Parasomnia - Nightmares

A parasomnia is, at its core, a sleep disorder. The term is used to describe abnormal behaviors during any stage of sleep; walking, talking, and of course, chronic nightmares.

I’m no stranger to persistent nightmares as this blog shows. And if I’m lucky on a given night, I’ll just have an odd dream that leaves me slightly unsettled. At times, I have perfectly linear dreams that feel like a spiritual experience, and upon waking, I remember strange languages or names. More recently, the demons Caim and Paimon made an appearance out of nowhere.

I’ve also had dreams leading me to literature and figures I hadn’t heard of beforehand. One led me to discover the king of cats — a feline death omen. I then went on to learn about Beware the Cat, the first book ever published in the English language. And it happened to be horror.

I once asked a doctor about chronic nightmares. I knew it was odd to mostly have nightmares and not much else, and while they’ve inspired many stories, they’ve left me more than unsettled some nights. Sleep paralysis was one good reason to stay up until I was so exhausted I couldn’t hold my eyes open. Night terrors brought on panic attacks that left me wondering if monsters had come back with me upon waking.

I was offered a prescription — a pill that would make me forget my dreams. I had no idea such a thing existed, but it also frightened me. There were so many things that could go wrong with something like that where side effects were concerned, and quite honestly, I realized I’d miss the dark inspiration.

It’s existing your whole life as a darkling, and then being given the option to be normal. And the thought of normalcy scares me more than the nightmares do.

My psychiatrist mentioned that it was due to having an anxiety disorder. Depression can bring them on, too. But what of the days when I feel fantastic, and then I wake up from a good night’s rest with a memory of the strangest, most bizarre science fiction?

Giant sea creatures at the end of the world that found their way into the sky, the clouds just barely hiding large red starfish and squids.

A large cave with a sole idol in the center — a man who is made of clay and his bottom half is a pile of rocks embedded in the ground. And he has philosophical musings about life to deliver. Revelations that our minds can expand much more than we believe, and what it was like before anything existed.

An expansive desert with a giant neon Sphinx head in the sky, the night around it sparkling with stars as a sole human ponders the glowing bridge in the distance that leads to a fluorescent fair — the games and food so addictive you’ll never want to leave.

Odd dreams like that are the reason I choose to leave my sleeping mind alone. The stories I've written from them are another. I feel gifted by the strange beings that visit just to speak philosophy and amaze me. And on the chance that I have a terrifying dream that shakes me to my core with horror, despite that fear, I know I have a story to tell that is a unique one. And I write those stories as honestly as I can.

I’ve also had very spiritual dreams in which I see my spirit guides. These are often personal and provocative in nature, but they are linear, vivid, and I experience everything with all the senses. I can feel their touch. Their voices are directly in my ear. And the pleasure they draw out of me is electric. And I remember all of it vividly as if it weren’t a dream at all.

Some may call me a masochist for loving my sleep paralysis shadow man — even though he frightens me terribly. Crazy for wanting to step into these experiences when I can be rid of them.

Especially concerning the few times I’ve died in a dream but did not wake up. I instead experienced a floating sensation before everything faded to white, and I stared out into a vast wide expanse of nothing for a length of time before I woke up naturally.

I’ve experienced chronic nightmares since I was a child, the earliest of them being when I was an infant in a crib. That was when I experienced night terrors and sleep paralysis for the first time.

Maybe it’s because I was near death when I was born and paralyzed by drugs in the NICU for the first month of my life. Maybe that experience remained with me in the far subconsciousness of my mind, and my near-death experience opened some sort of gateway to explore strange things not many others do.

Either way, I’ll keep my strange dreams, the nightmares, and the unexplainable spiritual experiences. I feel gifted with them at times, and I’d be a fool to not write them down.

©2020 Shane Blackheart


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