I've been having some pretty disturbing dreams lately.
I don't know if it's something I'm eating too close to bedtime or whether it is a result of subconscious turmoil or stress, but I know fighting demons from dusk to dawn can be extremely tiring. I don't know how those exorcists can stand it.
According to dreammoods.com, seeing demons in my dreams indicates I may be experiencing or inflicting fear or emotional distress in my waking life. It also says demons are symbolic of ignorance, negative habits or my "shadow self."
I have no idea what a shadow self is, but I'm sure I'll have a nightmare about it tonight.
When I was younger, I used to be able to direct my dreams anywhere I chose. I spent many a night flying through the air like Superman and breathing underwater. I always knew I was dreaming within the dream, and later I came to discover this was called lucid dreaming. Apparently, not everyone can do it.
When I was in my late teens, I joined the youth group of a local church that believed daydreaming is evil. They figured anything not "of God" was "of the devil" because it distracted you from God's truth.
I stopped daydreaming, and shortly thereafter my ability to dream lucidly left me.
But I still am able to wake myself up if I get too scared, and lately I've been doing that multiple times a night. That's it - no more talking about scary movies a mere couple of hours before my head hits the pillow. No more watching them, either.
Nowadays, monsters like the creepy little girl from "The Ring" quicken my pulse, but when I was younger, Freddy Krueger from "A Nightmare on Elm Street" was the scare of the week.
But whenever Freddy showed up, I was ready - with a hug. Surpisingly, it worked every time. It's hard to be scared when you're best buds with the scariest guy on the street.
I don't try to make friends with the monsters any more, although once I had a dream in which the devil showed up in the guise of Heath Ledger. I told him he was cute. He was not amused.
My tactic now? Run. Except no matter how hard I try, my legs never seem to get me anywhere, and in that case, waking up is the better option.
But sometimes even that is not enough. Sometimes after I jerk myself awake, I find myself in bed but unable to move. Ever had that happen? It's not fun. Apparently it's called sleep paralysis, and according to sleep.com, it is sometimes referred to as "old hag syndrome."
Apparently there's an old superstition that involves a witch sitting on the sleeping person, thus immobilizing them.
I've never seen an old hag or witch upon waking before, but I'm sure now I'll have a nightmare about one.
What do you call a nightmare you have when you're awake?
The first time I experienced sleep paralysis, I got up and made myself walk around the house for a good half hour to shake it off. I attribute that first experience to the reason my legs now jerk as I start to fall asleep.
Restless leg syndrome? My theory is I have a finely tuned self-defense mechanism. That also sounds cooler.
I don't know that my dream of being surrounded by large, poisonous spiders represents some ensnaring and controlling force or sticky situation - maybe I just happened to see a spider a few hours before bedtime and my latent memory is simply cataloging the experience (in a scary way).
When I dream of walking through a dark house unable to turn any lights on (as I frequently do), does it really indicate a lack of insight and perspective on a situation, or is it more likely I am just afraid of the dark?
Are zombies indicative of tremendous stress, or is it the wave of movies dealing with undead diseases now flooding the horror market?
Come to think of it, floods are pretty scary. Dreammoods.com says flooding suggests I'm overwhelming others with my demands and strong opinions. I don't know if that's true or not, but I bet now I'll have a nightmare about it.
What kind of dreams plague you? Share them with me at bhazen@
tribtoday.com or comment on this story at tribtoday.com.