When you’re a child and you have a nightmare, you wake up, get cuddled and everything is okay when the light is on. When you’re a child you dream of scary monsters that lurk in the shadows. When you’re a child, a toy makes everything better.
As a 21 year old girl with schizoaffective disorder, nightmares are different. Now my nightmares are of me. I’m usually the monster in my nightmares. My nightmares take me back to psychosis. My nightmares are fuled by paranoia, terror and anger. My nightmares aren’t fixed when I wake up, because all the thoughts are still there in my mind. My fears aren’t irrational, they’re things I’ve lived through. When I wake up the voices are just as loud as they were in the dream. When I wake up, I’m scared of me.
In nightmares, i see myself as dangerous. I see myself consumed by my illness. I see myself as someone other than myself. In nightmares I have terrifying visions, and when I wake up I can still see and hear them. When I wake up all I want to do is sleep. I want to take emergency meds and sleep. I want my head to be quiet. I don’t want to think or feel or process. I want nothingness.
As someone who’s experienced psychosis, my nightmares are far more than just a dream. They’re part of the fear that I face everyday – that one day I’ll lose control again. My nightmares are my greatest fear.
In Harry Potter, when Harry faces the bogart, everyone assumes it will take the form of Voldemort (his greatest enemy) when in fact, it takes the form of a dementor which is the anthropomophisation of depression and fear. He’s praised for being so wise that his fear is of fear itself. I believe what I experience is similar to this. My biggest fear is of being unwell again. Maybe that’s wise, or maybe it’s just silly. Who knows?
Anyone else suffer from nightmares like this?
All my love,