Night Terrors

I’ve been watching a lot of Embarrassing Bodies on Channel Four lately, partly because I inherited a taste for medical programs from my mother, and partly because I like to have things to stick on the telly when I’m washing up, and there are only so many episodes of Pointless one can watch in a day.

Embarrassing Bodies mostly serves to make me gawp at the horrible things people put up with for years on end. There’s the added element of this series with the dentist section that just makes me vomit (I’m sure they didn’t used to do that before) and I always like to hear about the weird really rare illnesses. Like Foreign Accent Syndrome this week, a syndrome that makes you speak in a foreign accent. Brain chemistry is a fascinating thing, but more on that another post perhaps.

Because what I actually want to talk about is a problem in my own home that Embarrassing Bodies gave me and the Boyfriend a rather embarrassing name for.

Night Terrors.

It sounds like the sort of thing a five year old would get, right? Well, apparently less than two percent of adults get Night Terrors. The Boyfriend is one of them.

A little medical history…

I’ve spoken about the high pressure jobs that both the Boyfriend and I have. The thing is, neither of us deal with stress very well. I tend to rage and storm at things for no reason, as I did last thursday, but I do at least let it out. The Boyfriend internalises, and it manifests in a series of text book symptoms, that despite several different medical professionals tell him are all down to stress, he still likes to believe they aren’t. He’s awkward like that.

Night Terrors happen mostly in the first 90 minutes after you fall asleep, before your brain sinks into the deep sleep. That sort of awake, but not really awake stage of sleeping that you can wake up from quite easily but it leaves you feeling confused as to what’s real and what’s not. Which for us is usually between about half ten and midnight.

Most Night Terrors involve thrashing about and making strange noises and talking gibberish. The Boyfriend, possibly because of his Firefighter instincts for responding to his alerter, generally leaps out of bed. Which wakes me up with quite a jump.

In his time he’s done many amusing things, and some less so.

The funniest one recently was when we were away for the weekend, staying at a Premier Inn. The Boyfriend leapt out of bed and flew into the corridor, then stood in the open doorway wearing only his boxers. I called and asked him what he was doing. He responded, ‘looking for the bathroom,’ but then got straight into bed and fell back asleep. I told him about it the next morning and teased him mercilessly. Because I’m a supportive girlfriend that way.

Sometimes, however, it can be a little more… Paranormal Activity. Like the time I found him standing at the end of the bed just grinning at me, and when I asked him what he was doing, he simply turned and got back into bed without saying a word and wouldn’t wake up.

Last night (as I’m typing this, who knows what he’ll get up to the night before this posts) he leapt out of bed screaming ‘GET OFF!’ and then ran for the light switch. With the room cruelly illuminated at 12:46, I wasn’t best impressed. The Boyfriend, however, was more concerned about tearing the duvet and pillows off the bed to search for the mouse that tried to bite him.

I kid you not.

I’ve tried to persuade the Boyfriend to seek medical advice about his nighttime antics. He’s wearing down slowly, and may eventually submit to the idea. In the meantime, I will continue to laugh at his expense, and hope there are no more reruns of the Paranormal Activity incident. Because honestly, that one totally freaked me out.


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