Living with a terrorist

It’s official.  I’ve been secretly harbouring and housing a terrorist for nearly six years.   A night terrorist that is.

What, you may ask is a “night terrorist”.  Well, put simply, it’s a person, in this case, my child, who I believe suffers from night terrors pretty much every night.  To say that I have not had a full night’s sleep in five years is no understatement.  I am on the brink of insanity and really don’t know what to do?

For the past five years I’ve questioned whether “night terrors” are real or a fiction?  I’ve also tried to establish the difference between a night “terror” and a “nightmare” and believe that I am indeed dealing with a night terrorist and definitely not your garden variety, monsters under the bed type nightmare.

The real problem is that I am yet come up with a strategy to eradicate the night terrors, short of smoking the night terrorist out of his bunker when the acts of terrorism become apparent. During the day, I try to map my bright, mischievous son’s movements to his wayward nighttime behaviour with no resolve. I’ve tried to research “night terrors” and concluded that some kids are just predisposed to this ‘condition’ and that there’s not a whole lot parents can do except ride out the storm.  But the sleep deprivation does eventually start to take its toll.

Nearly every night, without fail, my son wakes every hour or so – writhing, screaming, thrashing, sweating, cursing and generally acting like mini zombie.  Before calling in an exorcist or a psychic I tried to establish the catalyst for his night terrors:

  • I made changes to his diet – I cut out all sugar, dairy, gluten.  Nothing changed.
  • I then tried to snuggle and cuddle and be gentle during the day and shower my son with more love than I could muster.  Still no change.
  • I even tried “control crying” my little night terrorist to maintain my sanity.  This one worked for me but didn’t curb the night terrors.
  • I then cut out TV during the day and I took away his Leap Pad.  Still nothing.
  • My final attempt was to get his tonsils taken out in an attempt to deal with any sleep issues he may have had which were causing him to wake so frequently. Two weeks after his operation and still no change.

He’s just immune to any treatment I’ve tried.  I’m at my wits end and in fact, he’s just marched into my room crying at 10.48pm as I’m typing this post! Please – help!

So – as a final attempt: I’m seeking advice and comments from parents who may have experienced this same phenomenon.  If you, or someone you know also lives with a night terrorist, please post your comments here!

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3 thoughts on “Living with a terrorist

  1. My daughter had night terrors for years, the only thing I found that helped was to make dinner and bed time earlier. If she went to bed overtired, it was always guaranteed to be a rough night! I also timed how long it was from the time she fell asleep to the first night terror and would go in and wake her a little (just enough so that she would kind of wriggle and roll over) just before she would usually have one. After a while of the earlier dinner/bedtime and waking thing they completely stopped. I don’t really know if it worked or if it just happened to be a coincidence and she grew out of them, but anything’s worth a shot! It can get pretty draining when they’re frequent or long, best of luck, I hope you find something that works x

  2. My last child had displayed some of the ‘symptoms’ mentioned in your post. I had four children and this is the first time i experienced something like this. It happened when he was still quite little, like between 6 months and two years of age. He’d wake up in the middle of the night, for no apparent reason at all, screaming on top of his lungs, writhing and trembling like he was pocessed or something and seemed totally unaware of our presence. I got so worried I actually called the ambulance twice as he wasn’t responding to us at all.

    He’s three years old now. He’s very strong minded and hot tempered and constantly fighting with his older siblings. Thankfully the night terror episodes have not returned for a while now.
    My struggle is the constant bickering, screaming and fighting amongst the three boys.
    But I’m an optimist and just hanging in there until they grow out of it. In the meantime breathe and relax and try to diffuse one fight at a time with lots of patience…

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