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Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Most Terrifying of Night Terrors.....Ever Wanted To Go Into The Light????

OMG!!!!!  Please, please comment on this post if you have any experience, advice, thoughts.....

Well, I've been experimenting with more mug cakes this week - chocolate brownie mug cakes to be precise but in typical Leighland fashion, my phone was on charge while I was playing in the kitchen so I couldn't take any photos.  This is not necessarily a bad thing though as they looked delicious and tasted begin with!  About 3/4 of the way in we decided one more bite would make us sick!!  It's not like me or the B to put a desert down but there was no way we could finish it!

So I was sitting here trying to think of something interesting to write about instead, when all of a sudden the dreaded screaming began.  We usually encounter these episodes 2-3 times a month, but this is the second night in a row!!

For the benefit of anyone who has never witnessed an attack, it is truly one of the most terrifying things you will ever see.  It's not uncommon for your child to sit bolt upright and point at something only they can 'see' while screaming and thrashing around.  Often, they do not recognise you and any attempts to soothe them will usually make the attack worse.  You feel like the worst parent in the world and it is hideous.

Lola is quite the little Mummy's girl, when ever she is poorly, upset or if her sleep is disturbed for any other reason, she only wants me.  Although she usually wants Daddy in the room, she will generally want to snuggle into me.  When attacks strike, she lays on her back, eyes wide open, pointing at something near the ceiling with both arms and both legs, screaming bloody murder.  I'm never sure if she knows its me or not, but she screams for me to get off her, leave her alone and go away.  She screams and screams for Daddy, but often when he gets she won't let him near her either:-(

Last night, I made a conscious effort not to touch her or soothe her in anyway shape of form.  It seemed to do the trick, because I wasn't interfering,  I wasn't making anything worse.  I was eventually able to decipher some of the screams and what I heard shook me to my core.

Anyone who has ever witnessed a night terror is sure to have Googled it.  They are also sure to have not been brought much comfort from the fact that their little loved one is blissfully unaware that anything is even happening and there is very rarely anything to worry about.  In fact, the biggest danger with a night terror is that the child may hurt themselves with all of the thrashing about.  This is something I have grown accustomed to.  While Lola has never actually hurt herself, I often get kicked or hit in the face and chest and we recently had to drill into her bed and bolt it back together after if eventually gave up the fight and fell to bits!

During last nights attack, I was able to make out that Lola was upset about not being able to go somewhere. This struck me as a little odd as night terrors occur shortly before you begin dreaming.  This is how a night terror differs from a nightmare.  Nightmares happen during the dream phase, also known as REM sleep.  A child suffering from nightmares will generally wake up distressed as a result of their bad dream and depending on age, they are able to describe the dream whereas with a night terror, there is no dream so there is nothing to recollect.  So why was Lola talking about going somewhere?  Using a slightly louder and firmer voice than is normal for me, I asked her.  It took a few goes, but she eventually told me she wanted to go 'into the light'.

As soon as she said it (ok, screamed it!) all I could think of was when people talk about Near Death Experiences and they describe dead loved ones coming to take them into the light.  I panicked and told her 'No, you can not go into the light, you have to stay here with Mummy'.  She did not like this at all and quickly became more distressed.  As usual, she wanted me to get of, leave her alone and go away.  She hysterically screaming that she wanted to go with 'them' because 'I like it'.  I couldn't get her to say who 'they' were but eventually managed to distract her by asking her to say with Daddy.  She began screaming for Daddy, as she typically does in these situations, and seemed to quickly forget about 'the light'.  By the time Daddy got to her room she had pretty much settled down again into a deep sleep.  We heard the occasional whimper through out the rest of the night, but every time I checked on her she was sound asleep.

I'm sure there'll be a really good forum out there for families who are affected by night terrors, but so far I haven't been able to find it.  With the exception of my best friend, who witnessed one of Lola's attacks during a weekend away, none of our friends or family have experienced anything like this before.  Lola had her 4 year checks a few weeks ago and the health visitor was unable to offer any kind of advice at all so right now, the B and I are feeling completely alone in this.  The only saving grace is that Lola has no idea anything is even happening.  The worst part is that if Google tells us there are no dreams involved in night terrors, then I have no idea how normal (or abnormal!!!!!!) it is for Lola to want to go 'into the light'.  I don't know how worried to be about it!!!   I feel like the worst mother in the world :'-(

Fortunately, tonight's attack was pretty calm in comparison - to the extent that at first I thought she was having an attack of growing pains (oh yes, night time in our house is fuuuuuuuuunnnn!!!!).

Apparently only about 6% of children are affected by night terrors, is your kid one of them??  How do you cope?

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