in order to skip all the hard work of finding a publisher and then I'd make it big as a writer when people began buzzing about my book after reading it for free online.  I was all ready to do it, too, at 2:24 the other morning.  By 9:00 that day I came to my senses.  My book's not pornographic, so of course it wouldn't attract the same traffic as other "books" published as a blog post.  See what I mean?  Middle of the night epiphanies are really junk.)

Moments ago killed the 7th box elder bug of the day.  Its squashed body is resting in peace beside my laptop as I type this, neatly wrapped in a scrap of paper.  I'll unceremoniously deposit it in the trash later when I get up to refill my coffee cup.  That I dreamed last night about my kitchen walls being covered in box elder bugs strikes me as purely coincidental.

I also dreamed last night that I was having a baby.  While waiting for the doctor, Mr. D ferried my two oldest boys off to a friend's to wait.  The doctor arrived and began slicing open my belly.  That's funny, I never had a c-section before.  While paying close attention to this strange detail, I expectantly watched the doctor lift the blood-and-mucus covered body and announce "It's a girl!  You have a daughter!"   Now that's just plain wrong.  My third baby was a boy.  Where the f*ck's Mr. G?  "You need to check that out again, doc," I told him while marveling at the sudden lightness in my body where the weight of a baby had been.  How weird was that--to dream about having a baby girl when my third baby was definitely, most clearly and obviously a boy baby?  Mr. D suggested it's a latent desire to have a daughter.  As if a dream means anything.

What does disturb me is this:  on about five different occasions in the past two months I've woken up in the middle of the night and not known where I was.  It has literally taken me minutes to calm down and realize I am right where I belong.  I cannot convey the sheer terror of these experiences.  Rolling over, opening my eyes and seeing nothing that looks remotely familiar.  Not even recognizing the layout of the room, which direction to head for a door in order to escape.  I've lain perfectly still each time, barely breathing while my eyes adjust to the room and I strain to figure out where I am. 

My fright compounds as I realize I am not alone and my heart races faster.  Who is lying next to me?  I clench up and think as hard as I can--how did I get here?

It's the most awful feeling to wake up and recognize nothing.  I'd expect this strangeness if I'd been traveling much, but I really haven't.  I woke up once in Disney World, which kind of freaked me out, but in retrospect made sense since I wasn't in my own bed.  But to wake up utterly lost in a room that I've slept in for nearly 10 years is really weird.  

Naturally I'm wondering why this is happening to me.  Early-onset dementia?  Sleeping really hard and jerking awake for no reason--maybe my REM cycles are out of whack.  Change in diet?  The last time it happened, I eventually got up and walked around the house.  I returned to bed knowing where I was, but not believing I belonged there. 

It's got to be something jerking me out of a deep sleep to make me so discombobulated.  A sudden movement or sound perhaps. 

Spill it, reader.  Tell me I'm not alone--this has happened to other people, right?



24 comments:

  1. Hey there, rarely comment, but had a thought to offer you on the night awakenings, and it is this: sleep paralysis? I have a friend who described hers to me, and they sound a bit like what you are describing....maybe worth a google search? I have had nothing remotely to compare what I experience at night time awakenings, to what you've listed out here, but I would be all for finding out pronto....if you don't get good sleep (consistently) then your days start to get out of whack. totally can relate to wondering about early onset dementia, though. Scary stuff.

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  2. Yowser, that's just plain weird. Never heard of sleep paralysis as JJ says, but wonder if you should try some Melatonin with camomile tea before bed. Perhaps this is subconscious sending out ticklers for a thriller with this as it's heartbeat? You didn't just read Before I Go To Sleep, right? Because this is exactly the opening in that book . . .

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  3. There are 4 box elder bugs sunning themselves on our picture window...they are the real jerks lol!

    As far as the dreams go, are you stressed? overly tired? eating limburger cheese before bed? I don't have any answers, but every once in a while I'll wake up the same way...usually in a panic over who in the heck is in my bed? It takes me until I've very stealthily slunking out of the bed to realize, duh..this is my husband...I'm supposed to be here...it doesn't matter that I'm in my pj's. I just figured that it was because of his crazy work sched.

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  4. Maybe it's about needing something new and different. Or, questioning the reality of your life? Reaching aren't I?
    For some reason your dreams feel strangely familiar to me, and I think it may be something we all go through at one time another--questioning our existence and place in the world. Alienation? Let's see, what would Jung say? Sorry. I'm curious now.

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  5. If you are on any medications, I'd look there first.

    When I was preggo, I once had a dream that I had a c-section, and the doctor left her water bottle inside me when she sewed me up. I could feel it when I pushed on my stomach. Thankfully, none of that actually happened!

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  6. Sometimes it takes me a moment to figure out where I am but that has more to do with having changed rooms in the middle of the night to avoid some noise! Your case is strange indeed but there's a lot of good advice here already.

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  7. Waking up and not realizing where you are at first sounds fairly normal, but coupling it with being very scared sounds more like an anxiety attack.

    My family has a history of anxiety disorders. My mom's anxiety attacks would often occur while she was driving --she'd forget where she was going, how to get home, and kind of who she was. She didn't have them all her life --there was just one period (after my younger sister was born) where they occurred frequently. My anxiety became much more serious after the hormonal changes of pregnancy, so perhaps hormonal changes could be triggering something like this in you?

    If it continues, you might want to ask your doctor about it.

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  8. I have no comforting thoughts on this for you, much as I would like to give them. Since it's fairly recent, did you change something in the last two months?

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  9. I have no thoughts about the waking up disoriented thing, but I am sending you hugs and hope you figure it out.

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  10. I believe strongly in dreams, and as a matter of fact, I am considered the dream interpreter in my family. I think the dream about the baby girl is more about thinking that you had always wanted a girl (or maybe everyone expects you to want a girl) but you being completely happy with the family you have. Hence the WTF is Mr. G? You want what you already have. :)

    I have no advice for you on the night terror. I've never experienced it. Just don't Google it. ;) Google always goes to extremes and scares the crap out of me. Hopefully, like you said, it is just waking too quickly.
    I do have moments where all of a sudden I am TERRIFIED of death. TERRIFIED. I start shaking and can hardly catch my breath. Just the thought of ceasing to exist. So scary. And then I feel really guilty because I believe in God and of course believe in an afterlife... but still.

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  11. I was going to say what a few others said: Are you stressed? Overtired? I often don't realise I'm stressed out until I have SYMPTOMS. We go along, especially women, so busy... too busy to pay attention to out anxieties and our real worries about real situations. Sometimes our mind or body has to shake us awake and shout "WHERE ARE YOU?"

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  12. I have some of the silliest dreams many times I will wake thinking what the hell was that all about........and of course everything that seems like a good idea in the wee hours doesn't when we are wide awake and our brains are working right again........

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  13. I used to sleep walk as a kid, all around the house, and wake up feeling very discombobulated.

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  14. Maybe you're just sleeping really sound, or waking too suddenly from a deep sleep for some reason. We spend a lot of time at the cottage in the summer and sometimes it takes me a couple seconds to realize if I'm home or up north. Today I woke up before my alarm and it took me a couple seconds to realize what day it was. I thought it was Monday but then was happy it was Tuesday already. I've even felt just before I wake up like I'm in my parents house and in my bed in my room I had as a kid but as soon as I wake up I know where I am.

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  15. Yes, it does sound like a sleep cycle disturbance. Sleep paralysis is when you wake up and know where you are but you can't move. Scary, too. Yours sounds like your body is awake but your mind is still asleep!

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  16. I have not had this happen--it sounds from the rest of the comments like it's something worth looking into. At least enough to pay a visit to Dr. Google.

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  17. I can see this happening once, maybe twice, but several times? That doesn't seem right. You've gotten some good advice from your readers. I would definitely follow up on this with my doctor if this continues.

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  18. I have woken up disoriented. I've also been woken up by strange noises that I swore was my daughter calling me from her bed and gone to get up to check on her only to have my husband talking me down. Turns out, I was woken up by his passing gas and thought it was my daughter calling me....

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  19. I have nightmares if I eat within an hour before going to bed, but the paralysis and not knowing where you are when you awake is VERY frightening and if it were me I would keep a journal of when it happens and discuss with my doctor. Have you googled the symptoms yet? That would be a start. Sounds scary.

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  20. I have a long history of sleep disturbances, and I've experienced something like what you describe. For me, it's waking in a panic, not knowing where I am, and for some reason I immediately try to make myself name all my children as a way to persuade myself that I'm not demented--and it takes a few seconds to bring their names to mind. It's horrible! Maybe you'll feel better knowing you're not alone?

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  21. I do the same thing a few times a year, usually when I'm really stressed. I generally wake up suddenly, heart pounding, and lie very still (but not paralyzed, I'm still because I'm scared of the stranger lying next to me) and gradually draw the covers all around me (as obviously that's going to protect me from this stranger ;-). Eventually Will wakes up because he has no covers and tells me that it actually is him and to go back to sleep. I've experienced it enough that by now I've started guessing that it isn't real in the middle of the experience.

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  22. There's a place in the Milwaukee airport called the Recombobulation area. Maybe that's what you need.

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  23. Did you recently start taking any new medication? That can mess up your sleep world. Please update us if this is/is not still going on..it sounds like a really unpleasant thing to have to experience!

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Spill it, reader.