As a child I suffered from post-apocalyptic dreams for many years. Very Nightmare on Elm Street style- I was often afraid to go sleep. Terrified of what might come, what might scare me awake, or worse yet- keep me from waking at all. The sheer terror of what existed when I closed my eyes was enough to keep me awake for days. Haunted in my waking hours by what loomed behind my eyes was enough to throw anyone into a midlife crisis- but I was only 15-16 years old and this had been plaguing me for years. Even when I did sleep- I wasn’t a good sleeper- I would sleep walk, sleep talk, and wake up outside! So wild. Working almost full time, going to high school, and being immersed in a highly active theatre program left little time for slumber- and that was just how I liked it.
I would often be running on 1-2 hours of sleep a night- would barely get to school on time and often slept through bits and pieces of my classes. I think I slept more in school than out of it. Luckily, I was a good student and kept an A/B average. My heart goes out to my mother who would wake from my 3 alarm clocks placed strategically around my room to get me up after that 1 or 2 hours of sleep. One in the closet, one on top of my headboard, and the other by the door. It crazed her to no end. My school started a few hours before she had to get up for work and my alarms would wake her on the other end of the house before they would wake me.
I lied to myself and thought I didn’t need sleep for years until the delirium started to catch up with me. So I began to imbibe. I smoked copious amounts of weed until I would unabashedly fall asleep sans dreams. At the time, it was such a relief, in hindsight I was self-medicating and it was escapism. I still have to wonder to this day if I truly stopped dreaming for those years or if I was just too high to remember them- but alas, at least I was sleeping for the first time in my semi-adult life. Sweet uninterrupted sleep, deep deep unhaunted sleep. (DISCLAIMER: I in no way promote this method- it was awful and not a good way to live- if you need recommendations for a natural sleep aid I recommend the Pituitary Blend from Ema’s Herbs out in LA. Best tasting Valerian root tea I have ever tried. Be close to where you choose to slumber it puts you out pretty fast.)
Some of you may know me now and many of you probably have never met me. While my dream-state has improved I am still not a big sleeper. I am often up late and up early! In most households I am the last one to bed and the first one to rise. My grandmother is the same way- she would often encourage me to call whenever-“Even if its 1 or 2am I am probably up washing the floors” she would say. This lack of sleep has created an interesting paradigm for when the sandman finally comes. Finishing a tv program or a movie is a good sleep aide for me because I am often so exhausted that if I sit still long enough I will totally pass out. Going to the movies has never been a good date and often results in a very expensive nap-yes even at the IMAX for 300, even at movies I really want to see like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Avatar”-twice. Sad but true. Social sleeping is a popular habit of mine- and there are a myriad of photos of me passed out at parties to prove it! (Yes friends! Now is the moment to post those awful passed out photos of me that you have been sitting on- feel free to post them in the comments of this post) I also had a bad case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) which my social sleeping has played a major role in helping me kick to the curb- because when I would wake up I was already at the party surrounded by friends and loved ones ready to rock!
Some of the craziest places I have fallen asleep include the middle of a mosh pit- true story- for any Houston based readers out there it was during the opening band for L7 at Fitzgerald’s!, multiple restaurants in the middle of my meal, and one time at burning man I woke up in a hammock 18 feet in the air. This was probably the most terrifying as I didn’t realize how far up in the air I was until I went to “hop” down- and caught myself mid jump. Yikes! It was smoothed over with mimosa’s and pancakes hand delivered to me- so it ended quite well.
I still have very intense dreams- super visual, emotional, visceral. Sometimes I am overcome with waking dreams-where images flash across the inside of my eyelids every time I blink. These are not from exhaustion but typically ARE telling me something very clear. They don’t happen often- but I am thankful when they do. These blips and bleeps of information coming from inside me seem relevant and that they are something I should tune into.
All and all, I am happy to report that I am sleeping much better these days and I know that dreams are powerful medicine. Listening to whatever is in there is definitely more important than running, hiding, or repressing these experiences. So, I am taking the step that I have half-heartedly taken in the past- and fully RECLAIMING MY DREAMS! I have journaled for the last two days in a row and now have a dedicated golden bound journal next to my bed. Funny enough- when I pulled it off the shelf the first page was a dream I had written about in 2005- so I know this is destined to be the right book!
Sharing my experience with you encourages me to be more accountable to myself. So thank you for listening as it helps me be a better me, but also I hope that it may inspire some of you to pay more attention to what’s going on when your body is finally still and your mind has the freedom to wander.
I also look forward to exploring Dream Expert, Robert Moss’s, words of wisdom and guidance as I approach my dreams with a new attitude. Wow!!! I am not surprised that when I went to link his site right now that this is his
blog entry today: http://www.mossdreams.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-causes-of-dream-drought.html
How do you feel about dreams? How do you use them to help you in your daily life? Any fun photos of you passed out in funny places, slumbering sweetly? Share in the comments!