My head is on fire

That was a hell of a long night.  I have been trying to modify my diet a little to get some more calories into me through the day as I am not, and never have been, a breakfast eater.  I generally don’t eat until dinner time aside from a few snacks through the day but it stands to reason that providing more energy to burn can only help me stay more awake.  It’s not really working so far but it’s not even been a week yet.  I’m trying to eat fruits and whole raw foods through the day and then carbs for dinner so my metabolism starts working properly again.  Will see how it goes.

… still, I’m so messed up from this exhaustion.

Last night Dayne was working late so I got Colt some dinner (leftovers, thankful for those) and figured I’d wait for him to get something to eat myself.  I wasn’t hungry at all and my head was pounding so it was really just an excuse, but I bought into it just fine.  At 6:15 I started to fade…could feel the detachment of thoughts that comes before I start to fall asleep.  I got up, showered, tried to keep myself from sitting down, but the hot water made it worse and I nearly had to crawl to the couch when I got out.  Colt came upon me in the hall.

“Uhh mom?  Are you okay?  Do you need help?  Can I get you an energy drink from the fridge?”

He could tell immediately what was going on.  I usually keep my physical (and emotional) issues to myself around my son.  I’m honest with him about it all but I try not to burden him with worry and I think I do a pretty good job of it.  He knows that sometimes I have really bad headaches and sometimes I’m really, really tired and just need to rest.

“I’m good sweetheart.  Just sleepy.” I answered and took his hand as offered.  He lead me to the couch and I sat down and was asleep before anything else could happen.

I dreamed that someone was trying to get into my house.  I had only just sat down when the door started to rattle and bang, like someone was trying to break it down without turning the doorknob.  I jumped up from the couch and ducked below the window line, crept to the second bathroom and tried to peek out the window to see who was out there.  I caught a glimpse of two people and then saw my neighbour across the road who was frantically waving at me from her porch, trying to get my attention.  I ducked down and tried to will her to stop waving at me…she was looking right at my bathroom window and I didn’t want the people at the door to know I was in there.

“GRAINNE!  They have FIRE!” she began to yell at the top of her lungs.

Oh god no.  Colt was in the house with me and I didn’t know how to get past the other windows to his room without them seeing me.  I left the bathroom on all fours, creeping slowly along and caught a quick glimpse of more figures standing on my deck through the kitchen sliding glass door.  Our escape routes were cut off.  I thought about the side door or jumping out a window since we were on the main floor, and redoubled my efforts to get to Colt.

Suddenly, directly in front of me, the ceiling began to collapse and bits of plaster and drywall rained down on me.  A large chunk got caught in my hair and the dust was blinding me so I reached up to pull it from my hair and wipe my eyes when I realized something around me was burning.  I opened my eyes and they began to burn from the debris but a yellow hot light blinded me caused tears to flood, clearing my vision.  Everything around me was on fire.

“Colt!” I screamed, “Get out of the house!  There’s a fire!”

My voice was swallowed up by the raging flames.

“Mom!” I heard Colt call and I looked around me, choking on the smoke that was beginning to fill up the room, black and acrid.  “Mom!  I’m outside!  Where are you?”  he called, worry in his voice.

I was so glad he was outside and away from the fire until I realized those people were still out there and might be hurting him.  I jumped up in a panic and, on my feet, began to run the length of the hallway, heading for the side door.  My feet kept slipping on something on the floor and I felt them go out from under me as I crashed, head-long, into something I couldn’t see.  My head filled with a sharp pain and I clamped my hands to the sides of my head, trying to contain it.  When I did so, the raging sound of flames and heat stopped instantly.  It was so surprising I forgot about the pain in my head for a moment and dropped my hands, looking around for the damage that had just been surrounding me.

I was awake (for real), on my knees in the hallway and the door that separates the kitchen from the side door was half closed, blocked from behind with a laundry basket.  I knew, somehow, that it was the door I had just run into.  My head was killing me, ears ringing and I was shaking from head to toe – the adrenaline from the dream still in my veins.  I knew the feeling well enough to realize I had been dreaming and sleep walking.

I stood up carefully and went to Colt’s room (door closed, Youtube videos blasting).  I knocked and opened the door a crack and peeked in.  He wasn’t in there although his ipad was still on his bed.

“Colt?” I called, thinking he must be in the bathroom.

“Yeah mom?” I heard him answer but his voice sounded like it was coming through the vents…from inside the walls somehow.  I thought it was my hearing.  “Where are you?” I asked.

“I told you already!  I’m outside.”  He answered.

I had a dizzy wave crash over me and I felt like the room started to move under my feet.  I went into his room and looked out the window and there he was, standing on the front walk with people I didn’t know.  As soon as they saw me the front door rattling and banging started again.

I ran out of the room and to the front of the house, thinking of nothing but getting Colt back inside and away from those people but as I came to a stop at the front door I put my hand on the handle and everything stopped again, dead quiet.  I looked around, hand frozen on the handle, and heard a noise behind me.  Someone was coming down the hall!  I was absolutely frozen with terror, not knowing who it was or how they had materialized through a hallway with no external doors and then I heard Colt right beside me.

“Mom.  Pssst, mommy?  You’re scaring me.  Are you having a bad dream mom?”

I felt like I was going to faint.  I dropped to a low crouch (I don’t know why I did that) and half-crawled around to the front of the couch near the front door.  (Where I usually sleep)  I found Colt there, kneeling down and whispering into one of the pillows.  I felt something touch my arm and I whipped around and I screamed, eyes clamped closed even though I wanted to see what it was.

I felt that nausea inducing sea sickness sweep through me again and realized something was wrong.  Things were at the wrong angles.  I was squatting down beside the couch but I could somehow see both the fireplace and the ceiling at the same time; the coffee table from both the side and top simultaneously.  I could feel the wood floor under my bare feet and the blanket on the couch covering them.  I was upright and lying down; upright and lying down; upright and…lying down down down….and I was opening my eyes.  I was lying on the couch with the blanket around me, balled into my white knuckled fists.  Colt was about two inches away from my face, his worried blue eyes searching my face to make sure I was okay.

“Hi mom.  I think you were having a nightmare.” he said, reaching out to stroke my hair the same way I’ve always done for him when he wakes from a bad dream.

I started to cry and then struggled to stifle it because he was on the edge of tears himself.

“Whew, thank you for waking me up Colt!  I did have a bad dream but now that it’s over I feel much better now.

“Was it about the men with the guns who robbed us like in my nightmare? They killed you and daddy and I was so scared I peed the bed when I woke up.”  he said.

“Something like that sweetheart.  We didn’t get killed in my dream though.  We fought the bad guys and we beat them in the end.”  I lied.  (Colt has been struggling to grasp the facts of life and death these days.  It’s been pretty hard on him so I didn’t want to feed those fears if I could help it).

I have a lot of these dreams documented over the years.  Some are far worse and some are just downright crazy sounding so I tend not to post them.  Sometimes, when I wake up I can still see the dream images around me so clearly I can’t tell if I’m actually awake or not.   It’s alarmingly disorientating and I feel like if I talk about this I’ll end up committed. Even the people who love me most tend to deny that there’s something physically wrong with me…they all think it’s ‘in my head’ or a ‘part of the depression’.   The previous sleep studies showing irregular sleep patterns and extensive periods of REM sleep mean little to most and people often tell me I’m looking for answers where there are none – I’m creating this issue somehow, through the depression, PTSD or anxiety.  Those were labels they gave me….when I was young and ‘undiagnosed’ it was my ‘imagination’ that caused these dreams, apparently.  Even though I was only a child and would wake, screaming and fighting for my life, clawing and biting and hurting myself and those around me….too vivid an imagination was the end decision.  Mind you, there was a lot of abuse going on then and my parents were afraid of being exposed so would not pursue any medical testing that might let the secret out.  But now, even, I hear the same bullshit.

Because of all this I trust very few people enough to share this part of my life.  The only people who believe there’s something going on other than the depression are the ones who are forced to live with me and experience it on a nearly nightly basis.  That said, Dayne won’t listen to the retelling of them anymore – he’s had his fill after all these years.  He would just really like to see it go away because he can see the stress it causes after the fact.

Anyway.  I don’t want to get my hopes up as I’m sure this sleep study will end up as useless as the rest of the testing I’ve put myself through.  I wish it WAS related to the depression so I could work on it somehow…try a few new meds to stop it all.  They tried to treat it as a symptom of PTSD for a few months once but I felt like I was wasting my money, going to therapy and talking about dreams the entire time.

I really dislike this part of me.

*sigh*  Okay.  Rant over.  Time to try to get some work done so the bosses will ease up on me a bit.  (hahahahaha…riiiiight).


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About Grainne

My name is Grainne. This blog has been with me for years now and has served as a journal, a confessional, an outlet and a place for me to create and express my love of life. Thank you for stopping by and for becoming a part of this life long journey of mine. I appreciate every single one of you who takes the time to do so. :)

6 responses to “My head is on fire”

  1. Cat's Meow says :

    This sounds horrible to live with. Could there be some sort of long term TBI going on? It sounds like there must be some sort of biological component, even if it is combining with the PTSD. I know that there is a med that is used for PTSD nightmares that is primarily used to lower blood pressure. If you don’t already have low blood pressure, that might be worth talking with a trauma informed psychiatrist about.

    I hope that you can find something to give you relief.

  2. Birdie says :

    Have you ever looked up night terrors? Does that fit into what is happening?

    • Grainne says :

      Yes, that’s what they thought was going on as a child. My parents didn’t want to look into it after that due to the secrets. They thought I was just reacting to the stress and didn’t want to be found out. I didn’t think adults could have night terrors for some reason. Thanks for the thought…I’m going to look it up. xx

  3. The Sound of Ed's Voice says :

    Holy cow!!! It not only sounds like sleep issues but it sounds like derealization!!! I have derealization! Scary as shit because it can be SO hard to tell what is real, what is dreams, and what is imagined/psychosis.

    I am sorry you are struggling through this! I bet though that the sleep study will help! If no diagnosis, at least it will rule things out! That’s how I always view things: I want a diagnosis but as frustrating as it can be if there is none, at least you can get an answer of what it is not.

    But it sounds similar to my derealization because when I am beyond stressed out and my sleep is off I get that sometimes where I think I wake up and do things and can’t tell what is real and not real. Even when I’m awake I can get triggered by trauma triggers that push me into victim mode [happened 2 weeks ago at work]. I ended up learning that for me the best way to differentiate between reality and dream of derealization is to touch human being because I touch and feel everything else in my fake world but can’t feel humans. I know SO weird. Have you noticed a pattern in your other world that you can latch on to to help break you out of it?

    Stay strong pretty lady!!

    • Grainne says :

      Oh thank you for this!! That made me feel much better somehow – just hearing that you’ve been through similar. I mean, I’m not happy you know it but still…thank you so much for supporting me. Half the time I feel crazy and the other half of the time I feel justified but guilty. Not a nice combination.

      I try to pick out patterns in both the real work and my dreams but I struggle there because the stresses I have tend to be long term things that rarely let up, much like yours. I’m currently have a particularly crap time at work so that might be it in some ways…these dreams where reality and dreams spin together only happen once in a while (thankfully). The other, vivid, random dreams are every time I close my eyes but they don’t bother me emotionally the way these ones do. Derealization goes kind of hand in hand with PTSD I think, right? I’ve not read much on it for some reason. Will do that now.

      (hugs you!!!!) Thank for all the love, my awesome friend. xox

      • The Sound of Ed's Voice says :

        Omg don’t apologize or explain I tots know what you mean!! It’s relieving to know when one is not alone! It’s the relief of this small community on here. :] I am glad to provide some mental relief!!

        Ya it would always make me feel crazy–still does just not as bad because now I actually have an idea of what is happening to a degree. It still makes me crazy because I can have a hard time teasing it apart. Don’t feel guilty. Like ever.

        Ya it’s sooo hard to find the patterns!! I’m sorry work is hard!!! :[[

        Ugh all kinds bug me! I hate the vivid nature!! Scares me so much!! Feels sooo real!! Ya sounds just like me!!

        Ya it definitely does!! Derealization is a symptom of PTSD as well as a sign but it is also a sign of mental and behavioral instability. So aka untreated psychiatric issues. CBT was really helpful. I also have several anxiety disorders in addition to PTSD so CBT helped with that. And then now I’m on lexapro [low doses because my goal is to come off of it so I’m trying to experience some anxiety still].

        I remembered it from nursing school but never really put it together that I was experiencing it until Cherry said something to me! I was like, oh shit. Sometimes it takes an outside source, ya know?

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