Nocturnal panic attacks often wake you up in the middle of the night in a deep sweat, barely comprehensible, believing something horrible is happening. It’s a terrifying experience – arguably worse than a daytime panic attack – and unlike regular panic attacks, you can’t even see it coming.
Last night I had my first nocturnal panic attack in a long time and felt so ill I thought it was actually something worse. I had such extreme tension in my back before I went to bed and in the past this has caused me to wake up with pain and anxiety. I decided to use a hot water bottle on my back for awhile, so I could fall asleep with less pain. I removed the hot water bottle and put it on the floor and luckily was able to fall asleep. I was then woken a few hours later by excessively fast beating of my heart and awful sweating! I tried to calm my breathing down by taking slow diaphragmatic breaths but my heart just kept beating so fast. I really forgot how awful these attacks can be!
Panic attacks aren’t new to me, however I am living abroad and feeling vulnerable without my husband here. He’s been away for 1 week already and there is still another week to go. I want him home so badly, but then I feel like such a wimp for not coping without him. I guess I am feeling extra vulnerable too because my narc mother is coming to visit me in Germany for 3 days on Tuesday and stay in my home. We had a massive fallout just before Christmas, when I asked her if I could stay with her for 3 months in the UK to work and save money for my MA, and she said no. Since then it’s been 9 long months of low contact and therapy and I finally invited her to come and visit me ‘on my terms’ so we could move forward in a healthier (superficial) way and repair our relationship. I have accepted she is narcissistic and will never understand certain things, as I already went down the road of telling her in detail how she failed me. That didn’t work, so now with the help of my therapist I have decided to try and make things feel reasonably comfortable again, by just spending time with her shopping, eating out and talking about her.I will limit any ‘heavy’ conversations and will dodge certain questions I don’t feel safe answering. These 3 days coming, will be a way for me to practice what I have learnt. I have grieved so much over both my parents in the last 9 months, that I am making progress in how to cope with them and not get sucked in to their dramas.
A friend reminded me not to be too hard on myself, but sometimes I just get frustrated with my inability to be ‘cured’. The reality is though that I will never be ‘cured’ but I will eventually reach a point where I will be more comfortable. I have endured such complex trauma and abuse in my life and all my insecurities, anxieties & coping difficulties stem from that. I have to remember that I survived a lot and it’s ok to have bad days. I hope in the future when my healing has progressed some more, I won’t need to talk about the fact that I am survivor of complex trauma anymore, as at the moment I feel it defines me a little too much.
This link might be useful for those of you who might have experienced panic attacks, but never in the middle of the night.
I really hope you never do! x