Friday, April 2, 2010

Talk to me softly ... and keep the nightmares at bay

Whisper softly to me as I sleep ...

My husband has dreams so vivid and real they seem true to him. He can wake up and describe in smell, sound, sight, taste and touch everything that happened. Then again, he is a very observant person, and completely clued in when awake.

He's also a tactile and visual learner, with a bit of audiotory thrown in for good measure.

Me, I am an auditory person. I don't learn by doing or by watching. But if you are patient and can talk me through a process, I just might get it.

I go to sleep with whispers in my ears, and I dream the same way. It's almost like all night long, someone is laying next to me, talking softly, telling me stories as I sleep. When I do dream, it's very jerky, almost like a disco ball and a strobe light are screwing, making everything have a flashing surreal look in black and white.

I hate those dreams. They all seem like nightmares, no matter what the content. But I don't dream like that normally. A standard night is the whispers ...

I often wake up from dreams with a good story running through my mind, and if I am careful and wake slowly enough, I can hold on to it, just long enough to finish the tale. I love that, most nights. Sometimes, if I am very good, I will get to the hear the story again, with some slight revisions. : )

My nightmares are different. I hear screams in my nightmares. That's the worst for me, far worse I think than if I was vividly having a nightmare. I wake up, heart pounding and holding myself silent. I just know my neighbor was murdered, or my daughter ...

Those are the worst.

My daughter is the one screaming. And I have to get out of bed, ready to charge into her room, ready to defent her to the death, fearing I am already too late. But at the same time, I have to be silent, and not alert the intruder to my presence.

The echo of her screams still ringing in my ears, I open my bedroom door and step into the hall.

Thankfully, I step into her room and find her fast asleep, her arm thrown over her head, her soft snores filling the room. Her birds awaken, and start chirping at me for disturbing their sleep, as the sliver of light from the hallway falls on them.

I stand there most nights, for several minutes, listening to pissed off sleep deprived parakeets, telling myself over and over it was just a nightmare.

Heart still racing, I have to go back to bed and try to fall back asleep, waiting for the whispers to start again, to sooth away the fear, to gently lull me back into sleep.

I love my dreams, the creativity they spark ... but I often wish for the bliss of true nightmares. Where I can wake up, heart-racing, and reach out for my husband and know it was only my imagination.


  1. Michelle,

    Our fears for the safety of our children are a terible burden. I'm not surprised these manifest themselves as night terrors for you and I don't think there's a parent reading this who won't empathise with the genuine terror such a thought could evoke.



  2. Ash -- Indeed, it is a terrifying thought. What's more, it's more disturbing because like you, I don't dream normally. Each time, it feels very real.

    It's weird how our learning styles can have such an impact on us, from the way we phrase things to how we dream.

  3. Hi Michelle!

    I've heard of people who are sensitive to information by sound. I wonder how that works. So far I've never gotten an idea from a dream or a nightmare though I know people who have. In fact "Frankenstein" was from a nightmare Mary Shelley had that big weekend with Percy Shelley and Lord Byron. The scene in the novel where the creature opens the curtain and looks in on Dr. Frankenstein is actually a fragment of her original dream.



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