Take Another Look

{September 9, 2009}   Night Terrors

Cameron’s trying to quit benzos, but she doesn’t know who she’s really trying to do it for. It helps her, doesn’t it? But she’s run out except for nine pills, which might as much be none if she can’t take them all at once. She can’t go back to the doctor for more.

She wakes up screaming. Again. She fell asleep around six am and woke at seven. It was only an hour but she thought it was ten. Her eyes were beady and black, her pupils taking up the entire space where the color should go.

Her doctor urged her to quit. Told her that her “psyche was being squelched by the drugs.” He said something about the drug taking away level four sleep. He said that it was like curing snoring by waking somebody up every time they start to snore: they’d start to go crazy from the lack of sleep. The drug was painting over her psyche. He told her it was common for people with abuse in their past to have night terrors.
“That’s what the clonazepam is doing with you, preventing your psyche from rebuilding itself.” Dr. Rayborn said.

The terrors weren’t in her file. She hadn’t told him that they had started when she was seven and that as a teenager she used to wake up screaming. One time she woke up with her face wet. Another time she woke up her roommate, who said that the scream scared the living shit out of him. He said it sounded like another person from another place.  “A death rattle,” he’d called it. Before that, her roommates mostly mentioned her talking as she slept. But all that changed when she started using downers. Anything to anesthetize herself. Then she could rest. But the real rest never came, only the illusion of rest. That’s what the doctor was telling her. Because she wanted to escape the night terrors, they were now going to find her with an intensity she’d forgotten was possible. They’d demonize her, tie her down, make sure she worked through whatever waking issues were following her around so she stopped falling apart during waking time. And then she wanted to be able to have a good night sleep when there was noise around so in between periods of going sober, she would take a whole bunch when she found herself with the person she wanted to be with, taking preventative measures so that she wouldn’t wake up. Even then, it could be a fight to sleep.

She went from twenty pills to one pill in one day and now the terrors she had last night were a bit much, but hey, do it all, do it all at once since the taper plan had failed her this time. She had tapered off before, almost painlessly, but now was too late to stack up a taper supply. Unlike previous terrors, however, she remembers a different kind of darkness in these dreams. She is not being chased; she is not accidentally causing fires, then dying. She is not  living in her own puke and cobwebs while bound in a hole in the earth, Bach playing in the background as she tries to climb out of a the hole of puke while somebody continues to throw dirt down the hole as she tries to climb. This time she remembers a tiger; she remembers a serial killer. It really doesn’t help that she remembers thinking “I really should remember this,” and went over the terror in her head before falling back to bed, even going so far as to take a pencil and paper to the bed and then accidentally falling back asleep. She was going to write it down but she fell back asleep. The second time she fell asleep it was a different night terror. She remembers being quarantined and needing to get out. She remembers the birds stuck in there. Those awful canaries. A fenced in back yard, and protocol said she couldn’t leave nobody could leave, but unlike her friend in the overcrowded quarantined room, she couldn’t even find a bunker. She was out in the open.


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