I have had a worse time than usual lately with insomnia. Today was a bit rough; I was awake until about 4:00 am, and the alarm went off at 6:15 because Trent had an early doctor's appointment. I managed to open my eyes without the assistance of a crowbar, and we got the appointment over and done with. By about noon we were both having a much-needed nap so that we could get through the rest of the day. Although such short sleep added a bit of difficulty to the day, I still prefer last night/today's experience over what happened the night before.
You know, I used to be able to fall asleep so quickly it made Trent envious. I would say good night, and that I was tired, put my head on the pillow, and be asleep in mere minutes. Nowadays it seems that even if I am so exhausted that I can barely hold up my eyelids, much less my head, it takes me forever to get to sleep. Okay, exaggeration...it can take me hours to get to sleep. Several years ago I began listening to audio books to help myself sleep because they would allow me to shut off my brain. I am a professional-grade worrier, and it can be difficult to turn it off, especially when it is dark and quiet and there's nothing to divert your attention.
I also think that living with psychological issues impacts the quality of my sleep. My doctors prescribed medicines several years ago in an effort to help me get to sleep. I didn't notice myself falling asleep any quicker, but I noticed something else that I hadn't dealt with before. My dreams were more vivid, and were incredibly frightening. When I discussed them at my next appointment I was told that those weren't just bad dreams, they were nightmares. I was advised to quit taking the medication and my dreams became less, well, horrible. We're talking about dreams that are so terrible that you don't want to share them with anyone because you don't want to burden them with such terrible images. Suffice it to say that when you have a dream in which the best moment is when you cut out your own heart to let it drop into boiling water, your dreams suck.
Like everyone else, throughout my life I have had dreams of all types. Sometimes they are remembered, and sometimes they are even repeats. I can tell without the use of a thermometer that I have had a fever, because I will have what I call serial dreams. Something bizarre is happening in my dreams, and I will wake up, relieved that it was a dream and that it is over. I get up and go to the bathroom, return to sleep, and pick up the dream where I left off. The night before last I was awake until sometime in the three o'clock hour. When I fell asleep my dreams were incredibly clear, and incredibly bizarre and frightening.
For lack of a better description, the dream that really plagued me was along the lines of Les Miserables meets a modern-day Night of the Living Dead. There were these lovely moments in which some songs were in dress-rehearsal. Then the evil undead showed up. And not just a few of them, but hordes upon hordes. And not your garden-variety zombies, either. They were not the unthinking creatures you're used to. These zombies were pretty savvy. They had the ability to reason, and to discern whether a potential victim was faking death or sleep. Interestingly, they wouldn't attack anyone who was asleep. In my dream, I had fallen asleep with my head on a table. In the real world, I began to wake up.
The dream was so vivid and believable, that as I woke up, I was terrified. I knew that if I was awake, I might be killed by the zombies who were checking to see if anyone was conscious. I had a clear waking thought that I couldn't wake up without risking my life. I told myself, in my moment of terror, that maybe if I laid my head back down on the table, they wouldn't know that I was awake and aware. So, with my heart pounding and my breathing shallow, I decided that I had to do what I could to stay alive. I went back to sleep and the dream eventually ended, thank goodness. But when I awoke, the memory of it flooded my conscious mind. I was relieved to be awake, aware, and alive. And away from the zombies.
Some of you may read this and get a big laugh out of it. I'm okay with that, even though I don't mean for this to be humorous. Perhaps if you laugh at these dreams for me, you can help diminish their power to terrify. Sleep well, my friends, and may your dreams be happy ones...