I used to have nightmares every single (f***ing) night while growing up. It briefly intensified when I moved out five years ago before gradually, slowly becoming a rarer occurrence.
As a kid and teen, there were days when the days and nights got confused because I'd have anxiety-riddled dreams about upsetting dad, only to wake up and be anxiety-riddled about upsetting dad, and then going to bed early to have even more nightmares. Multiply that by 10 if I was sick and had a fever.
Then when I was sliding into my seasonal depression, I was starting to get more dreams--and by consequence, more strange dreams.
It makes sense that depression and bad dreams are linked, at least for me, because dreams illustrate my current levels of anxiety, and because depression is forever linked to traumatic experiences.
Now that the doctor has upped my Effexor XR a little bit (adding 37.5 to my current 75mg for two months), I'm getting even more strange dreams. Actually, they're becoming nightmares.
I woke up several times last night, and Pepper noticed I stirred, so he laid his soft, warm head on my chest, helping me get back to sleep.
I dreamed about my littlest sister, whose birthday is this month. Sometimes my brain does an age-progression thing for them, but this time, I saw her as her skinny 7 years old-self, with her wavy dark ash-blond hair down below her shoulders. She was glad I was home, and I was so happy to see her again, finally.
But it turns out that I was stuck at home. Again. The basement bedroom I used to share with one of my brothers was sparse. Strangely, it was the same set-up as the last time I was stuck in this dream-bedroom. It was just my bed, my night stand and alarm-clock and lamp (the lamp never worked in the dreams, even when I replaced the bulb and checked the plugs). The awful avocado-green shag carpet was back, even though I worked with mom and my brother to pull it out and replace it with fake tile. I wondered if they put the dog-pee stained carpet back just for me.
I was both banished to the basement room, but it was refuge for me in my dreams. An unsafe one.
My brother told me I was being punished. He didn't live at home anymore, anyway. The bedroom was mine, and it no longer had privacy as it used to with the way the furniture was set up. My mom was keeping me at an emotional and figurative distance out of respect for her husband.
I used my time to plot my escape.
Dad raged. He pretended to be happy by being overly enthusiastic and friendly--but his eyes belied his true state. And then he angrily talked about how I was a failure.
I hid in my room, venturing up a few steps of the split level stairs to try to hear what was going on upstairs as the family lived their lives without me--and he was raging at someone else. Sunglasses dangled from the ceiling of the stairwell to about eye-level--it was Dad's. I grabbed it and broke the string, hiding it in my room. When he noticed it was missing, he raged.
I woke up again to check the clock to see if it wasn't too terribly early to get up. Getting up is the only thing that would stop the nightmares.
Turns out I overslept and had to rush out the door to make it to work on time (which I did!) but it didn't help me shake off the unsettling feeling of these bad dreams.
I hope I can make it through the next couple months without any more nightmares...
Filed under: Abuse