Sometime in my late teens, I woke up in the middle of the night to see someone crouching by the side of my bed, looking me straight in the eye. This person had a chalk-white face and displayed zero emotion. It could have been a child or a young adult. I didn't know then, and I can't be certain now.
But understandably, I jumped with my heart in my mouth and got out of the bed from the other side. I kept looking at this figure by the side of my bed and kept trying to scream. But not a sound escaped me. Within seconds, I ran to my parents' room and by the time I started running, I slowly became aware of the reality that it might have been a night terror or a hallucination. But to this day, I can vouch for how real it felt, for how clearly I saw this...being.
That night, as I fell asleep in between my parents, I felt safe. But I woke up again, this time to find a man sleeping beside me. A big, broad-shouldered man to my right. For a second, I forgot that I wasn't asleep in my own room and that my dad was laying to my right. So I sat up screaming my lungs out and my blood-curdling shrieks scared my parents so much that I doubt they slept at all that night. I remember them both shaking me and asking me what the problem was, and as I came back into consciousness and realised that I was screaming, I felt terrorised by the pitch of my own voice and ashamed by the fact that I'd woken everyone up. I gave them no reply and fell back onto my pillow to immediately fall back into a deep slumber. I remember that incident to this day.
In the past two years, Shane has had to jump out of bed and into consciousness in the middle of the night on many occasions as I sat up and screamed. Every single one of those times, I have also been woken up by my own screams, only to feel terribly ashamed of myself. In fact, on the first night at an Airbnb in Brighton last year, I went to bed by 9 p.m and by 10:30, I opened my eyes to "see" the pillow by my side expand, double in size, and shoot up into the air. The scream that followed was so terrible that I remained in our bedroom the next morning, too ashamed to face our hosts while Shane apologised to them on my behalf. Thankfully, they weren't home at the time and Shane was the only witness to that episode.
I decided to finally write about this after it became more recurrent. For the past few weeks, Shane and I have been going to bed at different times. I'm usually dead tired by 11 p.m but he being a night owl, prefers to read or play late into the night. But on almost all the occasions when I'd be subconsciously expecting him to walk into the room once he's done, I've woken up screaming less than half an hour into falling asleep. I wake up seeing vivid images of people standing by the bed, people I later realise are not Shane. Last weekend, I saw Shane's shirt which was hanging on a hook on the bedroom door, transform into a human. And last night, as Shane got up and walked towards the kitchen which is right outside our bedroom, I screamed upon hearing his footsteps. The image I saw was of someone walking into the room, someone who wasn't Shane. But in reality, Shane never even walked into the room. All I heard were his footsteps. It was after I started screaming that he came into the room and consoled me by repeating the words "It's just me". And for a long time, I was very confused.
Nobody in my life or my circles relates to this. I'm the only person that my parents, close friends, Shane and I personally know of who experiences these night terrors (if they're even night terrors). I don't know what this is. Internet research hasn't been very helpful and I'm generally suspicious of medical advice online. But I think this has reached a stage where if it becomes more recurrent or gets out of control, I will have to consult a sleep therapist. I will have to get help.
I avoided sharing this over here for so long because first of all, it didn't make any sense to me. Secondly, I didn't take it too seriously. And most importantly, I was worried that I'd be the only freak out there who had such freakish experiences. I still don't know why I'm sharing this now but I think I'm finally beginning to accept the fact that maybe this is not normal? Either way, this is my experience and my reality at this stage of my life and even if it goes away at some point, I think I should be able to come back here and remember how I used to experience something this crazy. If anything, it'll be a good story to tell my kids in the future and maybe it'll even help them if they were to experience something of the sort.
But this is an on-going string of events and I'll have to wait and see how it ends.