Panic After Dark: Fertile Ground for Middle-of-the-Night Panic
But let’s rewind a a couple of hours first, shall we?
I had a hard time falling asleep last night. I don’t know why, but I don’t often question it. It happens. It’s no big deal.
What I do know is this: laying in my bed while tossing and turning never seems to help. If I can’t sleep, I like to change locations until I’m sleepy enough to return to bed.
So at about 2 a.m., Netflix kept me company as I lay curled up with a soft blanket on my living room floor. I fell asleep to TLC’s My Strange Addiction. (Who in the hell watches that before bed, you might ask? Well, for context, I was watching an episode about a woman who was addicted to sleeping with her hair dryer every night. So, um, it was sleep-related programming. Sort of.)
I fell asleep on the living room floor wrapped up burrito-style in my blanket. It was oddly comfortable.
Until 3:50 am rolled around.
PINS AND NEEDLES
I woke up and immediately became aware that I couldn’t feel my left leg. At all. Whatever wacky sleeping position I’d gnarled myself into while rolling around in a burrito blanket on the living floor had cut off circulation to my leg.
Scary, but nothing to write home about, right? We all occasionally wake up with pins and needles.
So, I got up and started hobbling around to try and drag that sucker back to life. My leg was so numb that I couldn’t bear down any weight upon it, and when I shook it, I couldn’t feel it shake. My brain acknowledged that I was indeed shaking my leg, but my body refused to believe it. I could control my leg, but had no feeling from thigh to toes.
There I am, in the middle of the night, walking every which way around my small apartment, trying to orchestrate some blood flow. Come on, dammit. Fill up with blood already. I want to feel you again, leg.
After ten minutes of dragging, moving, and pep-talking my leg into coming back to life, I was fine. I could feel my left leg again, I could stand on it, and it behaved normally.
Time for bed, right?
No. Time for a monumental panic attack.
The “big one”. The first “I feel absolutely no sense of control over my body” panic attack in months.
Seriously, who wakes up with a numb leg that’s full of eerie pins and needles, makes it all the way through the freaky act of dragging herself around the living room until the scary numb sensation is over, and then panics once her leg feels normal again?
Was my nervous system on tape delay? What the hell?
Check back tomorrow for the second part of this post.
Beretsky, S. (2012). Panic After Dark: Fertile Ground for Middle-of-the-Night Panic. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 28, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/panic/2012/11/panic-after-dark-fertile-ground-for-middle-of-the-night-panic/