Nocturnal Panic Attacks

Hey everyone!

Hope everyone is doing well. I just woke up after sleeping a whopping 15 hours. I swear, every other Friday and Monday I become a time traveler. Anyways, I need to just write and sort out my brain a bit. I’m trying to calm down from a panic attack.

Thankfully, my daytime panic attacks are very minimal.I have post traumatic stress disorder stemming from a very traumatic childhood. I have spent years doing my own versions of submersion therapy to help reduce triggers. For example: I spent many years working in the thrifting industry and I have developed a bit of a passion for antiquing and studying products from the past.

How is this submersion therapy-ish? There were several instances in both work and leisure events in which a product from the past would trigger my PTSD and induce a panic attack. (These are no fun in private and are sure as heck way less fun in public… let alone at work. There was one occasion that one of my bosses actually locked me in her office so I could calm down and not have anyone intrude accidentally. THAT WAS EMBARRASSING.) Anyhow, working with triggering products over a long period of time can help numb the responses to the products. Eventually those triggers can cause significantly less severe reactions and in some cases those symptoms can almost completely disappear.

Nowadays, thanks to modern technology (thanks FitBit HR), I can usually monitor my heart rate so I can get a hint at if a panic attack may be developing or if it is almost over. This unfortunately cannot save me in my sleep.

I woke up abruptly after having a dream that sent me into a complete panic attack. All of my dreams that induce panic attacks involve either the house I grew up in, my biological mother, her family, or the houses or possessions of those people.


Last night I had a dream that I was at an ICP concert and one of the people I went with shot herself in the head on the ledge of a parking ramp and then she fell several stories down. The images that corresponded with that event kept flashing between it being her suicide and it being a murder by a few of her lady friends and was masked as a suicide. I’ll never know.

The concert was surprisingly empty. There was an ok turn out, but not really. I looked at my phone and my phone told me it was 1pm in a town in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin. I was thoroughly confused because everything looked the same as my usual concert venue in Milwaukee.

Also, 1pm? No wonder no one was here! It was so un-chaotic that I called my SO to see if he wanted to pick me up and take me home after the concert and then spend the week with me. He turned me down. He said he had some work to catch up on and also that he needed to catch up with his ex girlfriend to sort out a few things.

His ex girlfriend? What the heck? It has been years and from the best of my knowledge, he doesn’t want anything to do with her. I tried to play it off cool (because no one wants to be the crazy girlfriend). He responded that he needed to sort out some bills with her because she ran up a credit card that was under them jointly and he got stuck with the bill… Makes sense. Okay. No biggie.

He asked me about my car. He seemed  confused that I would be out in the middle of nowhere and would abandon my car. I told him I rode in with some friends, but there has been some strange chaos and I wasn’t too thrilled with riding home with them. I also told him that it was ok. He had stuff to do and I wasn’t about to take him away from that. I told him it was worth a shot and that I loved him and then hung up.

After the call (which was on a phone that was a weird combination of flip phone and an I phone) I looked up toward the stage to realize that the concert had started and Shaggy 2 Dope was bouncing around with a chainsaw. That’s cool, whatever. The part that confused me the most was that I could still hear my phone call even though I was in the middle of a concert.

…Flash forward. Some clips of trying to find friend that was dead. Can’t remember much. Gave off a live action version of ‘Clue’ vibe. Also, I found it strange that the halls of the venue had oak lined spiral staircases that were the pretty much exact replica of the double staircases in my elementary school. Right down to the shade of blue used to paint the walls.

…Flash further forward. I seem to be invisible but conscious at this point. I look around. I’m in a Chevy truck that I kind of recognize, but I don’t quite know why. I am in the passenger seat. I look to my left and see my maternal grandfather in the driver’s seat. The truck is parked. We are on the side of the road somewhere. His seat is all the way back. There is a beer in the cup holder and what appears to be a sawed off shotgun in his hands.

I continue to watch him confusedly. He takes no notice of me being next to him. He lifts the gun and puts it up to his head. He keeps moving the gun. Trying to decide the best route for the bullet. First under his chin, then in his mouth, then in his mouth at a different angle, then at his forehead, then at his temples.

I keep yelling “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH?!” but I am not to be heard. He has no expression on his face. He seems mechanical. I can tell he has thoughts in his head, just no correlating emotion.

I look away for a split second and then jump at the deafening blast of the gun. My lap is wet. I can’t quite tell if I peed myself or not. I look down to discover I am soaked in blood and brain matter. I look up at my grandfather. The fucker shot himself through his left eye. Who does that?

“YOU DID IT WRONG! FUCKER!” I yell at his mangled corpse as I sneak out the passenger side door to get away.

I try to get my bearings on my location. It is a beautiful and sunny day. It is warm, but not too warm. I almost start to question if I was dead too.

After a few moments, familiarity begins to set in. I am on the same road as my maternal grandmother and grandfathers house. Just a block down. The house is in full view from where I am standing.

…Flash forward. Somehow I am at my maternal Aunt’s house. The whole household seems hysterical. WTF is going on? I’m either teleporting or time traveling. There’s no way news travels this fast.

…Flash forward. I am in my bed in my childhood home. I wake up in a sense of panic. At this point every memory I have previously described was either forgotten or I had no conscious knowledge of it. I had a strange urge to turn on the TV. I turned out my 13 inch tube TV with the remote next to my bed.

I am still confused. Why am I here? Panic starts to set in as I realize where I am. I can see dents in the four wooden posts of my bed where my head had been smashed years before. The litter box I was forced to use when I was locked in my room was still on the floor in front of my toy box. My purple glitter filled lava lamp was on the table next to my head. It was still elevated by an old wire locker shelf. Underneath, my old stash of razor blades.


The pink carpeting taunts me, as if it knows it is a paradox. It’s supposed to be happy and relaxing. It is supposed to be a haven for childhood creativity. It is no such thing. Fuck you pink carpeting and all the years of blood and tears you have soaked up in my beginning decade. FUCK YOU.

The TV flickers. It flickers some more. The picture is becoming more identifiable as the seconds progress. The image on the TV is in green scale. It is a news report. It is my grandfather’s suicide.

All the memories previous to this moment in time come flooding back. I wasn’t sure how to feel about the news report. I had seen it first hand. I was there. Some how. Was it a prophetic dream? I haven’t had one of those in years. I don’t know.

I get up and out of bed and reach for my door knob. It turns! Oh my god! It actually turns! I think this may be the first time in my memory where I didn’t have to jump out of my 1.5 story high window to escape.

My brother is in his room. His room is right next to mine. The door is locked. I knocked on it. He doesn’t respond or answer.

I continue through the dining area and through the kitchen of my childhood home. Nothing has changed. It is terrifying. I get to the stairs that lead to the front door. Before I can start to descend, I hear a voice.

It is my biological mother. She is on the phone with my maternal grandmother. She still uses the old forest green corded phone. She still sits in the chair next to the fish tank to talk. This is weird.

“YOU KNOW HE’S DEAD.” I say to her, not thinking she can see me. She looks back up at me and says “How did you know?” This scares the shit out of me. I wasn’t planning on her knowing I exist. WHAT IS GOING ON?

“I saw it on the news a few minutes ago. I tried to tell my brother, but he wasn’t answering his door.” I say as my biological mother gives me the stare down. Her crooked British teeth are coated in years of alcoholism. They give off a green glow, just the way I have always remembered. “Ah, yes.” She says. “He’s sleeping.” She says and she left it at that.

Uh… Okay?

…Flash forward. The house is on fire. I’m not quite sure where I am because this house is not the one I was just in. Rooms are burning. I am sweating profusely. I try to keep low to avoid asphyxiation via smoke inhalation. WTF? Where am I?

In front of me is the silhouette of my grandfather on fire. He is standing there, staring at me with one eye. The other one is missing. He touches the walls surrounding him. They kick up a blaze of light and heat.

The electricity gives. Everything is darkness. The rest is illuminated by the terror of flames reconstructing my surroundings. I keep eye balling my surroundings, I am still confused by where I am.

Some how, every direction I attempt to go morphs into something else. Oh my god. This is a fun house. I am going to die. I try to calm myself down. I suck up a big breath through my shirt. I take in the air nearest to the floor and make a bolt for it.

There are stairs, ladders, swinging ropes, etc. AM I IN AN IMITATION MARIO LEVEL??? Every where I go, the fire engulfed grandfather follows. I finally somehow make it out of the house. I get to the road and stare back. I see it is a two story house. I have no idea whose it is. I have never seen it before, to the best of my knowledge.

All of a sudden I get this sense over me that I somehow magically know the floor plan. I don’t know how. Some preternatural skill that suddenly manifested itself in me. I get a vision that there is a pet bunny in a cage on the second floor. This freaks me out and I go charging back in the burning house.

I make it through the flaming obstacle course. My skin is writhing in pain. Licks of flames have singed me on every part. I can smell my hairs burning. It is the worst smell. I keep taking breaks by laying on the ground to catch my breath. The air supply is running thin and I know I am a few breaths away to succumbing to death.

The floor is hot. It feels like it is melting beneath me. I hear the creak of the wood beneath me and I immediately realize the floor is about to collapse. I spring up. My entire body hurts so badly, I am not sure how I am moving. I grab a swinging rope from the ceiling and hold it to support my crippling body as I stand up.

I see the burning man ahead of me. Oh god. Fuck. I find the energy to make my way to the bedroom that I know the bunny is in. The bedroom door was closed and that saved the poor animal from a smoldering fiery death. I quick shut the door behind me to keep the smoke and flames out.

I see the bunny in its cage. It is black and white and seemingly oblivious to what is going on outside its cage. I try to open the cage, but I can’t. NO. NO. NO. THIS IS NOT HOW THIS ENDS. NO. NO. I look around the room trying to improvise a way to break into the cage. I see a drawer labeled “Crafts”. I open it and find a wire cutters. BINGO! I cut the wires on the cage and pull the little fluffer into my arms.

The bunny is panicked. He gets squirmier by the second. I maintain my grip as he proceeds to piss all down my front. UHG. WHATEVER. I JUST NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE. There are no windows in this room. I need to go back the way I came. I hide the bunny under my piss soaked shirt. I am hoping this will help filter smoke as well as keep the little fucker from bouncing away to its death. I’ve come too far to save it. Hopefully since my shirt is soaked in piss and sweat it will help prevent us from catching fire.

After burning my hand on the doorknob, I make it to the hallway. There at the end is the burning man. He is egging me to come towards him. The floor beneath us is cracking. Flames are devouring each board by the second. I look behind me and see a window. It is closed. I notice it has been painted shut. FUCK. I look ahead. There he is. I look behind me.

I gather my courage and gain running momentum as the floor begins to collapse underneath me. I make a shoulder first lunge at the window. To my surprise, I penetrate the glass on my first attempt. Two stories down, I land on my back. The bunny is safe. I am in pain from my burns. I start puking up blood as I try to catch my breath.

…Flash forward. I am in my bed. Unharmed. I look at my Iphone and decide I should call my grandma. I haven’t spoken with her in almost 15 years. She tells me my grandfather killed himself. I panic and have a flash of the entire dream that I thought I just woke up from.

…..Apparently I only woke up in my dream. When I actually woke up for real… In real life. No more dream inside a dream crap, I was in a full blown panic. Heavy breathing. Crying. etc. FitBit said my heart rate was at 108. (To put this in perspective when I wake up I am normally at 54-64 BPM.)

So… fuck. Trying to calm myself down a bit.

Send good vibes for the rest of my day.



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One Response to Nocturnal Panic Attacks

  1. CommotioCordis says:

    Many many hugs to you my friend!! That sounds horrifying. 😦 Hope your dreams have been sweeter the last couple days!

    Liked by 1 person

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