Writing has hit a torturous minimal level at the moment. It’s not that I don’t have the time as the new hours at my job are providing me with a semblance of a normal life and I have more work-life balance than I’ve experienced in a long time. But, exhaustion seems to have taken root and even when I have the time, I just don’t seem to have the energy or get my mind in a good place to be able to put fingertips to keyboard.
The reason for this? Well, we are currently going through numerous sleepless nights courtesy of our little one who has recently started to suffer from nightmares or night terrors. For a parent, it’s actually quite frightening to go through yourself as when he ‘wakes’ from another horrible dream, he cries for what seems likes ages and refuses to let you comfort him. In fact, any form of hug or soothing word, just seems to make him even more hysterical. He is barely awake when this happens and yet moves around quite agitated, kicking his legs or waving his arms about. Eventually he goes off to sleep again; a sleep which seems peppered with more bad dreams as he moans and grumbles his way through the night but on numerous occasions he has found his way to our bed and suddenly his bedroom has become Public Enemy No. 1.
When we try to ask him the next day what he was dreaming about, he simply doesn’t know or just changes the subject (not as an avoidance tactic, he simply doesn’t seem bothered by the previous nights escapades).
It’s more than a little frustrating, because as the parent you want to be able to solve these nightly disturbances and get to the root of the problem – is it something you are doing wrong? What is upsetting your little one? During the day he seems a happy, vibrant little boy and many people have told me that it’s quite common in three-year olds so maybe it’s something we just have to sot out and cope with the best we can.
But, it has got me thinking about the nightmares I experienced as a child. Even as an adult I am subject to regular dreams and even some nightmares but I have always been plagued by them ever since I was small. I had a fairly normal childhood. The nightmares I do remember happened before my parents divorced so I couldn’t accredit any of them to any family problems. We had a nice home in a quiet, peaceful suburban road. I had numerous friends. We used to play in the field behind my friend’s house. We would climb trees, have crap apple fights and sing Adam Ant songs with a line of lipstick plastered across our nose in an effort to look like the Prince Charming pop star. So, there really was nothing I can pin point that caused those nightmares, but I experienced them all the same.
One recurrent one (and this is going to sound a bit spooky) is that I used to dream that people were talking to me all the time. It was almost at that point where you are half-awake, but I used to think different people were talking to me and would hear their voices tumbling over each other, some louder than others, some aggressive, some quieter, but all doing their best to get my attention.
I also used to dream about falling. I can’t say now from what I was falling but I used to dream about landing on my bed and feeling the springs moving beneath me as if I had fallen from a great height. I’ve read or heard since, this is meant to signify your soul falling back into your body as you wake but I don’t know if it’s true….I always quite liked the idea of this for a story though and managed to get some words down on paper a few years ago that has since gone into the ‘I’ll get back to you later’ bin.
As an adult, I dream all the time. I often wake up feeling as if I have run a marathon during the night hours, simply because I have dreamt so much, it’s as if my mind has not been given the same rest that my body was granted. It really is exhausting. I don’t always remember what I have dreamt about, but I have had some particularly nasty ones about my little one running away from me and also one very strange one (don’t laugh) in which I was sold to a laboratory by my parents in exchange for Weetabix vouchers and the scientists turned me into a vile giant insect (okay alright, now you can laugh). I also had a dream about my nan (my maternal grandmother) after she passed away. In the dream, I distinctly remember her holding my hand and can even now remember how it felt as she rubbed the back of my hand affectionately – she used to use Oil of Ulay and her skin was so soft. I didn’t want the dream to end, as it meant she would go and I vaguely recall crying in my sleep.
Whatever the dream, whether bad or good, I think it’s fascinating what remains with you over the years and how certain dreams stick in your head.
Does anyone else remember having recurrent dreams as a child that they still think about now? Have any writers here had dreams which they have used as inspiration for their work?