Friday, January 16, 2015

Left Its Seeds While I was Sleeping

My nights are busy nights. I haven't slept a full eight-hours in more than 18 months. I wake up after about four hours of sleep and take a pill, and then eventually my eyes close again.

But that's a new thing. The old thing is, as always, my nights are full of visions. I dream the dreams of everyone in the world, I think.

I dream crazy, silly little dreams where I roam the roads chasing after rabbits that turn into fairies that turn into mushrooms, leaving me standing in a field of flowers.

I dream shaming, morbidly fascinating dreams, where I turn up in the classroom without my pants on or my hair all messy. The teachers yell and the students laugh, and I flee, throwing my notes high into the air.

Sometimes I can't find my locker. Or my keys. Or the answer when I don't even know the question. Sometimes I run, breathing hard and fast. Usually I am younger, and in much better shape, which at least gives me a chance to get away.

Occasionally I have sleep paralysis, where my mind is awake but the rest of me isn't. I have also been known to walk in my sleep. After my father-in-law passed away, my husband found me asleep in our closet, going through his clothes. I told him I hadn't picked up his suit from the cleaners and he was going to need it.

He woke me up and I went back to bed.

The worst, though, are the bad dreams where I don't wake up. I have nightmares, but sometimes my dreams are beyond even those scary images. I dream in color, too, and the pictures in my mind are vivid and real.

Psychologists call those night terrors, and according to the Mayo Clinic, only a small percentage of adults have them (lucky me). My husband will wake up to find me screaming and shaking, tears rolling down my face. He shakes me until I wake up, disoriented and terrified. I seldom remember what the awful was, but it was obviously very, very bad.

For many years, I dreamed the same dream over and over. Darkness, a bathtub, blood. Screaming. A big hulking monster. Crows cawing in the background, ready to rip me apart because they weren't really crows, they were . . . something else. And the something else was so terrifying, so inexplicable, that to turn the knob on the door was akin to . . .

Well, you know, perhaps. Many people have nightmares. Not everyone has night terrors, but most folks can appreciate the drama that the brain can create in the dark.

Strange dreams seem to run in my family:

On a cold December night in 1975, my grandmother dreamed that Jesus came to her. She was in a beautiful apple tree grove, and the Lord came to her and took off her wedding ring. "You won't be needing this anymore," Jesus told her, and he walked away.

My grandfather died of a heart attack a few days later.

Doesn't that give you chills?

My dreams have not foretold any events large or small, at least, not that I recall. Instead they reflect the mish-mash that is my mind, the things I read, see, or hear. The past looms large in there, I think, though not as much as it once did. Childhood fantasies have given way to more mundane worries, such as health concerns and paying bills.

The last few mornings I have awakened with my cheeks wet, my eyes overflowing, like founts of dew spilling out to greet the morning. I do not remember what I was dreaming of. I have no idea why I'm crying. But I lie there spent and tense, as if I've already lived a day that has not yet begun.

The seeds of my night seem to be planted very deeply, indeed.


  1. Your dreams sound terrifying. I'm glad I seldom dream. I have been lately though - really crazy stuff that doesn't make sense. I told hubby I was dreaming of food because I started a serious diet this week. :)

  2. oh wow anita, you have some doozies! sorry you suffer from night terrors though...your grandmothers dream did indeed give me chills...i used to have the same dream over and over as a kid, i'd be crossing a narrow plank of wood across this big gully filled with water and there were sharks underneath...i would wake up scared and as an adult i have had one where i'm walking along a pathway and then there are snakes everywhere..they are in the trees, all over the path, in bushes next to it...i can't move and am soooo frightened and i can't scream, i try and try but no noise come out...i hate that one and thank goodness i haven't had it in a while...hope i didn't just jinx myself ha!

  3. I dream in color, details are remembered. I also suffer from dejavu (sp?) And your grandmothers dream is not weird or strange...something similar happened to me before my fil passed away. I have since quit worrying about the since in doing so...there is a reason, but, I am not going to second guess them. I am Sorry for the troubled ones, that I do not understand. Thank you for sharing this....Blessings

  4. I've only ever had one night terror that I can remember, and that was as a high school student, in another country, just before the one-year anniversary of a friend's death. I tend to be a lucid dreamer, and go through vivid, active dream cycles that can really wear me out. I have had some "prophetic" dreams in my life thought thankfully nothing recent. I've also dreamed entire conversations that later took place, though that does not happen as often now as when I was younger (or maybe I do and do not remember them as I used to).


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