I am a cop, sitting on a bed -thin mattress, no boxspring - watching the sky through a barred window, waiting for my partner to check in.
The sky goes lightning-fast from dusk to dark to dawn. Time has tesseracted.
We are separated, and I can't find my way back.
I howl out a protest..
"Dusti? Are you with me?"
Bones is holding my hand in the dark. I've cried out in my sleep again.
My speech is slurred, but I stammer out a description of what was going on, why I screamed. I apologize.
"You're not alone, my Squirrel."
He drifts off to sleep as I murmur another apology.
The dreams only fit a few of the descriptors of night terrors, so I'm not sure entirely what to call them...other than embarrassing. Frustrating. Upsetting. Sometimes, terrifying. I can usually remember the part that made me scream, and I can usually figure out what my sleeping brain is struggling with, but that's not as reassuring as one might think.
While I can trace my anxiety back to childhood, I didn't have nightmares of this magnitude until I started having panic attacks in my early 20's. Nightmares? Yes, I had them, but not many, and they were generally repetitive: someone is chasing me, meaning me harm, and I am hiding/running/trying to get away. Those dreams stopped once I moved out of my father's home.
The screaming dreams have varied themes. Ironically, I thought I'd conquered one of the themes this past weekend. There is a recurring dream of me having to go into a house, usually to live there, and Something Bad is already there - a ghost, an animosity - and I am struggling to find a way to deal with it. Usually, I lose, and I wake up screaming. But a few nights ago, I worked my way through the entire dream, and woke up feeling relieved, even accomplished.
Last night's dream touched on one of the more common themes:
- I am alone.
- No one will hear me.
- No one can help me.
I think about the teenager I used to be, asking my psychology teacher to explain nightmares because nothing he had described in class connected at all to my dreamscape. And I think that's what I find most frustrating about nights like last night. Once Upon a Time, I didn't do this.
I want that to be my reality again.