October Ripples in the Inkwell: Anxiety Dreams #inkripples

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on October 12, 2015 in Anecdote, Dreams, Ink Ripples, Kai Strand, Mary Waibel |

For our October Ripples in the Inkwell (#inkripples) Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, and I are discussing fear/things that go bump in the night. My mind immediately went to nightmares.

It is well-known among my friends and families that I have very vivid, often wacky dreams. I’ve even been lucky enough to have the occasional lucid dream (in which you are aware you are dreaming, and may actually be able to take control of the dream…pretty cool actually, and I always end up flying when I can!). That also means I’m subject to realistic, terrifying nightmares.

I’m more prone to having nightmares when I’m feeling anxiety and stress. A couple of common stress dreams I experience with some regularity are the one where I show up for the final test of a class I haven’t been to all year and the one where my teeth fall out or crack.

More likely than those two dreams, though, is a recurring anxiety dream that has changed throughout the years. When I was very young, I can remember having lots of dreams about wolves chasing me, and I would wake up sweating, my heart racing. At some point during my adolescent the go-to stress dream turned into dinosaurs stalking me (one reason why, to this day, I have a hard time watching any of the Jurassic Park movies).

After The Boy was born, my anxiety dreams were often about the end of the world. Usually they would start with me seeing something strange in the sky and then aliens would strike or there would be some kind of widespread terrorist attack, and I’d be trying to protect my family.

And lately, my nightmares have taken the form of zombies (you won’t catch me watching The Walking Dead ever!). What’s interesting about these dreams is that the zombies don’t get a lot of “screen time.” It’s more the constant threat of a zombie attack that causes the panic.

Aren’t you so glad to have a glimpse into my dreams? What kinds of nightmares have you all had?

Inkwell meme greenHave you joined the #inkripples movement yet? Ripples in the Inkwell is a monthly meme created by Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, and Katie L. Carroll(me!). On the second Monday of each month, we post on a particular topic. The idea is that we toss a word, idea, or image into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There’s no wrong way to do it and we’d love for you to participate (full details here). October is all about fears and things that go bump in the night. Be sure to provide a link to your own #inkripple in the comments!

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  • Kai Strand says:

    I dream every night and they too are realistic and wacky. I often wake up laughing at how oddly my dreams twisted my real life. I’m lucky. I rarely have bad dreams. But when I do it is either that someone/thing is chasing me and I’m bogged down in the mire or like a cartoon character, running, running, running, but not getting anywhere. Or it’s apocalyptic in nature. Nuclear bomb, epic quake, plague. I’m really glad they only come along once every half a dozen years or so. I’ve never had lucid dreams. My husband and daughter do.

    • Those being stuck in the mire while being chased dreams are the worst. My nightmares seem to come and go. I’ll have a lot of them for a few weeks or months and then I’ll go awhile without one.

  • Mike says:

    Nightmares are fascinating. Funny how you can remember them so vividly when most dreams slip away. I still remember being terrified as a kid because I thought my pulse beating against my pillow was the sound of wolves hunting me – and that always led to some scary nightmares!

  • Beverly says:

    Your dreams sound so realistic and spooky.
    I seldom dream and if I do I never remember it. I often wish I would dream, but for some reason I don’t.

    • I can’t even imagine what it would be like to dream, Beverly. I didn’t dream a lot when I was pregnant (and some people dream more when they’re pregnant), so I got a taste of it.

  • Mary Waibel says:

    I dream nightly, but haven’t had any nightmares in awhile (thank goodness!) When I was a teen, I had a dream that my friends and I were at the ranch like place, but then I ran home and I could hear an announcer voice-over say “the angel of death” just as this guy appeared behind me. Still gives me the shivers to this day to think about it.

    I’ve never had a lucid dream, but I’ve had some story ideas come from them!

  • I, too, have lucid dreams (though I keep forgetting to try to control them). My nightmares are horrid. For years, my recurring nightmare was driving off a tall bridge into a massive river. Now, I STILL dream of missing final college exams, though I’ve been out of college for years. I also dream of long-dead relatives and trying to save them or of my children and horrid creature. Whatever the nightmare, the solution is always beyond my abilities.

  • Mirka Breen says:

    So many of the dreams you & the comments describe seem to come from images we get from stories and movies. But the general existential fear of extinction, and anxiety, are at the root.
    When I was four I had a recurring dream of numbers. They got bigger (not in size, but in numeration) until I woke up crying. My mother remembers me sobbing, “A Million! A million!”
    If I believed in past lives, I’d think I may have been a gambler who lost his shirt…

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