I went upon a blind recommendation and let Sophia (almost 3) watch the movie "Happy Feet".... BAD IDEA. (There's a scary chase scene in it that involves a scary whale.) A couple nights after watching the movie, she started screaming in her sleep about 5 AM that "a whale is trying to get me" and was seriously freaking out for about one hour. we co-sleep, and she seemed to not know I was there because I was holding her and she was crying/creaming "I want my mommy." She was shaking and pushing me away, while almost scratching me/trying to hold on to me at the same time. The biggest thing was she thought "there's a whale in the bed." So, we turned on the lights and I took her out to the kitchen and turned on the brightest light in out house and made her stare at it to make sure her pupils would react evenly, and they did. She didn't have a fever and was well otherwise the day before and after.
It looked like a bad trip to me, like she was seriously hallucinating. I watched her dart her eyes around the room, like she was following a moving animal. Next, piles of clothes became animals and she would point to a crumpled shirt and say "The purple animal is going to get me." I don't really know how she came out of it, she just kind of fell asleep. Since then we have had many discussions that whales live in the ocean and could not be out of water or in our house, they are nice to people, but they may not be nice to other animals and they do eat fish. She tells us every day that there is no whale in the bed, but she says it frightfully. This was almost one full week ago- well last night, we all laid down and once that light was off, she was screaming about the whale in a way that topped the first night- she was screaming and crying so loud, but it was different.
I don't know how to help her and how to reduce this anxiety. Last night, she asked to sleep in her own bed so her dad took her in and she fell asleep without problem, and slept there all night. We are both okay with her sleeping in her own room, so is that an effective way to break her of this fear? I just don't know what to do.