IMG_3464 This weekend I had two nightmares. Nightmares are not foreign to me but it has been a long time since the last one. But as usual, both involved something terrible enough to wake me before what would have been the really bad part: death.

As is common in several of my nightmares, the first one involved someone pointing a gun at me. I was apparently a cop of sorts in this dream and I was handling evidence, taking it from one department to another. I realized I’d left my gun behind, but I was only going to the next floor up, so I didn’t think it would matter. Suddenly, we’re back on the first floor and there is a shooter. My question: where were the other cops? Was I not at the precinct?

Well, anyway I ended up outside the building with a group of people, all trying to hide from the shooter. We would hear gun shots and flee in the opposite direction. At one point, I left a friend and ran around a building and the friend was shot.  I tried to run across the street but was followed by the shooter. He charged out into traffic, not worried about whether he might be hit or not. He held the gun in my face and I woke up.  Pretty tame compared to some dreams I’ve had…at least I was able to wake up this time.

The other dream had to with small spaces, climbing a ladder – unlocking some type of security door at the top, almost like the doors on submarines – and then we’d climb some more and open more doors. I’m not sure where we were going but somewhere towards the end, it turned out to be either time travel or dimensional travel – and the doors were no longer permitting me to pass through. Not the two others I was with, just me. I would be trapped… unable to go backwards and unable to move forward.

Doesn’t necessarily sound like a nightmare. This one followed more in the vein of the other type of nightmare I have the most often. That being the dreams that are emotionally upsetting. These dreams rarely have anything as terrifying as men trying to murder me. Instead, they’re rather calm and peaceful – they would almost be nice dreams, except something always goes wrong. And when it does, it creates feelings of unbelievable unrest and fear, even worse because you’re not sure why you feel that way.

These dreams tend to wake me, leaving me feeling confused and afraid but unable to explain why. It’s an emotional nightmare rather than a visual one.

I’m very interested in why we have nightmares. And I don’t mean the mumbo jumbo they usually feed you: It’s caused by stress, it’s caused by a lack of sleep, etc. I’m talking about the actual physiological reason that we have nightmares. Why would your body choose to place itself in a threatening situation and trick the body into simulating the system overload that accompanies fear? How could this be beneficial or serve any productive purpose?

I’ve posted about dreaming before, but it never fails to amaze me. I was very interested in Psychology in high school and college, though I never managed to take enough classes, and so I’ve always been fascinated by the why and how of the human mind. Dreaming is one area that amazes me because its so bizarre and seems, on the outside, completely useless.  What would life be like without dreams and nightmares?

How many inventions or creative masterpieces do you think would be missing from today if we didn’t dream? Do you ever stop to think about how many of these things came up in someone’s dream and they brought it into reality? The novel I just wrote came from a dream…so I imagine this occurrence is more prolific than you might imagine.

Food for thought, anyway.

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