I am tired of my Night Terror-Hallucinations

Since I was very small I have had night terrors. I have been to sleep clinics and I have been told that I will have them for life considering my age, and that there was little I could do about them. Now, I don’t mind having these a few times a week, as I have changed my sleeping environment to benefit me if I happen to run around in a panic. I sleep in a large entertainment room area on a couch, with no furniture between myself and the ceiling lights. I have read up on the subject enough to be able to convince myself that the terror is not real without getting up, and go back to sleep. Most of the time now, I do not even get to the terror phase, but merely have hallucinations. And you, dear hallucinations, are driving me insane!!

I know that you are caused due to my chihuahua finishing patrolling and eating and drinking, and jumping on my stomach to go to sleep, while I’m in my vulnerable phase (15-45 minutes after falling asleep). I know this because I am used to finding Thor with a mouthful of nibbles to eat when I am finished panicking. Thanks, Thor.

I guess I should be grateful that you, hallucinations, are typically very benign both in fear-mongering and in form. But it is very embarrassing to be afraid of some of your forms. Forms that are not even based on any items in reality, pretty much ever.

The first one I can remember was just an unnerving presence in my closet. Enough to make me switch rooms. Then there were a series of the typical terrors, like “floor covered in snakes/bugs” or “leprechaun peeking through my door which is cracked open although it is shut in reality.” Then things got both more mundane, and more insane.

One night the terror in question was an origami dove made of lace floating near the ceiling. Another, a single sheet of notebook paper. A hovering afghan blanket. (Oh, and according to many witnesses, instead of screaming bloody murder like most (?) people going through a terror, I yip like a small dog. People will come in to find out what is wrong with the chihuahua, only to find me flailing around while the dog glares. Also embarrassing!) One night I must have had some strange walking terror, as on waking my very large bedside lamp was aligned parallel to my bed, on the floor, on its side, and I was hugging its lampshade under the covers. Some terrors have resulted in my glasses, bedside books, and tissue boxes on the other side of the room due to self defense maneuvers.

Things got even weirder as I got older, though. Namely, the Lego Men. There were two of them, riding a red Lego helicopter. They buzzed around over my head, every few months. Once I got up enough courage to try to swat them away and hope I didn’t get my fingers mangled, but my hand went through them, proving them non-existent. Except they STILL wouldn’t stop being there. I’ve tried this with many terror hallucinations, and they never disappear on being proven non-existent. They stopped coming at one point and I was glad.

Then there were the video game oriented hallucinations. I have had Mario coins. Sonic rings. Video game enemies peeking out of pillows and cushions (yes, I saw you, water strider bug enemy from Super Mario 64). Always interspersed with spider/bug related ones, which end up being true terrors with the running and yipping and very confused dogs. Last night’s put me into the ‘minor rant’ stage. I have been playing altogether too much Psychonauts these last few days, and if you don’t know the game, there are these 2-dimensional crayon-outline bright-colored figments in people’s minds you collect by running through them. They are not dangerous or anything. I, the desk, the couch’s armrest, the windowsill, and the chihuahua, had a lot of these figments on various spots. As usual they wouldn’t leave for quite a while. I couldn’t sleep knowing they were there, either, being neon pink and neon green and such and attracting my attention.

So…yeah. I am tired of these hallucinations, as humorous as they can be from an outsider’s point of view, even when they are not full blown terrors. I’d just like maybe two weeks of a break from them. That’s all. Maybe other people have night terror hallucinations to gripe about as well and make me feel less silly, though?

I don’t have any advice, but I don’t think it’s humorous at all(ok maybe that whole lampshade thing, sorry). I value sleep above pretty much all else, and that just sounds awful to me. I hope someone else can help you out!

Oh I’ve been to a sleep doctor several times a few years ago; he said the only ‘fix’ would be to take melanin pills, but he didn’t recommend me actually doing so, and I forget why. I normally just laugh off the stuff but oh god, this last week and especially those little crayon figments have been just too much for now. I and some dopers on the City of Heroes game were chatting about some silly night hallucinations we’ve had; I figured I could see if any others have silly ones too.

Once, when I was a kid, though I woke up, or at least I thought I did, and I saw a shadow come over the room and I knew without looking that it was a giant coming to lift the house up and take it with him. Not quite a hallucination, though.

How about just regular ol’ night terror (no caps)? I get that sometimes. No hallucinations, just this overwhelming feeling like I can’t breathe and a sudden fear of pulmonary embollism or something equally awful. I am a healthy 26-year old and I know it’s psychological in nature. The only thing I know to do is breathe, counting to 4 on the way in and 4 on the way out. I don’t know if that might work for calming you down during the hallucinations…

Okay, not to be mean or anything, but the first thought I had?

I want whatever Toaster is smokin’.

Dude. I’d love the LEGO thing. Really.

The rest… not really. Hope it gets better for ya.

I’ve had some odd night hallucinations from time to time–most memorably, the flaming, flying fedora, the black cat with glowing eyes, brightly glowing blankets thrown over objects in the room, a man’s arm and hand on the bed next to me, and a window on the wall where there is no window. They seem to come in cycles, with months going by without one, and then 3 in a week or so.

When the latest cycle starts up, I’ve taken to wearing an eye mask to sleep, on the theory that if I can’t see anything anyway, then I can’t see the hallucinations.

I’ve taken melatonin for insomnia and jet lag on and off for years, and it doesn’t seem to effect night visions one way or the other.

I had hypnagogic hallucinations for years. (Here’s a pretty good description.) Actually, I guess I had hypnopompic hallucinations, too, because I would often have them in the middle of night after I’d been asleep for a while. (I learned that the term for what I was experiencing was hypnagogic/hypnopompic hallucinations from SDMB, by the way!)

My doctor prescribed 25 mg of trazodone, a drug which has both sedative and anti-depressant properties, but it also, in low doses, helps regulate sleep cycles. It made a HUGE difference. I now have real REM sleep with dreams, not all the weird crazy shit that was just like what you described.

You might want to talk to your doctor about it.

Is there any way to keep him out of your sleeping area to hopefully cut down on the frequency of the terrors?