Tag Archives: PTSD

Musings: What About Nightmares?

“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” Frida Kahlo

Musings: What About Nightmares?

Musings: What About Nightmares?

A Child’s Nightmare by Robert Graves
Through long nursery nights he stood
By my bed unwearying,
Loomed gigantic, formless, queer,
Purring in my haunted ear
That same hideous nightmare thing,
Talking, as he lapped my blood,
In a voice cruel and flat,
Saying for ever, “Cat! … Cat! … Cat!…”

What is it about nightmares that hold us captive? What causes nightmares and why do we spend time analyzing and terrorizing ourselves with them? From  nightmare research  and reports I read, there are certain factors that contribute to our nightmares such as: “stress, trauma, fears, insecurities, feelings of inadequacy, health problems, marital issues, and a host of other stress inducing events that contribute to our nightmares.” Some nightmares, like the Cat in Graves poem, recur again and again. For years, I had dreams about being pursued down a steep road and careening out of control. With time, I found that certain anxiety related conditions in my life were triggers for that specific dream.

I remember that for”Many of our daydreams would darken into nightmares, were there a danger of their coming true!” Logan Pearsall Smith

Musings: How To Keep Love In Your Heart

Musings: What About Nightmares?

That one word was all he said,
That one word through all my sleep,
In monotonous mock despair.
Nonsense may be light as air,
But there’s Nonsense that can keep
Horror bristling round the head,
When a voice cruel and flat
Says for ever, “Cat! … Cat! … Cat!…”

In the same reports mentioned above, the authors point out that they are ubiquitous: “one out of every two adults has nightmares on occasion. And between 2% and 8% of the adult population is plagued by nightmares.”  Events that trigger these nightmares for many of us tend to be related to issues from our childhood and/or family, Life changes, shifts in relationships, work pressures and the overall stress we experience when any of these areas are out of balance. The holiday season, tax time and other important events can heighten our stress levels which then lead us to have more nightmares. If I were preparing for a school test or a class presentation, my nightmare dreams would probably return with a vengeance.

“You have to know who you are, if you don’t you have nightmares.” Stephen Rea

Musings: What About Nightmares?

Musings: What About Nightmares?

He had faded, he was gone
Years ago with Nursery Land,
When he leapt on me again
From the clank of a night train,
Overpowered me foot and head,
Lapped my blood, while on and on
The old voice cruel and flat
Says for ever, “Cat! … Cat! … Cat!…”

There are a few more reasons why we have frightening dreams; eating a late-night snack, some medications that need re calibration, sleep deprivation,  sleep disorders, withdrawal from addictions, and anxiety and depression. All can cause adult nightmares and sometimes they spill over into our waking state. Some spill over nightmares have been associated with suicide. The same applies to Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can trigger repetitive visits to the dark side. When exactly do they appear in our sleep state? “Nightmares tend to occur most often during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when most dreaming takes place.” In that dream state, we are most relaxed, perhaps vulnerable and more inclined to open ourselves up to a state of inner chaos and hence, a nightmare. More below.

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