Night Terrors

13 Jun

I like to think that I don’t get scared that easily. I’m not afraid to be home alone, I’m not frightened of public speaking and I’ll typically try something new at least once to see if I like it. But within the last 3 years I have become terrified of storms, not just in the “I wish it would stop storming because its loud and inconvenient” but in the hand shaking, heart pounding, body trembling, I don’t want to be alone kind of scared.

Last night we had such a storm. We knew it was going to be bad, the paper predicted a massive storm spanning 5 states with winds of 70+ MPH. And during the day yesterday, you would have thought the meteorologists were nuts because it was a gorgeous sunny day with the clearest blue skies you’ve ever seen. (The calm before the storm in retrospect.)

On the drive home from work the sky did get darker, but nothing unusual. It wasn’t until an hour or so later that I really realized this was something bigger than just a typical summer thunderstorm. For the first time ever I heard my phone make an alarming noise, which scared me half to death because i was somewhere between awake and fast asleep, when I received the following text message:

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Naturally I posted a photo to Facebook wondering who else had gotten this message. Turns out in my house, only those of us with new phones purchased this year got the message. How strange. A friend from out-of-state commented on my picture saying they do the same thing for Amber Alerts, I had no idea!

Well, the warning of a tornado in the area was sent to the entire northeast area of the state, with the actual possible tornados being a few counties away from where I live so we were in no immediate danger. The warning did get extended until 11PM though.

The actual storm didn’t hit my area until late into the night. Everyone was sleeping, the computers and Internet unplugged, and windows securely shut. It apparently didn’t matter to sleeping me that I was safe and dry and unharmed in my room, because when that first flash of lightning lit up my room and clap of thunder shook the outer walls of my room I bolted straight up in my bed terrified and disoriented. I was never frightened of storms as a child, so when this happens to me now, it’s very unnerving because I know I’m being irrational and silly, but I can’t control it. I’m always taken back to being trapped out in a storm for the record books in my opinion, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I believe I’ve told you that story before.

So there I was, 1:30AM, house quiet with this storm raging all around me, with no one to turn to for comfort and assurance. I felt like I was 5 years old again.

So I did what any mature grown up would do, I turned the fans to full speed, turned my music up and turned away from the window hoping to drift back to sleep to the soothing voices of “Restless Heart.” It didn’t work. A full orchestra wouldn’t have been able to mask the sound of the thunder, and the lightning produced frightening unknown shadows on the walls of my room, it was so bright even closing my eyes didn’t help.

At some point I drifted back to sleep, the last time I remember seeing was 4:10AM, and I was rudely awoken too soon by my 5:06AM alarm clock for work….but I stayed in bed until 5:30. The little sleep I managed was more harmful than helpful as I dreamed of places and people and events I wish I could put out of my mind, but I go back to them every time I’m scared…why is that you think? I know they will make me upset when I wake up, but my subconscious is drawn to these memories in times of fear and distress. So needless to say, the night terrors have followed me into the waking hours.

With little sleep, pent up anxiety/stress and being a non-coffee drinker, I have a feeling today is going to be very long. What I wouldn’t give for a long bear hug, a nap and someone to snuggle with who will understand my irrational fears and love me anyways.

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