I thought I'd take this opportunity to ask - who here has heard of (or even experienced) what is medically referred to as Exploding Head Syndrome?
Five years ago I had no idea it existed. But then my younger sister was killed in a car accident; shortly after that, I began experiencing the symptoms.
For anyone who doesn't know, Exploding Head Syndrome is where either in sleep, or the stages just before or after, sufferers experience an intensely loud noise in their head, often accompanied by a flash of light. It usually affects people over the age of fifty, and more often women than men.
When it first happened, I was incredibly freaked out - I didn't have a clue what was going on. Apparently the noises people hear vary, but for me it sounded like a motorbike or loud car driving right through my head. That and the flash of light woke me up instantly with my heart racing.
Because of what had happened to my sister, and the way it sounded to me like a chaotic split second of traffic, I started wondering if I was somehow experiencing my sister's last moment. It sounded daft, but it kept happening, and at the time I was desperately searching for some sort of spiritual reassurance that she was alright. So I googled the symptoms to see if anyone else had experienced anything similar, and discovered that it was EHS.
The weird thing was, when I was settling down to go to sleep, I discovered that I could tell when it was going to happen. There was a sort of buzzing energy I could feel in my head. It's hard to describe - it was as though in my brain there was a tube containing a bit of electric liquid, and the tube occasionally titled from side to side, sending the liquid buzzing one way or the other - and if it tilted too far to one side or the other, I would get the noise and the flash. That's not a very good description, but it's the closest I can come to it.
I also found that I could control the flow of this buzzing energy, to some extent. It was a sort of balancing act, in my brain. Not physical, I didn't have to tilt my head at all, but it took concentration and focus to keep the energy centralised.
Since then, I have experienced it infrequently - mostly during periods of intense stress, which apparently can be a trigger. I haven't had it for a while now (I'm rather happy these days), but there's always the chance it will pop back out of the blue once in a while.
Although there are a few theories, scientists have yet to explain exactly what causes the phenomenon. I myself am wondering if, in physiological terms, it has something to do with the Pineal gland (or "third eye"), and a short, concentrated release of Dimethyltryptamine. This is only a theory, but I have found it interesting that investigations into the euphoric effects of certain types of yoga have also pointed towards the Pineal gland as a source.
Dimethlytriptamine (known as DMT) has also been utilised as a drug; people under its influence experience intense psychadelic hallucinations, and often feel that they are subject to a period of spiritual awakening or contact with alien-like beings. It has also been hypothesised that a massive release of DMT from the Pineal gland is responsible for the near death experience phenomenon, although this is seen as a controversial theory in the scientific community.
For my part, whilst there may indeed be a physical reason in the brain for it happening, the experience of EHS is so overwhelming when it happens that I can't help but think I have felt a spark of the divine, just for that tiny moment. Whilst I would never describe the sensation as being a comfortable one, there is no pain involved - it's just a bit of a shock when it happens! I often find myself wishing afterwards that it could have lasted longer, just so I could get a better sense of what it really was.
I'd love to know if anyone else has any experience in this matter, or knows anyone else who has? Any thoughts are welcome!
Peace and love x