Talking to a friend about dreams and nightmares tonight got me thinking about a blog entry that I wrote recently on paper and then lost. I am usually a computer geek and ignore the old faithful method, but this was an experience I needed to communicate, even if it was to the universe in general, via a little note. Like every normal human being who goes through traumatic or stressful events, I had to get up and go to work the next day, and didn’t have time to talk about it. So here it is.
12:30am – I get home after an eleven hour shift and discover three missed calls from my Nearly Father and can’t get through to him. I call my boyfriend, Nearly Father has called him just to find out where I am. They knew my hours. I call N.F.: “Don’t worry, we’re only about four miles away now, we’ll walk.” My first words were “Do you want a lift?” But I’m pretty sure these were ignored, or not heard. I am asked to put the kettle on.
1am – Five cups of tea sit luke warm in front of me, mine nearly gone. The Nearly Parents and friends come in drunk and happy. I think it would be rude to go to bed, even though I’m up early. I stay to meet the friends and do small talk for a while. Man friend is urged to serenade me, and obeys with ‘Amoré’, holding my face to his and getting me up to dance round the kitchen. I am mortified – the amount of hormones, attacks, tea and little sleep I have gone through this week mean that my face is absolutely buzzing with nervous energy, and I can’t even keep my polite smile still. I was never good with meeting new people.
2:30am – I excuse myself, laughing off N.F.’s warning about Man friend’s night wanderings and enduring a few jokes about my laziness/messines. Nearly Mother comes up to whisper her assurance that, no, he really does sleepwalk, and I am to barricade myself in. Suffering from a severe bladder infection at the time, this was not my idea of fun. I woefully slide whatever I can find that is heavy but still moves into place, perform my daily ablutions, and ‘settle’.
3am – Attempt #1. I hear the door of the guest room open, the bathroom light and fan are noisily launched into action, and I lie awake waiting for my call of duty. Duly bathroom door opens, footsteps pause. I get up and go to sit on the chair in the pile against my door. A few tense seconds later, the door handle moves down slowly, brushing my arm. I wait. It releases. Footsteps fade away.
3:30am – Following a panic attack and a vain attempt to call all the numbers in my phone that I thought might be awake, I have a twenty-minute sob to my boyfriend who has finally plugged his in. A sob was all I could manage, so I hung up. I needed the bathroom pretty urgently; I was going roughly every five minutes that day, down from a constant shift the previous night, bleeding and praying that I would get just ten minutes’ sleep. No such luck. The bathroom door suddenly shuts again, without even warning footsteps this time. I wait in agony for the longest ten minutes of my life. I feel guilty for feeling like I want to get out of the house and the situation, because I know that will hurt my boyfriend. I feel completely trapped.
3:40am – Attempt #2. Somehow in the time Man friend makes it from the bathroom to my door this time I achieve a state of isolated sleep paralysis. Note though, I am not asleep. He knocks three soft times. I try to say ‘No, go away,’ but all I can manage are long, desperate moans. I feel like my mouth is sewn shut. I then realise I haven’t uttered a sound. I can’t move a single part of my body. Man friend eventually goes back to bed.
Over the rest of the night I got a few more visits, and no more sleep. Just hallucinatory horrors. I was up the next day at 8:30am to go back to work, after a few minutes of uncomfortable small talk with the Friends, who I’d prayed wouldn’t be up yet. I hate having to announce myself and I almost felt like I should have been hosting, offering them breakfast, but I didn’t have time for that. I just made the quickest getaway possible, and got in my car with my hair still wet and a toasted croissant hanging out of my mouth.
I marvel that we go the day to day right after some of the things we conjure up. Is it all the scary movies and accidental glimpses of the nasty stuff on the news that we don’t remember until they come up in some other form? Or are we just sick enough to make this stuff up? I’d like to think that dreams have some meaning, whether simple and blatant or more Freudian, although I’d have to join the former bandwagon, but right now they are just haunting me. Last night’s images that I remember: Driving, racing other cars at night on a motorway, joining some kind of race from a junction, then running through an open landscape in the light, flying off some kind of edge like you do in snowboarding computer games, and landing in a valley racing against a bear, running away from the bear? The bear overtakes me, reaches this dead end and changes into another animal before becoming a person dressed like Michael Myers from Halloween. He attacks this little girl friend I am with. Suddenly the landscape is icy and I flip him into this pool. We think he is gone. Surprise surprise, he comes back to life and is strangling the little girl. The last thing I saw when I woke up was this: I had my arms in the pool, one hand over his mouth, one pinching his nose. He was pulling at my arms, and he was very strong. I looked down at the face and it was another little girl, with long dark hair weaving round my arms in the icy water.
Now what the fuck am I supposed to do with that?
- The Symptoms, Causes and Cures of Sleep Paralysis (sleepoptionsmattress.wordpress.com)