I know I’ve talked about this before, probably a while ago now, but since it is something that’s still happening and affecting me I wanted to expand on it. For as long as I can remember I’ve had these terrible, vivid nightmares that I can’t seem to forget no matter how much I try. I don’t just mean the next day, but months and even years later I can still remember them vividly and in detail.
Sometimes I get lucky and I have fairly good dreams or at least wake up feeling not quite so disturbed. Other nights, however, I wake up in the middle of the night afraid to go back to sleep. A part of me wants to stay awake throughout the rest of the night just so I can keep myself safe and not risk having another nightmare like the one I just woke up from.
My nightmares are the complete opposite of my waking life. My waking life is usually pretty stress-free, relaxed, calm and positive. I have plenty of time to do things that I enjoy and that make me happy. I’m usually in a pretty good mood unless I’m tired or something bad has happened. But as soon as I go to sleep it’s like a complete contrast and everything changes. I have these super disturbing, intense nightmares usually centred around the concepts of death, insecurity and/or violence. Sometimes I have slight variations of the same dream, other times they can be quite different from each other, but basically the concept and idea of each dream is focused on the same thing.
It’s reached a point where I don’t feel comfortable telling anyone about these nightmares. I don’t like thinking about it and I certainly don’t wish to talk about it with anyone I know. Even so, the content of these nightmares is hard to forget in a hurry. It’s like even after the nightmare is over and I’ve woken up, gotten on with the day/month/year, the nightmares actually stay with me and I remember every awful part and how it makes me feel.
Once I actually had the same nightmare twice…in the same night. The dream was the same, the actions were the same, the story was the same, the only thing that changed was my surroundings. In this particular dream I was being chased by an axe murderer who was trying to kill me. When I tried to hide in a room, he would break it down with his axe and I would see it slice through the door I was hiding behind, much like that super intense scene on The Shining. However, the face of the person is not anyone I know in real life, as often these ‘chase’ dreams use someone I have created in my mind (that’s if I even get to see their face, which sometimes I don’t), as opposed to it being a real person I know and recognise.
If the dream isn’t about murder (or someone trying to kill me), it is about someone or something getting physically hurt and/or being in pain. For example, seeing someone getting stabbed, shot, punched, slapped etc. I have had different dreams where all of these things have happened. Once I had a nightmare that my cat was shot in the tummy, I held her up and could see right through the bullet hole in her body. Usually I’m not the person getting hurt but I’m a witness or someone seeing it unfold in front of me. Most of the time I don’t actually know the person getting hurt (apart from the dream about my cat) and they are just made up people, but it’s like I can’t do anything to help in the dream and all I can do is stand by and watch it happen, which makes it all the more worse.
Other times I have dreams that someone in my family is dying and/or is dead. Once I had a dream that me, my sister and my mum were all dying and were trying to find a suitable, last place to die in as we left this earth and said goodbye to each other for the last time. Another time I dreamt that my sister and her boyfriend had been killed and stored in a glass tank in my bedroom so that I would see their lifeless bodies. One time I had a dream that my grandma died and I was talking to her from beyond the grave, literally with her gravestone behind her, although she didn’t know that she had died and was talking to me as though she was still alive and well. Another time I had a dream that someone was killing my whole family and everyone I knew to get to me, to ruin my life and take away everyone and everything that I love one bit at a time. I often wake up crying from these dreams because it takes me a second to recover and for a terrible second I have to work out whether anyone is actually dying/dead or whether that was just the dream; being as vivid as they are it leads me to believe that it’s happening in real life.
Often they are about insecurity. This usually means dreaming of an intruder in my house or someone trying to break in. I’ve had dreams of seeing someone trying to pick the lock on the front door, or trying to break it down altogether, while others they have actually gotten in and are trying to find which room I’m hiding in. Usually in these dreams I have no choice but to jump out of the window to try get away – sometimes this works in my favour but other times it doesn’t. These dreams make me feel like I’m not even safe in my own house and that’s an incredibly unsettling thought.
I also have dreams of explosions a lot. For example, the other night I had a dream that my house exploded because of a faulty oven. Another night I had a dream that buildings exploded in the city and everyone was running for their lives (see blog post Turbulence), and other time I dreamt of exploding cars along with people – including my sister who was blown up with the car. This is the other sort of violence in my dreams that I experience, other than the physical sort mentioned above.
It’s like as soon as I fall asleep, my mind turns really, really dark and throws these awful and disturbing nightmares at me before I can do anything to stop it. I often wake up feeling quite upset, not just by the disturbing content of the nightmares but also upset with myself for letting me dream about such awful things that I don’t ever wish to think about nor dream about. To have these nightmares over such a long period of time, probably a couple per week on average, for as long as I can remember, it just feels like I’m being tormented and mentally suffering from these nightmares.
I have no idea if these nightmares are trying to tell me something in particular, and if so, what, but since I’m not ready to talk to anyone about them all that’s left to do is write about them and hope that makes some kind of a difference.
Lucy Rebecca x