Question: I am a multi-published speculative fiction author and I have a very vivid imagination. When the hallucinations started, I really thought I was losing touch with reality. Now, I know better.
The first time I experienced a hynopompic hallucination was about three weeks after my husband’s death. I woke to find what I thought was my youngest son standing in the bathroom beyond my bedroom door. The apparition was bald…as my son is…and it was rubbing its head as it stood in profile to me. I asked him what he needed but he didn’t answer. I slowly began to realize it wasn’t my son. I wasn’t afraid just unsettled. The apparition finally faded but I had a hard time getting back to sleep. A few nights later I woke to find a giant Mr. Potato Head with over-sized white Hamburger Helper Man gloves waving at me as it clung to the bathroom wall. Beside it, a little squirrel was clapping it’s paws. After that, the hallucinations became a nightly thing:Giant mouse with razor-sharp fur standing on its back legs, huge foot tapping on the floor, large head nodding in time to the ‘music’; tiny kangaroo and cat doing the twist in my bedroom chair; bloody torso sitting on my nightstand. None of those actually frightened me. I knew they weren’t real but when I woke to find a young boy sitting in the chair by my bed, crying as though his heart was breaking, I freaked out. I could actually hear his crying and that really disturbed me. The next morning, I made an appointment with my physician who sent me to a psychiatrist.”You are perfectly sane,” was the diagnosis. “Grief, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, the meds you are on for depression…these all combined to cause the sleep disturbances. Let’s put you on Ambien.”That was a mistake that took me two weeks to get over after weaning myself from that hellish drug I took for eight months. By the way, the Ambien did not stop the nightly hallucinations. Those have continued. Last night it was a flock of different kinds of silly-looking birds climbing up my bedroom wall. I could hear their talons scratching against the paneling.I’ve gotten accustomed to the apparitions and can now turn my back on them and go back to sleep. Sometimes I just lay there and watch them until they fade. I know they aren’t real but they have made excellent fodder for my novel writing.