Day 4

1. / 2.

For years, I’ve had the same recurring nightmare. I’m alone in a house (always a different house, always unfamiliar) and I’m trying to find someone, but I never know who. The entire house is pitch black, it’s night, and I’m walking from room to room turning on all the lights. Only the lights never come on. I flick the light switch and nothing happens. Sometimes the lights will come on dimly, as if the filament inside the bulb is dead, and I can hear it buzzing. No matter what I do I can’t turn any lights on, and then it becomes a frantic chase through the house trying every switch, and I feel like I’m being pursued the entire time by something I can’t see but that I know is horrible and terrifying. I end up jolting awake, panting like I’ve been running a marathon, and the first thing I do is reach for the lamp on my night table. I had the dream again last night, only this time, as I flicked the first switch and nothing happened, I said, “Oh come the fuck on, again with this?” It’s like even my subconscious is fed up with it.

Has anyone ever had a similar dream? I also have the classic nightmare of being chased but not being able to run, like my legs just won’t work. But this one is just indecipherable. Aside from the fact that I’m afraid of the dark in real life, like the character out of a Shel Silverstein poem Reginald Clark (“I’m Reginald Clark and I’m afraid of the dark, so please don’t close this book on me.”), I don’t know what my subconscious is trying to tell me. I’ve tried googling it and was more than a little relieved when it came up as a search suggestion before I was even finished typing. So I know I’m not alone.

What recurring nightmares do you have? And what do you think mine is all about? I’d love to hear your interpretations.

PS. Could it have anything to do with the fact that I was sleeping on my Keane pillowcase with the lyrics to “Bad Dream” printed on it? I changed the sheets last night and went from a plain pillowcase to that one. Coincidence??

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August 23, 2012 / life / dog / LEAVE A COMMENT / 19

19 comments

  • My recurring nightmares are pretty typical, and I don’t have them often anymore. Doors that don’t open, halls that never end. That kind of thing. I spend a terrifying period in high school where I had blood-curdling scream-waking nightmares that were gory and violent and involved family members night after night. I got no sleep for nights and nights and then they ended. Poof.

    I had some great anxiety dreams in young adulthood, when Neel was in graduate school and we were living in Harrisburg. I was told I had messed something up in high school and had to *go back.* But I can’t go back! I live in Pennsylvania now. I have a job. I actually graduated from college! ;)

    • Your nightmares sound awful! How scary, thank god they’re behind you now. The ones about having to go back to school are common, my mom had them, and I had them when I was graduating college, too! I wonder what they mean. I can’t imagine how terrible it would be to actually have to go back and re-do everything. Almost as terrible has blood-curdling screaming nightmares. xo

  • I have two recurring dreams – one is that I’m being chased and even though they catch me up, they stop short of grabbing me and sometimes I hide but no matter where they still find me and I’m exhausted but I and they never give up. It only stops when I wake up. The other is that my teeth are falling out. I talk and as I move my mouth, they drop out one by one and and pick them up and stick them back in but they still keep falling out and I rub my lip over my gum to hide the fact that I haven’t got any left. Bizarre! I’ve googled this too and it’s a common one.

    Your change of bed linen is no coincidence, I guess that’s the last thing you saw before you closed your eyes. I hope you sleep better tonight x

    • I’ve had the one that no matter where I hide they always find me too! And I never know who “they” are, either. So scary! But the losing your teeth dream sounds horrible! That’s so traumatizing. You poor thing! It’s so weird that nightmares with certain themes are so common, don’t you think? Makes you wonder.
      And thanks, lovely, I slept loads better last night. I did, however, flip the pillowcase over ;) xo

  • Your nightmare sounds like my worst fear. I am so afraid of the dark, when I got trapped (somebody closed the door) in our old basement years ago and the power went out I could hardly breathe and not move at all…My recurring nightmare involves me falling endlessly into the dark, I usually wake up when I would be hitting the ground. Like Sam I sometimes dream about my teeth falling out. It’s so weird…Sleep better tonight!

    • Oh, whew, I’m not the only one scared of the dark. Getting trapped in your basement is terrifying! No wonder you freaked out, I hope you weren’t down there long! The falling dreams are the worst, too. Gah, it seems like everyone has horrible nightmares! I’m so sorry. xo

  • Oh, just realized you changed your header. Love the colors!

    • Thank you thank you! Feels more “me” now.

  • Nightmares…terrible things that mothers hold their children tightly upon awakening to screaming….except for the time you feel out of bed! THUMP!
    My recurring nightmare that I can’t find my way home. All the streets have changed and there’s no way to figure out a path.

    • I was under the impression that I fell out of the bed a bunch of times. I was a wild sleeper. Your nightmare sounds awful, I never knew that before!

  • This post is so spot on for me today. I had like 3 nightmares back to back (all about me being involved in confrontations: muggings, assaults, etc) and not being able to dial the number to the police correctly on the phone. I have spent ALL day thinking about it and what it might mean. But my usual recurring scary dream is like Sam’s where I’m hiding from someone/people and no matter where, they always find me. What does it all mean??!! Btw, I like the new header too!

    • Good lord, I guess nightmares are way more common than I realized! That’s so unfortunate. Yours sound so scary! All that anxiety probably guarantees you don’t get a good night sleep. The not being able to hide dream is common, apparently! Our subconscious is so bizarre.

  • I should note I also spent all day avoiding anyone and everyone who might have a potential confrontation with me (fellow drivers on the road included) lol

    • Haha probably not a bad plan in general! xo

  • That is a super creepy recurring nightmare. Most of mine involve being chased around with some type of sharp object and then trying to hide. Isn’t it such a sense of relief when you wake up?

    • Oh my god, that one is scary! Usually whenever I have a version of the “trying to hide from the bad guys” nightmare there isn’t a sharp object involved, it’s scary enough on its own! It is always a relief to wake up, even though I’m all stressed out the rest of the day.

  • Back in my twenties, living in San Francisco, I had a dream that someone crawled on top of me and was strangling me. I couldn’t breathe and when I tried to cry out for my room mate, no sound came out. The dream was so real, I could feel the person’s knees straddling and pressed against my arms, and their hands around my throat. When I finally managed to break free, I let out a blood curdling scream. I was soaked with sweat. The dream only happened once, so it wasn’t recurring. I can tell you I was going through some heavy stuff back then and was full of anxiety. Are you anxious about something? Does the dream happen only when you’re alone/BF is away? It scares me to think you’re having such dreams when you’re alone. Who knows, perhaps changing those pillow cases will subconsciously allow you to sleep better. Anything that puts your mind at ease will help. What did you find out via your (Google) search?

    • Theresa I’m so, so sorry! That must have been so traumatizing, I feel bad making you recount it! I can’t even imagine, dreams are bad enough on their own without your body adding some level of physicality to it, too. Thank goodness it only happened once. I’m pretty sure once was enough, if that had been a recurring dream I think you would have ended up in therapy. And rightly so! Wow, now I seriously have chills. You poor thing.
      I’m always anxious about something, I’m a chronically anxious person, but I can’t pinpoint anything specific right now. Who knows! I definitely flipped my pillowcase over, haha. Last night was significantly better. Google said the dream can either mean I don’t have a clear perspective on something or that I’m dealing with grief. Or there are ghosts. Or, you know, all of the above. :)

      • This is like our own version of swapping ghost stories, goosebumps and all. Your Google search pulled up some interesting explanations. The first two seem manageable. Ghosts, on the other hand…Let’s hope it’s not ghosts. Happy you’re sleeping a bit better. ;)