Owen my 5 year old sometimes wakes up screaming in terror and it frightens me. My attempts at consoling him are refuted by his stares into the unknown with a look of utter fright as he points into the dark void of his hallucination. Whatever he sees in his minds eye has him completely terrified and my heart breaks as I try to console him. I have often wondered what it is that makes him so frightened. I have felt frightened myself to see that my hugs and soothing words have no effect at breaking the barrier between illusion and reality. Eventually 15 minutes will pass and so will the "episode". In the aftermath I lie beside him stroking his face and hair as tranquility once again sets upon his face. In these moments I wonder and fear that he is troubled in some way. I worry that his parents separation is "damaging" him. All these thoughts that plague me. I say this to you in knowing that if you are a mother, there is a part of you that understands what I am saying, understands the responsibility that we feel to raise emotionally healthy children. I feel the responsibility and sometimes I feel like I fall short of my expectations.
In a recent conversation with my sister Mad, she said that her son Ian also experiences episodes of waking in terror and it's called night terror. It feels nice to hear that there is an explanation to his crazy wakings in the wee hours and his frightful screams of terror. Thanks mad for that light bulb moment.