Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Night Terror

Last night, Mikayla and I headed over to Stephie's house for our weekly viewing of American Idol and Veronica Mars. As is always the case, Mikayla falls asleep before Veronica Mars even starts, so don't worry about the adult content of such a show influencing my daughter..... =) She just thinks it's great to have the special girl time.

About 15 minutes before the end of the show, she started crying. This isn't unusual, she'll often wake up crying- she's had a bit of a sore throat that she's been overly dramatic about, she might need to go potty, bad dream - whatever. However, as I went to hold her and soothe her, trying to wake her up - it got worse and not better. She seemed genuinely paniced and couldn't communicate what was going on. Nothing was calming her either, I had her in a vice grip in my embrace and she just kept wailing, cupping her mouth as one might do if they saw something absolutely startling. I thought maybe she was ready to throw up, no, that didn't seem to be the case. The hardest thing - is that her eyes appeared fixated on something that was absoultely causing her terror - at one point her face took on this expression rival to any horror film's actress and she screamed in horror twice. I had to tell myself at this point, this is what a "night terror" is - and my daughter is experiencing her first.

My nephew, Traig, deals with these quite a bit. I think they've slowed down within the last year, but it was not an unusual thing for him to be found at our house (or me to witness at their's) him walking around the house, completely disoriented, anxious about something that made no sense at all. I don't remember witnessing the horror expressions like I saw in Mikayla, but then again, it's always worse when it's your own child. I do remember the one and only thing that has helped Traig combat this - and helps him "click back into reality" and that is prayer. So, that's what we did with Mikayla.

Actually, we started first with a few Sunday school songs and that helped for a bit, and then the horror seemed to return. Finally, I asked if she wanted to sit between Stephie and I, she agreed, we prayed - and all was well. She woke up and was normal.

If you've ever read any of Peretti's earliest books, THIS PRESENT DARKNESS or PIERCING THE DARKNESS, you gain a perspective of the spiritual war occurring all around us in a whole new light. Of course, this is fiction, so I'm not using this as a manual or anything, but I am so incredibly thankful that as Believers I know that there is a realm of angels ready to protect us. I don't know what causes night terrors, but it was almost as if Mikayla was transfixed and horrified by evil itself. (I'm not exaggerating in that it was AWFUL to behold - I was afraid she was going to have a heart attack her little blood vessels bulging as she's screaming.....) The one thing she did seem to acknowledge in the midst of it was that she had had a bad dream, but seemed to be still experiencing it. When I mentioned monsters right before praying - she agreed to that as well. Scary stuff.

Unfortunately, she had a mini-recurrence last night upon waking up to go to the bathroom. Much shorter, but I caught that look and hand at the mouth again that told me she was "fighting something else". When I tucked her back in bed, she kept talking about, "not picking the pink ones because those are her favorite" (I think we are referring to underwear here, because she stripped them off at the toilet). I held her tight, and she fell back asleep.

I admit, this whole thing has me very shook up. I find myself seeing that distant look in her eyes and comparing it to Brayden during his stroke. I worry that I'll lose her completely, or this will happen constantly. I was informed, yesterday, that fear is mentioned 365 times in the Bible, and I think there's a reason God is constantly telling us, "do not fear". I'm clinging to that today-


LiteraryGirl said...

I'm walking out the door right now so I'll write or im you later, but Ash had one Monday night too that really had me spooked. I'll talk to you about it later.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully my kids have never experienced night terrors, but I had a neighbor whose daughter would come into their room at night screaming and crying and thrashing around, and she said the same thing - that it scared the parents as bad as the kids. She was just glad that her daughter didn't seem to remember any of it in the morning. But they didn't find anything to stop the process except just waiting it out for 15-20 minutes.

I agree with you about the spiritual element; even though there may not be any evil at work, you can combat her fear with the peace of Christ. Oftentimes at night I will hear or a noise or just feel "spooked" and I'll pray that God will post guardian angels at each corner of our property to watch over us while we sleep. My pastor also recommended actually anointing my home (I think bad stuff, drugs, etc. have gone on in the past) so I went around praying and putting little smudges of olive oil at the top of all the doorways. I even snuck up on the kids and prayed over them while I was at it. All these things have eased a lot of my own fears. We live in a scary, evil, fallen world and it's hard to face sometimes!

HollieHobbie said...

I am so sorry little Mikayla is going through this. And that you are as her mama. I can only imagine what it is like to see her in that state. I like the enocouraging words you gave yourself, how you handled it and the encouraging words you are getting from others.

stephietoo said...

First: I LOVE YOU LITTLE KAY-KAY! That was the most helpless feeling, ever! To see her struggling with a fear that is like nothing I have ever seen a child experience, and not be able to do anything about it. To see her sitting in your lap and bolting upright; as straight as a board, screaming in utter terror as she fixated on the bookshelves, as if Satan was standing right there...... I was so relieved when she finally acknowledged her surroundings and said that she would like to sit between you and I and pray. I just wanted to take her in my arms and hold onto her so tight. Brayden and Mikayla may not be my own flesh and blood, but they are my 'children', my babies, and to experience that last night just shook me to the core.

Stephie, I love you guys so much. I am so sorry that Mikayla had to experience a night terror, and that you had to go through the pain of watching your baby experience that, and not being able to do anything about it other than hold her and wait it out. I'm glad I could be there with you. Love you!

StephieAnne said...

Gosh, everyone, thank you so much! I want to assure you all that Mikayla is perfectly normal now - outside of both kids' voices being crackly today. They are arguing away, just like normal.....grrrr!

Things like that really serve a reminder of the power of prayer - thank you again for all of your encouragement.