Saturday, May 17, 2014

And then, my head exploded: Exploding Head Syndrome

Actually, my head didn't explode. But I do occasionally suffer from Exploding Head Syndrome, a weird phenomenon that, since I've had it for as long as I can remember, is probably more common than anyone realizes. It's just that, who are you going to tell? And what are you going to say?
(Simulated conversation)
"Honey, someone hit the house with a car!"
"Um, no they didn't."
"Then it must have been an earthquake!"
"Um, no. No earthquake."
Googles. Sure enough, no earthquake in the news. "All the doors in the house slammed at the same time?"
"Now you're just being silly."
"Okay, okay. It must have just been my head exploding."

I've felt burning, prickling, and even stabbing sensations in my sleep associated with dreams, or perhaps the dreams try to 'explain' the sensation by making me suddenly walk over sharp coral or getting shot or stabbed. And no, I don't wake up with a body part that's fallen asleep when this happens. So that's pretty weird. I've had full-color (which isn't supposed to happen) full sensation, vivid dreams that border on hallucinations. These dreams, separate in experience from my other dreams, are associated with a period of time when I had severe sleep disturbance issues that they tried to treat and ended up giving me epic nightmares. Ugh. I've also had 'normal' full color, no sensation dreams that nonetheless seem so vivid and important that I remember them for years afterward, like the one where I found a newspaper article about the first centaurs created by science in someone's tower-house attic. I've done lucid dreaming (fun, btw) where I can consciously seize control of the dream environment and continue to dream. And my creativity is clearly linked in a reciprocal fashion to dreaming. If I don't write with full engagement of all my powers of Kami every day, I'll start to dream weirder and more vivid dreams, then nightmares, until finally I find a time when I can do some serious writing and then the dreaming returns to my regularly scheduled programs. And if I'm in the middle of an intense writing period, I'll get incredibly lame, super-boring dreams where I'm shopping for an item and can't find it, or I'm at work. And then I have to wake up and go to work or go shopping. Ugh. What a waste of good dream time. It's like all the creativity that poured out of me into my writing drained my lake-o-inventiveness and left behind a sludge of boring.

But this annoying thing, this exploding head syndrome thing, though it doesn't happen very often (maybe a couple of times a year) is so bad, so frightening ... and yet it's happened often enough now that when it happens and I wake up (today it woke me at a reasonable hour, 5:30 am, which is nice because now I can get an early start on my day) I can accept (almost every time–not this morning though, whoooo boy!) that no, the house wasn't whisked away in a tornado and we didn't just land in Oz with a tremendous crash that killed one of the wicked witches.

As awesome as that would be.

And I can usually go back to sleep.

Not always, though.

This morning, it's good that I'd pretty much had a full night's sleep because I could not have gone back to sleep. My heart was going a million miles an hour, I felt hungover (and no, didn't have a drop of alcohol, actually hadn't had even a nightcap since Sunday–hey, could that be my problem? :P ) and I was absolutely, positively sure that an intruder had dropped something incredibly heavy, as in, the entire house when the jacks had given way (except there was no falling sensation just before so maybe it was just the half of the house I wasn't in.) (And there were no associated rattles or glass crashing so clearly it was emptied already of all our stuff.) (And the wood framing had to be stabilized in some way because there were no snaps, crackles or pops.)

It was really unpleasant and frightening, to say the least. I was actually afraid to explore the house, I was so sure that there was a crazy, clumsy intruder downstairs.

Some doctors believe that you'll get clusters of these exploding head thingies when you're stressed. I don't know about that. I am incredibly stressed and overworked right now, but I've been incredibly stressed before and I didn't get them. There's no way for me to remember if I was stressed when this happened before. I suppose, now that I've blogged about it, I can make a little note on future blogs at the end and we can track it together.

So, if you see something about my head exploding at the end of future blogs, don't be alarmed. It's for science.

And now that my head has exploded, I can start my day. I hope you have a great one! And may your head never explode.


Anonymous said...

Earthquakes are very, very common (at least here in the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' they are). Most never make the news, but you can feel them if you're in contact with the ground or floor.

Kami said...

Yeah! I've felt a few! The ones I've felt are like shudders or mini-drops in quick succession, like someone had taken away a couple inches of floor height out from under the bed and the bed falls. One sounded so convincingly like a train was going right by my house that I woke up thinking I was back in college in the apartment that was sitting almost on top of the train rails. That one was noisy.