I have nightmares; they’re frequent and ever changing and can range from unsettling, to frightening, to graphic. I can forget them almost as soon as I wake and be left with only a strange, uncomfortable feeling or they can haunt me for years afterwards.

I tend to have nightmares when I’m worried or anxious about something; for me it’s a great clue that something is stressing me out or bothering me, even if I think it isn’t.

I think that we dismiss nightmares too readily, we soothe children by telling them that it was ‘only a dream’, and this is done for good reason- but it can lead to us dismissing nightmares and ignoring the affect that they have on us. A nightmare can scare you badly, it can make you paranoid and change your behaviour. One of the worst that I ever had meant that I couldn’t sleep with any windows open for around two years.

They can also be telling us something important; they give us an insight into our innermost feelings. When my partner was overseas last month I had a terrible nightmare that involved him being taken away from me, all traces of our life together vanishing in front of my eyes. In my dream I vowed never to rest until I found him again. For me this was an insight into the depth of our bond and my worries regarding his job; both things that I already knew subconsciously but hadn’t fully realised yet.

Bad dreams about my job allow me to see that I need to quit and find another one, and a constant theme of having no control allows me to see that this is something that frightens me.

When I was about fifteen my nightmares were so bad that I knew I had to do something about them, I would avoid going to sleep and this would only make everything worse in terms of my mental health. I started to learn about lucid dreaming. I think this is something that I’ve talked about before, but I’ll mention it again for the sake of this post.

The way I learnt to lucid dream was by drawing an ‘A’ on the back of my hand and checking it every hour. Every hour when I looked at it I would do something to test that I was actually awake- such as pinching myself, drinking something, speaking to someone else- the most affective but risky thing to do is to look in a mirror. I say ‘risky’ because if you are dreaming then generally the image that you’re presented with can be pretty nasty/scary.

Using this technique I gradually got a handle on lucid dreaming. I remember clearly the first few times that I did it, it was such a wonderful sense of achievement. I still have nightmares, but a lot of the time I can wake myself up from them- or I try another technique.

The other technique that I use isn’t conscious at all, it’s something that I do as a person in times of trouble/need in my waking life and so has clearly seeped into my dreaming life too… when my I’m stuck in a nightmare and things are getting very bad, I call for the Gods.

My Gods help me when I’m awake and when I’m asleep, the offer me protection and guidance even when I’m at my most vulnerable.


Wren x



One thought on “Nightmares

  1. I totally agree that nightmares shouldn’t be ignored as ‘just dreams’. They are, as you said, a window into our subconscious worries. However, waking yourself up from a lucid dream is often not the solution. In a lucid dream you cannot run from the nightmare, believe me I’ve tried. The answer is to address the nightmare with love and positivity. I know this might seem crazy, but it works. A dream is your subconscious so if you project positivity then the dream becomes positive. It really works as long as you can let go of all your fear. You should wake up feeling happy and healed. Going to bed happy after mediation also helps.

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