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Terrible Nightmares: why do we have them?

November 15, 2007

Terrible nightmares: why do we have them? Last Monday morning I woke up distraught and exhausted after a cruelly vivid dream of my deceased best friend (whom I still miss terribly most days) visiting me as if she had come back from the dead. She was pregnant, a bit wild-eyed and definitely not right. The worst thing about it all was that she told me that her real surviving son (who by coincidence is 7 today) is not Mr XX’s at all (her real-life ex-husband) but in fact the product of Satan (my ex-boyfriend) and that she had come back from ‘the other side’ to tell me that she was pregnant again with his second child! Absolutely nightmarish in every degree. Awful. Why why why would I dream such a horror? What is even weirder is that she hated Satan in real life. Maybe it was simply her impending son’s birthday that triggered off something. It was so horrible.

Then this morning I woke up in a terrible flap and sobbing again as I had another awful dream – this time about running off with a morbidly obese, bespectacled African dignitary. We ran off to live in my first ever bedsit flat that I left home for 22 years ago. As I returned with nothing except this man I felt a familiar damp chill in the air as I opened my old door. It often felt colder in than out in that flat. The carpet and walls were the same but because it didn’t have my things in it any more it suddenly looked more grubby and smaller than I remember it. I turned back to look at this man and thought ‘Oh my god, what have I done?’ There was such a terrible air of finality about it all. I kept saying ‘it’s different, it’s so different but I can’t put my finger on it’. The man with his thick-rimmed glasses and dark orange stretchy top straining over his huge tummy was very patient and kind and kept saying ‘Don’t worry, it will be fine, it’s ok’ when it so obviously was not. And then the realisation which was the most nightmarish part of the dream and one thankfully that didn’t last long as it was so utterly devastating and horrific revealed itself. I turned to my elopee and said ‘I know what it is’ as I clutched both sides of my head and scrunched my hair so hard it really hurt and repeatedly choked ‘There is no H (my son in real life) here, there is no H here, that’s what it is. What have I done? What have I done?’. The sickening realisation. What had I done? I had run off with this person who was very nice and inoffensive but so ridiculously not me and had willingly abandoned my child and everything I had that was precious to me. I had not thought about the consequences until it was too late. The man said (a little more angrily and unsettlingly agitated now) ‘We can’t go back, we are here together now’ and made me lay my head on his big soft tummy. I felt trapped and helpless. It was so awful and distressing. I woke up in a panic not knowing where I was and thinking for a split-second it was all true.

I’m almost too scared to go to sleep tonight. It was one of those vivid and tiring dreams that stay with you all day. I have no idea what has set this spate of horrible emotionally fraught dreams off and am praying for sweet dreams or none at all for the next week – it’s too exhausting. What is your worst dream? And no – no cheese was involved just in case you were wondering!

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  1. Annie permalink

    Poor RoMo. I know what you mean, your subconscious can torture and terrify you much more effectively than any horror film. I always find it amazing that your own brain can punish you with these manafactured horrors. I’ll tell you my worst dream when we meet, I doubt it would come across it black and white. <br/><br/>Sorry about your dream about your friend especially, that sounds horrendous. I’ve no idea what it means, maybe dreams don’t always mean anything. Though to get all psychoanalytical on you, it sounds generally like you are very anxious about making changes and your subconscious is playing out this scenario for you…

  2. Jimmy Page's Trousers permalink

    By all that is good and wholesome RM, what sort of scary brain do you have? <i>I’m</i> scared to sleep tonight now. <br/><br/>For what my opinion is worth (quite a lot actually), I concur with my learned colleague, Annie’s analysis of your scary brain processes.

  3. Geoff permalink

    I dreamt last night it was Christmas and a big, burly Russian man was trying to break my fingers.<br/><br/>The stupid thing was, I was managing to stop him by my sheer finger strength.<br/><br/>I’ve had some pretty horrible dreams but luckily they never carry on the next night where they left off. It’s best not to read anything into them.<br/><br/>The soft belly could mean you need some new harder pillows, though.

  4. rockmother permalink

    Thank you all – the rather naked catharsis worked – I had a good night’s sleep for the first time in a week!

  5. Istvanski permalink

    I would tend to agree with Annie, although the mind is way to complex to decipher and probably never will be fully understood. Perhaps it was a weird and awfully twisted summarisation of recent stresses. I tend to get shit work related dreams and thought I was the only one when other colleagues confessed to having the same symptoms.<br/>Glad you finally had a good night’s sleep.<br/><br/>Your African dignitary character has just reminded me that I should get around to watching The Last King of Scotland. Cheers for that :-)x

  6. You’re lucky in a way to be able to remember the details rm. Writing it out is good. This is what blogging is all about folks.

  7. Arabella permalink

    So glad you finally had a peaceful sleep!<br/>The dreams we have – all the powerful true emotions, wonderfully painted images, daft props and extras – aren’t we amazing creatures?

  8. Robert Swipe permalink

    I had this really awful nightmare in which I spent eleven quid on a Monochrome Set single that Istvanski had and was willing to give me for nothing…<br/><br/>Thank Christ *that* was only a bad dream!!<br/><br/>Bobsters<br/><br/>p.s. …can you lay off the morbidly obese for a while, Robinson Crusoe of Mobinson Crusoe…after all, if there’s one thing worse than a morbidly obese person, it’s those fucking cheerful fuckers….

  9. Robert Swipe permalink

    Sorry, that should read "those cheerful *fat* fuckers, obviously…<br/><br/>It’s that Monochrome Set dream – it’s really shooken me up Rosebud of Mosebud…<br/><br/>Bobsters

  10. rockmother permalink

    Ister – yep – thank you. Come to think of it – you have just jogged a memory for me which could explain the unexplained elopee! I was talking to someone about the director of Touching the Void (who is a friend of mine) and he also directed Last King….oh the brain is weird..!! That’s that connection I reckon. <br/><br/>Dickley – I have a very vivid memory anyway but it was actually quite useful to dump it all off onto my blog. I nearly didn’t but glad I did.<br/><br/>Arabella – thank you dear- yes – the power of the miiiiiind! Tis an extraordinary thing<br/><br/>Bobster – what? cheerful and large – your ‘avin’ a giraffe ain’tcha? Cheers Bobblester of Wobblester 😉

  11. Malc permalink

    Good to hear you have the demons in check. If it had nothing to do with cheese, why not try a couple of oatcakes with Stilton next time the night-time animals start to yelp.

  12. rivergirlie permalink

    oh blimey – poor you! i occasionally dream that i’ve killed someone – on purpose – at some time in my past and only remember it during the course of the dream. horrid!

  13. Betty permalink

    Hope you’ve managed to break the cycle with the horrible, vivid nightmares.<br/><br/>Most of my dreams are extremely mundane. Last night I was at a party in a Spanish castle, and Ian Brown of the Stone Roses was deejaying. Nothing interesting happened.

  14. JDA permalink

    Hmmm….spooksville not!<br/><br/>These images you are experiencing through your subconscious state i.e dreams may be disturbing in your waking consciousness because they do not belong there. The reason we live them in dreams or namely subconscious state is merely a way for us to live them in a safe environment (dreams) and that is all!<br/><br/>If we didn’t or couldn’t expose ourselves to these dark aspects of our psyche through the medium of dreaming we would literally go insane because eventually those subconscious thoughts would surface in the real world! now that would BE a problem.<br/><br/>So don’t concern yourself too much Romo….your brain is just flexing its subconscious muscles.

  15. rockmother permalink

    Malc – thank you popping by. Yes – next time I will have cheese to counter-act the horror!<br/><br/>Rivergirlie – ugh – yours sounds like a horrid dream indeed<br/><br/>Betty – god I wish I had been in your dream – that sounds great. I dreamed soon after this recent spate that I was on Never Mind The Buzzcocks with Jif and Istvanski and couldn’t stop laughing. <br/><br/>Jif – thank you – that’s very heplful. Thinking about it I can make sense of it all now although I have decided to keep the analysis to myself. Just general anxiety – none too horrible since..cross fingers

  16. paddy permalink

    Symbols (dreams) and Transformation<br/>Funny to think of dreams being closer to reality than – the shit waking state we call – consciousness.<br/>I could never get my head around it, nor have I, but I’ve always though that consciousness on its own is a lonely soul.<br/>————–<br/>Dr. (for a better hit) Paddy. I never give up do I.<br/>PS: I should have mentioned: <br/>(205 mg/day)L-phenylalanine (is amino acid) is an essential amino acid to be taken along with <br/>5/10mg Selegiline+ B6 to absorb the amino acid. ask your Dr. though he probably wont know what you’re on about (can’t all be geniuses like me) – just make sure you’re relatively healthy.

  17. llewtrah permalink

    It’s how your mind deals with anxieties without making you insane (because people don’t usually remember dreams too well).<br/><br/>I’ve had really awful ones. I turned some into stories – that way I could manipulate the story and the ending and rewrite my memory of the dream.

  18. Anonymous permalink

    I was able to get my ex back after I followed the instructions at I totally recommend this site, helped me a lot, all I can say is big THANKS!!! I’m so happy now…

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