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Perks
04-19-2017, 08:45 PM
I'm reading up on a little research into nightmares (doing my Googling and reading diligence) but I was curious about our AWers' experience of nightmares --- and more importantly, what you make of them.

Do you think it reflects anything about your personal routines (like staying up too late or medication you have to take) or your physiology, or your psychology? Do you wonder about why this is something you have to deal with or do you just roll with it?


Of course, most people have the occasional unpleasant dream, but I only know two people who have mentioned their frequent, terrible nightmares to me and although they don't know each other, there are some interesting similarities in their personalities that make me wonder about people plagued with chronic nightmares.

In advance, thanks for anything you're willing to say. I so much appreciate it.

MaeZe
04-19-2017, 09:08 PM
Never had recurring nightmares but for the last 3 of 4 nights I've had mini-nightmares. Very odd.

The first I thought I lost my wallet. Searched and searched until I woke up and reminded myself I could relax, I hadn't really lost it.
Second dream, my car was stolen. Same thing, searched and searched until I woke up.
Last night I dreamed malware infected my computer, that one which tells you to click on the site which will fix it for you for a price and you can't get any other page to open. It was real enough I was hoping my computer was OK this morning even though I knew it had been a dream.

Has to be related to stress or something.

Siri Kirpal
04-19-2017, 09:48 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I am not prone to frequent nightmares, but a know a few people who are. Invariably they are people who have experienced traumatic events: armed robbery in two cases, the aftermath of the great tsunami of 2004 in one case.

Many years ago, back in the 1970s, I used to have frequent "calculus nightmares." This was after I'd finished school. I'd dream that I had final exams for calculus and usually one or two other classes and hadn't done the homework or cracked the books. These nightmares disappeared once I began to teach Kundalini Yoga. (Then I would dream that I was the assistant to the calculus teacher.) I've discovered that lots of people this sort of anxiety dream after finishing school. It's kind of like the force that propels us forward when we stop a car suddenly. The mind is used to having to deal with schoolwork; when that stops, it keeps going, but with anxiety that we're not doing what it was trained to think it was supposed to do.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

M.S. Wiggins
04-19-2017, 09:52 PM
Iím not plagued so much with the frequency (often-ness) of what I consider to be a nightmare, but itís definitely a reliable theme when I do have one: There will be a great big spider, or many normal-size spiders. (I donít like spiders.) Either way, when the nightmare becomes too intense Iíll wake up. Iíve always found this strange because if my own mind selected and played the spider-movie, then why did it get so freaked out about it and wake me up? Is there some sort of Ďdualityí going on in the sleeping mind? Like there is in the conscious mind?

Another recurring theme, that I consider to be more stressful than nightmarish, is Iíve forgotten to feed/take care of some beingóusually a baby/small child, or an animal. Alternatively, Iíve forgotten to do some random important task and when I do remember itís so close to the deadline that it may be impossible to completeÖ and then it becomes so stressful trying to complete it that Iíll wake up.

Lastly, back to nightmares, there is one other Iíll have on the rare occasion: driving off the side of a bridge, but I always wake up before impact. Though it's stressful in the dream, the odd thing is that I don't have a problem driving over a bridge in realityóno matter how loftily perched it is. (However, I don't like bridges where the lanes are too 'squeezed' together. I prefer 'elbow room'!)

Good luck with your research.

Cyia
04-19-2017, 09:59 PM
Do some research into the neuroscience of sleep. The brain is literally bathed in a different set of chemicals / hormones than while awake, so if a person has certain hormone imbalances or other chemical issues in their biology, it can most definitely impact how they sleep and how they dream. That's why a lot of sleep meds come with the added warning of "vivid dreams." Maxing out on over the counter melatonin can, too.

When I was a teenager, I would have 1 throw-me-out-of-sleep-screaming, can't-talk nightmare a year. It was basically the culmination of every horror movie I'd watched throughout the year come back to haunt me, and often starring people I knew in place of the ones from the movies.

After that, if I had bad dreams, they usually happened if I fell asleep during the day and came from sounds / smells / etc. filtering in from the real world and getting mangled by my sleeping brain.

MadAlice
04-19-2017, 10:06 PM
I have nightmares when really big stressers are doing their stressing thing in my life. As a child I had several recurring nightmares. I've turned or plan to turn all of them into stories. Of course they represented whatever was going on in my life (lack of control, fear of certain things/people, feeling lost, etc.) but those are the ones that make the best stories. I have them less often as an adult, but still whenever I have a day that is particularly stressful and I'm feeling fearful about the outcome of those stressers.

Marlys
04-19-2017, 10:32 PM
For years I had recurring nightmares about not being safe. I even had a dream stalker--fictional, but the same guy was out to get me in these nightmares. Usually, he'd be outside the house, and I'd go frantically through every room, latching windows and locking doors and knowing that if I made a mistake he'd get in and kill me. Sometimes he'd get in--once he was standing in my bedroom door with an ax--but then I'd wake myself up because I was not going to actually let myself be killed.

I've had exactly one panic attack in my life, and it felt exactly like the nightmare. I was awake, but I started doing the dream routine of checking all the windows and doors, sure that someone was about to break in. It was unbearable. I called my sister, and talking to her calmed me down.

Used that in my third book, actually.

And yes, there were shitty childhood reasons for dreaming about being unsafe. The dream went away when I got older and felt more in control of my life.

Apart from that, typical anxiety dreams: not being prepared (the play's tonight and I don't know my lines/test is today and I forgot I took this class) or able to cope (waiting tables and can't even get drinks out), or out of control (car won't respond, etc.). Those are usually easy to trace to the source.

One physiological trigger: I tend to have more vivid and wild dreams, sometimes including nightmares, when I take melatonin to help me get to sleep.

Cindyt
04-19-2017, 10:41 PM
I have nightmares about fears--being trapped in something or somewhere without a way home.

I took prescription ibuprofen for a week once and had violent I'm-gonna-kill-ya-sucker nightmares every single night. Never take that again.

Undercover
04-20-2017, 12:00 AM
I'm constantly dreaming. Sometimes when I wake up, I can't shake them off. I remember dreams from years ago. I had a reoccurring dream when I was little that I was stuck in a sewer and when I looked up at the grates, I saw people walking passed. I would scream, but no one ever heard me. Things would drop down, like coins and keys too.

Most of my current dreams are of me losing my family. Either losing my husband or kids. Or my cat. But every time I wake up, man o man, am I glad! But still though, some are so violent, it's hard to believe. I'm bipolar too so I know that has everything to do with it.

Maryn
04-20-2017, 12:07 AM
I've had what I jokingly call "schoolmares" since I was a young kid. I am a student who cannot find the classroom, realizes the day of the final I have never attended the college course, arrives at class undressed or unprepared (which is worse?), that sort of thing. I have these five or six times a month and consider them to mean exactly nothing.

However, when our daughter came out to us as trans, a second recurring type of nightmare began. In these, she is our son, still a child, and she disappears or dies, often in some horrific way. I interpret this as my brain's crude way of working out that our son is gone. Sadly, I have not yet dreamed of her as our daughter, as she is now or at any other age. My brain's still processing, I presume.

Maryn, who puts little stock in dreams

Roxxsmom
04-20-2017, 12:16 AM
I have occasional nightmares. As an adult, they're most often about falling. For instance, in the dream, I'll be driving on a bridge or along a cliff, and somehow lose control of the car and it will plunge over the cliff (and I'll experience a very real sensation of falling and associated terror before I wake up). Or I'll be in an elevator that will not stop at my desired floor, and when I press the button, it will plummet. Occasionally flying dreams turn into falling dreams, though that happened more when I was younger. Now when I dream of flying, I tend to only push off and float a few feet above the floor. Symbolic?

My most frequent "bad dreams," though, are more emotional or frustrating. I'll be trying to find something or complete a task before I can go do something I badly want to do in my dream, but I'll keep getting sidetracked or forgetting what I need to do. Somehow, in my subconscious, I must know I'm dreaming and have to get to the good part before I wake up. I always wake up just as I'm finishing the chore or finding what I need to find.

This is pretty clearly related to the way my life feels sometimes.

Another kind of bad dream involves a fight or falling out with a loved one. In those dreams, someone is either very angry at me for reasons I can't fathom, and they're yelling at me or treating me very badly/unfairly, or else I lose my temper and say unforgivable things to someone I care for.

And, ugh, then there are those dreams about having an incurable disease, or about my husband dying. And ick, those ones where my teeth fall out for no reason.

Alsikepike
04-20-2017, 03:31 AM
I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for as this only happened once, but I used to be very prone to having strange and vivid dreams when I used sleeping medications. I never had a problem with it, as I don't typically have any dreams under normal circumstances anyway. But there was one experience I had with sleeping medications that put me off them for good. I had taken some allergy medication late in the afternoon, and before bed I took my sleeping meds. I know you're not supposed to mix meds, but the allergy stuff was over-the-counter, so I didn't think anything of it. When I fell asleep that night I experienced something I can only describe as a looping nightmare. I woke up in the middle of the night to get a drink, and as I was heading back to bed I got a really bad feeling that something was really wrong. I kept hearing breathing noises, and I couldn't sleep with that around, so I searched the house until eventually I realized that whatever was in the house was right behind me, but no matter what I tried, it was always behind me and I couldn't get a look at it. Spooks ultimately ensued and I woke up back in my bedroom, and I could still hear the breathing. This process repeated itself over and over, resetting each time something 'woke' me up. (The Groundhog Day of nightmares) Each repeat generally followed the same theme as before (something following me, not being able to see it, etc.) ,but it varied a little each time. After a few repeats I caught on to what was happening, and the house began to devolve with each repeat until it simply didn't have a form anymore. It shifted and warped like clay or putty, constantly changing shape and size. Obviously I had realized what was going on, and I started to panic. I tried to find an exit, but whenever I got close to a door or a window it would either shift away, or twist and warp until it physically wouldn't open. Eventually I was chased by some kind of creature until the house warped in a way that allowed me to be caught. Whenever I was caught, I'd wake up in my bedroom and I'd try to leave again, with roughly the same result. After the third repeat of this, I gave up trying and accepted my fate. After that I woke up for real. I don't know how many cycles I went through in total but it was at least a dozen. Needless to say, I never took either medication again. It took me a month to bring up the nerve to sleep in my own bed. I haven't had any dreams like that since, so I can safely assume I had a reaction to the medications.

ESGrace
04-21-2017, 02:22 AM
I almost always dream, so I do take the time to think about what they might mean. I'm fascinated by them. But since I dream a lot, some of them are just total boring junk. As in so mundane that I'll wake up and have to ask people if I was remembering real life events or if it was a dream. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to ask my boyfriend, "Did we have a conversation about the coffee pot or was it a dream?"

I have cried, laughed, spoken, and ticked like a clock in my sleep - from childhood to now (late 20s).

I have had recurring themes in nightmares at different times in my life that I would absolutely connect with psychological things (i.e., feeling out of control in my life = dreams where I'm not in control).

It was actually always a great tool for me in school to warn me during summer break when I needed to get started on my summer reading projects because, without fail, I would dream of showing up to class unprepared.

FWIW, I suffered from insomnia when I was younger and just last year was diagnosed with narcolepsy. I did take sleeping meds for a while but now I take "stay awake" meds and it doesn't seem to have affected my dreams but I don't mix with anything else.

snafu1056
04-21-2017, 08:17 AM
I've read that frequent nightmares can be a sign of depression or pent-up anger or frustration. Fear and anxiety can create them too. If you have very powerful negative emotions that are left unresolved they can leak into your dreams.

One re-occuring theme I used to have was dreams where I'm witnessing terrible events. Maybe someone getting killed or some 9-11 scale event (even before 9-11). I was never participating, just a spectator. But I'd be left with the same troubled feeling I'd have if I had seen such stuff in real life. I guess it had something to do with whatever was going on at the time, because those eventually faded.

ShaunHorton
04-21-2017, 08:34 AM
I don't have nightmares much anymore, but I used to have them all the time. Typically, they were about things like being trapped in a car going over a cliff, or all my teeth falling out.

I also used to have nightmares of being chased by demons or aliens, but the last time I actually had one of those, rather than being scared, it just pissed me off, and instead of running from the monster, I stood up and fought back. It wasn't like a lucid dream or anything where I knew I was dreaming and took control, just being chased in that dream made me angry more than scared at that time. I remember the monster grabbing me by the throat and picking me up off the ground. I just spit in its face and said "I'm stronger than you." Then I woke up, and I haven't had that kind of nightmare since, been over a year now.

jennontheisland
04-21-2017, 08:42 AM
I remember as a kid when my friends would describe their dreams to me, wondering why they seemed so boring... my dreamscape was entirely surrealist. Nothing was as it is in this world. Everything had a slight edge of terror to it. Landscapes and people melted together, faces shifted and strained, something was almost always chasing me, or I was chasing it, things that communicated with me weren't human, they weren't animorphic, they just were... things in my dreams. I tried a few times telling people about the neat and strange dreams I had (some felt particularly thrilling and I woke up startled, or shaking, or sweating) and they would look at me aghast and wonder how I went to bed the next night. When I was around 12 or 13 I discovered that I apparently only had nightmares and everyone else's boring dreams were normal dreams. I also only had lucid dreams though. I've always had lucid dreams, and it's really not scary when even though the world is stretching around you and landscapes are falling away under your feet, you know that eventually you'll wake up. I liked my nightmares. They were interesting, almost fun, like my own personal horror movie in my bed every night.

The last time I remember dreaming was shortly before I went on anti-depressants. I've been off them for years, and I can't recall a recent dream I had. I miss them.

MaeZe
04-21-2017, 08:42 AM
I don't have nightmares much anymore, but I used to have them ... all my teeth falling out. One of the nightmares I had as a kid that really impacted me and I still remember, I had these awful black things that grew all over my face. I think I was about 10.

Albedo
04-21-2017, 09:14 AM
I love dream typology. I'd break my 'bad' dreams down into several distinct types (I have 'good' dreams and the occasional mindblowingly awesome cinematic dream as well, but most of my dreams are just 'boring'.) Of the bad, the most frequent are the anxiety dreams, and we've all had those: oops, you forgot to attend statistics class all semester and the exam's tomorrow! (You will have this dream forever.) Uhoh, you've gotta leave the house to attend Important Social Event, but you can't find your wallet or pants! (There's a lucid dreaming version of this one where I'm desperately trying to do something really fun and exciting that can only be done in a dream, because I know I'll wake up any minute.)

There are the dreams of emotional distress: where I'm insanely angry at someone I love, or someone has just died, or the like. Interestingly, I only ever wake up with a vague unease after these ones, no matter how intense the emotions were a second ago. Neurochemistry is weird.

There are the otherwise mundane dreams that suddenly hit you woth jarringly disturbing imagery: body horror, people being killed. These I usually wake up from pretty quickly. Thanks, brain. WTF?? These ones are unpredictable, and don't happen often.

I've only occasionally had falling dreams. Usually these are like the above: just plodding along when suddenly you fall off a cliff.

I had more pursuit dreams when I was younger: I remember being chased by the T-1000, by the T. rex from Jurassic Park, by sentient fireballs. In retrospect these dreams were almost fun. These ones I believe are your body test-firing your fight-or-flight systems while you sleep.

Most inexplicable, and the most terrifying, are the sleep paralysis episodes. They deserve a whole thread of their own.

Albedo
04-21-2017, 09:37 AM
Oh yeah, and the dysmorphic dreams. I think everyone gets those: your teeth are crumbling! Your hair is falling out!

Deb Kinnard
04-23-2017, 07:42 PM
I've heard it said that dreams about your teeth failing/breaking/falling out have to do with powerlessness. It makes sense. When we prowled the plains of Africa, we were just one more animal on the food chain. Losing your teeth could mean losing your life.

I've also heard that you dream either what you want, or what you fear. Now, I won't get into politics here, but since November my infrequent nightmares have reverted to those I had as a child in the fifties: global thermonuclear war. When I have this type of dream, it's in technicolor, full surround-sound. The ground shakes. I can feel my physical reaction, and I wake up gasping and tachycardic. No fun.

GeorgeK
04-23-2017, 09:29 PM
Ditto on the sleep aids leading to nightmares, usually of my kids getting attacked. I sometimes can't decide which is worse, the nightmares or the insomnia

WriteMinded
04-23-2017, 11:58 PM
I always dream, even if it's just a short nap.

Nightmares tend to run along the same tracks:

1. I am in a life threatening situation. Often the car is speeding down the road, heading for disaster, and I can't get my foot on the brake because I am all but paralyzed. The cost of mustering the necessary effort is barely worth the price of saving myself. In fact I talk myself into it. The dream doesn't seem to have a conclusion. I keep trying and fighting my wish to just give up.

2. Someone or something is trying to kill me. While I am fighting them/it off, I scream for help, but all that comes out are tiny whispers. Eventually, I try starting softly and working up to a bellow. That usually works, but no help ever comes, except in the form of my husband waking me up.

3. Snakes. Sometimes snakes slither across the room I am in, or I just see one somewhere one wouldn't expect to encounter them. A dream I remember well was of a huge dark snake that leapt about on my bed.

4. The creepies. Something awful is near. I look for it, but don't find it, and I probably don't want to. I'm hoping I'm wrong, but I know I am not.

Nightmares are always dark. It's always night, and the colors tend to be blacks, browns, and dirty oranges.

Some dreams, are sorrowful rather than scary. I still consider them nightmares. My heart is broken, and I cry and cry and cry some more.

Nightmares I used to have, but have no longer:
Tidal wave is coming. I am at the beach trying to get everybody I care about out of there. The wave arrives, it crests, it breaks . . .
Losing teeth.
Falling through space.
Being close to a person I know and love when suddenly their mask dissolves and a monster face is revealed.

Otherwise, I love my dream life. It is very active, brilliant with color, full of people and pets, that have gone away, and people I know only in my dreams ó
more vivid than in real life ó assuming this is the real life, but I could have it backwards.

The causes, I think, are a little of everything. Physiology, psychology, events current and past. Childhood trauma(s). New traumas. Being human. Pretty fascinating stuff isn't it? Being human, I mean.

I take no drugs, prescription or otherwise, unless you are one of those nitpicky persons who count caffeine. I don't drink coffee after 6:00 p.m., and I don't drink alcohol ever.

harmonyisarine
04-25-2017, 07:27 AM
I think I have nightmares more often than not, to the point where I've sort of just accepted them as what I dream. I have some of the ones listed above (teeth falling out happens but is rare, "late for school dreams" all the damn time even though I've not been in any school for 8 years, and I used to get tidal wave dreams drowning me all the time but those seem to have petered out). I don't have the falling ones, though I often wake up feeling as if I've fallen a great distance. My most common nightmare has to be with being chased, and if I'm caught I'll die or be seriously hurt or robbed or the world will be destroyed--my sleeping brain is very dramatic. I've been killed twice in my dreams, though the second one was the far more distinct "death dream" and left me horribly unsettled for about a week. Long story short (time travel and world peril and the like), I was shot and rather than wake up, I felt myself bleed out and choke on blood and then it was just darkness for what felt like a minute or two until I woke up super shaken.

As far as medicines, I only take some vitamins, either ibuprofen or meloxicam (a prescription NSAID), and caffeine in the form of tea before 6pm. I try not to take antihistamines before bed unless absolutely necessary (like for the cluster headaches I mentioned in the other thread) because they make my nightmares so much worse. I also have mild-to-moderate-but-not-worse GAD, which might have something to do with it.

I also have a mild version of REM disorder. My body doesn't lock up when I dream, so I try to do in real life what my dream self is doing. Unlike the bad cases, I don't get out of bed or fully articulate. I know it makes a dream feedback loop. I've woken up before because I couldn't run and whatever is chasing me finally caught up to me, but my legs are hobbled or it feels like I'm moving through molasses, and then I wake up with the sheets in a knot around my ankles. I've learned to tuck in my sheets in different ways to help stop this and I never wear pants or long nightgowns to bed anymore and it's seriously cut down on that happening in my dreams. Benefit to this, I've never experienced that creepy sleep paralysis.

Once I dreamt I was a tiger being hunted by a poacher. I got tangled in my sheets which translated to being caught in a trap in the dream, and I woke up right before he shot me.

Deb Kinnard
04-30-2017, 07:27 AM
I forgot to mention, during the infancy of both my daughters, I had horrible nightmares. Sleep deprivation, probably, but it got so bad I was almost afraid to sleep, yet I knew I had to get what shut-eye I could before she went off again. And my kids were both scrawny little peanuts when tiny, so they woke to be fed often. Some nights it felt like every fifteen minutes, though of course it wasn't. I used to dream about losing her or hurting her. I suppose these are typical. Nobody ever warned me about post-partum dreaming.

Orianna2000
05-02-2017, 07:01 PM
I used to have wake-up-screaming nightmares several times a week. My husband got quite annoyed, because I was constantly waking him up with my screaming. Most of the time, my vocal cords were paralyzed from sleep, so I would make this screaming sound in my throat, which almost sounded more like a moan, except I'd make the sound as loud as possible, over and over, until I woke up. Sometimes the noise would wake me, but if it didn't, my hubby would wake me. On rare occasions, my vocal cords would not be paralyzed, so I'd scream full-force, which scared the crap out of my poor husband.

I used to have sleep paralysis, where I would wake up, but my brain would still be in sleep/REM mode, so I couldn't move. My eyes were open, but I was completely paralyzed. And because my brain thought I was still dreaming, I would hallucinate. Usually, I'd see a dark, shadowy figure standing in the doorway of my bedroom, which terrified me! Or I'd hear footsteps approaching, but couldn't see anyone. I would try to scream, but couldn't make more than a few whimpering sounds. Eventually, my brain would figure out that I was awake and the spell would break.

I used to have a lot of teeth-falling-out nightmares, too. (Probably because I'm terrified of the dentist and put off going for several years. Not the best decision I ever made. . . .) So, one time, in real life, I had a filling fall out and the tooth was too weak without the filling, so a good portion of the tooth broke off. It was my worst nightmare come to life, which meant I could no longer tell dream from reality while dreaming. Then, one day I realized that, in my dreams, when a tooth falls out, there's always a new tooth growing in underneath it. Just like when you lose a tooth as a kid. So I told myself, if a tooth falls out and there's a new tooth underneath, it means it's only a dream. This worked one time. I realized it was just a dream and all my anxiety disappeared. After that, it was like my subconscious figured out I wasn't scared of these dreams anymore, so it circumvented the only way I knew how to tell it was a dream, altering the dreams' parameters. Now, when my teeth fall out in a dream, there's no new tooth growing underneath it, so I can't tell if it's real or a dream. Which is horribly creepy, because it means my subconscious actually knows how to manipulate my dreams--and it's doing it to terrify me.

I suspect a good portion of my nightmares were caused by unresolved childhood trauma, because they mostly disappeared once I started coming to terms with things. It's also possible my bipolar medication is helping reduce the nightmares, too. These days, I only have a wake-up-screaming nightmare once every month or two, and I haven't had a sleep paralysis incident in several years. I do still have the teeth-falling-out nightmares occasionally, and I have another recurring nightmare where I'm chewing a huge wad of gum and I'll spit it out, but no matter how much gum I pull from my mouth, there's always more. It makes me gag just thinking about it.

It's weird, but I still remember the first nightmare I had, when I was maybe four years old. It was like a scary sci-fi story, with a plot and everything. Someday, I might turn it into a story. Even today, I have very vivid, detailed dreams with plots and sub-plots, characters, etc. In fact, most of the novels I've written were inspired by vivid dreams.

I've had some pretty intense nightmares over the years, ones where my husband gets shot in the head, for example, but the worst I ever had was a few months ago. In the dream, I somehow forgot about my cat. He was locked in a room without food or water for months, because I forgot about him. When I finally remembered, I hurried into the room to feed him. He came out to greet me, and he was literally a skeleton with skin. No fur, no muscle, no fat. Just skin and bones. It was absolutely horrifying! I knew that even if I fed him, there was no way he could survive. And it was made a thousand times worse by the fact that it was MY FAULT. I woke up crying, and even though it happened months ago, this dream still haunts me.

Tazlima
05-02-2017, 10:03 PM
It's weird, but I still remember the first nightmare I had, when I was maybe four years old.

Throughout my childhood I had recurring nightmares about what I called "white balls." (Feel free to snicker at the name, lol). These were faintly-glowing spheres that bounced around under their own power. In my dreams they were carniverous, and in order to avoid being eaten, you had to climb up high enough to be beyond the reach of their bouncing.

The "white balls" nightmares began when I was pre-verbal and persisted clean into college (over the years their frequency waned and eventually, in my early twenties, they stopped altogether). They mystified my parents, who wracked their brains for what could have triggered such a strange and specific terror, but never came up with a satisfactory answer.

Fast forward 15 years. The topic of nightmares came up in conversation with a British friend of mine. I described the white balls and she said, "Oh, that kind of sounds like this old sci-fi show on the BBC called 'The Prisoner.'" I looked it up, and there it was, a minute or so into the video, my childhood nightmares brought to life, complete with the creepy noise they made when they bounced (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=6NxKVO_8dao). The dates lined up too...the show was aired in the US around the right time period. I was like "Holy crap! The mystery has finally been solved!"

I forwarded the clip to my mother. Her response? "That looks like the kind of thing your father* would have watched when I wasn't home..."

*He passed away a few years before this discovery, so I couldn't rib him about it.

Orianna2000
05-02-2017, 10:50 PM
Taz, I remember seeing clips of that show. It would be terrifying to a young child! I remember my grandfather watching a scary movie when I was a kid. It had these giant carnivorous plants that villagers would sacrifice young women to. When I started elementary school, they had these enormous plants out front that had spiky leaves on them. I used to play that they were carnivorous and that me and my friends were being thrown into them. Loads of fun, unless you got too close to the spiky leaves!

My first nightmare was about these weird symbols that showed up on the ground. They were round, made of concentric lines, only some of the lines were dashed or dotted, instead of solid. The thing was, if one appeared in your house, you had to be careful not to touch it, or else it'd infect you. Then you'd be "put away" for the safety of others. (In the dream you just disappeared, so I don't know if they were hospitalized, institutionalized, or thrown into a mass grave. Who knows?) When one of the symbols appeared in my room, I accidentally got infected, so my parents put me in a closet and slipped bowls of applesauce under the door, so I wouldn't starve. I don't know if they were hiding me, so I wouldn't be sent away, or if sticking people in a closet was basically what they did with infected people. Either way, it was scary as all get-out to my four-year-old self.

darrtwish
05-10-2017, 04:18 AM
I used to have recurring nightmares all the time, most likely because of my PTSD & anxiety. I still have nightmares and night terrors (where you can't remember what you were afraid of, but you wake up shaking, covered in sweat, exhausted and faintly nauseous) pretty regularly. It's always worse when I'm stressed / overwhelmed; those nightmares are related to close friends not wanting to talk to me anymore or loved ones dying. Night terrors are the worst though, because you have no idea what was so scary, you just wake up screaming. It usually takes me an hour or two to calm down enough to stop shaking, and I usually have to leave my bedroom. More often than not I fall back asleep on the couch, because I can't bring myself to go back to my bedroom

blacbird
05-12-2017, 08:05 AM
I dream vividly, every night. I can't really call most of them "nightmares", because they aren't truly frightening, but they are often disturbing, centering around frustrations and uncertainty. There are some common themes: Having to deal with deep snow and ice and flooding waters, inability to find where I parked my car, inability to locate a room in a building, often one I am supposed to stay in (very Kafka, that one), discovery that I never really got out of the Army, and need to go back and get uniforms and stuff, or (similarly) that I still have one class to finish to get my final college degree and haven't attended it ever and don't know where it is held. These are hugely vivid, and I remember intensely small details in them.

caw

Fictionalizer
07-09-2017, 11:10 PM
I've had nightmares since I was three years old due to witnessing two murders and having Complex PTSD, and they are usually about what happened. I actually figured out a code for my nightmares: Which ones were memories and which ones were nonspecific and related to more of the same stuff coming down the pipeline or something else. Then I have what I call my precursor nightmares which tell me I'm going to have more memories about what happened. For those I usually dream about gigantic spiders looming near my bed. I'm talking SOUS's: Spiders of Unusual Sizes. The latest nightmare contained a spider about four feet across. I dreamed that it was above my side of the bed and my husband made the bed without getting rid of it. He bought me an A-SALT Rifle for the big spiders we get around here. You load it with salt and fire it them.

My nightmares are vivd and disturbing and contain the trigger from present day which brings on a memory from the past.

I've had a couple of sleep walking nightmares in the past. Now those are bizarre and contain elements of the present juxtaposed over something from the past.

suziquaif
08-29-2017, 12:03 AM
I think I can echo a lot of what has already been said, especially that the mind is an amazing muscle. Dying, flying, being pursued, witnessing carnage, sleep paralysis are all part of the mix

I've had recurring nightmares for most of my life and some one offs that I will never forget and have no wish to repeat. After all these years I have come to terms with what goes off in my head when I sleep. My mind is full of stuff that comes from me. my insecurities, my fears, my traumas, my memories (even if these are blocked memories I'm not aware of) Once I convinced myself that was a truth I stopped worrying and tried to refer it to a self help manual instead. It doesn't always scan but it helps. My mind doesn't make a decision to scare the bejesus out of me for the fun of it.

Perhaps the most interesting ones are dredged up from blocked memories. They are upsetting, unsettling and disturbingly graphic. Its basis must be in PTSD so I try not to dwell, but bookmark as an interesting fact and file. Forgetting them is another issue.

Most disturbing - Finding my young sons dismebodied remains in a drawer.

Most difficult to emerge from - A dream within a dream, when the 'within' was a nightmare. Urging yourself to wake up from the nightmare to find yourself still dreaming.

Most complex - Watching myself going insane and being the one experiencing the downward spiral. So I was me watching me and experiencing both me's. The cause was depression and I worked hard immediately after to recover. It was a my life, my choice moment and a very long time ago.

Most persistent - Walking through the front door of a constantly changing building with hidden corridors between the inner and outer walls. I was always afraid of the something I couldn't see and generally ended up in the large, dark vaulted cellar I was too afraid to enter. After I don't know how many years I walked out the back door and never went back. It was childhood dream and ended in my teens. I hardly have to say I was not a happy child and embarked on a one girl rebellion in my teens which was a very very long time ago.

Most scary - Turning on a demon and finding you were possibly a tad premature in the notion you were ready to deal with it.

Not all dreams are nightmares. If anyone can explain why I dreamt a whole musical comedy complete with original scores and woke up laughing I would love to hear from them.

Hope this helps

Cobalt Jade
08-29-2017, 12:38 AM
Having to deal with deep snow and ice and flooding waters, inability to find where I parked my car, inability to locate a room in a building, often one I am supposed to stay in (very Kafka, that one), discovery that I never really got out of the Army, and need to go back and get uniforms and stuff, or (similarly) that I still have one class to finish to get my final college degree and haven't attended it ever and don't know where it is held.

These are all mine, except for the flood and army one.

Myrealana
08-29-2017, 12:42 AM
When I was about 12 years old, my dad was watching a TV special on lucid dreaming and I sat down to watch with him. I thought "I could do that." So I did.

I just decided I could control what happened in my dreams and then did it. I've been doing it ever since. Usually, when a dream gets too scary, I can back off a bit and change the situation. I once dreamed my husband and son fell into a pit of lava. I screamed and lunged for them, honestly feeling like the two most important people in my world had just plunged to their death. So, I decided it wasn't lava. It was a steam tunnel with red lights in it. They fell, and we still had to figure a way out, but they weren't dead. I do this kind of thing all the time, so frequently that only the really special ones stand out. I can decide to fly, or teleport, or change history. It's generally a lot of fun.

The problem is, sometimes, I become lucid and can't change the situation. I'm aware that I'm dreaming and I try desperately to escape, but something is holding me back. When that happens, I'll wake up and not be able to tell the difference between reality and the dream for a while. It's not like a normal nightmare where you startle awake, or maybe scream a bit and go back to sleep. It's a full-on panic attack where I'm fully awake, but certain the nightmare is still happening.

Those are not pleasant nights for anyone.

underpope
08-29-2017, 12:58 AM
I do have nightmares, though not all that frequent. Usually the most terrifying ones I have involve ghosts. In one for example, a ghost was floating through the hallways of the building where I work, possessing people and making them smarter (don't know why this part was so scary). Then it came floating at me at top speed, and I woke up screaming, waking up my wife and annoying the cat.

Once I dreamed that a ghost with a face made of mirrors was climbing into bed with me. Again, I screamed, and again I woke up my wife and annoyed the cat.

Finally, I'm convinced that I've had at least one instance of sleep paralysis, when I woke up around 2 a.m. unable to move or breathe, and certain that there was someone else in the room. I was finally able to scream, and that woke me up completely.

Not sure if that answers your question. I just like talking about my dreams.

Mary Mitchell
08-29-2017, 05:46 AM
Funniest one (if you can call a nightmare funny) involved a monkey that was growing into an ape outside my front door. I could see it through the window that comprised the top half of the door, and when it got to full size I knew it would break in through the window and attack me. I must have been in the process of waking up because, in the dream, I was aware that I was dreaming and I began banging my dream head against the dream headboard of my bed to wake myself up before the ape got fully grown and broke into the house.

BTW, if you fall asleep on your back you will be more inclined to nightmares. More specifically, if the back of your head is flat against the pillow or bed. I can fall asleep on my back so long as my head is tilted to the side and I won't get nightmares, but if all of me including my head is flat on my back I will get them. Looked it up and apparently it's statistically a factor.

DLBarbur
08-29-2017, 08:34 PM
Ayup. Thanks to some time in the military, followed by a brief career in law enforcement, I get to ride the nightmare train periodically. Because I've spent quit a bit of effort "working on my s&*t," it's not as frequent as it used to be. Mostly it's a sign that I'm tired, stressed out or that there's a major disaster happening in the US and I've been watching too much news coverage.

It's informed my writing, but the trick there of course is to make sure it adds seasoning to something another person would want to read, as opposed to being some kind of cathartic exercise in self therapy.

By the way, I clicked on your webpage via the link in your footer, and now my Amazon Wish List has Monday's Lie onboard. That's a good blurb you have on your sight.

Cobalt Jade
08-29-2017, 08:47 PM
Welcome to the Water Cooler, DLBarbur!

Famoustapu
08-30-2017, 04:00 PM
well, sometimes it is based on what your thoughts or what you did before sleeping XD

DLBarbur
08-30-2017, 06:27 PM
Welcome to the Water Cooler, DLBarbur!

Thanks!

KTC
08-30-2017, 09:54 PM
I'm reading up on a little research into nightmares (doing my Googling and reading diligence) but I was curious about our AWers' experience of nightmares --- and more importantly, what you make of them.

Do you think it reflects anything about your personal routines (like staying up too late or medication you have to take) or your physiology, or your psychology? Do you wonder about why this is something you have to deal with or do you just roll with it?


Of course, most people have the occasional unpleasant dream, but I only know two people who have mentioned their frequent, terrible nightmares to me and although they don't know each other, there are some interesting similarities in their personalities that make me wonder about people plagued with chronic nightmares.

In advance, thanks for anything you're willing to say. I so much appreciate it.

I have suffered with them my entire life. They do tend to come during my own personal 'down' times. Routine-wise, when I'm feeling emotionally fatigued the nightmares are stronger. I just put it up there with PTSD stuff, though. Pretty typical for me.