Monday, June 6, 2011

A Story Of Fear

I was in the basement trying to stay out of the way of all of the adults upstairs.  Everybody was fighting and screaming at one another again.  You could hear it all through the floor over my head.  I was over in the corner looking at something when all of a sudden there was a black bag over my head.  I reached up and around my neck trying to get it off but it was wrapped tightly to my throat.  I began to suck the air so much the bag came up against my face and stuck to me.  I began jumping around but whomever had me was a lot bigger and I was not able to get away. They just held me so strongly and kept me faced in the same direction against the far wall of the basement. I was panicking and then I was all wet around my face and I really freaked out.  This person held me so tightly that I just seemed to be moving my feet, I was not going anywhere fast.  It was over before it began. I still am frightened of this memory.


I was up all night dreaming again.  This is a tell tale sign of PTSD. I actually have been told I have C-PTSD or at least that was what I was diagnosed with two years ago.  Normally I have something that helps me get through the nights but I ran out of my prescription and have not picked up the refill yet.

Usually I dream of my step-father killing me. I spend the most difficult time trying to move or speak.  I always am dreaming of somebody killing me.  I wish that I knew why.  It always startles me awake in the morning. Last night it was 3:25 a.m. the first time I woke-up.

I used to have this one recurring dream.  I was in a high rise on one of the middle floors in an office space with those dividers that separate your space from another.  They had a scene just like it in the movie The Matrix.  I would say that my nightmare was because of that particular scene but mine started as a teenager. 

So in my dream I would be in the office working and the building would come under attack from masked gun men.  They would make their way up to our floor and break into our office space.  I would stand and look over the top and run out the side door into a narrow hallway.  As soon as I got into the hallway I would start to run.  The next minute I looked up and there standing in front of me was a rather large man dressed all in black with a black knit hood over his head.   You know the kind that the bank robbers use in the movies?  Well, that was what he was wearing.  He was carrying a machine gun.  He would look at me and I at him, pull up the gun and start shooting.  I would feel the hit of each bullet and my body would rock back and forth as I was riddled with the bullets being unloaded from his gun. As soon as I would begin to fall and right before I hit the ground, I was on another floor in the same building and the entire scenario would repeat itself.  Accept this time I knew that I had already been shot dead.  I would look down and there were no wounds, by this time they would break into the office space again and I would begin to try my escape once more. It was always to no avail, ending only when I frightened myself awake.

Sometimes I never made it to the side door.  I would be shot as I turned to get out of the office space.  I was always shot many times and I was always facing the assailant.  I never was shot in the back. I often wondered if this meant anything. In fact, I always wondered what the entire dream meant.  My mother was a dream interpreter and the best thing or advice I could have given you as a child, was do not tell her your dream.  It did not matter what the dream was about, good or bad, she would have some biblical reasoning for you to here. Usually it was why or how you were not praying enough, or why you obviously have dirty thoughts about sex or simply something negative to say along the lines of not following the word of God.  Of course, when the church first began she did say that instead of reading Gods name in the bible, we should  just put and say her name instead.  Just a side note for this story this morning.  Back to business. The preaching about the dream and the meaning would never find the end of a day.  My older sisters dream from when I was a child is still, I'm sure being discussed at the dinner table or in the breakfast room over tea and coffee.  Now, thinking back for a moment, my sister did have a very strange dream. I am fairly sure it was not indicative of her life's failures as my mother goes on about. It was just sadly painful.

Her dream took place in our old house on Balboa Street.  It was a two-story home with brown shingles on the outside.  Years later after we had moved out,  the new owners painted those shingles soy lent green. It was the most hideous sight on the block. Odd, painting shingles such a color.

So my sister said that she was trying to walk down the stairs in the house in this dream that was really a nightmare.  It was not a wide staircase by any means.  But you could hold the banister as you walked down the stairs to balance yourself if necessary.  She said that as she put her foot down on the next step to come down the stairs, she stepped on these spiked sea creatures. When she had injured her foot and could not step, she tried to sit down on the stair just behind her to relieve the pain.  As she tried to sit back on the previous stair, she sat down on these stinging beetles. She said that she could not go forward and could not get off her feet that had had these spikes from these creatures going straight threw her foot.  As she told the story the first time I believe she was sixteen or so and I would have been nine.  I remember curling my upper lip back and thinking why are you telling Mom this story.  You are going to be the devil incarnate in just one more moment.  I could not help but feel so bad, she had spikes in her feet and was being stung on her ass by beetles.  Regardless of how many times my mother has said that the problems that my older sister has had in life, all stem from this one dream not being worked out when my sister was a teenager I still don't believe she is correct.  I feel like we have dreams to tell us about unfinished thoughts of the day or to help us work out what is happening to us that we cannot see correctly while awake. I know that I learned early on never to speak of my dreams or nightmares to my mother.  She would always have the worst things to say to the members of her congregation about their dreams.  Yet they seemed so anxious to tell her each and every time.

I have had several recurring dreams in my life. I have always tried to work them out during daylight hours.  I finally got through the nightmare of the masked gunman. I came up with this idea. If somebody is going to shoot you dead with a machine gun, shouldn't they take off their mask so you can know the identity of your assailant?  This took forever to actually work into this on-going nightmare.  I don't know if anyone else has ever done anything along these lines for a dream.  Eventually, if you can come up with something to try in your dream, you can do it, it just is absolutely pain staking and insanely difficult.  In order to get yourself to say or remember to say the words in the heat of the moment is like moving mud.  It did work once and the masked man stopped in mid kill.  He reached for his mask and as he began to pull it over his head the dream stopped dead, no pun intended but it was kind of nice to finally have something die properly.  I only had that dream a few more times and then I never had it again.  I never did see the identity of the men in black.  The point to the dream I thought was like this, it did not matter where you were working or whom you would ever be working with.  You were going to be terrorized and hunted down to be shot full of  bullets from an automatic weapon and never die.

The next nightmare I can tell you about happened at a younger age.  It was always the same.  I am standing on the bottom of the ocean with my bare feet in the sand.  The water is moving around me but it is very difficult to move very fast. The water prevents you from being able to walk or jump out of the way of anything that may come for you.  There is a reef off to the left side of my body and a large body of sand off to the right. Out of nowhere comes this enormous Great White Shark.  He is swimming right for me and strikes me with his open mouth.  All I can see is his mouth opening and rows of those jagged teeth.  Then I remember nothing unless I am able to make a run for it. When this happens the attack continues until the strike is had by the shark and it always happened the same way.  I am once again facing my attacker head-on.  I used to try to get out of the way but I could not move fast enough all of the time.  Moving under water and trying not to drown is extremely difficult, while screaming for help at the same time. It did not seem to matter anyway, he just followed me around and managed to get me anyway. 

This particular dream took years to try to get over. I would wake-up all wound up in my covers, sweating, screaming and in shock of being eaten by a shark again.  What a nightmare.  Finally as an adult I was watching a nature show and it just happened to be about the Great White off the coast of California.  Of course, this is also where I live. They said that when a shark attacks that they roll their eyes in the back of their head so that they don't endanger the eyesight.  Apparently, they strike the victim blindly at the end.  After watching the show and realizing that they had filmed the shark attacking a buoy and some bait, I found that it was indeed true.  Sure enough their eyes rolled back in their heads and with some type of double lid they seem to possess they are able to protect their eyesight completely.  The show was very much on the sharks side, saying that the shark attacks and kills each year were relatively low in relation with other dangerous animals.  As the years passed by I watched more and more on shark attacks and shark behavior.  They are actually curious creatures and just taking a taste to see if they like you.  I also learned that if you just bop them on the nose they sometimes turn away.  You are meant to hit them on the nose right before they open their mouth and they may turn off of their intended victim.  That one made me laugh when I heard it.  It reminded me of myself, easily hurt and very easily turned off of my path in life by being injured by another persons words.  Kind of like being bopped on the nose I suppose.

My plan began to come together for my next encounter of the Great White in my sleep.  I was going to stand as I usually do at the bottom of the sea (and no, I had no apparatus on to breath or wetsuit for warmth, I am in my regular shorts and t-shirt, barefoot).  But this time instead of trying to run to get out of the way, I would stand and face my shark head-on.  I would wait patiently until he arrived at my feet with his enormous self terrifying as he closed in on my life.  My plan went as follows, at the moment he rocked his head back and right before he opened his mouth, I would simply bop him on the nose with my fist.  Great plan! Achievable, practical and a much more simple move under water.  Running away had proven to be exhausting, impossible and down right stupid. I mean who in any reality can run from a fish under the water, let alone a Great White hunting you in down to have a taste of your ass.  Now all I had to do was wait and practice until I achieved my great act of hitting this monstrous fish on the nose.  You know it worked.  It took a lot more restless nights but it did eventually work. But I would spend many hours during the day thinking about my dream and practicing my new move while I played it out in my mind. My idea came together one night, I bopped that shark on the nose.  He stopped, turned and swam away.  That was that, the end of years of horrible gasping for air, waking-up in a fright, just to find I was in bed not at the bottom of the sea being munched on by my own personal shark was over.  Like my earlier nightmare, it did take a few times of this bopping him on the nose, but, eventually I stopped having the dream all together.  It was a little weird after it ended, I kind of missed my shark, lol.  It is a little silly to spend so many years trying to get over these fears of being underwater and then miss the fish that brought them on.  What is really different about this very odd dream, is while I was under the water I could breath just fine while I waited for the attack to come about.  It wasn't until I began to struggle with the shark or run from it that the breathing under water became drowning under water.  With every effort I gave to get away I drew in gallons of water and could not breath at all, but I was quite talented at gulping it in through my mouth.  This is what would eventually wake me up. I would be gasping for air.  When I finally stopped trying to run or get away from this shark and I decided to stand my ground I never drank in any more water.  I was able to breath normally the entire time.

Does anyone else ever have these type of nightmares that repeat themselves for years upon years?