Scary thoughts

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I’ve been having flashes of fear. Sudden bursts in my mind of catastrophic situations. It’s been going on for a month now.

Several weeks ago, I was in town with my daughter; we were in her car running errands, and I had a flash of being broadsided by a black truck. The glass was shattered and flying, the car was crumpled and spinning. Like slow motion from a movie scene. I was shocked by how vivid the picture was – like a daytime dream.

And like a dream, I came back to reason and shook my head. I then quoted the above verse to myself.

Today, I needed to run to a doctor’s appointment, and my husband was on the phone, working from home. It flashed across my mind, as I walked into the garage, that I hadn’t kissed him goodbye, and what a shame that would be if I died while I was out. Again, I shook my head and quoted part of that verse: “we have not been given a spirit of fear…”

Those are the two examples that stand out the most starkly in my mind, but I know there have been more, because I’ve quoted this verse to myself nearly a dozen times in the past month.

I’ve had nightmares lately, too. The kind where I wake up in a cold clammy sweat, afraid to get out of bed, in case the monsters are real, and afraid to close my eyes again, lest I fall back into the scary dream. I reach over to be sure my hubby is there, and I try to focus on his breathing, inhale and exhale. I wake enough to realize I’m safe, then pray my way back to sleep.

What is this? Why the sudden fear?

It started in a joyous time – celebrating family and friends at a wedding. Am I dreading the future of what might befall my loved ones?

I’m in the process of moving across the country. Am I fearing the isolation of being alone?

My mom was very sick this Spring. Am I afraid of the past repeating itself?

The last time I had major catastrophic thoughts, I was badly depressed. I’ve determined that I’m not headed there again!

Actually, it probably doesn’t matter what it is. Or even why it is. Because God’s truth is still truth:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I need not fear nor be timid. I have the power of the risen Christ in me (Ephesians 1:19-20), I am surrounded by God’s love (Romans 8:39), and I can be self-disciplined to take every thought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), even the scary ones.

Emotions in Dreaming

Oh. I’m angry! So angry that I wouldn’t allow myself to go back to sleep. I’m tired enough, but afraid that the emotions swirling would carry over into the next dream, and I need to shake them from me!

I don’t think this has ever happened, at least not that I remember. Maybe as a baby, you know, when a baby wakes up crying and angry, but not as an adult. And I am so angry!

I’ve awakened in the middle of the night before and been afraid, after a horrible scary nightmare.  And I’ll reach over and find my husband’s hand and squeeze it to assure myself that the dream was not real, that I am truly safe in my bed under my cozy covers in my secure home, with no one chasing me or threatening me. And my fear has always melted pretty quickly. I can only think of one time where I actually had to wake my husband so he could hug the boogeyman away.

But this dream filled me with rage! I’ve rarely been so angry even in real life! And so helpless to the impossible situation!

I wanted to drift back to sleep right away, but my heart would start pounding and my stomach would begin churning and I could feel the angry tension rising, so I kept opening my eyes and taking deep slow breaths to calm myself. It wasn’t working, so I got up (4am) and made myself some chamomile tea and grabbed my laptop to type it all out. Then maybe I’ll be calm enough to fall back asleep.

Such an intense emotion. Anger. And I don’t handle anger all that well when I’m awake and alert in the middle of the day. Apparently, I am much more vulnerable in my sleep!

The Dream: I answered the doorbell to find several college-aged boys in pick-up trucks with furniture and ladders and wood. They barged into the kitchen and began measuring for the new cabinets they were going to install – in the most stupid place – next to the pantry doors! Then the girls arrived, with mattresses and bedding and brushes with white paint dripping from the bristles. They moved everything out of my childhood bedroom and began to move their mattresses in, plus climbed a ladder and were painting bright white around my posters on the wall, not even willing to match the paint with the white I already had! Apparently, the girl who was moving in was bringing a friend to move in with her – I learned this from the girls who had overtaken my room.

I was furious – who were these folks that thought they could just come in and rearrange my house? I tried to find the phone number for my landlord; I couldn’t, even though I somehow knew she was a very close friend. I wandered outside, to discover more girls settling into the side yard as some guys tore apart the wrap-around deck which overlooked the woods behind my house – the verdant green, lush forest of tall trees and deer and birds. They were going to extend the landscaped path to make room for the 20′ pool deck lounge chair they had. The new roommate was on the scene now, and I tried to stay calm as I asked her what the hell she thought she was doing! We were suddenly back into my bedroom – that’s when she told me we’d have to fit three full-sized beds in here. Wait! How?! There wasn’t any room to get between the beds, or to reach the closet. And now I was trapped in the far corner of the room.

But then I was walking down my childhood hallway and I stopped at my childhood bathroom to splash water on my face in an effort to regain my calm. I overheard the girls laughing at me and my confusion. Oooo, I got madder! I continued to my childhood kitchen, now full of guys on ladders, taking apart light fixtures and banging their hammers on the cupboards. I began frantically searching through cancelled checks, and finally located the landlord’s number at the top of one of them. But I couldn’t dial it – my hands were shaking badly and my fingers kept hitting the wrong buttons. I asked my sister to help me, but she walked past me on her way out the back door slider from my childhood dining room. Then my aunt appeared at the end of the kitchen counter, and took the phone from me and very calmly dialed the number.

When I got the landlord on the phone, it was clear she was talking to the girls in the other room on another line! So we’re complaining in her ears, she’s trying to answer each of us and talk us down, …

And that’s when I woke up. Full of rage at the uncontrollable circumstances! I became aware of my surroundings: I felt the cat lying down by my leg, I heard the kitten on the chair as he began playing with the pull-string of the floor lamp. I looked at the ceiling fan, and got my bearings in the bedroom. I tried to go back to sleep, but the rage kept rising, so here I am, typing it all out and chuckling as I see the different pieces from reality that morphed into my very upsetting dream.

The backyard woods were from across the street from our house in Florida, and the enormous lounge chair was from the pool in our Florida housing community; I’d been thinking about Florida when reading a friend’s Facebook post yesterday morning. My sister, who I just texted last evening. My aunt, who my mom mentioned in our weekly Friday phone call.  My childhood home in detail. The landscaped path – we had walked down a cool sidewalk in Philadelphia last weekend. Cancelled checks, which were in the box I was digging through earlier yesterday as I was looking for labels. The construction in the kitchen, and my husband has to finish some repair in the laundry room ceiling later today. I think I might have become my daughter in this dream – she used to live with her best friend (who is the landlord and just moved out a few weeks ago). I was asking my daughter about her last night, and how she’s adjusting to her new home. All of these features showed up in this very upsetting dream, but are mostly grounded in my last 24 hours.

So where did the rage come from? I’m not angry, nor have I been recently. Isn’t the purpose of dreaming to resolve unfinished emotions or conflict? I can relate the scenes and characters from this dream to my reality, but not the emotions.

What do you think it means? Well, you figure it out and tell me in the morning. I’m calm now and am going back to bed!

 

 

 

No sleeping in today…

I had the hardest time waking up this morning!

My husband had the opposite problem and couldn’t sleep, so he started his day earlier than typical and was out the door by 6:30am. He kisses me goodbye when he leaves, so I’m awake for that, and when he’s at his usual hour – an hour later – I often get up and begin my day just after he leaves. But no way did I want to start that early, so I rolled over and fell back asleep.

I woke just before 8am after some vivid and bizarre dreams. That’s almost always true for me when I fall back asleep after waking – weird dreams that go on and on and leave me a little befuddled when I finally become fully conscious.

I woke slowly, and had a hard time “coming to” fully. I rolled onto my back but dozed again, for a minute or so. And I did that several times – repositioned and closed my eyes. I just couldn’t stay fully awake, even though I knew I wasn’t going back to fully asleep.

Maybe it was because this was the first morning in over two weeks that there was no one else in the house. All the holiday company has gone home and the kids have gone back, too. So it’s just me and the kitty again. Maybe I didn’t want to wake to that alone-ness.

Probably because I knew I needed to run an errand before my 9:30 appointment, I got myself out of bed and moving. I would have liked to roll over and try for that fully asleep mode again, even if it meant more dreams. I would have enjoyed a little self-pity – poor lonely me so far from my kids whom I love so dearly and miss so much – but the day was already scheduled full so I needed to get up and get going. I probably scheduled today this way on purpose, to keep myself from the pity party and self-indulgent sadness.  Way to go, me.

Maybe I’ll sleep in tomorrow.