Nightmare in Georgia
Knox County — I know Halloween is over with, but I have a story I must tell here that is close to the Halloween genre. I enjoy all the antics of that special holiday as much as anyone. Even though some view it as a non-Christian holiday and therefore an evil one, as it stems from pre-Christian or pagan origins, it’s one of my favorite days of the year. In Christianity it is the holiday, “All Hallows Eve” which honors the dead, which naturally gives the day a ghoulish feel to it. There is an aspect of Halloween, however, which is not much fun for me. Bad dreams…nightmares! Many of the costumes you see on Halloween night could very well come from someone’s nightmare. I have my very own “Nightmare on Elm Street” right here in my own bedroom in Georgia.
Today I thought I’d investigate why I have such terrible dreams, sometimes turning into frightening nightmares that wake me up, and see if I could find a solution for my bad sleeping experiences.
I found an article on WebMD that may be of some help. I’ll discuss it later on. I do have my own theories though. One reason for my nightmares I believe stems from my writer’s imagination. When I’m writing a book or a story I often “sleep” the next chapter so that when I wake up I can just write it down. This practice also has its downside, however, when my imagination goes off in other directions during my REM cycle.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who believes our favorite Maine horror writer, Stephen King, goes to sleep at night; has a nightmare; wakes up and develops it into a book and/or movie which makes him another few million dollars. Would that that process worked for me. Alas.
Another theory I have is my interest in “apocalypse” type stories. I often have these dreams after I’ve watched such shows on TV as “Revolution” where the world suddenly has to do without electric power and all the anarchy that results in; and “Under the Dome,” a King story which will return next season in which a small town is suddenly trapped under a huge dome.
I’ve had similar nightmares where I am lost in an impossible world, which is often holocaust-like in scope. There is no way out, no escape, and I live in the dream in a constant state of anxiety and sheer fear. I had a dream like that last night.
As for “the Dome” I had a distinctive dream which I remembered long after it occurred in which I and a bunch of other people are stuck inside a huge store. The storefront looks like any other store when we go in to buy something. However, when we try to exit, the world as we know it doesn’t exist beyond the doors to the outside anymore. All we see is a thick mist or fog and those who try to get through it by leaving the store are just swallowed up in it.
Why don’t I write these stories down in King fashion and make my own millions? Basically, I don’t think I could keep my sanity long enough to finish the story. I’d be in a constant state of sleep deprivation trying not to get a nightmare from my own story.
WebMD Reasons and Possible Solutions
The link to “Sleep Disorders Health Clinic” from WebMD is http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/nightmares-in-adults in case you want to look it up.
The article says that nightmares are often spontaneous but that they can be caused by a variety of factors and underlying disorders. They list these reasons:
- Occurring after a late-night snack because your metabolism is increased which signals the brain to be more active.
- Medications. Some like antidepressants and narcotics can trigger bad dreams. Even some blood pressure medicine (I do take BP medicine). My doctor tells me that none of my meds should do this however.
- Withdrawal from certain medications.
- Sleep deprivation. It has not been confirmed whether this cycle could cause a nightmare disorder.
- Anxiety or depression. PTSD.
- Sleep disorders like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
- If no other reasons can be found, chronic nightmares may be a disorder in itself.
- If you have relatives with a nightmare disorder it may be likely you will have the same disorder.
Let’s examine these reasons in my case. I don’t often eat late at night unless I’m having an operation or procedure the next day where I won’t be able to eat for some time the next day. I don’t remember having any nightmares during these times.
I disagree with my doctor and do believe my BP medicine may contribute to the problem. I am not withdrawing from any medications.
Sleep deprivation is a distinct possibility as I often am awakened by pain from cramps in my legs and/or feet.
I do not have sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. I do sometimes suffer from anxiety such as in my recent moving process.
As for relatives, my mother had terrible nightmares, so there you go. It’s possible the nightmares I have are their own disorder. Who’s to say?
I don’t know how much faith you have in WebMD but it might be a good place to start if you suffer from nightmares like I do.
One thing I plan to do, however, is try an Amish natural-non medicated remedy I just found on the internet for leg and feet cramps. I’ll let you know if their claim that it stops cramps in one minute is true or not. I’ve tried everything else. I eat bananas every day and drink tons of water. And no, pickle juice before bedtime doesn’t work. What can I lose in trying this new remedy?
Thanks for listening.