A few days ago, I read a blog post over at My Enduring Bones called “The Young and the Rested” She wrote about those nightmares that send you screaming from your bed, and how she loves them, because they give her lots of creative material.
This was my comment:
“I have dreams like that too; some of them I still remember from when I was a child. Full of color and terror that stays with me for days, those dreams have the opposite effect on me. They leave me frozen, and unable to focus. I’m glad you can make use of yours!”
How often do children have recurring nightmares? I don’t know, but I had them. I dreamed about a girl with no face, and an old woman reminiscent of Whistler’s mother at least three or four times over several months, maybe even years. My early grade school years were rather chaotic, so it’s hard to pin things down. I remember events based on who I was living with and where I was going to school. I don’t remember the details of those dreams, beyond what I already said, but I remember waking up scared witless.
In my early twenties, the nightmares were so bad that I would be afraid to go to sleep. That was before Freddie Kruger and the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. I didn’t like those movies at all, and I loved horror movies! Most of the dreams then were about demons chasing me. At the time, I was in the Army and married to my first husband. I drank a lot in those days too, and I don’t know if that helped or hurt. I do know that sleep deprivation and booze is a really bad combination for someone with Bi Polar disorder.
In the thirty years since then; my dreams have calmed down significantly, and nightmares come rarely. As a matter of fact, the only one that sticks out for me is when I was dreaming that Kat’s dad was acting like Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining”. That said more about the deterioration of our relationship than it did about anything else.
Did you know that some medications can cause vivid nightmares? Yeah, guess what? Starting with the one dose of morphine they gave me in the hospital and continuing with the other necessary medications, my freaked-out subconscious woke up! You ever see the movie “Rose Red”? It took me a day or two to figure it out, but once I did, I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed. I said something like “Lord, you know I have to take this medicine, and you know that I have to sleep. I’m trusting you to keep the bad dreams away.” I still had vivid dreams, but they weren’t scary. Not even the one where Ed was telling me I couldn’t have coffee. Thanks again, Lord.