Happy (Dream Demons) Hunting!
I have been asked by several folks to describe just what it is I do that makes it possible to survive the terrible Night Terrors I have almost every time I close my eyes to sleep.. Perchance to dream…
First, let me give you a taste of what night terrors are like if you have never experienced one. I’ve written about some of them early here on my blog, but here’s a *brief* glimpse…
Today, at 1pm or so when I laid down for a ‘nap’, I entered the dream world quickly.
Often, because of the meds I take, (Opioids specifically) a time-dilation effect occurs in my head during dreaming… During a 45 minute dream, I will ‘subjectively’ *live* up to 8 hours.. Doing tasks that are *so* real, *so* detailed, that I will effectively *live* and feel the effects of working *hard* for *many* more hours than I have or would have experienced in the “Waking World”.
My dreams are so very vivid and detailed that it is hard to make the transition out of them and back into this, in comparison, dull (senses wise anyhow) “life” I live amongst you and everyone else.
To say I have a “rich” dreamscape is a monumental understatement!
Now then, take that severe sense of time dilation, that enhanced “richness” of sensory input, and… just for “kicks” bathe it in pain, blood, and tragedy. Spend those “trapped hours” watching those you love and those things you treasure being destroyed repeatedly in the most gruesome, brutal, and painful ways , well literally, that you can imagine….
Add in my pain boring its way into the dream by having me being wounded, stabbed, burned, pierced, torn, shot, burrowed into, set on fire, and any one of a thousand other ways of being wounded into the mix. I almost *never* have a dream in which I am not at the very least wounded and bleeding before I awaken to the “real world”.
That is the problem I was facing. Not good.
So, I began to devise ways to “deal” with the terrible monsters/demons/creatures of horror that now inhabit my personal dreamscape.
I start by creating a blackboard or 3-dimensional “design space” in my mind. Picture a cube, inter-laced with glowing red or blue lines….
Inside that space I design my weapons first.
I now (and have for some time) begin with a 3-foot long tanto-styled sword with a samurai-style folded steel composite blade but a 12th century hilt and crosspiece with the handle wrapped in black leather (to keep it from slipping in all the gore) and a ten-sided crystal embedded in the hilt as a counterweight for the blade. The blade is roughly ¼ inch thick on the back side and razor sharp on the front, with both the tip and groove sharpened as well.
When I am done working out all of the specifications (including weight), I “spin it a few times inside “the box” then visualize myself reaching into the design space and physically removing it with my right hand. I sense it’s weight, sight, smell, and just the over all “feel” of it in my hand…
When I am *sure* I know it well, I hold on to it while I design its sheath in the same ‘space” and then take it out with my left hand and do the same thing. When done with both, I sheath the blade and sling it over my right shoulder, across my back, so that it’s hilt projects either above or to the side of my right shoulder/side and move on to the next piece of equipment I think I should have… (Going back every few mental moments/minutes to reach back and confirm it is still :there:.)
**The important thing, I have found, is that I get the details of each ting firmly planted in my conscious mind. As much as I can. The stronger and better job I do of this, the more substantial and readily available it is to me when *they* come… **
Next comes the 9-inch, dual-sided short blade for my left hand/side. Then a helm, a shield, modified chain mail/armor ( I tried plate mail.. but the feeling of having that steel suddenly curl inwards into my flesh when I was wounded was just too creepy…), boots, greaves, even bracers on occasion.
The whole exercise is much like that game many of us played as kids where one must name something, then the next person must name *that* and add something new, then the next one does the same, adding yet *another* thing to the list.. And so on… until someone fails to accurately list the previous items/words.
It may sound tedious, and it *is*, but if you are reading this, then odds are you at the least have sleep or pain issues and know just how grueling and boring it can be to just lay there in pain and try to count sheep or something trying to get past your problems or pain(s) and get some bloody *sleep*!
Back to the exercise:
If I fall asleep during this process, I have often found that I can now carry the whole *list* with me anyway. I can now zip through the “basic” arms list in only a few moments most days. And I don’t “dwell” on these things a lot, but when you *know* you will be in one of five or six situations on a *daily* basis.. you tend to work out how to survive. In fact, now it has become almost second nature to do my “mental inventory” before moving on to trying to effect the *content* of the upcoming gore-fest.. (But that is a different blog post! 😉
I also design vehicles (air, water, land, space) from the “Go!” switch on back. A *full build* can take me *month’s* of nightly ‘design exercises’ before it is complete. Then I move on to the storyline such a vehicle would be used in. I often fall asleep doing this… When I wake, I make a mental ‘pagemark’ at the last place I remembered thinking about the night before and go back to that (after quick-scanning up to that point). It is much like fast-forwarding on an old VHS tape at high speed.
I do the same with the ‘storyline’ I may have started developing as well. These stories or “Dream Lines” can include places I have been before in my dreams at one point, just some random story arc I have thought up, or some issue I need to deal with in the “Real World”.
That’s pretty much it. Except for an *Emergency out switch* or icon I “wear” into sleep. Some kind of item or thing that you can see,(smell, feel) and once having seen it, will *know* you are dreaming. (As if wearing a sword and various weapons weren’t enough!) and then come awake enough to either wake up, or fundamentally change the current goer-fest. lol
For me, personally, it is a red carnation. I “stick it” on my left upper chest (through the chain mail) and when I see it, typically from brushing against it as I go to re-adjust my mail shirt ( it pinches a bit in the neck when I have been wearing it for too long) I *know* that I am just in the middle of a gore/horror fest and lose much of my fear… (And *may* even wake up…).
This doesn’t end all of my night terrors by any means. Not at all. It *does*, however, give me a bit of a handle on them.
And I have to tell you, there is a big difference in fighting off gibbering hordes of, say, disease-infected rats barehanded and doing so with three or four feet of shiny steel. Major!
I have *tried* to design and use firearms of one kind or another, but they almost never materialize on the dream plane for me.
So I’ll take what I can get.
I hope something in this can help you. If nothing else, reading the whole thing as probably put you to sleep…
Happy (Dream Demon) Hunting!