I wish my problem were sleep walking or talking in my sleep. Instead, in the past few months, I've developed the behavior of waking up in the middle of the night screaming. Yes, I wake up at the top of a piercing shriek, with my mouth wide open and a light sweat covering my body. It's really damned annoying.
Maybe it's good that I can at least reassure my husband that my screaming isn't a fearful response to a nightmare. A good example of the kind of dream that causes me to scream is the one I had last night. I dreamed I was visiting my family in the San Francisco Bay Area and it was the day that I was supposed to fly back to Chicago. As I left for the airport, I realized I'd never printed out my boarding pass and hadn't even written down the airline or whether I was flying out of SFO or Oakland. In the dream, I was already in transit and needed the answer quickly, so I got my sister on the phone and asked her to look up my reservation online. At this point the dream gets fuzzy, but I remember having trouble communicating on the phone, knowing time was running out and desperately needing the information. It felt like people weren't taking my need seriously and I became frustrated. No matter how hard I tried to figure out where I needed to go, as it got closer and closer to my flight time, I couldn't do it. Why weren't people listening to me? Why weren't they helping me? My frustration peaked and I knew I needed a dramatic gesture to get everyone's attention. I inhaled, opened my mouth and let loose with the most ferocious noise I could blast.
Last night I woke up in the middle of this shriek. This is the third time it's happened and each time, it's more embarrassing. The first time, I didn't wake up until the scream was over and my husband was asking me if I was all right. The second time, my husband didn't stir, but the dog got up to check on me. Last night, no one moved. One day I'll probably meet a fateful end as the girl who cried wolf.
Does anyone else do this? Does anyone have a link to an article that might even be tangentially related? I thought waking up in the night screaming happened when people relived horrific memories or suffered terrible nightmares. What I have might be called frustration dreams and I'm feeling increasingly self-conscious, yet helpless about them.
Screaming? From frustration? I can't wait until this ridiculousness passes.
UPDATE on Oct. 10th: After an EMDR session with Carol Moss, the screaming has stopped, thank god! It was about feeling frustrated by how I was stuck with the critical voice ruling my life. Working with Carol finally allowed me to let go of the belief that I have to listen to that negative voice. I feel so free now! No more beating up on myself. EMDR is hard work, but it's worth it.