Night Terror

I think I had a night terror the other night.

I woke up, unable to breathe, unable to move, filled with panic from no source I could discern. Wasn’t having a nightmare. Just woke up terrified. Full of the certainty I was about to die.

Totally alien feeling. Staring at the ceiling. Tiny gagging noises issuing from my throat. Wife sleeping next to me, totally oblivious.

Then it was over. I sucked in a deep, gasping breath, the feeling of dread evaporated, and I lay there staring at the ceiling. Within a few seconds, I was asleep again. By the time I woke up in the morning, I wasn’t even sure it ever happened at all. Maybe I just dreamed it.

I don’t have anything particularly insightful or profound to say about this, except that it was an absolutely horrifying experience in the moment, and in retrospect, all I can muster is a sort of “well that was odd” feeling. Which is itself weird. Went from totally sure I was about to die to going right back to bed to almost not mentioning it to my wife the next day. Weird weird weird.

I’ve never had a night terror before, which is why I’m not even sure this was one. From my understanding, if you get them, it’s kind of a lifelong thing. Is this a thing? Can you just get one out of nowhere in your thirties?

Henry Fuseli’s “The Nightmare”. Do yourself a favor and DON’T do a google image search on “night terrors.”