For this week’s Indie Ink Writing Challenge, I was challenged by Dafeenah with one word – “Delirium”. I challenged melissa b, and she will answer here. I decided to write nonfiction this week, because the prompt reminded me of something.

I have some experience with delirium. Not all of it, but the hallucinations part. Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you?

I like road trips. I enjoy the freedom to go at my own pace, and I stop whenever something catches my interest. On the way home, however, I just want to get home without stopping. Once I get to the last leg, whatever I have decided that last leg actually is, I do not want to stop. I want to get all the way home and curl up in my own bed.

When I am very, very tired, though, this can cause me problems.

Mostly I see trees. I’ll be on a stretch of road with no trees, nothing on either side, and I will see trees arching over the road. This only happens in the dark; if it is bright out, I am more willing to stop and take a nap. Silly of me, probably, but that’s life. The trees are redwoods, I think, and they almost touch at the top of the arch. If the sun were out, the light would be dappled and pleasant. In the dark, though, they are a darker blot above me, lines covering the sky. I know logically that there are no trees, but I still see them.

If there are trees or bushes on the side of the road, they become animals. I could have sworn, late one night, that there was a twenty foot bear leaning over a wall. I see creatures running across the road, ephemeral, not real enough for me to brake, but real enough to catch the edges of my vision. Once, when I was painfully tired, a car passed me and I thought I saw things running alongside. Nothing identifiable, but definitely unnerving.

I have learned over the years to stop at a gas station, rest stop, or even just to get off the freeway and close my eyes. I much prefer a well-lit area, but that is not always available, and I do not think it is particularly safe to be driving in that condition. It is quite unnerving to see things I know are not there.

I have never gotten to this point with another person in the car. Apparently I am not willing to risk anyone else’s safety, only my own. I have not pushed so hard in a long time, though, and I do not plan to push that hard again.

10 thoughts on “Delirium

  1. Wendryn, in this modern age, psychological anomalies occur so frequently. I pray for you that you find peace. Also know that you are not alone….I may not suffer from delirium, but clinical depression and anxiety is a bitch.

  2. Thank you! It’s actually only when I’m driving and very, very tired, so it hasn’t been a problem in quite a while. It’s just a result of exhaustion coupled with driving. Not anything to worry about!

  3. Im the same way! Even if I’m not driving… if I am really sleep deprived, things look all weird and bendy and sometimes I see things that aren’t there!

  4. Tara: She normally does pull off the road and take a nap, or make me take over. Then, of course, there is the time that a perfectly well-rested Wendryn hit a bear…


  5. Tara – I’d be rather interested to hear. I’ve heard people say they see things, but not generally trees.

    Amanda – exactly!

    xander, you just had to mention the bear…for everyone who doesn’t know, it ran down the hill in front of the car. I ended up with a smashed headlight and a crumpled front corner. Luckily the insurance company understood that I couldn’t have done anything differently to avoid it.

  6. Since having kids I’ve found I am perpetually sleep deprived. So if I don’t get a shot of caffeine in the afternoon my commute home usually has me fighting to keep my eyes open.

    That feel so sad…that I am so exhausted by 4pm I can’t drive home! I am old :p

  7. I hallucinate late at night too…that’s why I don’t like driving at night. It was much worse when I was in high school, coming home way too late and driving on back country roads with no street lights. Everything I see becomes something else. But I’ve been on the turnpike, even as recently as a few years ago, behind a truck, and my mind will take the tail lights of the truck and turn them into the eyes of a monster. That’s when I know I have to pull over immediately!

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