Afraid to Sleep

Have you ever thought what it would be like to be afraid to sleep? I never gave it much thought while growing up. I do now, though. The unwanted dreams, some call them nightmares, visit at the most inopportune times—those times when I need sleep the most.

I was going to say, “Grab a cup of coffee, and get comfortable. I’ll tell you all about them.”

I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want my unwanted dreams and visions getting all tangled up with yours, and creating a mess that might not get straightened out for a long time, if ever. No, I’m not going to share that part of my sleep pattern with you, but I am going to ask you to think about yours, what brought on those dreams you don’t want, and how you deal with them. Meanwhile, I will toss a few things at the wall and see what sticks.

Before I get too far along I want to ask if dreams, nightmares, visions while asleep are conscious efforts in the brain, or is it the sub-conscious playing games with the parts of the consciousness that want nothing more than to shut down for awhile?

We can talk about the stages of sleep; how the body must go through all the stages of sleep in order to cleanse the mind, and rest the body. We could talk about that, but we’re not going to. If you’re interested in stuff like that, then feel free to look it up. For me, I could care less. I just want the activity that goes on behind my closed eyes to stop. Then, and only then, maybe the voices will go away. But, I doubt it.

Why is my doubt so strong? It was 40+ years ago when this all began. I’ve come the conclusion that the voices trigger the dreams, or maybe the dreams trigger the voices. It really doesn’t matter which one controls the other. I have come to the opinion that they are married at the hip, and come as a couple, a very committed couple.

Throughout my life there have been events that have triggered some very intense unconscious reactions within my brain. Those events have not all been bad. For the most part, though, the reactions to those events have been less than pleasant. I’ve spent considerable amount of time, effort, and money attempting to reduce the unpleasantness of those reactions. In short, I’ve tried to find ways that will help me sleep. I’ve pretty much failed. Oh, drugs work okay, but they don’t solve the problem. They only mask it.

At this point in my life (today and yesterday) I’m doing okay in the sleep department. I hesitated sharing that with you, because every time I’ve bragged about how restful my sleep has become that reoccurring unpleasantness in my sleeping brain raises its ugly head and strikes. I wind up going days with only a few hours of sleep. And, no, alcohol does not help. Over the counter sleep aids don’t do the trick, either. I could probably get something much stronger from the doctor, but I’m afraid that might lead to something I know I will not enjoy—somebody digging around in my thoughts and attempting to determine what is wrong with me. I have issues just like everyone else, and I don’t need some book smart person telling me what is wrong with me. I already know what’s wrong with me—I’m afraid to go to sleep because I know the monsters that lurk in the dark.

So, how does a person learn to live with the monsters that reside in the sleeping mind? I don’t think they can be killed. I might be wrong, but I don’t want to spend the kind of money some educated fool wants to collect from me in an attempt to kill something that might not want to die.

Right now it seems I have made a deal with those nightmares that interrupt my sleep pattern. They might not always stay away, but at least they don’t linger. They jump right in, kick the hell out of me, and move on. They must not go far, though, because they usually show up several nights in a row. Even those nights I don’t remember them, I can tell they were visiting. I tend to fight with them. Usually it’s a knock down, drag out tussle of epic proportions. The bed can attest to that.

Last night my unwanted guests did not visit. As a matter of fact it’s been many days since they knocked on my door. I know they’re lurking just around the corner. One night they’ll make an unannounced visit. That I can be sure of. They always do. Maybe if I don’t go to sleep they’ll stay away.

This leads me to a dilemma. If I close me eyes, and the nightmares return, then I don’t get any sleep. If I stay awake in fear of the returning unwanted guests, I don’t get any sleep. It seems I’m in a catch 22 here. Maybe you can help me. How do I solve this problem I have? Someone out there has the answer.