Friday, 2 March 2007


I dream a lot. Well, at least I used to dream. I enjoy a good dream and I like to analyse dreams. I am not bad at it either, I think.

Since having the kids, I don't think I have had a long enough stretch of sleep to warrant the remembering of as many good dreams. I am not really into sleep that much, which is ironic really, because you need to sleep in order to get the dream, but sleep has never offered me that refreshed feeling that people talk about.

I have a sleeping disorder. It is a common one. It is called sleep paralysis, you have probably even had a bout of it. Mine occurs with the onset of sleep, and often accompanies hallucinations or weirdly vivid scenarios. For me, sleep paralysis is often brought on by some kind of stress or severe sleep deprivation. It started when I was 14. I used have several episodes a week, but now it only occurs a handful of times a year.

For me, a typical scenario for this kind of thing, might see me hallucinating/dreaming that someone has entered the house, while I am asleep. I will dream that I am asleep- everything is exactly how I "left it" when I closed my eyes only seconds before. I hear the front door open and footsteps downstairs. The dogs will be barking or growling at the unexpected night visitor. I can't move. I can't call out. I can't open my eyes. I hear the foot steps creeping closer and closer, and I feel the person in the room. Sometimes they might touch my arm or breathe so close to my face I can hear them, and I feel them looking at me. Sometimes I feel them sit down on the bed next to me.

I struggle like a drowning woman fighting for breath as I attempt to break the paralysis, and when finally I do, I find myself alone. There is a strange calm about the room, and my dog is asleep on his mat next to the bed. God I hate that type of dream. I am never really sure if it is a dream or not, as it is happening of course.

I have had two kind of funny regular nightmares. One was so dumb, that in hindsight, it is laughable to even call it a nightmare.

Some incident was happening, I think I was in the middle of being graphically murdered or something. It was a horrific scene... extraordinary, in fact so extraordinary, that I didn't even believe it could be real. So in the dream, I reasoned with myself that, if it were a dream, the time on the wall clock in the dream, would be different to that on the wrist watch I just happened to be wearing.
Of course, the times do not match, which lead me to cry, "A-hhha!", to which I immediately awoke. Now how ridiculous is that? What would have happened if the times hadn't matched?

The other funny nightmare occurred at a time when I worked as an assistant baker, and commenced work at 3am on a Sunday morning. In this dream, my car broke down and I had to walk home to get my bike, so I could ride to work. I was walking along a dark street near my house, when I saw a man up ahead. He is a far enough away that he should have posed no threat, but when he saw me, he began to approach. I turned down a street, wary of his presence. He was walking behind me now- following me. I looked back and he looked away. I walk faster, he walked faster. I started to jog to see how he would react, he started to jog to keep up, which freaked me out. I started running for my life, but was slow and the man caught up to me, his jagged arm outstretched, crooked fingers lurching for my shoulder. Then I started to wonder..."perhaps he isn't trying to harm me at all. Perhaps he just wanted to ask me something". So we stopped running and he says in a calm and friendly voice, "Miss, I was wondering if you knew what time the next bus comes by"? To which I awoke, greatly relieved and slightly confused.

I think the most dastardly of dreams I have ever had, was a dream in which I was presented with the opportunity to know my life's purpose.

In that dream, I had infiltrated a secret building and had broken into a room housing a top secret computer containing the name and life purpose of every person on earth. Persons allowed in that room were highly restricted, but somehow I was in front of the computer trying to crack the password, so I could learn my own life purpose.
I sat there on the edge of my seat working quickly, while keeping one ear out for approaching footsteps; if I were found, I knew I would be killed.
I managed to break the code, so I entered my own name. The role for my life's purpose was , strangely referenced "Goddess" . To find out more about the life purpose of the Goddess, I had to download further information, and that was going to take time. In the meantime, all I could do was sit and wait for the process to complete.
It was about 60% done when I heard footsteps at the end of the corridor. I started to grow impatient and anxious, "come on , come on". My heart began to race with the anticipation and want; my life's purpose was almost within my reach. I was about to learn everything I had ever yearned and ached to know about my reason for my being; my life was about to make sense.
But the footsteps were coming closer, so close that it was getting dangerous. The footsteps stopped outside the door of the top secret room, and I was forced to ABORT the operation, only moments before the download was complete.

I awoke immediately, feeling completely pissed off, ripped off, frustrated and ARRRRHHHHHH! I tried desperately to go back to sleep and resurrect the dream; change the outcome so I could learn my fate - but I couldn't.

Gee, I have had some doozies....

So there you go, a little venture into my warped little mind. By the way. I can't seem to interpret my own dreams at all. I think I am too close to see the meaning - that is, if you believe dreams offer some kind of insight.
Actually, I should really be having dreams right about now, rather than writing about them. So sweet dreams all.


shishyboo said...

Dreams are fascinating, I wish I could remember more of mine.

For approx the first 12 months of my daughters life, I would dream that she was in bed with my husband and me but when I woke (still living inside the dream) I couldn't find her (because she was in her own bed).

I'm a sleep talker too so I would often wake my husband in a panic and accuse him of crushing her or demanding he tell me what he'd done with her. I have heard it's a reasonably common thing in new mother's but it still makes me feel like a wally.

I managed to stop it by telling myself out loud that my baby was safe in her own bed before I went to sleep (making me more of a wally). That worked most of the time.

Kathleen said...

It's comforting to know that someone besides myself also has really strange (and sometimes terrifying) dreams. It gets to be a joke around here...wondering what I'll be dreaming about tonight. They are often scary...involving rapes and murders and such. I wake with my heart pounding, sweating from beating off my attacker. NOT FUN! I can't imagine what causes late night TV to haunt my dreams, etc. At best my dreams will involve me trying to find Michael. The man is always leaving me! I'm sure there's an easy explanation for THAT out there somewhere.

scribbit said...

Wow I loved this post. Though I feel for you deeply with the sleep disorder. Nothing can be so frustrating as not getting a good's night sleep and you describe it so beautifully--though that's not the right word for the trauma of what you describe. But I can't help but love good prose--

Catherine said...

I've had sleep paralysis at stressful times in my life, too... although I never knew there was actually a name for it! WOW. You described it perfectly, too. Terrifying. My worst one was when the "stranger" came into my room and laid on top of me and was so heavy that I felt like I was suffocating to death. Here's hoping neither of us have another one of those dreadful dreams!!

strauss said...

That dream sounds absolutely dreadful. Horrifying, Catherine. Thankfully I haven't had that one.