Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's the end of the world as we know it...in my mind.

When I was a kid, I had a recurring dream/nightmare. The scenario was this: my mom, my Aunt Carol & Uncle Tim, myself, and my sister & brother are all in a car. The destination was never clear, there was just the sense that we were going somewhere far away. Always at one point in the dream, we would have to cross a bridge over a huge span of water. Only the bridge wasn't really a bridge at all, but a chain (kind of like those roller coaster chains) which you attached your car to and let it pull you over the water. Now in my kid mind, the expanse of water seemed too large to cross, and I was scared from the moment we started forward over the water. Halfway across, the chain would come loose and the car would start to fall into the water....and then I'd wake up crying. Every time. I had this dream at least once every couple of months for a long time, though once I hit my teens it disappeared.

Fast-forward to my late 20's/early 30's (because no dreams of note happened until then, which is weird considering how much fucked up shit I went through during that time). When I was maybe about 28, 29 or so, I started to have another recurring dream/nightmare. Only now it's much more complicated and the details are not always the same, as they were with my childhood nightmare. I call them my "end-of-the-world-disaster dreams."

The scenario is this: the world is ending in some way, I'm the only person who seems to know the world is ending, and I am responsible for finding and saving everyone I love. This doesn't just include my family, by the way. Apparently it's my family, friends, animals...anyone I love. The details always change. For example, the world is always ending via a different method. The last one I had involved terrorists of some kind embedding an explosive device into the ocean floor. A device which was on a timer and would destroy the world, and apparently I'm the only person in my dream who's aware of the situation. I've also had one in which the end of the world comes in the form of a serial killer who's determined to exterminate everyone on the planet. And again, I'm the only one aware of the situation, and the only one who can save the people I love.

Other details change as well...we're always in a different location (always in the U.S., but always a different state). The order in which I have to save people is always different. Sometimes my mom is first, sometimes my dog is first, sometimes my sister is first, etc. The method of saving people is always different. The place we all go to be safe is always somewhere different (sometimes an underground bunker, sometimes someone's abandoned house, etc.), and we're never safe for very long. Someone always ends up needing to be saved twice, and it's always a different person.

These dreams fuck me up big time. They scare the shit out of me. I always wake up crying, and am always afraid to go back to sleep because more often than not the dream comes back when I fall back to sleep. And I mean it literally picks up exactly where it left off when I woke up. Usually the day after I've had one of these dreams, I'm useless for most of the day due to being extremely exhausted and extremely anxious. I know they're just dreams. But that doesn't calm my mind, and it doesn't disperse the awful feeling they leave me with all day.

Normally (ha, as if there's anything normal about this) I only have these dreams once in while. Sometimes I go months without having one. But when things are fucked up in my life, or I'm too stressed out, they come back with a vengeance. I had 4 last week alone. Which equals zero sleep all week. Also, Josh told me that one night last week (can't remember which one, the whole week is a goddamn blur) he woke up and I had him in a choke hold.
I was apologizing profusely, starting to cry, feeling horrible and saying things like "I could have killed you!" Then I remembered that I had those dreams all week, and I told him that. I said "maybe in my dream I thought you were the bad guy." But Josh, ever positive, presented another, probably more plausible scenario: "Maybe I was drowning and you had to save me." Is it any wonder I love the man?

It doesn't take a shrink to figure this shit out. I put too much responsibility on myself even in my dreams, and this is how it manifests. It sucks, because as an insomniac, any sleep I can get is freaking precious, and having it disrupted in the most disturbing way possible does not promote sound sleep. Shit, it doesn't promote any sleep.

This post was prompted by last night's end-of-the-world-disaster dream, because it fucked me up for the majority of the day and I just needed to get it out. If you made it this far, congratulations and thanks for reading my dream rant.

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