My Dreams Are Worse Than Nightmares

The Origination: It All Started With Good Old Nightmares

Once upon an early time in life before ten years of age, I dreamt of nightmares on a regular basis. No, it was not related to the overprevalent child abuse circulating throughout modern America: my parents treated me perfectly, never once lashed out at me for no reason, and never once subjected me to physical harm. These nightmares I had were not pleasant, but I managed to develop a stratagem to combat these nightmares by training myself to forcibly wake up if I ever came into an unpleasant situation in a dream. When not asleep, I did my best to always observe the actuality and solidity of my surroundings so that an ability to distinguish fantasy from reality could persist into my dream state and be incumbent to myself in the dream persona. That way, although I never had truly lucid dreams, I still retained enough wit throughout my nightly slumber to realize my ability to end the world around me at the soonest hint of trouble. In this fashion, I quickly ceased having nightmares because I would quit my dreams before they deteriorated into torment. After each time I woke up from an almost-nightmare, I would simply resume sleeping and my remaining dreams for the night would almost always stay peaceful. As my bastion of an ability developed and I became more and more keen to forewarnings in my dream state, I had less and less nightmares. My vicious cycle whereby the fear of having a nightmare would itself trigger the nightmare quickly atrophied. For many years thereafter, I enjoyed cloudless nights and restful dreams. Alas, my calm halcyon never lasted and my most wicked dreams have slowly curdled from nettling me into unavoidable indiscernible trauma.

I wish that only my nightmares returned because nightmares, at least, are blatantly terrifying and disquieting. With nightmares, at least, one can set aside a special void in their mind to shove their nightmares into so that the nightmares do not interrupt real awake life. With nightmares, at least, one can mock how silly, unrealistic, and sometimes almost jocular the nightmares were. With nightmares, at least, one can look back upon the nightmare with their disconnected awake perspective in order to cushion the blow of the horrors. Nightmares, at least, are one and done experiences and do not distort your perception of reality too much for you to be functional in your everyday life. Instead of separable nightmares which may tear one halfway between fantasy and reality, I receive pleasant dreams—pleasant until I wake up.

Blissful Trauma Via Naiveté

In my hellish dreams, I am almost the same person as I am in real life. However, my dream persona always lacks or substitutes a critical piece of knowledge that allows for my dream persona to suspend disbelief throughout the entire course of the dream as the dream becomes progressively more pusillanimous. When I awake after the dream, this piece of knowledge is restored and the full weight of the dream hits me like a brick wall, throwing my morning routine into disarray and making me shiver and quake in anxious discontentment about the content of my dreams the night before. Throughout the course of the day, various random objects deliver painful remembrance of my traumatic dream such that I cannot block the knife before it plunges into my guts because I glean the scenes in the dream in the context that they happened in dream so that the memories produced by the dream are completely plausible even through recognition and reminiscence of them until I stop and think about what was really happening. When I stop and think, I shudder, loose the moment, and am dazzled by the awfulness of the dream.

After enough associations between objects in real life and circumstances in my dreams, my perception of real objects begins to blur and I begin to fear these objects without comprehending the fear such that I do not realize how these objects predispose me to fear until the fear is already upon me. In such manner, the world around me has already begun to weaken. On a regular basis, inanimate objects force me to recall unpleasant social situations dating back to elementary school, kindergarten, and sometimes earlier memories where I had unintentionally made a fool out of myself. It is awkward because I have no memories in the forefront of my mind about what happened so early in life due to my bad memory of events, yet, during these episodes, I recall the experience in perfect detail as if it had just transpired. In these episodes, I intellectually know that it is foolish to dwell upon such ridiculous flotsam that were of no real significant consequence to my life, yet I cannot help but share the embarrassment of the situation with my younger self and I am disgruntled for some time throughout the remainder of the day.

However, there has been a single episode that was quite different and quite the same: a very vivid and fresh experience except that the experience was artificial in nature and spontaneously manufactured by my mind even though I was fully awake and had a full night's worth of sleep. I vividly recall at age seventeen how one time while I was watching Star Trek The Next Generation, such vivid and poignant dreamt associations arose that they sparked an episode in my head where I physically in real life got up from my chair, started pacing around my house, and argued tenaciously with Jean Luc Picard about the declaration of war by The United Federation of Planets all inside my head. I could look around me and see my house, yet I somehow had absolute conviction that I was actually talking with Jean Luc Picard speaking to me from inside my head. At best, I could describe the experience as feeling the presence of Jean Luc Picard: I could neither see, smell, touch, nor taste Jean Luc Picard and his voice created by my mind only suggested his existence, but rather I had the instinctual feeling both that another human being—Jean Luc Picard—was in my presence and that I was in the captain's ready-room talking to Jean Luc Picard sitting down at his chair. After less than a minute, I snapped out of it and the full shame and stupidity of what ludicrous hysteria had just happened washed over me and swept me away. I was rather uncommunicative the rest of the day as I tried to process what had transpired and how much of an ignoramus I had been.

Now that my life's somewhat lamentable story is finally over, let us now investigate these dreams which I purport to be worse than nightmares. The piece of knowledge my dream persona lacks is never the same, so I cannot train myself to retain this knowledge throughout the dream. These dreams always seems very serious, but rarely solemn, to my dream persona, and thus I remember the dreams so vividly the following day, and I have a difficult time simply brushing off or mocking the causality of these dreams. As these dreams are completely believable except for one key piece of knowledge, it is very hard to, and I have not had much success with, filtering out and separating events in my dreams from those in reality. Much is said about how the subconscious mind absorbes information in our daily lives and, in my case, my subconscious mind absorbes information from the dreams it creates, thus concentrating the worst aspects in myself.

Alas, I have finally stirred a real example of something that I have dreamt of. Beware that this paragraph is dark and upsetting: those easily disturbed be very warned. In this dream, I guess that my dream persona has lost knowledge of the fact that bones are not easily separated from flesh. The theme of the dream concerns the growing problem of my wonderful dog Pepper's crippling arthritis. Throughout the dream, I am worried and shocked as Pepper's bones fall out and she walks with more and more of a limp. Throughout the dream, I keep on collecting her bones and fretting over her safety. My dream persona assumes that if I collect all the bones, then veterinarian doctors can fix Pepper up. My dream persona never thinks to question the plausibility of bones falling out because my dream persona does not know that crucial fact. Part of the trauma of the dream is that these are not toy bones: they were real convincing bones which constitute part of the reason for why the dream was so haunting after I woke up. In this particular dream, the sheer distress over Pepper's health thankfully caused me to wake up before the dream could progress even further—an ending I am very glad to be blind to. In this particular dream, my old technique of awakening at the first sign of trouble did not work because I love pepper so dearly that I felt absolutely compelled to help Pepper by morbidly picking up the bones that had fallen out of her. In this fashion, the dream has an extra layer of trauma such that I felt so compelled in the dream to help Pepper in the dream in such a morbid way that would be completely unthinkable in real life that I am completely conflicted and completely straight between fantasy and my dream at the same time: although one person, I struggle against myself due to the perception that I am fighting a deeper evil inside of myself. One could go even deeper than this with the sheer complexity of the moroseness of the dream I had had; thus, this dream frightens me and penetrates my heart deeper than any real life experience I have ever had such that this dream grows more beastly as I apply more logic and reasoning to it, whereas a nightmare would simply diminish with more rational thought. Indeed, I do have dream worse than nightmares.

I can partially recall a much more distant and murky dream. By now, I have forgotten the exposition, rising action, falling action, and conclusion of this dream and can only recall the climax: claustrophobia. In this particular case, it was not so much the claustrophobia as it was my dream persona's awkward perception of the unbeknownst danger and how this awkward view mingles with my mind when I recall the events in the dream. In the dream, I have found my way into this crystal clear pool that seems almost like a river. The image to the right of this paragraph is the closest—though still quite inaccurate—representation of my dream's setting that I could find online. As you hover over the image to the right to see all the details, try to imagine if there were no boats in the picture and the water were a swimming pool with a nice white concrete bottom, a sharp boxy shape, and crystal clear water. Now imagine that the pool ends where the photographer is standing and, underneath the square platform the photographer is standing on, there is a cave-like box into which the pool keeps going a little bit. This cave-like square box underneath the photographer is filled with cubicles with their wall's removed such that you can see the indent of the walls in the floor and in the ceiling, but water still flows freely through underneath the square platform and the pool river together. In the dream, I have been trapped underneath the square platform yet did not notice my confinement. Every time I tried to move out into the open pool river, various cubicle walls would suddenly become solid and block my way out, instead redirecting me around the maze to keep me incarcerated. As the maze had no set pattern, there was no way out of the maze. When I almost awoke from the dream, I almost realized my confinement and thus receded back into the safe innocence of my dream persona. Upon awakening from this dream, I realized my captivity and, with frenetic haste, uselessly scaled the full dimensions of my bedroom in order to reaffirm my regained freedom as if it were not obvious to me already that it was just a dream.


As this system by which my dreams propagate is so convoluted, I can only guess from where and how my dreams source. Let me guess, then, how my terrible state of dreaming came to be. Many—most, if I am being honest,—days I have such a busy schedule that sleep takes the lower priority. To be completely honest, this sleep deprivation is exacerbated by my problems with self-moderation of recreation such that if I promise myself thirty minutes of recreation before bed, then those thirty minutes quickly stretch into an hour and thirty minutes of recreation which cuts an hour off my amount of sleep. As I am the kind of person who functions far less productively with less sleep, I have always wanted to get more sleep, yet never been able to satisfy this desire. I postulate, thus, that my subconscious mind has manufactured these horrendous dreams to force me to sleep longer. When my morning alarm summons me to reality, I am in such a daze as my mind reboots into awake mode and realizes the horrors of my dreams that I would rather retreat back into my horrendous dream than suffer the burdens from knowledge: too often I fall back asleep just to postpone the inevitable because just as you would plead for five more minutes of precious life prior to death, I too plead for five more minutes of carelessness prior to my traumatic rediscovery of myself. I can think of no other way my mind could force more sleep nor at length could I imagine any way more effective. Thus, I subjectively guess that the nature of my dreams may be the deliberate work of my subconsciousness.