Showing posts with label night terrors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label night terrors. Show all posts

Handling Night Terrors


I will preface this by saying that I do not know if what my son has is technically night terrors.  We have no medical diagnosis of any kind.  I never saw night terrors in anyone else so I have nothing to compare it to.

What I do know is that my son, C, has probably always had these.  He cried and did not sleep steadily from the day he was born.  Once he could communicate, I could see that he was "waking up" in terror: his eyes would be wide, he'd be crying, and he'd be calling for me (sometimes screaming for me).  I would be there but he would look right through me.  He was seeing something else and had no awareness that I was there.  It could take up to an hour for him to break out of this.  He almost never remembered the episodes.

Now that he can communicate even better, I can see that he literally seems to be trapped in a dream.  Part of him knows he is dreaming and he is trying to break out of it.  He calls for me.  Sometimes he does get an awareness that I with him but he screams loudly to speak to me because to him it seems I am very far away.  He does not know where he is.  He asks me where all the other family members are.  He cries a long time because he is so afraid.

Usually I just hold him, rock him, tell him I am there.  Sometimes I try to give him good images, sort of try to insert happy things into his dream.  Nothing has really worked, until tonight.

It might just be a fluke.  He might have had more awareness than usual or been in a different frame of mind because he is sick and has a fever, but this is what I did tonight when he woke up crying in fear.

First, I told him I was there.  I was holding him and was right in front of his face but he did not see me.  He was calling so loudly and crying, "Mommy is that you?  Are you here?"  I also reassured him about my husband and daughter when he asked.

Next, I told him that Daddy and I are so excited for Christmas.  I wondered if we would see Santa's sleigh.  He got calmer for a moment but quickly got very fearful again.

Then, I did something they do on a lot of my meditation CD's, something I never tried before with him.  I said, "C, when I count to 3 you are going to be wide awake. 1...You are becoming more awake and you can see that you are in my room. 2....You can feel Mommy holding you 3....You are awake now and you are safe.  Everything is okay."  He DID wake up when I did this. I could see his eyes suddenly "see" what was really there.  However, he was still upset.  He could not explain to me why, he said he did not know.  He just continued to cry for a while and get a little confused now and again.

I told him that he was safe again.  I told him he is always safe and that no matter what everything will always be okay.  I said even if he thinks we are not there, we are, we'll always be there for him.  I told him that even when he thinks he is so lost and alone he can call on God and he will be helped.  He will never, ever be alone.

When he reached full awareness, the crying stopped and he said he wanted to go back to bed.  This is usual.  As soon as the episode ends he wants nothing more than to sleep.

This was the quickest episode he has ever had.  The total time was no more than 15 minutes.

Of course, after I told him I would always be there I thought about what would happen if I was not there.  Something could happen to me, something may.  What I said to him is still true.  I will still always be with him and he can always call on me, but I decided that I needed to write this down somewhere because I cannot imagine anyone else would know what to do in this situation.  It's scary to see a child this way- looking right through you and being so afraid.  It's terrible actually.  My consolation is that now he is sleeping so peacefully again and will probably not remember any of it.
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