During the beginning of my life, I remember having two reoccurring dreams. In one of the dreams, I would be at the top of a flight of stairs and shortly after, I would fall down the stairs.
And in the other dream, or should I say nightmare, it was as though I was surrounded by everyone on the planet. Their attention, and the attention of the world itself, would be directed towards me.
A Long Way Down
The stairs that I would see in the first dream looked just like the stairs that we had at home. When I fell down the stairs in this dream, I would experience a lot of fear and panic; I thought I was going to die.
However, I would always wake up just before I hit the ground. At the time, I didn’t know what was going on, but what I was only too aware of was how unpleasant this dream was.
I Carried On
It is hard to say how many times I experienced this dream as a child – in a way; it was just a normal part of my life. As a child, I didn’t feel comfortable enough to talk to anyone about how I felt, so I would generally keep everything to myself.
But while I didn’t know why I kept having this dream, it wasn’t as though I felt as I was on stable ground when I wasn’t asleep. In the real world, I would generally feel overwhelmed and as though I had no control over my life.
An Unstable Environment
This was a time in my life when I often felt that I was going to die; either through being hit so hard that my life would end, or by not being able to handle the pain of being neglected. I had no other choice than to simply tolerate what was going on during this time.
Falling down the stairs was a time when I felt completely powerless and as though my life would soon be over, which was a mere reflection of how I often felt in my day-to-day life. At this time in my life, I had to do what I could to survive.
A Different Experience
Fortunately, the second dream was not as common, and this is because it was a lot harder for me to handle. With the first dream, I would fall and then it would soon be over, but this one would last for a little while.
When all the attention was on me, I would end up being paralysed by fear, and on top of this would be shame. I felt as though it wasn’t safe for me to move and if I did, my life would soon end.
It Was Incredibly Traumatising
I would typically wake up breathing heavily and I would be drenched in sweat. The trouble was that even after I woke up, my mind would often be caught up in the nightmare.
Another way of describing this nightmare would be to say that it was as if the whole world was closing in on me. As I got older and my self-awareness increased, I developed the ability to see what was going on, and this meant that I would end up turning the light on when I woke up to try to get out of it, amongst other things.
A Challenging Time
When the trauma that I experienced as a child was triggered around 2011, I started to experience this nightmare more often. The difference was that I had looked into the meaning of dreams at this point, so I was able to understand that dreams had to be looked at differently.
I came to see that they were more symbolic than literal in a lot of cases, and that how I felt in a dream was often a reflection of how I felt in the real world. Though having this understanding, it enabled me to see how unsafe I felt.
It Was Clear
At the same time, this was a point in my life when I didn’t need a dream to tell me what was going on – I was only too aware of how fearful I felt. This nightmare was then a more intense version of the other dream.
When I was being physically abused as a child and neglected, I felt as though the world was closing in on me. Thankfully, I stopped having these dreams after started to work though the pain that was within me.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
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