I never realized this before, but it is becoming clearer and clearer with every night I go to bed after 4:15am. I panic and get anxious very easily about certain things. I never realized it until I saw “tw: end of the world” on a post and I was like “Nope, can’t click on that. Absolutely not. No.” Why? When I think about the end of the world I just want to die so that I’m not there to experience it. Of course, then I get super anxious and frustrated because of my belief in reincarnation–What if I come back just to see the world burn, what if I come back and I’m a zombie, what if I come back and die a violent horrible death? I just really think witnessing and experiencing the end of the world would cause permanent damage to my psyche and I don’t like it. It also means that no sleep will be had. The end of the world scenarios tend to make me, well, never want to sleep again.
Lately, what’s been keeping me up at night is the LSAT and my general life failures, such as: properly studying for my nightmare LSAT, acting like an adult, trying harder in my classes, trying harder in my diet and exercise, how I will probably die alone, how I can’t even fully commit to eating an orange, and other inane things that, essentially, mean absolutely nothing. Sometimes they manifest into nightmares and I wake up thinking I have a heart attack because my heart is pounding from stress and anxiety.
I had this one dream–which will sound very dumb because I don’t remember most of it–where I overslept and didn’t turn in an assignment. Problem: I got the assignment, took a nap, woke up, and was told the assignment was due. That meant that I had slept, in this nightmare, for about two weeks. All I could think about was getting all my work done in my classes. This is clearly a dig at my procrastination and sleeping habits, which I admit are horrible. I have a series of about three of these inane nightmares with each one adding onto the stress of the other, which is why my heart is thrashing when I finally do wake up. Even when I wake up, I think the dreams are actually real and I get even more panicked. I roll around in my bed fuh-reaking out for 5 minutes before I realize it’s a dream.
Of course, the alternative to that dream sequence is that, instead of stressing out and panicking at each stage, in some of the stages, my response was: “Well, I’m fucked anyways. I’m going back to sleep.” That just doesn’t seem like a healthy mental response. And actually, I can, unfortunately, see myself doing that in real life.
In my defense, I have real fears too. I have a constant fear that people will break into my house through my windows. I’ve had a recurring nightmare about that for the last 4 years. It’s not pleasant. I also fear being a victim of a serial killer. That one is a lot more detailed and vivid in my head. That one haunts my pre-sleep thoughts, whereas, the breaking and entering scenario enters my brain in sleep.
Speaking of horrible nightmares, I had a nightmare where I was walking home from the library on my college campus and I realized that I had left my backpack at the library. I turned around to go back and I saw a man dressed in black with a black hat and a black hood over that hat (a little redundant, I think). I could only see the mouth and he had his hands in his pockets, along with an ominous aura. In the dream, I turned right back around and kept walking to my apartment, but walking a little faster. After a while, I heard the man move faster. That was when I broke into a run, or a sprint (because strangely enough, sprinting is something that I can do and sustain for longer than 2 seconds). We were in my parking garage, where half of the lot is covered, and I looked back, since I was fully in view of my apartment building, and then he was right there in my face. He pulled out a knife and stabbed me.
I woke up screaming in my bed, in a cold sweat, curled into the fetal position, clutching my sides, and shaking. Lovely.
I also couldn’t walk across that parking lot or the parking lot under the performing arts center on campus (it was also a covered parking lot, you see) for the rest of my school time at UIUC. Also lovely.
It’s that kind of twisted murder scene crap that keeps me awake at night. And serial killers. Admittedly, it is usually the stupid stuff and I just start to think of movies or stories that I’ve read where I would change or extend the endings into a better ending. But when it’s about serial killers, murderers, violent robbers, or dog killers (because I’m also terrified that someone would hurt my puppies), I cannot sleep. I stay awake all night with the lights off and my ears on and eyes wide open.
I almost scream around 4:30am each of these times because my mother’s alarm starts off quiet and then gets louder… and it’s a podcast. Podcasts wake her up–talking ones! It freaks me out every time. In my head, I just think “THIS IS IT! WE’RE GONNA DIE TODAY.”
We never do, of course. We never will get killed in this house for many reasons.
1. We’re just not going to die in this house. Both my mother and I would never let that happen.
2. We have barking black dogs that are invisible at night.
3. We have obstacles all over the house that I, as a resident, almost kill myself on every night when I try to get water from the kitchen. I don’t think a stranger danger could navigate the field trap death that is the walk from either of the doors to the bedrooms.
4. It’s just really unlikely.
5. I will most likely be awake and listening and I sleep with my phone firmly clutched in my hand.
6. We have motion sensor lights. They ward off evil, right?
This post digressed into things that I have nightmares about. I used to have this one, also recurring, nightmare, but it would be different each time and it would pick up where it left off. That one I was being chased by a shadow death cloud in my middle school where all my friends would be picked off one by one until it was just me. There was also a party going on outside the school. None of those fools knew. Or cared. Or died. Riddle me that one, brain.
The really weird ones, I never remember. I know I wake up sometimes and I just think “Damn that was a messed up dream,” and then I can’t remember it whatsoever. Not one piece. I think those are my favorite dreams.
Why not good dreams, some might ask? Because I don’t remember my good dreams either. I just wake up feeling really sad and empty. My brain knows that there was something awesome happening behind my eyelids and I had to fuck it up by having to exist and do things with my life. So, let’s tack a little bit of anger and resentment along with the sadness and emptiness upon waking up.
Now that I have this all written down, I worry about my memory and tendency to terror spiral into insomnia. Does anyone else only remember their bad dreams? Does anyone else do what I do?