Over a year ago my husband took me to the ER at 2am while my mom came to watch the kids. My brain had experienced such intense sleep deprivation that I experienced a hypnagogic hallucination. I felt a few more throughout the months that followed that trip, but fortunately it's not overly dangerous and as long as someone can be with me at the time I didn't need to go to the hospital.
It's not dangerous, but it's terrifying. It always
began the same; my arms would start to jerk and spaz uncontrollably. This was
shortly followed by my grasp on reality - that grasp that the majority of
people have all the time and never really think about - slipping away. I could
feel my sanity being taken from me. Stolen by a lack of sleep. The most
frightening part is that it doesn't happen instantly. It takes a few minutes of
laying there, wrestling with it, fighting to stay sane. Bargaining, offering
anything, anything to stay sane. My mantra would become "stay with me,
stay with me" because it feels like I'm about to disappear into madness.Of
the times that it took over, it lasts for about an hour. You talk, chatter,
jerk, swim on the floor, watch your hands floating, giggle and spin around. And
somewhere in the back you're still there, but you won't be able to get back to
"normal" for at least an hour.
Sometimes I was able to fight it back, keep
it at bay. It's been so long since I've experienced that. But then last night I
came so close. I must have forgotten to take my sleeping pills because at
12:30am I was still wide awake (normally I fall asleep around 9:30-10pm). My
arms started to spaz and the fear of losing my mind returned. I chanted to
myself to stay sane, to "stay with me." I took another, or the first,
pill and was lucky to fall back to sleep instantly.
But coming so close again made me realise
just how deep this wound is. Over a year ago the initial "break"
occurred, and yet I'm still extremely sensitive to sleep deprivation. Our minds
are so fragile. It's not like a broken bone that heals and then you're okay.
The wounds of the mind take years to heal, yet no one can see it.
And in case you are wondering, the sleeping
medication I'm on is Quetiapine. Also known as Seroquel. This drug is not a "sleeping pill" - it's an
anti-psychotic and in high doses is used for schizophrenic patients. I'm on 50
a night. If I were to take 100 a night, I would be sedated. That's how
sever my sleep disorder is, how fragile my mind is right now. Still, after 15