Saturday, 16 January 2010

Don't Have Nightmares

I guess we all have recurring nightmares.

I wonder, though, if anyone ever has recurring good dreams? I don’t. Mind you, my nightmares are probably a bit bland – not so much nightmares as night-my-little-ponies, I suppose. They aren’t even terribly original either, I bet loads of other people have had these same ones.

#1 – Being naked/inappropriately dressed in public.
This is a classic I think. I usually start off properly dressed then relise only later that I’m missing something essential in the tailoring department. I try to cover up the naughtiest bits with whatever’s to hand. Oddly enough though, no-one else in the dream ever seems too bothered. Maybe there’s a message there.

#2 – Being unprepared for a performance
I’m on a stage, about to give a performance (usually singing and/or playing guitar or piano). I realise, as the curtain goes up, that I haven’t learnt the words or music - and the audience is waiting….

#3 – Heights
I’m afraid of heights in the waking world and this features quite often in my dreams, usually combined with a staircase that goes up, up, up and then there’s no way to get off the top to the landing – just a huge gap and a long drop. This is probably the commonest of my recurring dreams. I once tried a charity abseil down the side of an 11-storey building to see it that would cure it, but it didn’t.

#4 – Being unable to make an emergency call.
This is a relative newcomer to the collection and shows that my dreams are keeping pace with technology at least. There’s some kind of emergency going on and I need to call for help on my mobile. I try to dial, get it wrong and start again – only to mess it up a second time. Then I forget the actual number I’m supposed to be dialling and so on.

#5 – Not being able to do my job.
I’m in the office. Although I know all the people in the place and have obviously worked here some time, I’m completely at a loss as to how to actually do my job. I hope people won’t notice… I have been blagging my way in IT for over 20 years now. One day, someone IS going to notice.

#6 – Moving house to a place I hate
I’ve just moved into my new home with hubby etc and I discover I really want to be back at the old house and realise I’ve made a terrible mistake moving. A variant of this one is having some work done on the current house that totally ruins it.

#7 – The waking paralysis demon
I’ve had this a couple of times in my life. The first time was the scariest. Hubs was working away from home so I was alone in the house. I was in bed and I woke up because I thought I’d heard him come in. I looked over towards the door but couldn’t see anyone, but got the feeling of a real and very evil presence in the room. I felt the bed move as if something had climbed onto it but there was no-one there and still this feeling of an evil presence remained. Suddenly, there was a weight on my chest and a goblin-like creature was kneeling on me, trying to strangle me. I couldn’t move to throw it off and I was suffocating. I woke up and was afraid to go to sleep again in case it came back. I did and it did. It’s not a common phenomenon for me, thank goodness. This dream is so much more realistic than the usual, though – more sensory modalities are present: sight, hearing, touch etc. I’ve since heard that this particular dream occurs as a result of a kind of bodily malfunction where you wake up but your brain does not release the natural protective paralysis it imposes during sleep. The creature-sitting-on-your-chest (or a variant thereof) is a theme that appears in many cultures and has given rise to much mythology and folklore. Now, I understand the physiology here, but why do our brains construct the same type of thing the world over - of a palpably evil creature trying to do us in? That’s the real mystery for me.

#8 – PJ is alive
My close friend PJ died 10 years ago, but I still have the odd dream that he’s actually alive and it’s all been a huge mistake. This isn’t a nightmare as such, but this dream is always tinged with great sadness because, even as I’m talking to PJ and feeling overjoyed that he’s alive, I can feel in the back of my mind that really he’s not and that he’ll be gone again all too soon.

And here’s the clincher.  This is what my brain really thinks of me.   The other night I dreamed I was Superman (not Superwoman, you’ll note, there’s a whole back-story there, believe me) and I needed to rescue someone falling from a tall building. But get this: I knew I had superpowers, I knew I was indestructible but I was afraid of heights so couldn’t fly! How poor is that? I’m not even allowed to be a proper Superman in my dreams!

I suppose the common thread here is insecurity of one sort or another and this is not unique to me, I know. I just wish my brain could find less hackneyed old cliches to express it with, though. A decent being-chased-by-monsters one would be a change.

Don’t have nightmares.


  1. There must be a universality in dreams.
    I have dreams 1, 2 and 4, as well as a twist on number 1 if I happen to have to use the toilet (which will eventually wake me up, but not until interminable dreams of wetting myself in public, though there again nobody else seems to notice).
    My other bad dream is being on the verge of being late for something extremely important, and events impeding me from getting there on time no matter how I try. Planes, trains, job interviews, all missed for being lost, stuck in traffic, standing in lines.
    I also have a recurring not-bad dream, one in which I can swim through the air. Kind of like flying, but slower and it takes a lot of effort.

  2. I also have the same type of dreams. I am also afraid of heights, but I fall back down the stairs climb back up and fall again. I also have the dreams of someone after me.

  3. I have many of the same dreams too. In the first one though I invariably have no top on at all - nor a bra. I'm just out there covering myself as best I can. But like you say, no one seems to notice. Heh.

    Like Nan I have the toilet dream ALL THE TIME too! Of course, I'm one who has to go to the bathroom at least once or twice a night...

    And I've dreamed that my mother was actually alive. Sometimes in the dream it's like she never died, but other times it's like she just came back somehow - & I spent the dream trying to figure out what to do with her since my dad has remarried LOL. Those dreams are actually kind of funny.

  4. My nightmares - and I had lots of them - were usually of the "I can't escape" sort. Horrible ones, where I'd wake up having palpitations. Then somebody died, somebody I've always been scared of; those nightmares stopped. I still have nightmares, usually after I've eaten heavy-ish food late at night, but they are a lot less frightening now.

    They do say that you act out your fears and hopes and worries in your sleep, don't they.

    Sweet dreams, Argent!

  5. Loved playing the wordzzle Challenge I dropped by to say thanks for commenting on my blog I appreciate your comments.

    This Blog Of Mine

  6. Number #7 is an experience known as Sleep Apnia (I believe) - where people feel a weight on their chest/can't move/feel a presence in the room - it has been suggested as a possible explanation for the alien abduction phenomenon.

    I get lots of anxiety dreams - where you're trying to get back to something important, but you can't find it/it has moved/there's a maze etc.

    Not so many the last few months where i've been sitting around doing bugger all though!

  7. have never had any of those dreams.. I have a version of the naked one where I'm desperate for the loo and the only ones either have no walls or, as happened once, are in the middle of a pub!?.. I don't even want to know what that means!
    I used to have mad dreams and when I do dream they are epic.. I once dreamt i was a shaman and had to rescue the soul of a young woman who was trapped in the land of the dead. I put a mask on and stepped into the land of the dead where there was a massive party going on (carnival stylee). I had to find the girl and try and bring her back by putting the mask i was wearing on her.. I suceeded :-)
    I love dreaming! my dad once dreamt he was the finishing post at a racetrack... and a broom..

  8. I could have sworn that I had answered people's comments but...
    @NanU - I have had the toilet dream too and wake convinced that the sheets wil be soaking wet. One day they will be I bet.

    @Bettygram - Your dream reminds me of the greek myth of Sissyphus who was condemned for al etermity to roll a stone up a hill only to have it roll back down again.

    @Bug - Your dream does sound funny. Imagne trying to explain to your mum that your dad had married someone else!

    @Friko - How interesting that one of your nightmares stopped when soneone died. Proof, if any were needed, that our dreams are really linked to our fears in the waking world.

    @Larry - Happy to visit your blog. Keep plyaing Wordzzles, the more the merrier.

    @DFTP - Yes, I have heard of sleep Apnoeia. It can be quite dangerous as people have been known to stop breathing. Your anxiety dreams seem similar to some of NanU's. Wouldn't it be interesting if someone did a survey of people's anxiety dreams. There would, I think, be a culture-specific element. Natives of the Amazon basin that have never come across western tech will not have dreams about not being able to operate a mobile phone correctly, for example. Maybe they have more immediate dreams of being chased by a jaguar (the cat not the car).

    @Watercats - What a magnificent dream of being a shaman! There must be a song/poem/story in there. Your Dad's dream made me laugh so hard I got funny looks all around the office. What is it about thin wooden objects that so engaged your da's subconscious, I wonder.

  9. The waking paralysis dream sounds terrifying! I have the recurring falling dream.

  10. I have one that is a combination of 1,2, and 5.
    I am in the sacristy of the church getting ready to preach when I realize I'm in my underwear. I can't find a robe, my sermon is missing.
    The organist is playing really weird music.

  11. I found your site through English Rider and I just have to comment!
    I have the "naked" #1 dream all the time. And like everyone else seems to have responded, no one around me notices, comments or even bats an eyelash. Nor do I care either, in the dream, I simply think at some point, "Heh, I suppose I should have some clothes on, really," then I spend the rest of that bit of the dream trying to locate something to wear. However, I spent 7 years working as a Life Model, so that might explain my insouciance.
    The #2 unprepared for a performance has me dressed for Uncle Vanya or Blythe Spirit, making an entrance and finding myself doing No Exit, nor something equally grim, then rushing around backstage searching for a script while the audience shifts in their seats. Too much Repertory Theatre at a young age, I think.
    I too am afraid of heights. I too did something to try and overcome it, In 1986, I became a private licence hot air balloon pilot. I too found it ineffective and I'll still shake in my boots if I have to climb a ladder.
    I also dream that people I know who have died are around again, but the dream involves me lecturing them about how they can avoid their (early) deaths. Like the dream conversations I had with my Father, my Mother and Princess Diana. All around the same table, drinking tea together and nodding at me. But did they listen?
    I have a reoccurring good dream. Like NanU, it involves flying, similar to Sister Bertrille in The Flying Nun, but without the hat. It is a very physical activity, rather like swimming in a thick liquid and is very pleasurable, I seem to fly almost every night. I'm sure the Freudians would have something to say about that. But if they did, I'd just waggle my insouciance in their general direction.

  12. loved this post. the not wearing clothes isnt that scary but i know the kind i once dreamt i was out and half way through the night i only had a hand towel to cover up. now i'm a plus size but lucky for me i have the body of my dreams in my dreams. i use to dream i was running from some one at night my eyes were swolen so i couldn't see very well and i couldn't call for help ether, had no voice. everytime i got to my gate the man was standing waiting for me so i had to run some more. then one night my sister and i had to walk home from a school event and when we got to our block it look exactly like in the dream same shadows and all, i was a little freaked out but we walked on and when i got to my gate.... no one was there needless to say i never had the dream again. thanx for the great post hope you find your clothes superman...

  13. @Mana Zen - The waking paralysis dream was really scary the first time but time and some understanding of the physiological processes involved have somewhat taken the scare out of it.

    @DrJohn - Yipes, a naked minister! Now that WOULD be scary (for the congregation LOL) I wonder what the organist's weird music sounded like. BTW I read you series on your journey from atheist to pulpit and found it very moving and uplifting.

    @Kitty - So that's the trick, become a life model. Do they let overweight middle-aged people do that? If so, I could join! And banish the angst of those nekkid dreams for good. My fear of heights does not kick in on aeroplanes for some reason. I've never tried a balloon, but feel it wouldn't kick in then either, maybe it's just too high. I love the idea of lecturing the dead. Don't suppose they'd listen though would they? I've had flying dreams of my own from time to time and it is indeed very pleasant. And anyone who used the word insouciance is welcome to visit my blog any day.

    @Jozeygirl - Oh wow! I'm glad you managed to banish that particular dream, it sounds like a really nasty one. I sometimes dream that my mouth is full of something really cloying like a hige ball of really sticky gum which I spit out, only to have it return straightaway. I then wake up and find that, becuase my nose has been blocked up, I've been breathing through my mouth which has dried out completely.

    A friend of mine has been having a really interesting serial dream over the last few years. It's set in some kind of post-apocalyptic near-future where he, me and some other people we know have formed a commune and are trying to organise ourselves to survive. In the various episodes we have raided supermakets for canned goods, planted crops, built a perimeter fence and all kinds of things. Most entertaining!

  14. Argent: I became a Life Model because I was newly married and had just gotten my right to work in the UK. I was 39 years old, weighed something like 16 stones... and the cherry on top of that particular iced cake: I was four months pregnant. No one wanted to hire me, for obvious reasons. I kept seeing a job listing in the Job Centre for a Life Model for the local Art College paying double what everyone else was paying, so, I finally got my nerve up and went for an interview. I was hired on the spot and began work the next day. I worked through that pregnancy, then after the birth with my newborn daughter sleeping in her little cot next to me. Then through the next pregnancy, as well. I actually ended up working part-time while going back to Uni and starting teaching. I did that job right up to the day before I left to come here to live in France.
    These days, I still get the odd call to model, and I'm only slightly less heavy than I was when I began, plus I'm now nearly 52.
    By the way, I watched your friend's serial dream last night on telly; it's called Survivors. Darn and drat, if only he'd have sold it to the Beeb when it went into production in his head! :-)

  15. @kitty - You're right, my friend's dream is very much Survivors :-) I must sk him if there's been any new ones of late.

  16. I once dreamt I was driving my mother and my wife somewhere. They were both trying to give directions. Every time I followed them , the road got worse. Finally we found ourselves driving down a bumpy, muddy, sloping field...Then I woke up. It was hilarious.

  17. @Dominic - Mother and wife directing you? Isn't that what happens to most blokes in the waking world?

  18. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  19. @Benitta/Lucy - Thank you for visiting, I hope I can keep you amused a while longer.

  20. i keep having drams were i keep hiting someone an intruder in our home or a person that dont like me but my attacks are weakend and slowed and im hiting them more than 30 times (i think there might be a message there to).

  21. @Turianmage - I often have dream like that, where I try to jit someone, and I'm just really weak. It's basic insecurity I guess.

  22. Humm i think you might be correct argent thanks for that. i also had a dream when i asked my nan if i was dreaming and she looked at me like i asked the most spupid quastion ever.

  23. Turianmage - It's interesting that, whilst ina drea, you asked a bout dreaming. I almost never think I'm dreaming when I am. I sometimes dream about a friend of mine who died. In the dream he's alive again, but I always know somehow that this is not right and that he's really dead whereas in all my other dreams I believe everything is real.

  24. Thats quite sad to hear.

    however in my dreams i allways think obout it and sometimes i know im deraming sometimes i convinced its real then sometimes im unsure most of my dreams are about my fanticys (not sex realted) normaly im killing thing tho i dont know what things they are. Magic never works so i have to go with a bow or mace but never see any sword in my dreams im scared of mountains they are allways as dark as the ace of spades but in real life i love them. allmost all of my dreams are adventures it is as if my mind was a top technology games console or somthing. there could be a message there too

    dreams are strange ay

    ps i like talking about these thing with you

  25. I often have adventure dreams too. I guess it's because my reading/TV diet is full of SF and fantasy stuff. I get really annoyed though because the alarm clock goes off just as it's getting good. I rarely have nightmares of the classic monster-chasing-me variety, mine are usually about being stuck in a high place or something like that. I did once dream I was dead and all my friends and family came to see me in my coffin and then all walked away and left me wanting to call them back like 'hey! don't leave me!' Weird.

  26. i suppose we relly want to escape reality and our dreams do to i get addicted to dreaming not the sleep or the rest this gets me into trouble once i slept all the way from 10 pm to 2 pm on my day off

    ps please dont die

  27. That's an interesting idea: being addicted to dreaming. I dream most nights and remember a fair amount of them (for a while, anyway). I shall do my best not to die anytime soon (too much to do LOL). I used to have loop-dreams where I'd dream I was in bed, then I'd wake up and go to work and then I'd be in bed and wake up and go to work and then be in bed... They were very odd. Haven't had that one for ages.

  28. ooo i do hate loop-dream

    sometimes when i wake up i get messages like you heal with you 4 most powerful fingers which was the most strangest yet

    also last night well 2am i woke conviced there was some one there it felt like a close friend and i wanted to see him/her but i couldnt

    strange thing is it felt very normal

  29. It is very odd how the most ridiculous scenarios can take place in your dreams and you don't so much as bat an eyelid. It's as if your brain just completely suspends disbelief and lets anything go. Imagine if even a fraction of our dream content happened in waking life - we'd totally freak out. I find that for a short time after waking from a dream, my mind still believes it - it can take a while to realise that, no, that did not happen.

  30. yes exerlent analysis Argent it is very strange allmost as if there was a world between dreams and real life but then what is real life and is it so real

  31. You've touched on a very deep philosophical debate there - is the world actually real, external to ourselves? Some philosophers have argued that, as we cannot be certain the outside world exists, we can only assume that we are the only real things and that all else is somehow a product of our own minds. This is not an easy position to hold as so much happens that appears to be outside our control that it's hard to imagine it's not real. Dreams don't seem to be under our control and it does make me wonder, sometimes, if they're some kind of window into another reality, only accessible when we're not conscious of this one.

  32. This is a really useful post. I’ve found them very useful. Now I can use it like a college board help. Thanks

  33. my nightmares are probably a bit bland – not so much nightmares as night-my-little-ponies, I suppose. They aren’t even terribly original either.I also have the same type of dreams. I am also afraid of heights, but I fall back down the stairs climb back up and fall again. I also have the dreams of my fears in real life

  34. Custom Essay - I think the more 'bland' nightmares are more scary in a way. They're about things that could actually happen. Monsters and whatnot don't tend to show up in the daytime, but our usual fears do.


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