Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Riddle me this, Google (a ramble about waking nightmares)

I lay awake in the deep of night;
To close my eyes is to block all sight;
But as the sweetness of slumber envelopes me,
My mind shows me things I wish not to see;
Of evil, of strangeness, of fearful things;
A shadow, a form, a slayer of everything.
A shuffle of feet on the other side,
The door knob twists – I open, I close my eyes.
Am I awake? Am I dreaming?
All I know is the fearful feeling.
Heart is pounding, body is in stasis,
Always appears the same faces.
Mother, brother, even father;
A cry of nothing – why do I bother?
They reach for me with taunting arm;
Oh, why do they wish me harm?
I've been good daughter, good sister, too;
But it seems there is nothing I can do.
A knife or a pillow – my end is always near,
With lids shut, I lie back in fear.
The moment arrives – this is my destiny.
Until I jerk awake and realize 'tis not reality.
Still, my heart races, my body shudders;
Though I know it will not last forever.
My heart calms, my limbs can move.
All it was, was a night terror.
That was a poem I wrote a few years ago (and published at fictionpress). I was having night terrors - the ones that leave you paralyzed with fear, unable to cry out or move. To deal with them, I decided to write a poem. Now, I don't really like poetry and in my opinion, the poem is not very good, but it actually helped me. I didn't have anymore episodes of that same night terror until this year.
It's always the same. I'm lying in bed. Someone comes into my room. Sometimes with a knife. Sometimes it's a stranger, more often it is someone from my family. They try to kill me. I try to scream, nothing comes out, I try to move, but I can't. Then I wake up, on my back, my heart pounding like a rampant drum.
The last time I had the dream, it was in a hotel room while on a trip with my mother. She called my name, I woke up. She told me I was mewling in my sleep. She said my father had dreams like that. My father has a term for them - a Mohawk term I forget at the moment (will edit in later when I ask him about it again). Interested to learn more, I googled "what does it mean when you have the same dream of being murdered?" and various other questions of the sort.
Gotta love the Internet. There's some real gems out there. Putting questions to Google has become one of my favorite pastimes. According to Google (well, the Internet, really):
  • I have been abducted by aliens
  • I am psychic
  • I have ancestor ghosts watching over me
  • I may be schizophrenic
Ah, that's what happens when you have too much time on your hands. Google is like the new oracle at Delphi. It answers you in riddles when the truth is obvious: you're an idiot for asking that idiotic question in the first place. But, I digress.
After that I simply googled "waking nightmares". I came upon an article in the Daily Mail. It turns out I have been experiencing "sleep paralysis". Self-diagnosing myself through the Internet is also one of my favorite pastimes, which I do not recommend at all - it could drive you crazy (and really, just go see a doctor if you are in tremendous pain). But in this case, I think I have it right.
The article says sleep paralysis: causes you to partially wake up during a dream, while your body is still ‘asleep’. It can be caused by stress, even by your partner's snores. People who suffer from this often see figures in their bedroom, can even feel touches, and because they are still in REM sleep mode, they can't move (the brain paralyzes you at this time so you can't act out your dreams) or scream. The vividness for me is what separates it from a nightmare. And because it always happens in my bedroom (or in the hotel room), this is sleep paralysis. If it were a nightmare it could be happening anywhere.
Anyway, I don't really have a point here. I just find dreams and sleeping to be a very interesting topic. These sleep paralysis nightmares can be a pain in the arse, and scary as hell (I thought I was going to die one time), but they are fascinating. It's amazing what the mind can do.
What about you? Do you ever have these night terrors? Recurring nightmares? Do you ever have those jerky falling moments (you fall in your dream and "fall" in your bed)? One regular dream I had a lot when I was a kid involved dinosaurs. Lately, it's been alien invasions and asteroids. You?
Have a good evening and may you experience nothing but sweet dreams!

1 comment:

  1. I finally remembered to talk to my father about this the other day, he called it "watiaro:ro'roks" (not sure if the spelling is correct, Mohawk spelling can differ in each community and my father didn't learn how to write his language, so this is the best I can do at the moment).