Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grown-Ups Don't Have Nightmares

As a child, sometimes a boy or girl will have nightmares about monsters in the closet or the boogie man under the bed. Parents will comfort their children, and eventually they grow out of it and know that these things are not real.

And I've never really mentioned this to anyone before, so I'm not sure why I'm writing about it.

For me, I remember having nightmares back as early as age four ...or thinking that I saw something in my little room that was in the image of what I can only explain as a ghost. I remember one night sitting in my bed, completely terrified, unable to move because I saw a white, ghost-like something in my room.

I still don't know what it might have been. Lights from a nearby house? Who knows.

But that was not the end for me. Throughout my childhood I would often be afraid at night. It wasn't going to bed in the dark...it was just waking up after a nightmare, or waking up and seeing things that were not there. Maybe it was just my childhood imagination. But I'm not sure why my mind thought that way.

So now, as an adult, you would think that this would be gone. I'm a grown up who can distinguish between reality and those things that are not real. There are no monsters in my closet or under my bed. I completely know that.

And yet...I still have nightmares. Bad ones.

I would say at least once every other month, I will have a nightmare that scares me so much that I wake up with my heart racing. I can barely breathe. I can feel myself becoming that little girl who thought she saw a ghost, sitting in my bed completely terrified, unable to move. When I pull myself out of that state of fear (the best I can) I will grab Josh's hand, usually wake him up, and tell him I had one of my bad dreams.

This happened to me last night, and I could not bring myself to get up and give Gabriel his pacifier when he woke up. I was truly that afraid. Josh got up to go across the house, and I turned on the lamp in our room because I did not want to be in the dark.

What kind of dreams are they? I'm guessing the kind that might not sound as terrifying if told to someone else. In last night's dream, my house was completely controlled by dark spirits. At the end, right before I woke up, I could feel my bed shaking (in my dream) and hear footsteps in my room, but no one was there. I would try to reach for Josh, but he could not get to me.

And that was just the end of the dream. The rest was just as bad.

One nightmare I had this summer was so hard to explain to Josh because it sounded so weird coming out of my mouth. I attended a massive funeral for six people. I did not know who they were (so I don't know why I attended). During the service, all six caskets were turned vertical so that the person inside was basically standing upright. Everyone in the room thought it was a great thing, I remember being very bothered by it while in the dream.

Then I woke up. I could not get that out of my mind for days.

I might be revealing too much about my psyche!

This is very difficult for me to understand, but I do know this: when I finally calm down, it's because I have prayed and prayed...just like I did as a little girl. Scripture will come to mind to comfort me, like Psalm 18:2 that says,

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge."

Or sometimes a song comes to mind. Last night it was Revelation Song, and I kept singing it over and over again in my mind. (This link is my favorite version of the song.)

Grown-ups DO have nightmares. Well, at least this one does. And I wonder why?

I still have trouble with being in the dark. I do not like the dark. The nightlight in our living room is just as much for me as it is for my children.

I pray that I can overcome this eventually. It's a difficult issue to have as an adult.

The other blog post I wrote today about waking up before my kids, I think part of it is to prepare my heart to go through the house in the dark. And I thank God for that.


Mindy said...

Wow, those nightmares really do sound terrifying!
I have nightmares too - most commonly about people breaking into our house and trying to kill us. I think it's partly why I'm scared of being home alone.

Nancy@ifevolutionworks.com said...

I know this sounds crazy, but food has a lot to do with nightmares. On the nights you have them try to write down what you ate that day.

My son talks in his sleep and has bad dreams EVERY single time he has chocolate too late in the day.

I get them from really spicy foods too late in the day.

I hope they pass for you and that maybe the "food" thing can help you even a little!

Jessica said...

The verse Mom and I always said together if I was afraid was, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, and of power and of a sound mind."

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