Perchance to dream.

All week, I have woken up about 2 hours after I fall asleep. I end up staring at the ceiling for what seems like an eternity, before sinking into a restless slumber, waking about once every 90 minutes. I have had terrible nightmares, from which I awake with a scream somewhere between my stomach and my lips, depending on the severity of the terror.
The dreams are always the same: I’m running from someone, or someone I love has been taken from me, or there is some Big Terrifying Thing just outside my field of view. Two nights ago, I had two separate nightmares; in both of them Anne was kidnapped and I knew that I’d never see her again.
When my head touches my pillow each night, it is with a sense of grim resignation. Many mornings, I am exhausted when I get out of bed. I feel like I’m not getting any rest at all. I look and feel like hell.

Last night, I decided to stay awake until I was just too exhausted to keep my eyes open, rather than turning the lamp off at 11 like I usually do.
I sat on my couch and read my book in the dark and quiet house. Around two, there was a ruckus out on my patio.
I put my book down on the table, and turned on the patio light. The Bogeyman stood in the center of my patio.
When he hadn’t found me in my dreams, he must have climbed over the wall of sleep to find me in my house. He had terrified me all week, worn me down, taken little bits of my life each night, and was here now to take what was left.
His skin hung loosely off his body. His arms ended in two enormous claws. Beneath his firey eyes, his mouth hung open in a silent scream. His black tongue flashed across jagged and uneven teeth.
He teetered forward, and I saw him flex his toes into the bricks. He clenched one of his claws into a fist, piercing his palm. Dark blood exploded from the wounds, and formed shiny puddles on the ground.
He raised his fist, and took a step toward me. I began to cry.
He took another step, and I smelled his Terror. His roar filled my head.
I tried to run, but he was too close, too fast, too powerful. His fist came flying at me. He punched through the screen, through the door, and through me. I looked down and saw his arm ending in my stomach. He clenched his fist tightly and pulsed his blood into my veins.
He pulled me close to his face, and tasted my tears as I died.

168 thoughts on “Perchance to dream.”

  1. I recommend copious amounts of NyQuil as a short term solution.
    Also, no pizza right before bedtime.
    You should know better than that.

  2. Wil,
    I’ve had dreams like that myself. Even worse in mine is that I can’t get out of them until the evil deed is done. Every so often, I can somehow make my mind take a different turn in a dream and take control and be a hero. Give it some time, it will eventually go away. You’ll be too tired to even dream. If it doesn’t, then you should probably find out what the root of the nightmare is. I’m not a psychologist or anything, so don’t think that I am. Just speaking for past experience. Just thought I’d let you know. Pleasant dreams. Peace……

  3. Wil,
    Nightmares are very real and very scary. As a sufferer myself, I wish you all the best.
    Good luck and I hope you get some sleep!

  4. You’re probably just working through some stress or fears that crop up during the course of the day that you don’t really have time to consciously deal with. It sucks when sleep becomes something you fear, because the anxiety of laying there restlessly trying to find it is almost as bad as the actual dreams.
    Try to focus on the good things that have been happening before you drift off. Sometimes to avoid repetative nightmares I have to exhaust myself to the point to where I just pass out. This way I don’t give myself the opportunity to “work myself up” before I get to sleep.
    Anyway, these dreams will pass sooner or later. Until then you can always work on your writing. I always find I come up with great stuff at 3AM.

  5. Will, get your butt down to your local counsellor and talk things through.
    Recommend you do it as soon as possible.

  6. Have you tried “directed” dreaming? At some point in every dream, you ask (or tell yourself) “Is this a dream?”
    Then – FIND YOUR HANDS. Look at them. Turn them over. You are now in control of your dream. Fly, grow ten stories tall, or change the sky to purple.
    It works – beats the Blue Meanies every time.

  7. wasn’t lack of R.E.M. sleep covered in a couple trek episodes? I suggest smokin a big phat one. From what I understand, Brent Spiner gets some gooood sh*t. Regardless, sleep is so important, I hope you get some good rest.
    Peace and Sweet Dreams

  8. Wil, you are one dark guy.
    I’ve had dreams where I was being chased by some faceless entity – one so terrifying that the faster I ran, the more my legs failed me, like I was running against a strong current.
    I turned to see it gaining on me slowly, arms reaching out, mouth open unnaturally wide with row after row of long-narrow needle-sharp teeth… I open my mouth to scream, but nothing but a squeak escaped my lips.
    Suddenly, I was frozen, and it’s on me. I’m enveloped in its stinking misty form. I realized that it was the embodiment of pure terror. I expected it to devour me, close its nightmarish-maw on my face, and shred the flesh from my skull. Instead, my body absorbed it, and became a part of me – and that terror will always be a part of me.

  9. Benadryl helps also….for the sleep. I have no suggestions for combatting the nightmares other than what has been suggested. I always have trouble trying to redirect a dream, myself. I’m curious….how does one practice such a thing?

  10. Nightmares are not fun, I know because I get them too and a lot of regular sleep disturbance as a result ~.~
    The only thing I can think of to suggest as help is what I do if something’s bugging me. A lot of nights Ogrek and I don’t get to sleep for anything up to an hour after we go to bed because we talk about what’s on our mind before we sleep. The other thing I try is a hot drink, cocoa usually works although (I wouldn’t recommend THIS one by the way) I have such a weird physiology that even a cup of milky sweet coffee helps too o.O
    It doesn’t always work but it does help me a little, I hope it helps you both too ^_^
    } {

  11. Oh, my. You are really being battered by your subconscious. :(
    They say that if you die in a dream you die in real life, of course that is not true in all cases. I have died in a nightmare once before and just slipped into darkness until I woke up. Still to get to that point is not a good sign. You have got to find out what the source of your anxiety is and put a stopper on it. Tommorow night… you kick HIS ass!
    *hugs & blissful dreams mojo*

  12. oh, one more thing…
    “If you don’t see the Fnord it can’t eat you! Don’t see the Fnord. Don’t see the Fnord.”

  13. I have those “loved one(s)” in trouble and no way to help nightmares too and mine drag on with me trying to do many things to save them and all of them getting stopped somehow. Icky.
    This weeks nightmare was just me being crushed by a big concrete block.
    I won’t get too far into my dreams because they are really f-ed up, shrinks would love me.
    Wil, good luck with the getting peaceful sleep you need. I hope someone is able to give you some advice that will help.

  14. There are some good books on Lucid Dreaming, just search Amazon for “lucid dreaming”. I have never had the patience to practice it, but it seems like it would be fun if person got good at it.

  15. Damnit Wil, thanks a lot, now I’m going to start having nightmares. 😛
    (just kidding, I rarely do, and when I do it can’t be brought on by something scary in the concious world, at least not this)
    I used to lie awake in my bed after a scary episode of TNG worried that I’d have bad dreams, but they never came. Well, that’s what I get for having nothing of substance to worry about. *sigh* I wanna worry about something.

  16. When I was little, my mother taught me to think of my dreams (or nightmares) as television programs. When I find myself in a nightmare, or even a dream that suddenly isn’t going well, I just visualize “zooming out” so the dream is framed inside a TV set, and see myself reaching up and changing the channel. (Yeah, I’m old … when I was little my TV didn’t have a remote). Good luck — remember *you* are in control!

  17. Wil,
    I used to have horrible nightmares about my father dying all the time, and I’d always just wake up and remember that he was alive and that all was good. Then three weeks ago he had a heart attack and almost died 3 times as complications grew worse. But he’s ok. And he’s going to get better. Eventually life is going to face you with your worst fear whether you like it or not. It might be bad, but maybe not as bad as you think. So enjoy day time. Go out and look at the stars at night. You’re in such a good place right now. Don’t let fear ruin that. Alternatively, turn on John Conley’s “I don’t remember lovin’ you”, sip some grand marnier, and toast to life.

  18. *gives you a platonic hug of reassurance, hoping it will do something to comfort you*
    I hope you can overcome these nightmares soon. You have my well-wishes and hope.

  19. Once, in college, I had a dream my grandfather died. My mother’s father.
    Nothing really scary or nightmarish about it. We were sitting in a car, I got out, the car rolled down the hill and up an enbankment and rolled over onto the roof. I never ‘saw’ him die in the dream, I just knew, you know?
    Well, superstitiously, I called my mother who said no, he was fine.
    I felt stupid about it and forgot about it.
    A week later, he died.
    Ok, that’s not the weird part.
    When I went home for the funeral, my parents told me the night I had the dream about my mother’s father, my FATHER’S father died!
    (they hadn’t spoken in years and he didn’t find out until the day he told me)
    How’s THAT for creeeeeeeeee-pyyyyyyyy!?!

  20. I’ve always been able to control my dreams. When something gets scary or uncomfortable, I do this thing in my dreams where I tell myself, “It’s only a dream.” Sometimes, I’ll even rewind the dream, so I can redo something I don’t like.
    Yeah, I savescum (savespam? I forget) in my dreams, but not in NetHack. 😉
    Incidentally, this Bogeyman wasn’t a dream. It’s something I came out of my brain this morning while I was trying to write about how I can’t sleep. I actually didn’t have any dreams last night that I remember, and I slept for 6 hours before I woke up.

  21. I had similar experiences in times with too much stress. Worst nightmares include my best loved people, and I agree, it feels like hell.
    When the stress disapeared, the nightmares did too. Unfortunately, it

  22. Bit of bad beef, old chap?
    How’s your daytime resting pulse? Maybe you have some anxiety that needs treatment.

  23. Okay, now I’m going to sound all new-agey and stuff, but I really do believe this helps.
    Meditation. And I don’t mean the hum a mantra kind of meditation. Before you go to sleep, find a quiet space to just sit by yourself. Close your eyes and let all your thoughts come to you. Don’t fight them. When you have a thought, “look” at it,analyze it, then let it go. Wait until the next thought comes. After a while, you’ll find that your mind goes blank and you’ll feel at peace. I find that usually I get nightmares because of some kind of stress in my waking life. Sometimes it’s even something I’m not aware of. Sitting peacefully for a while before going to bed gets your mind into the same resting phase as your body. As far as I know, that’s the best way to guarantee a peaceful night’s sleep.
    Hope this helps, Wil.
    Rest well, sweet dreams.

  24. 1 2 Freddy’s coming for you
    3 4 better lock the door…
    Well, at least you can remember your dreams. Glad to see you’re using some of fear/creativity in your writing. I remember reading somewhere about Clive Barker getting a lot of imagery from his dreams/nightmares.
    The beast sounds a bit like Stephen King’s Cujo. At least it isn’t a crazed serial killer is coming back in your dreams to kill everyone who appeared in the last Star Trek movie.

  25. Wil,
    sounds like ‘Dream’ will make for a good book eventually, but you’re a shithead for posting it to your Blog without any ‘Just Being Creative’ disclaimer. *shaking head*
    Yes, you’ve just gone feet first into an ‘Ooops’ moment.

  26. So….you’re dead?
    Seriously, I think you should contact some kind of professional about this. If it happens every once in a while, no biggie. But if it happens this often, there’s a bigger problem lurking.
    Good luck.

  27. Rx:
    Three hours before bed, pour 2 1/4 ounces of your favorite ethanol.
    Repeat every twenty minutes until bedtime.
    You might still have nightmares, but you won’t remember them.

  28. When I was about 5, I had a recurring dream of seeing my newborn sister, dismembered, a pile of limbs and other body parts. She lay on a sun-baked sidewalk, in a pool of her own blood, staining the pavement a dark red.
    That was frightening. Especially for a five-year-old.
    My sister had something wrong with her lungs and was on oxygen for quite a while after she was born. My mom told me, as she cradled me in her arms after I’d crept into her room in tears, that I was afraid that more bad things would happen to Marie. Makes sense, I guess. But it sure wasn’t fun.
    Incidentally, my sister is now 14 and perfectly healthy.

  29. Wil,
    I took a class on understanding dreams a few years back and would like to explain my interpretation of your remembered dreams.
    First, do you consider yourself to be controlling?
    *–A dream involving evil that is unsurpassable is usually linked to a lack of control. A feeling of “facing the unbeatable”. If it’s work of simply your (what I believe is misguided) view of our current war effort. Also the fact that your wife is involed shows a lack of closeness.
    *– You said yourself that she has been coming home late, you maybe having fear regarding that.
    *– In most cases the location of a dream is symbolically the feeling of your inner self.
    Example– A dark room shows a lack of understanding.
    While bright light shows enlightenment.
    The weapon is also suspect.
    More powerful weapons are a showing of a more severe emotion. Some say a pointed object is a sexual symbol (I disagree), I see it as a manifestation of fear or insecurity.
    Even if you think I’m full of SHIT you still need to understand the dream in order to tell why you’re having it!!
    Smile BITCH and keep not replying to my E-Mail’s I understand you actor types!!
    Later Wil….

  30. Good Lord I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a vivid, detailed dream like you’re discribing!
    squish the demons

  31. Hi Will,
    First of all, the alcohol before bed is bunk. It will just make it worse.
    Second, don’t eat anything (especially heavy things like ice cream, pizza, pasta, etc) within 2 hours of going to bed. (I had a choc milkshake last night and dreamt I almost got mowed down by a bus.)
    Third, start free-writing about how you feel –just in general–and do that for about 15 minutes without stopping and see what pops up.
    Fourth, have you started taking any new medications or supplements lately? Certain meds can give you nightmares or more vivid dreams. A little research should answer that.
    Fifth, good luck!
    Sixth, bye the way –I grew up in Wheaton, Illinois and went to school with the Wheatons of Wheaton. And I’m a fan (of yours)!

  32. Wil,
    That sounds nasty, I remember I used to have quite nasty nightmares when I was younger, but I seem to have left them behind for now.
    I hope you haven’t been dabbling in the mysteries of elder things and scouring aged tomes of forbidden knowledge, for this is enough to give anybody sleepless nights.
    A relaxing bath or other stress relief method may be helpful, failing that, a protective sigil in black sand may hold the hideous spawn of the ancients at bay for a time…
    Cthulhu Fhtagn!

  33. Sigmund Freud would say that all dreams are expressions of our unconscious desires and thoughts. The “Boogey Man” could represent a number of things, pretty much anything that threatens the stability of the life you have made for yourself. Maybe if you figure it out what is troubling your subconscious, you can confront it and the dreams might cease.
    Good Luck!

  34. Either you’re schizophrenic, or I need to buy a gun. I’m no sure which.
    Try milk, turkey or chicken before going to bed. It’ll help out.

  35. Hey Wil,
    I’m sure you’ve gotten a ton of advice, but I didn’t read all of them, so here’s mine:
    Chamomile tea. It works. But not by itself. First recognize the dream for what it is. Dreams of being chased usually indicate you’re trying to get away from something in your life (I know it’s obvious)or there’s something you don’t want to have to deal with and you’re putting it off.
    Fear of a loss of a loved one doesn’t always mean just that, usually it could be something as simple as being hesitant to tell that person something or to deal with something regarding that person.
    So how to deal with it? If there’s something needing to be done, just buckle down and do it, you’ll feel better. Also, try listening to some quiet music (if you don’t like Enya, classical will do)even if you hate it, it calms the mind.
    Try some stress relief things, like meditating. i know how New-Agey this sounds, but it works. Try self-hypnosis too, that works great.
    Sweet dreams!

  36. My own experience is that when a dream recurs, something in my life really needs to be addressed. Years ago, I used to have a dream 2 or 3 times a week where I would be driving along at night, straddling a bright white line painted on blacktop; I’d suddenly realize that the blacktop stretched in all directions, and only the line provided any landmark. Then I’d drive off a cliff.
    I quit my job; I hadn’t known there was a connection until one day I noticed I’d stopped having the dream.

  37. Does this “evil” go by the name of George?
    Welcome to getting older, Wil.
    You never get to stay asleep for any length of
    Something to look forward to eh..?
    Sweet dreams…

  38. there are a couple of things you can do to improve your sleep hygeine (although most of them are easier said than done):
    ~ no more caffeine, or no more caffeine after a certain time (when I’m being good, it’s 5pm for me)
    ~ like the other posters said, don’t eat in the two hours or so before you go to bed.
    ~ keep a regular schedule: go to bed at the same time every night and in a very dark, very quiet environment. try and wake up around the same time every morning
    ~ make an extra effort to deal with the stress in your life (this is the one i hate, because it always comes out as ‘try to avoid having stressful things in your life.’ so like, okay, should i drop out of school, then?). different things work for different people, so whether it’s kickboxing, yoga, meditation, therapy, smoking a bowl before bedtime, or whatever, the important thing is that you find out what works for you and make an effort.
    ~ finally, don’t hesitate to get help as soon as you feel you need it. this is not a case for heroism, toy soldier :).
    wow, long post. best of luck to you, wil

  39. I used to have terrible nightmares myself, until I found a little thing called a dreamcatcher. It’s a Native American ‘tool’. You hang it above your bed, and the good dreams can find their way through the web, where the bad dreams get caught and disappear in the morning sunlight. Since I started using one of these, I haven’t had a nightmare since. It’s probably just the power of suggestion, but hey, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, ya know? Wil, if you’d like one, email me and I’d be more than happy to make one and ship it your way.
    Stacey Wacey
    Member of the Sault Ste. Marie, MI Tribe of Chippewa Indians

  40. Whoa nellie, Wil. That’s a pretty bad one. The last nightmare I can recall having was at least a couple of years ago, and involved one of those ‘doomsday’ scenarios where the world ends despite all efforts to stop it. But yours seems to be much more up close and personal.
    I’d reiterate what’s already been said: talk to a therapist, meditate (don’t medicate!), and if you discover something bugging you, don’t harbor it, get it out and deal with it. The subconscious has to carry a lot of baggage around all day, and sometimes it just has to throw a tantrum.
    Of course, given your (ahem) VIVID description of this particular boogeyman, you COULD just have someone program up a Quake mod and turn it into so much quivering virtual gibs…

  41. Don’t listen to posters who want you to drink/drug yourself to sleep. Nightmares are there for a reason, and if you repress them with sleep-aids, you’ll never work through them. I’m just a lowly 20 yr old pscyh minor, so I won’t offer any advice except: you’re having these dreams for a reason, don’t repress them, work through them.

  42. “I’d reiterate what’s already been said: talk to a therapist”
    A wise man once said Liberalism is a mental disorder… :)
    LOL… This is a prime example… !

  43. Everyone’s given lots of good suggestions….. tea, meditation, therapy, staying away from food….
    Here’s mine, from one Big Ol’ Geek to another: Play RPGs. A lot.
    I’ve had nightmares my entire life. Vivid, horrible, nightmares. If I were lucky, they’d be Bogeymen, but they’re not. Being an assault survivor did not help them at all– it made them, predictably, worse.
    A few years ago, I got into a D&D game as a player. I played for about 4 years. Somewhere about halfway through the campaign, I had this really terrible nightmare (being chased by my assailant or something). I turned around, pulled out the longsword my character always carried, and proceded to defend myself, as the character. In time, she has become a persona I can call on to beat back the nightmares. It’s not lucid dreaming, but it’s a tool I can call on sometimes.
    Yeah, it’s probably one of the few times a D&D game has actually helped someone’s mental health.

  44. hey there wil…
    yeah, sounds like you have some other stuff going on in your life that for some reason turns into bad sleeping stuff.
    another good idea is to write down anything you can remember from a dream as soon as you wake up. just keep a journal and a pen by the bed so if you wake up in the night, just start jotting down the things that you remember. one tends to lose the intricacies (sp?) of a dream in the minutes after waking up. after you write the stuff down, go back to sleep, and then you can read about it when you finally get up in the morning. that way, you’re putting the feelings down on paper, and kinf of “trapping” the dream, making it harder for it to come back to you the next night. you can also go over what the things in the dream might mean to you.
    i started doing that a while ago, and pretty much stopped having nightmares. in fact, i really can’t remember the last time i’ve had one. yay! ^_^

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