Ever been so scared, so out of your mind terrified that you swear your heart will explode inside your chest and it takes days for the fear to subside?
Yeah, that happened to me recently.
As a mother, your children's safety is always foremost in your mind. You live, breathe and sleep their safety. And when they go to sleep you finally take an easy breath knowing all is well for at least eight hours. That is unless you're the parent of a sleepwalker.
I have three children and all are or have been sleepwalkers to some degree. My oldest seems to have outgrown it, my middle child as well. That leaves my youngest. She is constantly getting up during the night and doing something. Mostly it's all harmless. She gets a spoon or fork and takes it back to her room, or even grabs something out of the pantry and squirrels it away in her room. Sometimes she simply comes out and chatters to us, or we find her bedding laying around the house in the morning. All fairly harmless and things that don't cause me much panic.
That is until last night.
We had a late night at the race track Friday where my oldest son races and then had to be up early in the morning for my daughters soccer game Saturday. Needless to say she was exhausted come Saturday night. So, she fell asleep on the couch at 8:30 in the evening and let her lay there.
At 11:00 pm, my husband went to pick up my oldest from his job. He wasn't gone 15 min. when my daughter sat up on the couch, shouted, jumped up and ran to the door. Now, the door was locked but she managed to open it in seconds, jerked it open and went running out into the night screaming at the top of her lungs.
I couldn't seem to move fast enough and as I'm running out the door all these horrible thoughts are racing through my head. What if she runs into the road? What if she makes it across the road? It was so dark would I be able to see her, find her?
She did head for the road, but made a quick turn and ran into our driveway where our car stopped her and she screamed so loud and looked so scared. All I could do is wrap my arms around her and hold her as she fought me.
If you've never dealt with a sleepwalker, let me fill you in on a few things. They are stronger and quicker than when they are awake. At least my kids are. She fought me for a while so I tightened my hold and murmured to her until suddenly stopped, looked up at me and asked what was going on?
Well, I got her back in the house, sat her down and held her a while longer until I was sure I wouldn't fall apart. Minutes later my son and husband came home. Again, thoughts started running through my head. What if they'd pulled into our driveway while she was running around? She could have been hit. So, I start shaking harder.
Sleep didn't come easily for me that night. And today, we went and bought deadbolts for our doors to make it harder for her to get out. I'm not sure this will solve much because sleepwalkers don't have a problem maneuvering as if they're awake. We'll see though.
Anyway, I'm still experiencing some anxiety over it today. I've had a lot of things happen to me through my life, but this, this was plain terror seeing my child out of control in such a way. I'm not one to wish my life by, but I will be relieved when she out grows this and maybe I'll be able to sleep through the night once again.
So, that was my stark terror episode that I don't care to ever repeat.
What about you? What was your terrifying experience?