Friday, 2 December 2011

The Scream

Have you ever screamed out of sheer panic? Has terror ever gripped your heart so hard that every last breath in your body escapes your lips in an ear-splitting sound that just can’t be of this earth? There are two scenarios that cause me to emit that horrific noise. One is the Superman ride at Move World. When it throws you out of that tunnel, I just can’t help it. I can’t breathe but I can’t keep quiet either. But it’s a joyously nervous sound and even though I can’t talk for two or three days afterwards, I still love it. The other is out of cold-blooded fear and is during a panic attack.

Well, I guess I shouldn’t call it a panic attack because I’m not sure that is what it is – and nor is my psychologist. The weirdest thing about these episodes is I am asleep while they happen. Or normally I am until the sound wakes me up but sometimes it takes somebody else bursting into my room to snap me out of it. When I wake up the next morning I often can’t talk for a few days, such is the strain on my voice and the length and breadth of my scream.

I don’t remember what leads up to the screaming. If it’s a bad dream, I’ve never remembered it. The closest I’ve come to remembering anything is being aware of the realisation that I will die. I don’t remember thinking anything before that or even being awake to think. I’m not sure if it’s a dream or perhaps I am in a state of semi-sleep. Maybe I even think it while I’m screaming, I don’t know.

I’ve never met anyone who has experienced anything like this. Even the traditional panic attacks don’t often involve screaming. And I’ve never met anyone who has traditional panic attacks that involve screaming either, now that I think about it.

I used to have episodes that involved losing my faculties, screaming and hysterical crying. I’ve never admitted this but from about age 12 I slept on the floor of my dad’s room. (That took a lot to admit, please don’t judge me). I was tearing into my dad’s room so regularly screaming and terrified of imminent death that it just became easier to sleep in there. Perhaps it was the time we suspected I’d fractured my ankle jumping out of bed that triggered it, I can’t remember. Dad would sit up talking to me until all hours of the morning until I was so exhausted that I eventually fell asleep. I didn’t sleep in my own room until I was about 15 or 16. In fact, I don’t actually remember what my room looked like or what bed I had in my actual bedroom. Not before Dad built me an awesome bunk bed that we designed, anyway. My mattress was on my dad’s floor and I had my favourite possessions set up beside me. That was my life. It was embarrassing & I never admitted it to my friends. Well, until now I guess. In fact, I’m not 100% sure why I’m admitting it now…

Miss SAMawdsley xx


  • Have you ever experienced a panic attack?
  • Have you ever screamed? Like, really screamed? Why?


  1. I collapsed in a shopping centre and while unconcious, pissed myself...

    Woke up in the police beat and was informed an ambulance was on its way. The trigger to my episode...? I was out buying my kids Christmas presents a few weeks after Jo left me, and I kept thinking to myself "this will be the last presents I buy them."

    1. I'm so sorry, that's horrible. I am thankful my panic is always private. It's a blessed small relief. xx