Scaremare

I ran a WordPress version upgrade on the site last night and now the comment count on the latest post is not updating properly when I receive new comments.  I’m not sure what’s up with that, but just wanted to let you know.  Don’t stress.

So, on to the topic of this post.

Last night, I had an absolutely hellaciously horrible nightmare.  It was bad.  And I don’t think I really want to go into the specifics of what happened, but let’s just say that it was a combination of something that actually happened a long time ago and something I’ve been stressing out about recently, and when I woke up I was so freaked out and upset about it that for a while I was afraid to open my eyes even to check the clock.  When I finally did, I saw that it was about 4:30 in the morning, halfway through what I’ve always believed to be the witching hour.

I don’t often have nightmares.  When I have a bad or upsetting dream, it’s far more likely to be a sad or regretful dream than a scary one, and even the sad/regretful dreams are rare (although I did have one of those not long ago).  This one really threw me for a loop.  I cannot remember when I last felt so absolutely powerless and frightened as I did during the dream and for a long time after I woke up from it, and then again when I got up for the day.  All day today I’ve been a little off because of it.

It was awful, and I’m not really sure how to deal with it.  When I initially woke up from it early this morning, after I gathered enough courage to check the clock I shut my eyes again and just kept telling myself that it was only a dream.  I thought about calling someone, to have them reinforce that I am actually living in the normal world, and it was just a dream, and that it isn’t really going to happen, but I’m grown-up enough now that I no longer think it’s a good idea to wake people from a sound sleep just to have them help me feel better about something, and I don’t know who I would have called anyway.  I didn’t turn on the light or get out of bed or, really, move any muscles, because I was still frightened enough that all of those things seemed like a bad idea.

When I was a little girl, I went through a phase where I totally believed that I was going to be abducted by aliens.  When we moved to Virginia, the dead silent country nights only exacerbated that fear, and I frequently had alien abduction nightmares.  When I’d wake up from those dreams, I would stay absolutely perfectly still, with my eyes closed, until I fell back asleep, because I was sure that if I opened my eyes, I might find an alien standing next to my bed and that it would be more likely to take me if it knew I was awake and aware.

This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, of course, and now that I’m a relatively adult-type person I think the whole alien abduction thing is kind of funny.

But during the witching hour this morning, even though there were no aliens in my nightmare, I went with the stay perfectly still strategy and it seemed like the best possible idea at the time.

I’m upset and annoyed that this dream is haunting me so much today.  This is the downside of being a creative type who’s prone to really vivid dreams, I guess.

Comments 8

  • you could have called me, since i’m on a totally opposite schedule from the rest of the world right now, i was totally wide awake at 4:30… Dreams are just dreams, and bad dreams suck… but they let you know that things are better in the real world now than whatever the bad dream was about… i always try to fully wake myself up so I don’t slip back into the bad dream… i love you

  • I’m in a terrible mood this morning and, though I dreamt vividly – almost lucidly, as I always do, my sleep was interrupted again and again by
    1. a crazy girl who has, despite a complete absence of invitation or encouragement on my part, decided she needs to talk to me between the hours of 1 and 3 in the morning*. I can’t just turn my ringer off because I use my phone to wake me in the morning. (-and my alarm clocks are both old school wind-up clocks and have a loud ticking that takes adjusting to before use at night.)
    2. my cat decided he needed to check the window sills above my bed every 20 minutes, using my back and head to get up and down. For all I know, this is normal activity for him – activity I’m normally unaware of save for when crazy, drunk girls call me at 1:38 am on a Tuesday.

    So… nightmare. You’re better now, clearly but, you know, a call to a friendly voice might help avoid the scaremares. …just sayin’.

    (*Of course, I don’t answer the phone. Still, she’ll call and send a text message. 3 times in as many weeks now.)

  • I’m sorry you’re going through this. Hopefully you’re a little better today. I know exactly what you’re feeling like though. This has happened to me quite a bit, where an awful dream has haunted me for days. Like you said, it’s one of the drawbacks of having a vivid imagination. It’s so frustrating that it’s your own head doing all the damage. Ugh.

  • This is from http://www.lucidity.com/LucidDreamingFAQ2.html.

    2.1.2 Overcoming Nightmares

    Unfortunately for many people, instead of providing an outlet for unlimited fantasy and delight, dreams can be dreaded episodes of limitless terror. As is discussed in the books Lucid Dreaming (LaBerge, 1985) and Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming (EWLD) (LaBerge & Rheingold, 1990), lucid dreaming may well be the basis of the most effective therapy for nightmares. If you know you are dreaming, it is a simple logical step to realizing that nothing in your current experience, however unpleasant, can cause you physical harm. There is no need to run from or fight with dream monsters. In fact, it is often pointless to try, because the horror pursuing you was conceived in your own mind, and as long as you continue to fear it, it can pursue you wherever you dream yourself to be. The only way to really “escape” is to end your fear. (For a discussion of reasons for recurrent nightmares, see Overcoming Nightmares from EWLD.) The fear you feel in a nightmare is completely real; it is the danger that is not.

    Unreasonable fear can be defused by facing up to the source, or going through with the frightening activity, so that you observe that no harm comes to you. In a nightmare, this act of courage can take any form that involves facing the “threat” rather than avoiding it. For example, one young man dreamt of being pursued by a lion. When he had no place left to run, he realized he was dreaming and called to the lion to “come and get him.” The challenge turned into a playful wrestling match, and the lion became a sexy woman (NightLight 1.4, 1989, p. 13). Monsters often transform into benign creatures, friends, or empty shells when courageously confronted in lucid dreams. This is an extremely empowering experience. It teaches you in a very visceral manner that you can conquer fear and thereby become stronger.

  • Yeah, lorie; it’s time to write about the scaremare here. Anyway, writing down all you recall from it could help you with your control with lucid dreaming which, can, in turn, help all your objects of fear in dreams into sexy women. Sexy women you can, in turn, introduce to me and write about here. …in full detail, for the benefit of all others under the threat of nightmares of their own.

    I gotta stop drinking coffee now.

  • I know a couple of people who have alien nightmares. My friend Sarah gets freaked out if people just mention of aliens. I wonder if that’s a common nightmare, like the going to school naked nightmare.

  • Oh God, when I was about 12, I took some total bullshit absolutely fact-free alien-abduction book out of the library, and slept with the lights on for 3 weeks. I did the same thing when I woke up in the middle of the night, too.

  • lorie: at least it wasn’t the commercial for ‘hostel’ keeping you hostage. hope you’re sleeping better now.

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