you are who
and what you are
in whichever world this is
why are you even here with me
why do we exist in this life of tears
why do we travel through a vale of travails
and when we get there how will we know
that is where we are supposed to be
am I fleeting just passing through
and why am I here with you
wherever this perplexing
strange darkling place
is supposed to be
who are you
words and pictures by jack collier
hard reflective winter mirror
no acceptance nor understanding
presaging her cold bitterness
words and pictures by jack collier
Night Sweats, Night Terrors, Nightmares, Sleep Terrors.
Night Terrors are not Nightmares ~ typically a nightmare happens when you’re in deep dream sleep, whereas night terrors wake you up, so the experience of a night terror is one of wakefulness. Night terrors are also different from Sleep Terrors, because a night terror will wake you up, whereas with a sleep terror you will have all the symptoms of extreme fear, but you will stay asleep. If you are awake, or partially awake, and terrified in the night, then the chances are you are suffering from night terrors, (which are a recognised psychological disorder).
Nightmares usually occur in the early morning during REM sleep when our dreams are at their most vivid. More often than not we can remember all the cinematographic details of a long, scary nightmarish dream when we first wake. On the other hand, night terrors usually happen during the first part of the night, aren’t part of REM sleep, and we won’t remember anything much other than waking up / being awake in a terrified state.
Typically, night terrors are caused by a previous psychological trauma, (such as an abusive childhood), or by stress, or by substance abuse, (such as drinking too much just before bedtime). However, as one of the causes of drinking too much before bedtime is a mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder, which is itself probably caused by a previous psychological trauma, it’s fair to say that if you suffer from night terrors you’re probably drinking too much and suffered some severe disturbance / abuse / trauma in your past. Chances are if you’re in that situation you’re also feeling very pressured right now, and suffering from the symptoms of undue stress. It’s an illogical Catch-22 situation.
If you suffer from night terrors it’s likely that you wake very suddenly with an intense fear of something unknown / a nameless dread. Your heart will be beating fast, you will be breathing hard and fast, your blood pressure will be elevated, your eyes will be wide and staring, and you will be sweating. This is different from night sweats, which is severe and excessive sweating, without the associated terror. The common causes of night sweats are medical, and some of them are very nasty, such as cancer. However, one other cause of night sweats is drinking too much.
What night terrors will do to you is prevent you from getting the 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep that most adults need every night. As well as making you feel tired, lethargic, and irritable, not getting enough sleep can cause lots of nasty illnesses such as; high blood pressure, strokes, and heart disease.
The most likely advice if you have night terrors when you get beyond your teens is that you should see a doctor. Good luck with that one, because the only real cure for night terrors is to treat the underlying problem(s). That will mean doing something about the effects of any psychological trauma in your past, and cutting out whatever drug you’re taking too much of late at night ~ including coffee, booze, prescription drugs, street drugs…
There are some very common-sense things you can do if you suffer from night terrors, sleep terror, nightmares, and / or night sweats ~ without resorting to medication and a long period of talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy. None of these are easy, or likely to give you a quick fix, but you should consider;
- Giving up booze completely, or cutting down a lot, and never drinking late at night.
- Quitting smoking ~ and if you smoke do not have a cigarette last thing at night.
- Stop using street drugs, and talk to your doctor about any prescription medication you are on.
- Late at night don’t drink coffee, and don’t eat a meal within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime.
- Stay hydrated. The average person needs 3 litres / 6 pints of water a day ~ but tea, coffee, wine, and beer don’t really help you to stay properly hydrated.
- Do not take a nap during the day, especially don’t take an afternoon nap.
- Go to bed at the same reasonable time every night, (if you need to be up at 7 am you need to be in bed at 10 pm), and get up at the same reasonable time each morning. Stick to this sleep schedule, even at weekends. Changing the time you go to bed, and the time you get out of bed, wrecks your internal body clock.
- Wind down in the evenings. Don’t use social media late at night or first thing in the morning. Instead practice a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as meditation and listening to relaxing, classical music.
- During the day get at least an hour of fresh air and moderate / vigorous / strenuous exercise.
- Make sure your bedroom is right for sleep. Your bedroom should be clean, tidy, quiet, very dark, still, and fairly cool, (between 60 and 67 degrees F). You really do need to sleep in total darkness and quiet.
- Make certain your mattress and pillows are comfortable for you. If your mattress is good quality it should last 10 years, after that, get a new one.
- Keep a sleep diary.
An episode of night terror can be brought on by worry, stress, emotional tension, fatigue, conflict, and especially too much alcohol late at night, (or more likely a combination of factors, including booze). How much is too much alcohol? Actually, too much booze is however many drinks puts your health and well-being at risk. For me, one drink is one too many.
After suffering night terrors you are likely to be utterly inconsolable, grown women, (and men), may cry, and the event may be so disturbing that your mind will wipe most of it from your memory. The next morning you won’t be able to remember what terrified you.
In adults, it is most likely that night terrors, sleep terrors, and nightmares have an underlying cause of previous severe stress, trauma, mental and / or physical abuse, and subsequent mental disorders and generalised anxiety. In fact, the underlying causes of sleep problems can be very similar to the underlying causes of addiction.
Not getting enough good quality sleep is a serious matter. The consequences are severe, up to and including death. If you’re suffering from night terrors, sleep terrors, nightmares, night sweats, then you really do need to take action right away. Start with the tips I’ve given above, but if you have to, go and see your doctor.
Keep moving forward and opening new doors.
captive in a locked mind
camera behind locked doors
the empty vodka bottle is unkind
imagination’s running distant shores
inhabited in gloom and blackness defined
By Dawn’s Early Light.
day’s aurora awakens, in first light blue
cold tranquil loneliness, still sea’s sibilance
solitary thoughts ever-changing, ever the same
conflicted consequences midnight conversations
capture consciousness with suspicious conflictions
half-held convictions considerations and reflections
untrustworthy late night speculation and impressions
bring brooding concentration by darkest moonshadows
words and pictures by jack collier
haunting music of the wind, sunset counterpointed, pink sky echoed
frames the cloudscape bowl with solitary bird soaring
against a world struggling, changing but ever the same
words and pictures by jack collier
To travel is to take a journey into yourself.
Doing a little research on something else, I was bored enough to read a narrow-minded American’s opinion of visit to England, which pissed me off somewhat. Here are some real facts about Americans;
64% of Americans do not own a passport.
In states such as; Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina only about 25% of US citizens own a valid passport.
When most Americans visit another country it’s to either Mexico or Canada.
Annually, less than 5% of Americans travel overseas.
More than half of all Americans have never been outside of America.
Most Americans have not been to more than 5 US states.
Many Americans have never been more than 100 miles from where they were born.
The commonest complaints of Americans visiting England are;
- ‘the bacon is terrible…’
- ‘few ethnicities are represented in London cuisine…’
- ‘there is no Mexican or Latin American food in Britain…’
- ‘British people are cold and hard to befriend…’
- ‘the London subway is unreliable…’
- ‘the British are obsessed with the Queen and Royal Family…’
- ‘it always rains in England…’
- ‘the English drive on the wrong side of the road…’
- ‘British cars are undrivable…’
- ‘free healthcare is such a stupid idea…’
- ‘British TV sucks…’
- ‘refrigerators and washing machines are very small…’
- ‘there’s no dress code…’
- ‘black people are just people…’
- ‘they eat with their forks upside down…’
I’ve travelled all over the world, I’ve worked, lived, and had many vacations in the United States, I have some close friends in America, and none of the above surprises me one little bit. American culture is so in-your-face and all-pervasive, (you only had to watch the recent Oscars ceremony to realise that), that all Americans think the rest of the world is just like America ~ trust me, it isn’t.
In addition, working Americans are allowed and take so few vacation days, (average 10 days a year), that the idea of visiting some of the great cultural sites in Europe just never crosses their minds.
The whole world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a single page. ~ Saint Augustine
Which is why it does not surprise me that;
- Middle America elected Donald Trump as their President.
- Americans are obsessed with social media like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
- More than 80% of Americans believe in conspiracy theories, and that the Government has kept secrets about UFOs.
- More than 85% of Americans believe in one or more of; aliens, flying saucers, angels, astrology, extra-sensory-perception, Big Foot, ghosts, reincarnation, the healing power of crystals, witchcraft, that they can win money in Las Vegas casinos, and that winning the lottery is a viable financial plan.
- Over 75% of Californians believe that more than 25% of Americans are Gay or Lesbian, (the true figure is 3.5% of Americans are LGBT).
- 25% of Americans believe in creation theory and that the Earth is the centre of the universe.
- 25% of Americans believe they won their Independence from a country other than Great Britain.
- All Americans feel they need a planned and fixed itinerary before setting off on their travels.
A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. ~ Lao Tzu
To a well-travelled, well-read, and well-educated Englishman like me, it’s very sad that most Americans are like a Monday morning quarterback ~ they think they can talk a good game, but mostly they talk bullshit. Actually, it’s worse than that, most Americans think their opinions matter to others. They need to get out into the world a bit more.
And in England, ‘Trump’ is still another word for ‘Fart’.
Have a nice day.
moderation, moral courage, self-denial, self-discipline
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent and comes 46 days before Easter. Since Easter itself is a movable feast, Ash Wednesday can happen on any Wednesday from February 4th to March 10th. Ash Wednesday is really a Pagan festival, having only been adopted by the Christian Church in 325 AD by Constantine the Great. (Although almost all Christians will deny it, most, if not all Christian Festivals are built on the back of festivals from other and older religions, civilisations, and cultures.)
Lent and Easter is a long festival of Spring ~ in fact the modern English words Lent and Lenten derive from the Old English word Lencten, which means Spring. As it happens, even the English word Easter derives from the Goddess Oestar / Ostara / Éostre, the Pagan Goddess of Spring, (one of them).
Which begs a couple of questions. Firstly, when does spring begin? Conventionally, in the Northern Hemisphere, in England in particular, Spring starts at the vernal equinox, or on the night of March 20th / 21st. Stonehenge and similar ancient monuments were set up to predict and confirm these astronomical events. And secondly, what does Lent have to do with Spring? And I believe the answer to that is in ancient times the end of winter, coming up to Springtime at the vernal equinox, was a time of hunger, starvation, and hard work preparing the land for spring planting. Ergo, in ancient times people would fast during what is modern Lent, not out of choice, but of absolute necessity.
The deeper one goes into the rituals, superstitions, and deities of these old cultures the more connected to the seasons everything seems to be. Persephone, the beautiful Greek Goddess of Spring, (Roman Proserpina), was also the Goddess of Death and the Underworld. That makes perfect sense because the end of winter, when the food was running out and the weather was bad, would be when the old, young, and infirm were very likely to die.
So, Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the time leading up to Spring, makes perfect sense when looked at from the point of view of our ancestors. It’s not really time for a festival, carnival, or feasting ~ it’s more a time of self-denial and self-discipline.
It all makes sense in terms of the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha too. The end of winter is a time of pain and suffering. Indulging our wants, desires, and lusts just makes everything worse. The road to freedom from suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit. The way to get through those hard days at the end of winter would have been through self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit.
So starting today, what am I giving up for the 46 days of Lent? It’s going to be something difficult. Starting today I will not take impulsive and negative actions when I have negative thoughts and feelings like; anger, jealousy, insecurity, anxiety, or fears of abandonment ~ all those old symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. I know that I will have those negative feelings, I just won’t let them get to me.
Maybe I should have decided to give up chocolate instead ~ I’ve already given up booze.
Maybe I’ll just lock myself in the garret for Lent.