I remember my first nightmare. I was about 3 years old. It was about ugly trolls coming out of large craters on the moon. I was beside myself with fear. I had no idea I could go to bed and experience utter terror while I slept. Terror that was extraordinarily real. From then on, I suffered horrible nightmares that would last into my late teens. Horrifying faces, ghouls, monsters and dark, abstract worlds would haunt my dreams. On a weekly basis, my poor mother would hear my blood curdling screams and come running to my room, as I was paralysed with fear under the covers.
By the time I was in my teens, I had had enough. I don’t know how it began but one night, as I went to bed, I told myself that if I had a nightmare I would know it was not real, so I would find a way to wake myself up. And that’s exactly what happened. As I went into the nightmare, I became aware in the dream that this horrific monster could not be real and I shouted out, “It’s just a dream! 1, 2, 3 AWAKE!” And I woke up in bed elated that I had found a little trick to get me out of trouble. At 19 years old, I told a friend that I could count myself out of a dream. She said it was impossible for the brain to be aware when in the dream state. But I was doing it and it was helping me feel in control.
By the time I hit my 20’s the monsters and ghouls had stopped and were replaced by stress dreams involving real animals. I find this interesting. I wonder if my subconscious knew it could no longer get my attention with fictitious beasts and decided to make the nightmares more realistic. I would dream of being in a house and there was a lion or a tiger in there somewhere. As I moved from room to room, I would not know where it was and the fear was unbearable. So lions and tigers became my new nightmares. That was, until I discovered lucid dreaming in 2017.
I had been practising for a year and had had a number of lucid dreams which were wonderful. However, I still had been unable to face my fears. The first time I attempted it was during a nightmare in November 2018. I was being chased down my old childhood street by a lion. I was running very fast until I became aware that this could be a dream and I skidded to a halt like a cartoon character. I thought to myself, “I must turn around and face the lion! But first, a quick reality check!” And I went over to a gate to see if I could pass my hand through it and all I felt was solid matter. I went into panic and turned to see the lion hurtling towards me. It was too much for me and I woke up.
I continued to fail regarding facing these large predators. My subconscious began to add more animals into the mix. Next came bulls and then bears. As I recorded my dreams I began to see a pattern that a lot of these dreams took place in my childhood house - or a warped version of the house. In March 2019 I was staying in a hotel while away on business. I went to sleep with my usual lucid dream track playing.
The dream began in a version of my old house again. I am there with another person. Suddenly I see the huge black shadow of a bear standing on its hind legs trying to get through the frosted glass doors. It must be at least 7/8 feet tall. I call out to my friend to run upstairs. We run. It is now right behind us. I go into a room and smash a window. There is a blue rope conveniently hanging down to the garden below. I shimmy down the rope and drop to the garden. Then I realise the bear has beaten me to it and is now round the side of the house. I make to run and a voice in my head says “Stop. Turn around and face the bear.” I don’t do a reality check, I just know that this is the drill. I steel myself and turn around and wait for the bear to round the corner.
My legs are shaking and I can hardly breath. I panic that if it’s not a dream then my number is up. But I take the chance. As the bear comes into view, I’m surprised at its appearance. He is black, hairy and has very long, slim limbs - almost like a monkey. He has a small head and a pointed snout that’s silvery grey. He is extremely large. I am terrified. As he approaches me, I quickly shout out “Who are you and what do you represent?” To my utter disbelief, he smiles sweetly and raises a furry paw and gives me the cutest little wave. Then telepathically tells me, “I love you. And I’m always here for you.” Then I wake up.
My second moment comes in August 2019. The dream begins with me talking to one of my co stars in the soap I’m currently acting in, in real life. She hands me a script that we’re to film today. I’m furious, as I was not given this earlier and I don’t have time to learn it. I look at the script and the dialogue is absolute gobbledygook. I am so angry because I know my character would never say any of this rubbish. And with that thought, I realise this could be a dream!
I look at my hands and I shout, ‘Hands go stubby now!’ and my hands mutate into a mix of stubby and elongated fingers. I am so relieved that it’s a dream that I shout out, “To hell with you all! This is a dream! All thought forms get out now! Go on, get lost!”
All the dream characters look rather alarmed and leave immediately. I am suddenly alone in a wooden paneled gym hall. I shout out the first intention that has been playing on my mind. “Dream! Please help me understand what is wrong with my son!” The dream does nothing. So I shout “Change!” Everything immediately goes black and I began spinning out of control through a black void and suddenly I land - hovering an inch from a floor, still in pitch black. I open my eyes and I’m back in the gym. I’m furious! I decide to forget about asking for change and get up and walk out of the gym door. I have no shoes on for some reason.
Outside the gym, it’s evening time. The sky is grey and raining. I walk out into a park which is similar to one where I live. I am walking down a footpath. There are trees lining the path and large expanses of grass. To my left, in the distance, I spot some young folk sitting together like they’re having a picnic. I then look to my right and equidistant to the students is an enormous monster about 50 feet tall, loping towards them. It has horns and a large snout with fangs at the side of its mouth. It reminds me of a giant Gruffalo (the creature from a famous children’s book).
I feel so smug because I’m lucid and those people on the grass are not and they’re going to get eaten. So I try to fly up into the air and get away as fast as I can. But my flying is absolutely rubbish. I can barely get an inch off the ground. The monster has turned and spotted me. I start furiously swimming and flapping my arms like a lunatic. The monster is gaining on me and all my smugness is replaced by fear. I suddenly remember the golden rule - don’t run, turn and face it. And with that thought, I am catapulted high up into the night sky and flying perfectly. I realise that the monster is now in the air directly behind me. I prepare myself and turn around mid-flight to face it. And to my surprise, the monster has completely changed. It is now this hideously scary creature that’s like a cross between a wendigo and Golem from Lord of the Rings. It’s brown in colour and is completely bald and hairless. It has a small body and very long arms and legs. It is flying directly at me. It reaches out its hand with long spindly brown fingers as if to grab me. I take its hand and shout, “Who are you? What is your name and what do you represent?” And with a great longing and compassion in its eyes it says, “I’m your friend!” I shout back “Ok, but what kind of friend?” And then my alarm goes off.
Normally I would experience these stress dreams at least once a month. Since facing these two creatures, I have not had a stress dream and it is now January 2020. What I gained from these experiences was that all my life I thought I was running from fear, when actually I’ve been running from love.
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