I was only in first grade, nestled into my blankets on the loft of my bunk bed. It was late, everyone asleep, and all the lights were out. I opened my eyes from my deep sleep. Sitting across the room, on my bookshelf, sat a skeleton. Not a little one, like a toy, but a full-sized boney form, staring at me.
I kept screaming.
It kept staring at me.
My dad burst into the room; the skeleton sat until my dad flipped on the light. Mercifully, the light banished my visitor.
At school, I told the third-grade girls who I so delightfully looked up to about my experience. They were convinced I had been visited by Bloody Mary and I feared they were right.
This is my first memory in a long history of sleep disorders, all falling under the umbrella of Parasomnia. Parasomnia includes common sleep disorders you’ve probably heard of like Sleepwalking, Sleep Talking, and Nightmare Disorders, but it also includes sleep disorders a little less familiar, like Hypnagogic Hallucinations (upon falling asleep), Hypnopompic Hallucinations (upon waking), and Complex Nocturnal Visual Hallucinations (middle of the night.) While Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Hallucinations are often connected to Narcolepsy, Sleep Paralysis, and Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, Complex Nocturnal Visual Hallucinations often disappear with increasing light and don’t cause that same exhaustion during the day.
Through my years of sleep disorders (Sleepwalking, Sleep Talking, Nightmares, Teeth Grinding, Complex Nocturnal Visual Hallucinations) I’ve become deeply invested in the world of sleep, how our dreaming brain works, symbolism, and dream interpretation.
This blog will be an exploration of dreams and symbolism, mandala work, art, meditation through art, and sleep. It may lead us down unforeseen paths, like the time I followed a red balloon through my parent’s room, trying to convince them it was real and them trying to convince me I was asleep and needed to go back to bed. I hope you will join me on this journey.