March 1, 2014 at 10:07 am #16463
Just a head’s up this is going to be a graphic, likely disturbing post.
On February 9th, 2013, I lost my best friend of twelve years (my entire life, basically). She was in a car accident on January 2nd in the early hours of the morning.
When I arrived at the scene, just before the ambulance, I found the driver of the car she was in trembling on the ground beside the wreck. I couldn’t see the man who hit them but his car was there. I ran to the car to try and save her but she was stuck in the passenger seat; unconscious *and severely injured. About two minutes later the ambulance arrived and told me I had to step back.
After 17 days of being in the ICU, she was moved to recovery. Two days in to recovery and her lungs began to collapse and her heart was failing again. After being moved back into ICU and put on life support, her parents called me (I had to go back to boarding school). They said that if there were no signs of improvement after one week they would have to pull the plug. That’s the first time I self-injured* until I couldn’t feel anything.
After one week she showed no signs of improvement. Her parents called me to tell me and I self-injured again*. To this day I remember the last thing she said to me.
Now, a year later, I have recurring night terrors that begin with me paragliding through Africa with her. The beginning of the song “Asleep” by Emily Browning repeats in the background. She falls off her glider and that’s when I wake up. But when I open my eyes she’s right next to me; in the same state she was after the accident. But she’s unconscious and staring at me, and I’m literally paralyzed. After I notice her she starts to cry and I have to continually tell myself it’s not real. For five minutes her cries get louder and she comes closer, and every muscle in my body is paralyze. It has begun to happen far more often than I am willing to admit but I have lost about 7 days of sleep this past February because of it.
I don’t know what to do or if there is a counselor that exists who knows how to deal with something like this without throwing a truckload of prescription drugs at it.
Night terrors aren’t new to me, but recurring night terrors are. The more it happens, the more I begin to feel anxiety and stress.
*Edited by the Support Team for triggering content.
March 4, 2014 at 7:17 am #19112
Hello Anonymous 13,
I want to thank you for having the strength to share your story and to look for help. I can only begin to imagine the emotional pain that you have experienced both in the last year with the traumatic loss of your best friend, and now with her presence in your night terrors. It sounds incredibly agonizing.
I can hear how those moments from last year are still so alive in your memory — so vivid. And the pain that you felt then is still so vivid as well. I’m so sorry for your loss. I can see that your friend was hugely important to you, and that losing her was intolerable to the point where you harmed yourself in order to overwhelm the pain that threatened to overwhelm you.
The night terrors you describe are terrifying. The sadness of having to experience over and over these moments of being with her and then losing her, watching her fall and then waking up to find her looking as she did after her accident…it sounds like the most frightening and crushing feeling. I can see why you are losing sleep because of it — I would imagine that there are times when you fear sleep because of the thought of being paralyzed with these images of her that are so raw, and so real seeming.
My heart cries for your pain. You say that you don’t know if there is a counsellor in existence that could help, and I’m curious if you have tried to seek out professional help before? Is there anything that has helped you to cope with some of the stress and anxiety that is coming up for you as a result of the trauma and these night terrors?
We are very much here for you. Stay strong.
The Support Team
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