Posts Tagged ‘sleep disorders’

Nightmares and Dreamscapes

August 8, 2008
I have thrown in a very mild form of sleep paralysis, coupled with lucid dreams, into my already tortured sleep process. For most people, the deepest – and sweetest – part of their sleep is accompanied by REM (Rapid Eye Movement, not the band); for me, it seems every part of my sleep is accompanied instead by VEM. Having spent all night tortured in memory of a certain someone-who-shall-not-be-named – which in turn is fueling my latest script idea that is in itself taking a psychological and emotional toll on me – and thus tossing and turning endlessly, I finally drifted asleep in the wee hours of the morning.

I dreamt of old school chums and a happier, quieter, simpler time revisited, before being dragged to the present with a dream where a flatmate and I boarded the wrong subway – one headed out of service and 2 hours out of our way (just like the Toronto Transit Commission to do that). I awoke with a start, except I wasn’t fully awake. My eyes were open somewhat, and I was staring at the coat rack near my bed. But I couldn’t move for the life of me.

And then the room started moving for me. Chugging along, exactly like a subway car, rocking back and forth as it sped down the line. And I knew I had to be dreaming but my eyes were open and I couldn’t move. Then we arrived at a station, and the wall behind my head started to part, like subway doors, only in slo-mo. I struggled to crane my head backwards, but I couldn’t quite get a look behind me; instead, I saw the slowly expanding shaft of light shining on the coat rack as the wall facing it parted.

And I was struck with a sudden, mounting sense of dread.

I tried to reach for my cell phone beside my head, to call for help, but I couldn’t coax my arm to move. Still I stared at the growing shaft of light as the ‘doors’ opened. And then, from inside my head, I felt a mounting pressure, on the right side of my head (my migraines are typically associated with the left side of my head) and it spread from my temple across my eye and down past my cheek to my chin. A squeezing sensation, as if some entity inside my head was determined to crush it without paying attention to the other half of my face (and don’t go throwing ‘Two-Face’ associations at me – it was the left side of his face).

At that point I started to scream. Or at least tried to. Nothing came out at first, and then a low, mournful groan started to escape from my throat, growing at the same rate as the shaft of light and the pressure on my face (like a tumor with a hard-on on growth steroids). And the groan increased ‘til it was a low frequency sound that was as chilling and unnerving as everything else around me. With one final effort, I struggled to move. But this time just my leg.

And it worked. My right leg jerked slightly, with just enough behind it to rock the rest of my body, which jerked me awake. Well, maybe ‘awake’ is the wrong word, since I felt awake enough earlier. But it sure as shit snapped me out of it.

Everything ended abruptly. The pain, the light, the groaning, and I was lying exactly as I had been a nano-second earlier, staring at exactly what I had been staring at, the coat rack. And all I could deduce was that, because my sleep process had been so hijacked and tortured by someone-who-shall-not-be-named, maybe that translated into this surreal experience. Certainly the most interesting thing to happen to me last night. I wonder now whether people will start to believe my assertions that I’m the brink of insanity.



July 25, 2008

Sleep is becoming more of a chore these days as I freely sample sleep disorders like hors d’oeuvres at a fully staffed buffet. On introspection, I realize this began in earnest – surprise, surprise – after the midnight screening of The Dark Knight. I couldn’t sleep afterwards, and still showed up for work b4 9am the next morning. Because of a friend’s birthday party, I didn’t get home that night ‘til 4am, yet I was wide awake at 9am on Saturday, unable to sleep again.

That night I only managed another 5 hours, much to my chagrin, meaning 10 hours of sleep in the last 84. Then, to mix things up, Monday thru Friday, I found myself unable to wake up and rise, a condition mirroring hypersomnia, which can arise from clinical depression.

I’ve never been the best sleeper – despite what people tell me – and I find myself juggling mild forms of insomnia, hypnagogic terrors, and hypersomnia – none big deals in and of themselves, but can be a real bitch when chucked together during a working week. It’s becoming a real pain-in-the-ass, but at least the hypnagogic terrors are not as bad as I’ve experienced. I’ve always wanted to try to write such a condition into a character in a script, but while the sensation is novel (and literally breathtaking) it doesn’t lend itself well to the visual medium without becoming hokey or being really far-out and off-the-wall ala Terry Gilliam (and I’m, sadly, no Terry Gilliam).

For the uninitiated, hypnagogic terrors are – at least in my case – an irrational but overwhelming fear that seizes you during hynagogia, which is the phase between sleep and wakefulness. So, on occasion, I’m unable to fall asleep because of a powerful fear, which arises only on the very brink of falling asleep, that I will never be able to wake again. No amount of logical argument dispels this, as it occurs at a time when one isn’t really in a thinking mode. If I can’t kick it, I might as well exploit it in a script, but how dramatize something so incredibly palpable and powerful yet happens only in the head?