A Feeling of Dread

This is weird and it has happened a few times in this month. I’d be sleeping then all of a sudden I’d be wide awake and I’d have this feeling of panic or dread come over me, like a pressure or something. I’d look around and not see anything. Its weird I sleep with my Rosary under my pillow and I grab it and I feel safe and the pressure or feeling leaves me.

Now on one occasion, you might think this is crazy but, once when this happened I looked around and I thought I saw a human shaped object in like this pounce position at the foot of my bed. My wife and dogs were fast asleep, without a blink of the eye I grabbed my Rosary, and when I looked again it was gone.

What is happening, can anyone explain this, is it in my head? I need your help fellas.

[quote=Fox]This is weird and it has happened a few times in this month. I’d be sleeping then all of a sudden I’d be wide awake and I’d have this feeling of panic or dread come over me, like a pressure or something. I’d look around and not see anything. Its weird I sleep with my Rosary under my pillow and I grab it and I feel safe and the pressure or feeling leaves me.

Now on one occasion, you might think this is crazy but, once when this happened I looked around and I thought I saw a human shaped object in like this pounce position at the foot of my bed. My wife and dogs were fast asleep, without a blink of the eye I grabbed my Rosary, and when I looked again it was gone.

What is happening, can anyone explain this, is it in my head? I need your help fellas.
[/quote]

The first thing that comes to mind is “panic attacks” I am familiar with them if you want more info. The "feeling of dread’ part is what makes me think it might be a panic attack.

Doesn’t your heart have to be beating rapidly for panic attacks Max?

[quote=Fox]Doesn’t your heart have to be beating rapidly for panic attacks Max?
[/quote]

Yes it usually does to be honest. Severe anxiety coupled with dread, sometimes fear, a feeling of claustrophobia. I am not sure if any of these things fit what you are experiencing. I just thought I would throw it out there.:hmmm:

As you describe the symptoms I don’t think your problem is spiritual. It seems to be psychological. But since you sleep with a rosary you are a spiritual person.

I can tell tou what worked for me about 15 years ago. I took a small bottle for holy water. I kept it under the bed. Before I went to sleep as I said my prayers I sprinkled a few drops of Holy Water around and on the bed. I slept well and didnt wake up.

I saw a TV documentary about this fairly recently, called something like “Night Terrors” - it may have been a BBC documentary. Anyway, it said it was a particular type of sleep disorder, and they had several people who suffered from exactly what you described, and tested them in a laboratory type of setting. I regret I can’t give you better details - my memory is shocking, and I was only half-listening. It occurs at an exact point in the sleep cycle in some people, and they “cured” some young children by waking them at the point they found the scary experience was about to occur, and they gradually got over it. Many of the adults believed they were possessed by demons, etc. but there is a physiological explanation. Maybe a Google search would find the information.
Sorry not to be more specific on how it can be dealt with, but it would have reassured you to some extent if you’d seen it, as it was an excellent, professionally done documentary.
Oh, and many of these people believed they saw a “presence” in the room or a ghost, but that was explained too (if I could only remember!:banghead: )

I have also had similar things happen to me while sleeping. In my case, I have bolted awake when I thought I heard someone say something or shout something when I was in a dead sleep. I also thought they were in the house. I live alone wiht my cat so that really scares me when it happens. I had night terrors as a child, for many years, where I thought I was being attacked or being choked or chased. I also suffer from panic-anxiety disorder so my night terrors are supposedly related to that. They don’t happen all the time, only when I’m terribly stressed during the day. Exercise seems to help quite a lot, and of course, keeping my Rosary near by. I think the poster who suggested sprinkling the bed and around one’s bed with Holy Water has a good point. It makes a lot of sense to me!

Psyc student here. I’ll tell you what I’ve learned through study and personal experience.

Since night terrors occur primarily in early childhood, that wouldn’t be my first guess. Are you taking any sleeping medication? The prescription drug Ambien provoked this exact experience in me a couple of years ago - hallucinations, dread, cold sweats, even temporary paralysis. After giving my body time to acclimate to the drug, the phenomenon disappeared on its own.

Panic attacks are another distinct possibility. The mind stores tension, sometimes tension we’re not even aware that we’re having, and the time your consciousness is most vulnerable to awareness of all this stress is in the middle of the night. Panic attacks usually cease when the source of the fear or anxiety either passes or is dealt with, but in the meantime they can be very troubling, even resembling cardiac arrest at times.

Best advice, relax. Get good exercise, which is cathartic (releases stress), and don’t eat Tex Mex at bedtime! Since the Rosary beads are a comfort to you (they are to me, too) keep them with you, by all means. And if necessary, talk to your physician.

Best wishes, and God be with you,

Mary

Now on one occasion, you might think this is crazy but, once when this happened I looked around and I thought I saw a human shaped object in like this pounce position at the foot of my bed. My wife and dogs were fast asleep, without a blink of the eye I grabbed my Rosary, and when I looked again it was gone.

Dont assume it’s all in your head. Did you ever feel it was a presence in the room? Your instant reaction to turn to God should be telling you something. Have you ever felt like static coursing through you? I would say put a nice big blessed crucifix in the room and throw alot of holy water around. I believe it could also be panic attacks but God can protect from both. I would say it might be a good idea to just ask Jesus to protect you in prayer rather then grabbing the rosary (not to underestimate the power of the rosary).

-D

Sur,
No I don’t take any type of meds or the like, and I don’t eat before sleep. It is very interesting indeed. If it is a panic attack, I wonder what the source is? I mean I think I lead a pretty calm life and I’m not normally high strung. I’ll kick up my physical training again to see if that helps out.

Dar,
I have felt like there was static coursing through me at times, its a weird feeling like little constant pulses.

I do feel when these episodes happening that there is something there, its really odd. I do have a crucifix in my room. II have some holy water so I’ll use it to see what happens. I have kicked up my prayer life recently before this stuff was happening.

Hi, Fox,

I used to be puzzeled by ‘dread.’ Now I realize
that, for me, it’s simply high-test anxiety!:slight_smile:
Please don’t let yourself feel isolated by what
you’re experiencing. You’ve got lots and lots
of company!
We’re having the kitchen renovated. This has
caused me such stress, that 3 nights running,
just before I fell asleep, this* wave* of anxiety
rushed over me. It’s an awful feeling, but I
knew what it was and what was probably
causing it…the disruption caused by the
renovation.
I talk this kind of thing over with my doctor,
to decide what’s the best course to take to
deal with it. For me, that helps a lot.

I wish you the peace and comfort of Jesus,
reen

[quote=NightRider]I have also had similar things happen to me while sleeping. In my case, I have bolted awake when I thought I heard someone say something or shout something when I was in a dead sleep. I also thought they were in the house. I live alone wiht my cat so that really scares me when it happens. I had night terrors as a child, for many years, where I thought I was being attacked or being choked or chased. I also suffer from panic-anxiety disorder so my night terrors are supposedly related to that. They don’t happen all the time, only when I’m terribly stressed during the day. Exercise seems to help quite a lot, and of course, keeping my Rosary near by. I think the poster who suggested sprinkling the bed and around one’s bed with Holy Water has a good point. It makes a lot of sense to me!
[/quote]

Some pills would help too…

[quote=Fox]Sur,
No I don’t take any type of meds or the like, and I don’t eat before sleep. It is very interesting indeed. If it is a panic attack, I wonder what the source is? I mean I think I lead a pretty calm life and I’m not normally high strung. I’ll kick up my physical training again to see if that helps out.

Dar,
I have felt like there was static coursing through me at times, its a weird feeling like little constant pulses.

I do feel when these episodes happening that there is something there, its really odd. I do have a crucifix in my room. II have some holy water so I’ll use it to see what happens. I have kicked up my prayer life recently before this stuff was happening.
[/quote]

Being Catholic, one does have to question whether the problem is physiological, psychological, or spirital. Sometimes I think we create false barriers between these concepts. A physical thing can also be a spiritual one, for example. We are three-part beings, and no one part of us can be affected without the other two being also disturbed.

In light of this, perhaps it is good to take a combined approach to the problem, taking all factors into consideration. Have a time of prayer before you rest for the night, see your physician, and examine your life for possible stressors. In the last category, I’ve found simple “life inventory” tests to be of great value in assessing a person’s level of stress. These are available online, and all you will have to do is take stock of the number of stress factors in your life and find out whether your score is above the tolerable level of stress. It’s surprising how many things can trigger it.

I do hope you find an answer and are able to get the episodes under control, whatever the source. I’ll be checking in to see how things progress.

Mary

Night terrors are mentioned in many of the posts and in Post #6 it is explained as a physiological condition.

In Ps. 91 there is mention “not to fear the terror of the night…” for the one “who dwells in the shelter of the most High and abides in the shade of the Almighty (and who) says to the Lord: ‘My refuge, my stronghold, my God in whom I trust!’”

My question is: What is the psalmist referring to with “the terror of the night” ? A physiological condition?

Hello, Theodora,

Isn’t is "the terror of night and the arrow that
flies by day?"
It’s a matter of context. Ancient Israelites
had much more to fear from the night than
most modern peoples. [no lighting, no modern vehicles,
no cell-phones, plus animals roaming around.]

God expects us to care for ourselves by availing
ourselves of medical attention when necessity
arises. [St.Luke was a physician!]

There is no dichotomy between medication
available in 2005 and the life of an Israelite,
asking God to protect him from the real, physical
dangers of the night and from possible death
in battle…[the arrow that flies by day.]

For us, a modern version of this prayer might
read: Protect me as I drive on the freeway.
A real physical danger for those of us who
live in the twenty-first century.

reen12

I have had night terrors/night mares and probably night panic attics almost every night since I was 13. (and randomly before that) I don’t know how to get rid of them…ahh well…I just deal I guess…sometimes it gets hard to funcition on little sleep…but it gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Hi, Meggie,

Have you considered discussing this with your
physician?

reen12

[quote=reen12]Hello, Theodora,

Isn’t is "the terror of night and the arrow that
flies by day?"
It’s a matter of context. Ancient Israelites
had much more to fear from the night than
most modern peoples. [no lighting, no modern vehicles,
no cell-phones, plus animals roaming around.]

God expects us to care for ourselves by availing
ourselves of medical attention when necessity
arises. [St.Luke was a physician!]

There is no dichotomy between medication
available in 2005 and the life of an Israelite,
asking God to protect him from the real, physical
dangers of the night and from possible death
in battle…[the arrow that flies by day.]

For us, a modern version of this prayer might
read: Protect me as I drive on the freeway.
A real physical danger for those of us who
live in the twenty-first century.

reen12
[/quote]

Hi Reen,

Thank you for the explanation. I understand what you’re saying. Yes, there are dangers at night, like for example wild animals, robbers and thieves. But would you not think that in those biblical times, people would not easily venture outside after it gets dark? What would there be to do in pitch darkness; except, maybe, on those occasional nights when the stars and moon are out, but even so, what would they be doing being out at night? Was it common for people to visit each other, or hunt during those hours? I would imagine that people in those times would go to bed soon after darkness fell, to be up early the next day to tend to field and flocks.

I was not quite convinced with your explanation of the expected dangers of the night.

So, I started to look for footnotes in some of the Bibles that I have, however none touched on the “terrors of the night” and “arrows by day,” and so on.

I searched and found my copy of The Jerome Biblical Commentary, which I had forgotten I had

This is what it has to say re v. 5-6 The hostile powers described here are probably demonic in origin (night demons, sun rays, etc.)." As further explanation, the commentary continues: **The LXX and Vg translation of “plague at noon” gave rise to the “noon-day devil” (cf J. de Fraine in Bib 40 (1959) 238-49, and in De Langhe, op. cit., 89-106, esp. 102-4). The four crises indicated for night, morning, evening (“darkness”), and noon balance against the four animals of 13. (asp, viper, lion, and dragon) Such trials will not effect the man who is protected by God.

I say your explanation has truth in it, but on the other hand don’t count out the hidden, unseen evil forces that do lurk in darkness ready to pounce on anyone who has/let their guards down. Who is more defenseless than someone who is asleep?

But it’s great when medication allows people to have a good night sleep, and also that it allows them to ignore the terrors of the night.

I guess there are two explanations to this subject: physiological and spiritual.

Does anyone have any online stress tests? I looked over my lifestyle and it seems that I’m not stressing on anything. This last week I haven’t awaken.

I wonder what they meant with the “terror by night”

Do you think they were afraid of something “supernatural” like the devils or the like?

Or are the “terrors” just plain nocturnal animals?

Hi, Fox,

I’m going to take the time to find the psalm quoted,
and check the commentaries. I’ll get back to you,OK?
reen

Well, now, that didn’t take long!

Try this link:

usccb.org/nab/bible/psalms/psalm91.htm

Also, it might be helpful to read the footnotes as well.
See the reference to the arrow that flies by day?
As far as I can see, the Psalmist was referring
to real, physical dangers.
Best,
reen

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