May 10, 2010

Nightmares and Dreamscapes

I am prone to nightmares.

From the ages of 5-7, I had a recurring nightmare about once a week. I dreamed that a play-dough like substance was squeezing out of the electrical outlet in my bedroom, Fun Factory Style. There were also various colors that would grind past my vision. I say grind because it wasn't the colors or images that I found terrifying. It was the texture. This dream was always accompanied by the feeling of bike gears grinding over one another.

I have no idea why this dream scared me so badly. Thinking about it when I was awake, I never could figure it out and still don't understand what was scary. Every time I had the dream, however, I would wake up crying, either silently, or not so much.

My dreams have always been odd. My dreams now don't often scare me, but they do scare Sara when I tell her about them. She, as well as most people I tell them to, agrees that my dreams are some of the weirdest ones they've ever heard. About once a week or so, I have a dream that is so strange and bizarre that I know if I tell her, she'll have nightmares. I've only told her about a select few and since my play-dough dream, none have been recurring.

They are always long and involved and I've been tempted for years to write them down in the form of short stories, but usually, I can only remember bits and pieces and almost never do I remember the plot. I have single frames or short clips of fantastic and strange movies in my mind and that's all that remains.

An example that come to me at the moment is from a dream I had a few years ago. I was sitting in a kitchen chair, one with bars between the legs to prop your feet on, underneath stadium bleachers. Before I can do anything, a giant tentacle like something out of Peter Benchley's The Deep, reaches out, grabs one of the support prop and lifts the chair and me into the air, swinging me around like it was going to thrown me.

Another example was a cruise ship that, instead of sailing the oceans, was sailing along a cloud line in a ring around a deep pit in the ocean, inside of which was a tropical island. The ship began teetering back and forth, spilling passengers out of the clouds and eventually capsizing.

I've also had several zombie dreams in which I am trying to find people I love, sometimes doing so, sometimes being killed myself.

I'm sure a psychologist would love to get a hold of these and write a book about it, but nothing doing!

I tell you this not so that you'll understand why I am the way I am. There is no mapping that chasm. I tell you this because Sara and I were both deeply concerned when Harper work up last night, screaming and sobbing and could not be consoled.

She was screaming in a pitch we have never heard from her with wracking sobs that shook her body even as she clung to us. Tears ran down her face, which they almost never do. She took short breaks where she seems to calm down, but then took up the wailing again with renewed vigor.

We were worried that she might have been hungry or getting another tooth, but it was not a cry for food and it didn't sound like a cry of pain. We check her mouth for a new tooth and gave her Tylenol in the hopes that it might be something we couldn't see.

For about an hour (10:30-11:30) last night, after she had already gone to sleep and was doing well, we walked her around the house, talked to her, rocked her, held her, and put her in bed with us. She was alright in bed with us for about 10 minutes then the screaming started again. At 11:30-ish, Sara finally put her back in her crib and she slept the rest of the night.

This morning, she was her normal charming self. To prove it, I have another installment in the Car Seat Photos series.

She was cheerful and playful. I think she's actually smirking at me.

As Sara stated to me this morning, I hope she doesn't have my nightmare gene. It took my years to stop waking up crying or screaming and still, about once or twice a year, I do. Although those dreams are not nightmares. They usually involve visits from my grandfather and leave me feeling lonely and hollow.

I don't think she has night terrors, but she could have had a bad dream. I'm not sure if I want it to be that. If it is, then we could be looking at years of night struggles to make sure she sleeps well. If it isn't, then something else is wrong and we have no idea what it could be.

In any event, we'll have to keep an eye out.


East Coast Mom said...

Your nightmares notwithstanding, I might get her ears checked if it happens again. The first time you did that, and then again for 2 nights in a row, I took you to the ER because I was so freaked out. It was the first of many ear infections that ended when you had tubes put in a couple years later. And you were right around her age.

Justin said...

I seem to have spend a good amount of my childhood in the ER...

Mom said...

I can think of 4 times, which is certainly plenty for one childhood.

Anonymous said...

you come by the nightmares naturally - I have them also.



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