Closed-Eye Agoraphobia

For as long as I can remember, I have had panic attacks on the edge of sleep. Not often, I should add, but occasionally. As I feel myself drifting into unconsciousness, the body becomes primed for a dissociative dream state. The blackness of the inside of my eye lids opens out like the cosmos and the expanse is dizzying. I feel like I am drifting in space. The walls of my bedroom are suddenly far from reach and, though I am warm and have a another body beside me, we are but orbiting planets oddly irradiated by some distant source. I open my eyes to steady myself and shake off the nausea but my eye lids are heavy and, as they close before me, I’m at sea once again. The wide open space of sleep becomes a plane upon which panic awaits. But it is almost as if the fear is not mine but someone else’s. I am prone to nightmares, as my dream diary will attest to, but I fall asleep with ease. I have nothing to fear. It is as if the unconscious itself has a panic disorder, and is all too aware that, when the I rests, the id has no way out. And so the id fears itself.

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