Nightmares and Night Terrors. One is not the other. Ravenna used to have both - there was a period of time where she couldn't sleep for more than 4 hours at a time without waking to one or the other.
Do you know what a night terror is? I've never had one, but here is what it is like from the outside:
Ravenna "wakes up" screaming uncontrollably, completely unresponsive to anyone talking to her, picking her up, walking around with her, trying to calm her down.
I'd pick her up, walk around a bit with her, trying to talk to her, and then sit and rock with her. All the while she continues screaming and crying hysterically, for 30 minutes maybe, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Then she finally falls back asleep, and later has no memory of this ever having happened.
The unresponsiveness and the inability to effect her or help pull her out of it were what were most terrifying
She has not had one of these for more than a year now. I am so grateful.
There is still the occasional nightmare, but I would much rather have that, where she's a bit afraid but we can talk through it and I can soothe her. She likes to play a "nightmare game" that a therapist suggested to me, where she tells me about what she dreamt and then we think up a way that it can end being resolved in a better state. A "good ending". She finds this to be very soothing and empowering.