halloween and heads and men in white coats

It’s been a while since I’ve had a hallucination (I hate that word, but it simplifies things). Since I’ve had to explain “No, I’m not on drugs. Never have been.” Since I’ve had some people believe me and some people refuse to. Since I’ve sat and wondered: should I even be telling you this.

Should I even be telling you this?

It’s the way my brain works. When I’m hooked up to nodes and electrodes they can even see it happening. Apparently. They are the doctors who study such things. Who make you feel like you’re in a science fiction film even when you’re not. Even when, of course you’re not. I played guinea pig once. Twice. Didn’t do it again. Still, part of me is curious. Would like to go back. To find out. Because they just want to help. Really. And even if they don’t, I’m nosey.

Buffy : Halloween '06

Those are actually real coffins behind me. The photo’s been desaturated. Tis all.

I have a vague recollection of episodes at three and five. They called them night terrors even though there was nothing night about them. During first grade I spent a lot of time in my closet – pushing against the walls to keep them from pushing back. I was seven when I realised sometimes…something happens that I don’t understand; that I can’t explain because I don’t have the words.

I remember sliding on my stomach. Pulling myself along the carpet. Jacquard and paisley. Keeping my eyes on the floor so I couldn’t see the things above my head. Through the kitchen. Through the living room. Trying to breathe. Until I could get to my mother’s bed…

I was fifteen before I was able to verbalise any of this to a doctor. Before I could say: Sometimes the walls come alive. The room becomes animated and personified. In ways it shouldn’t. In ways I know it couldn’t. But it does just the same. It’s just as terrifying. Just as heart stopping. As it would be for you. If in your waking moments you saw – and knew it really was. Not just a dream. But a truth. Even though it wasn’t.

It’s all good and well to know something isn’t real. But when you see it – you believe it. If only for a moment.

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  • Melissa
    Oct 29, 2007 at 13:45

    I can’t imagine going through something like that. I NEVER want to hallucinate, which is why I don’t do drugs – it just doesn’t seem like the right thing for your brain to do – make inanimate objects suddenly animate.

  • Buffy
    Oct 29, 2007 at 15:18

    I’m with you Melissa. It’s like getting up at 5am on a Saturday morning. Just doesn’t seem like the right thing for your brain to do. 🙂 As for the drugs – much as I moan, I quite like my consciousness the way it is.

    BTW…would LOVE to hear about your summer (know I’m a little late in the asking…sorry.) Saw the photos from the trip…amazing.


  • ann marie
    Oct 30, 2007 at 13:30

    It’s beautifully written and described – hypnagogic phenomena – or is this rather hypnopompic? It sound like it, something comes out of a half-sleep, alive. All Proust’s writing is full of it, although no need to say …. I spend half of my life speculating about sleep and dream, and perchance, etc. And the other half trying to sleep. So it all sounds very familiar. I think I made friends with my sleep-monsters at some point and they came back only once, wearing a white coat, as if saying “Peace”. And then it was gone.

  • Jessie Carty
    Oct 30, 2007 at 18:49

    My husband totally has that happen. He will especially see animals in the bedroom that aren’t there. He says it is surreal but not scary.

  • David Wayne Hampton
    Oct 30, 2007 at 19:18

    Thanks for visting my blog. You have a good conversational tone to your writing. I had a few episodes of night terrors as well. I would sleepwalk with the feeling that the world was both falling away and crushing down on me, with no rhyme or reason why. I think my 4-year-old daughter has these as well. She sleepwalks, then crys and runs away from me when I try to pick her up and comfort her, until she wakes up and realizes it’s just me.

    I’ve always loved British humor and culture. One of these days when the kids get older we may hop the pond. I secretly watch Eastenders on public television, for about three years now (don’t tell anyone). But the episodes are five years old, so I’m hesitant to read anything online about the show for fear spoiling the plot. I guess it’s the blue-collar characters that I relate to. It’s almost as if the story could be set in small-town North Carolina. The storylines would still hold true.

  • jess
    Oct 31, 2007 at 4:46

    Yipes… That sounds terrifying! I have nightmares on a regular basis and they are scary enough – I can’t even imagine how awful it would be to have them while being awake. :S

  • Kristy Colley
    Nov 16, 2007 at 16:59

    Alright, I know this has nothing to do with the terrors, but you look well sultry in that picture! And where is this taken? The streetlamps behind you are spectacular. Love them.
    But anyway, let me add…as I was reading this Simon was sitting to my side, casually checking up on Newcastle (don’t ask).
    I began cracking up, forming alligator tears of laughter in my eyes as I imagined you crawling across the floor, nails scraping into the flooring. Probably not the reaction you were looking for, but a great reaction nonetheless.
    Simon didn’t understand the hysterical laughter, but besides that…I feel for you. That is unreal!