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October 12, 2011

Anxiety Dreams

Margaret Maron

Images-5 I’m late for my Spanish exam.  The class starts in ten minutes and I’m on the wrong side of campus.  Plus I cut the last three classes and haven’t studied at all.  Plus, I’m not sure what building the test is in.  I spot a classmate, but he disappears, so I keep running in the direction I think he was going.  I’m going to flunk!  I’ve never flunked a course in my life, but I’m going to flunk this one.  I’m going to lose my scholarship.  Only, where is the damn building?



This is when I usually wake up.  This is when I realize that I never again have to take a Spanish exam as long as I live.  But I do have to turn in a book in three weeks and I’m still 20,000 words short.  From here till then, I’m going to be running across campus every night in my dreams, in a panic because I’m late, I’m late, I’m LATE! 



But at least I no longer have the elevator nightmare.




I walk into an ordinary building and push the elevator call-button.  It arrives, it’s empty, it’s self-service.  I step inside and push the floor number.  The doors close and immediately the elevator morphs into the elevator from hell.  The top of the cage is open and I can see the cables and pulleys in the concrete shaft. They all look old and ready to break.  I can't trust it. The walls become brass accordion gates and the floor is nothing but rough-hewn boards with big cracks that let me see how bone-crushingly far I’ll fall if the cables give way.  Everything shakes and rattles.  I push buttons, desperate to stop at any floor, never mind the one I wanted.  I’m totally terrified and I awake in a gibbering lump of fear.

After suffering from this dream for years, I finally investigated nightmares and read somewhere that the dreamer can take charge.  At the time, I was skeptical, but the next time the elevator doors closed and the walls and roof started to disappear, I said in my firmest dream voice, “That will be quite enough of that.  Stop it!”  And darned if the elevator didn’t settle down, return to normal and take me to the floor I wanted without a single incident. Nor has it ever returned.

Unfortunately,  no puedo hablar español and I haven’t been able to persuade my Spanish exam to go away when I’m racing toward a deadline.

What’s your worst anxiety dream?


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Margaret, the final exam one is my worst. And actually I did forget to write the final paper for one class -- for real. My brain doesn't always work as expected. Fortunately the professor's doesn't either. When I asked her about it she said she noticed it wasn't there and figured she'd lost it, so she gave me an A. That never happens in my dreams, though. Im trying to figure what kind of rescue there could be for that, as you did in your elevator dream.

I never once had a dream about failing in school or being naked in school (a common one, I'm told) or forgetting where my classes were. This is probably because I never really gave a damn about school. School bored me to tears most of the time.

I have had many anxiety dreams about friends and family (human and otherwise) being in trouble and I can't help them. Something always gets in the way. I wake up pretty shaken by those dreams.

I almost never have dreams where I'm personally in danger.

My first few years of teaching always began with the "naked at school" dream. Once those subsided, I can't say I've had any other recurring anxiety dreams. The thing I find strange about my dream life is how active it is. Each morning I wake up remembering 4-5 different dreams. I guess even in the still of night, my mind is running full tilt on its little hamster wheel.

Before I answer your question, Margaret, I FIRST want to say Hurray!! I can look forward to another book by Margaret Maron!!

I still have the final exam nightmares. The exam is nearly always for a course that I never, ever would have even considered taking, and certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with my major. Sometimes I dream that I have THREE finals in courses that I'd forgotten that I was taking, all of them in the sciences: astrophysics, etc. (I have a liberal arts degree.) Around a month ago I had another final exam nightmare. In the dream I reminded myself that I graduated from college decades ago and that "this is just a nightmare; relax."

Another common nightmare I've had over the years is that I witness an accident, run to the nearest pay phone to call 911 (this was before cell phones), and the phone doesn't work. Or I dream that I have a personal life-or-death emergency, need to use a phone ASAP, and my fingers keep fumbling, and I can't make the call.

And back when my sister was constantly suicidal (and sometimes homicidal as well) and my siblings and I were frantic with worry about her, and trying to convince her to get help, I frequently dreamed that she was drowning, my siblings and I were trying to save her, and the lifeguards were standing on the beach, watching us, and laughing.

I had the late for class, didn't study, nearly naked in school dreams all the time when I was younger. My grandmother had an old doll that was about 3 feet tall, and it wore a little pink slip dress. In my naked dreams I was wearing that little dress, and it didn't even come close to covering anything. I also had recurring bridge dreams, where the bridge we were on started out huge and high and gradually got smaller and lower until it was just a cattle guard (pipes spaced several inches apart) that disappeared into the water 10 feet from the other shore. We always drove off the side of the bridge. My most disconcerting anxiety dreams had to do with teeth or hair falling out. They were especially bad because I felt like it was real. Bridges were creepy and naked in class was embarrassing, but when I woke up I knew they were dreams. Falling out teeth lingered afterward.

I'm surprised that I haven't had any of these recently. I've certainly had a lot of anxiety in my life lately, but my dreams have been about real things that are making me anxious.

I have separation dreams - usually I'm in an unfamiliar city (or even a large house) with spouse, family or friends and suddenly we get separated. Since I'm prone to NOT pack my cellphone even when I'm awake, I never have it on these nocturnal adventures. I hunt and hunt, and never find them, and wake up anxious and exhausted. One good side to sleeping pills is I rarely dream, or if I do I don't remember them.

Thanks, Deb, but it sounds as if you were living the nightmare for a while. Hope your sister made it through.

Interesting about the bridges, Sandi. I hate driving over tall bridges and hope reading about your dreams won't trigger bad bridges in my own.

Cindy and Doc - those dreams about our dearest in danger are the worst, aren't they? Being late, not having studied - those we can blame on our own failings, but not when we wake up crying because we witnessed the death or near-death of someone we love so deeply. There really ought to be an OFF button for those dreams.

Reine, I had to laugh about how you got that A.

Oh, anxiety dreams! On Sunday I dreamed I was stuck in the basement of an enormous house--with my sister---and we kept trying all the escape routes to get out. Couldn't find the right door and/or all the possibilities were blocked. Can you tell I'm trying to outline a new book??

Best of luck with those 20K, Margaret. Bring Daddy on the page! I think he's up to something. ;-)

Oh, Margaret, yes, I have EXACTLY the same dream. In several variations: the test I didn't study for, the meeting I can;t find, the assignment I lost or forgot. Horrible, stressful, tooth-grinding dreams.

It's kind of..disappeared. And you know when? I had a version of it, one night, where I was in a musical play and didn't know the songs or the steps.

In the dream, I said to myself: "this is a dream. It doesn't matter. And even if it's real, I DO know the songs and the steps."

And yay, your book! You're almost done! I have SIX PAGES of mine..so count your blessings!)
And that was that. (I wish that confidence translated to real life...hmmm.)

I know I'm weird because I love nightmares. Being stuck in an impossible situation, making silly attempts to find a solution, it's all the same as waking life to me. And I always seem to know it's a dream so I just go with it. If I'm really stressed about something I can't sleep at all. The dreams I hate are the ones where I have a conversation with someone so real that it gets stuck in my memory as something that actually happened. Those dreams can be trouble makers.

I dream there is something wrong with my mother and I can't help her. She is either sick and gives up and dies or she is just plain dying and no matter what I say or do, she slips away. Guilt much? I really couldn't save her and was the one to tell the doctors, no, she doesn't need that test or that equipment, she just needs to die.

I used to dream about teeth. My teeth would be crooked and start to fall out or I would touch one and it would start this cascade of loosening teeth, all of them eventually falling into my throat where I would choke and gag on their pointy roots. I read that dreaming of teeth falling out means you're dreading something. I don't know if that's true, but I don't dream that now that I have my mom dreams instead.

A constant nightmare throughout my childhood through my college years was "The Tornado Dream". In this dream. and variations thereof, there was always a tornado coming towards me and I couldn't get away or find shelter. Once I learned how to direct my dreams I no longer had this dream.

After college I started dreaming about high school. Not about exams, homework, or friends as you might expect. No, these dreams centered around me wandering around trying to find my locker. I just could never seem to find it. In another variation of the dream I knew where my locker was, but I just couldn't remember the combination to open it. Always questing never reaching the goal, that's me.

I haven't had the locker dream in a few years, that I know of. It's rare for me to remember any dreams these days since I started using the C-pap machine at night for my sleep apnea.

Three dreams I do remember which are related in theme, but have different locations and people, are those in which I murder someone. There is always a person who is trying to harm my daughter or myself. Somehow I always have a shotgun in this dream and blow the person away.

Deb, before pushbutton phones, when we all had dial phones (I know, old, old), I had recurring nightmares of trying to summon help, but dialing all the wrong numbers. Those darn things were so easy to misdial!

The summer when my youngest was nearly three, she was utterly fearless in water. We had a small wading pool and she would lie back, with her eyes open, and look up at the sky from underneath the water. So often that I had to actively watch what the little dickens was doing, every second. It was the most terrifying thing, to see those big blue eyes looking up from under the water, and I started to have nightmares about it. However, in my dreams I couldn't stop her.

A friend was getting a Masters in psychology and had taken a course on helping people into deep relaxation and guided mental exploration (she stopped short of calling it hypnosis, but I think that's what it was). We had a session, in which she determined that the dream meant that my inner child was in danger of drowning. This made SO much sense. At the time I had a two-year old, a five-year old, and a 19-year old college student living at home, and my husband was in Alaska all that summer, working for National Geographic on a film, and I had my hands full. There was utterly no time for me in that mix.

Once I figured this out, no more nightmare.

Margaret, I'm with Nancy. Isn't Daddy always up to something?

Oh, I hate the final exam dream! In fact, I had it last night. In one variation that's become more common lately, I remember that I have already received my degrees, but then realize that they can be taken away if I don't pass the test! A related nightmare is showing up to teach completely unprepared for class. Ugh.

The other common anxiety dream I get is that I'm driving, take a curve too fast, and go flying off the road. I tell myself it's a dream, but something tells me it's not. Ugh some more!

I wonder what it's like to live so anxiety-free that these dreams never come??? :)

Amy, I occasionally have the teeth dreams too!

Mine are the classic actors' nightmares: either I'm onstage naked, or I'm onstage in a play that I never even knew had an Act II, much less read the thing, much less memorized the lines. And some stage manager is screaming at me, "Oh, just suck it up! Go out there and ACT!"

I used to have the Waitress Nightmare. I'm the only one who's working the restaurant, my station has 57 tables in it, and they all fill up at exactly the same time.

But in my current nightmare, I think, "I'm supposed to be taking medication! But what kind? Is it a pill? A shot? What is it?!" This comes from the old days of trying to get pregnant. But I have 3 kids now, so I think the dream could maybe stop.

I have the final test dream a lot, but usually there is a twist. In one dream I had to retake American History. I never went to class b/c I had gotten an A the first time, but when I got to the class I discovered I had to do the answers in the form of a quilt (!). Everyone else was sewing away and I sat there with a needle and thread and felt hopelessly lost. I've also had dream I was in pottery class and I had to make a sculpture. I'm hopelessly uncrafty in real life so I think that's why my anxiety manifests itself that way.
I had a dream just last night that it was the day of the 2012 election and I was about to vote, but realized I didn't know anything about the local candidates and felt horribly guilty. I was relieved to wake up and realize the election was still far away.
The absolute worst reoccurring dreams where when I was in a job I hated but had to stay in. In the dream I was laying in bed asleep and someone would come into house and start moving around and getting into my things. I would try to sit up or scream. Anything to let them know that I was aware they were there and they had to get out. But I was completely frozen and unable to talk. I felt angry, helpless, and scared all at once.
Worst dream ever. When I could finally quit the horrible job? The dreams stopeed.

Peach, like you remembering dreams stopped when I started using the C-PAP.

Real life worries have pushed the make believe worries out. Unemployment and how I was going to feed my kids was scarier than having a pistol in my face. Still is.

In college, I did skip psych class often enough to not know that the teacher cancelled the final. I really did walk into an empty classroom at the time the final should have been. The teacher gave me the option he gave everybody else, take your grade now (mine was a B) or take the final.

My class before psych was Flight IV. That "classroom" needed to land and then I needed to walk the two miles from the airport to class.

I have those naked teeth falling out test dreams all the time. I find myself wanting to go back to sleep for just one more dream like Leonardo De Caprio.
The worst one is forgetting the choreography. That actually happened.
I was on the faculty for St. Cloud University Summer Stock. The dean's daughter picked me up and was to drive me up to the campus except we had an almost fatal accident. I had a concussion and could not remember anything so I'd write down what I had to do each day and wake up do it and run to rehearsal to teach the dance. I told the kids to remember the steps because it would be outta my head the next day.
The first musical was The Boyfriend. Cute stylized and adorable, we did it every fourth show all summer. Then we had a fundraiser back at the University at the end of August and one of the girls got an ear infection and could not stand up without falling over let alone dance. I had one run through.
Luckily the kids guided me through enough not to have anyone BUT ME notice I didn't have a clue what I was doing.
Talk about a living nightmare.
If a dream looks like it's going to turn bad I do change the outcome. Sometimes the ending sneaks up on me and I have to wake up like a cat clawing the ceiling scared to pieces. Well that's usually a sign I need to lighten up.
I usually go brush my teeth.

Sewing as a nightmare? How funny, Jill. But it does make sense if crafts intimidate you.

Harley, I'm not an actress, but I've had those "don't know my lines" dreams, too. We need to start channeling Hank!

All these teeth nightmares! Thank goodness that's one I've escaped. (So far!)

Karen, it's funny that you and Nancy both think I ought to give Kezzie some lines in this book. I had Deborah invite him for supper thinking it was just going to be a warm and fuzzy marking-time scene. I honest-to-God did not know he had some pertinent info about the plot until he opened his mouth and started talking. I may not like the dreams my subconscious digs up but I do love it when it give me a gift like that!

My aunt, the shrink, says teeth dreams are often rage dreams--you want to bite somebody, but you know it's wrong so your teeth crumble and prevent you from biting the people who deserve it. I came home from a mystery conference once and dreamed over and over about biting a fellow author---a perfectly delightful women who's sweet and funny and doesn't deserve to be bitten by anyone. My aunt insists I was mad at her for some reason. I haven't been back to that particular conference since!

Kezzie, aaah. My favorite character. I think he still has something cooking on the side, Margaret. Just saying.

I've had "warning" dreams -- once when I put a deposit on an apartment, I dreamed I was living there and someone was trying to break in. I told the manager that my current landlord wouldn't let me out of my lease, and he returned my deposit. I didn't want to admit to acting on a dream, but a friend living in the building told me there was a burglary of that apartment just a month later.
I haven't had the frequently recurring dream of driving down a steep, slippery slope since backing away from a steep, slippery, dark street when trying to get my nieces home from the Rep in a snowstorm. "I recognize this hill," I told them, "and we are not going down it." I got everyone home safely that day.
I used to dream I was frantically searching for my classroom, detouring to downtown Minneapolis and then to a park -- my last year of teaching, I decided the students would be fine and stayed in the park . . .
In college a recurring dream of being kidnapped always ended with my campus activist friends coming to rescue me, until I took Tai Kwan Do and defeated those dream enemies. One head turned to potting soil and I potted houseplants . . . weird, but the dream never returned.
I remember one odd dream from childhood, about someone throwing a green Crayon that turned into an alligator . . . probably after seeing some scary movie.

Storyteller Mary, I guess knowing the origin of the dreams might help and just thinking about it now has made me remember the genesis of my nightmare. I couldn't have been more than three. My mother and I were in a department store and the passenger elevator was broken, so we had to go up in the freight elevator. To a three-year-old it was a nightmare. I always hated the elevators in the Trade Towers. Weighted with 15 or 20 people, it was probably okay. But to go up alone during non-rush hours was unnerving the way the cars swayed and rocked.

I hope Nancy P. weighs in with the dream that warned her of impending danger, too

Margaret, that would definitely terrify a toddler. Thank goodness it stopped.

It's so weird, how fictional characters lead their authors around by the proverbial nose. What a strange world you all live in!

Kezzie ftw!! You know I love him, Margaret. It's hunky-dory with me whenever he shows up with his rascal self.

This is a fascinating day at TLC today. I'm really impressed with how many of you can consciously change your dreams. I've tried and tried all sorts of techniques to "awaken" inside dreams and have been successful only twice, and those were "nothing" dreams. Maybe y'all will inspire my subconscious to get competitive with you!

Margaret, you want my warning dream? I've actually had a few, but the really dramatic one was the one that warned me against a man who, a few years later, killed two people and himself. I had just met him the day of my dream, and then that night I dreamed of a man who came into my house and stood right next to my bedside, gun in hand, deciding whether or not to kill me. I woke up absolutely terrified and unable to tell, at first, if it was a dream or had really happened. It was so real!

I didn't know it was about him until a week later when I was supposed to meet with him again. I somehow "forgot" to go. When I realized I'd missed the meeting, the knowledge flooded in on me that I was really scared of him. I didn't know why I was, but I also realized my dream was about him, and I decided to trust my dream, and so I never was anywhere around him again.

Then one day I opened the morning newspaper and his photo was on the front page along with the article about how he'd killed his lover, his business partner's wife, wounded his business partner, and then killed himself.

Chills. Gratitude to my deepest intuition and to my dreams!

Nancy P, we are also grateful to your intuition and dreams!

Your story made me shiver.

I don't have the exam anxiety dream, largely due to having lived it in 9th grade when I got the dates of my latin exam and algebra 2 exam mixed up. Having managed an A- on the latin exam with no preparation whatsoever, surprise exams are not a source of anxiety dreams.

Unfortunately, about 6 years ago, I had to have my wisdom teeth out, as well as having to have a crown put in and some other dental work. The need for all the dental work ws discovered when I snapped one of the wisdom teeth in two while brushing my teeth (I think this counts as irony). The dentist said he needed to do the crown first because it was on the verge of becoming a root canal situation, and that the extraction of the wisdom teeth would have to wait and since they were coming out anyway, it wasn't that big of a deal if more pieces came off (I think he was somewhat joking, or at least trying to make me feel better about the situation).

While waiting for all the dental work to be completed, I had the recurring teeth falling out dream, in which I would be frantically trying to stick them back in. The worst was when I would dream that I had woken up, only to have the the teeth start falling out again because i wasn't really awake, at which point i would actually wake up. This is still the anxiety dream I end up having when I remember my dreams, which isn't often, fortunately.

I still have the going-to-flunk dream every once in awhile, but the dream that really bothers me is the labyrinthian-house dream. In it, I'm always late for the airport. I'm about to leave, take off, just go, but I can't seem to get my suitcase packed. I'm running around gathering up my things like a crazy person. The labyrinthian house is twisty and surreal and filled with random folks from my past, like high school, who waylay me in different ways. When I have this dream, I know something I've been ignoring is truly causing me anxiety.

Have to admit, I wouldn't mind having an anxiety dream caused by a book deadline. :-)

I have the school dream, and the tornado dream, and the dream where there's an emergency and I keep dialing the wrong number.

The worst dream I have is one that has been recurring since childhood. Someone I know and trust morphs into someone evil who wishes to do great harm. I watch their face change, and then they come after me. I learned to tell it was a dream because something would be out of place in a familiar location, and I now wake up when I have it. I've also screamed at it a few times and it has gone away. It's always during very stressful times.

Karen, my telephone nightmares began when I was in college, back in the 1960s, when all phones were still rotary dial - and that was definitely part of my "problem" in the dreams! I could NOT get that dial to go all the way around! Eventually, many years later when I had a push-button phone I thought to myself "good! Now I'll never have a phone nightmare again!" Well, I was wrong!

Margaret, my sister has had more health problems, both physical and psychological, than any person should have. She's deteriorating rapidly now from MS (which initially brought on her suicidal thoughts around 15 or 16 years ago and continued for a long, long time), but emotionally she's better, for the most part. She's still out of touch with reality much of the time, sadly. I still have nightmares about her safety, although they're of a somewhat different nature now. (She is living safely in a nursing home now, where she receives excellent care.)

I love Deborah's daddy, too! I always worry that you're going to kill him off with a stroke or heart attack, since he's not such a youngster anymore. He is someone I would LOVE to know more about!

I've had the tornado dreams, too, thanks to the Wizard of Oz. They finally stopped when I was around twenty years old. Then I took a trip to Indiana (1973), just in time for a tornado warning,and they returned! I probably still have one or two a year.

I have roller coaster nightmares: I'm in a roller coaster and it goes off the track. I'm falling...wondering if I will lose consciousness before hitting the ground...wondering whether or not I will die and worrying about how painful it will be... and then I wake up.

There is one really nice dream that I have from time to time, although it starts out as a nightmare. In the dream, I realize that I must run somewhere for safety (either from a storm or a human villain of some sort). I end up running to an ancient duplex house (built in the late 1800s)that my family actually lived in when I was in high school. We moved there from a somewhat dangerous neighborhood where we had lived from the time I was 2 years old. I always loved that house, and it is the one place where I have previously lived that I really miss. I think it probably represented safety to me. My parents bought a house when I was in college, so we didn't really live in that house for very long. In my dreams, it has been fixed up and modernized but still retains a Victorian character. Gosh, how I miss that house!

Deb, I'm going to try your idea about reminding myself in the dream that I already graduated. Maybe tht will end those "missed deadlines" dreams. Great tip!

I have falling dreams, Margaret -- I'm afraid of heights.
Remember the movie "Secret Agent" with Val Kilmer, where the guy is in high school and he hasn't studied for his exam. Then he wakes up and is relieved to discover he's only being tortured by the Nazis?

I'm a trained psychotherapist, and dream interpretation can be tricky. The naked dream is usually about fearing that people will see that you are not prepared, and "see" what a fraud you are. The exam dream is another version of that. Once I had a very disturbing dream. A friend of mine said that I should try breathing quietly and telling myself "you'll be okay, you'll be okay." I had an amazing experience of flying and touching the finger of Michelangelo's David. I felt much better. I also used to tell clients to confront the dark shapes taunting them by telling them to go away ( in more ways than one ). There is a lot of work being done on controlling one's dream, so we're not that far out.

Ah, Lisa! I've had that haven't-packed, need-to-leave dream, too.

Elaine, I have a fear of heights -- I can get vertigo just trying to walk a plank over a small stream. Luckily, that's never been one of my nightmares.

Oh, dear. What if our collective fears start triggering more nightmares??

My stress dreams are always about me working in a restaurant, and the tables are starting to fill up. I'm trying to get to each table, and more and more people come in. The first couple tables are mad at me because they are waiting for their food, and I am trying to take drink orders for the new tables, and I can't get drinks, and the food is late, and more people are coming in...Argghhh! I am now stressed just thinking about my stress dream.

I've also had the late-to-class dreams but those aren't as frequent as the restaurant ones. Am I to interpret those as I have too much on my plate? pun intended!

Lora, sounds like that "Diner Dash" game, which I have now taken off my iPod Touch.

Lil, I love your ideas. I was a licensed psychotherapist in Massachusetts (trained in family therapy at Cambridge Hospital). We didn't do any dream work there - at that time, anyway. I want to know more about it since hearing how others have had success with simple "behavioral" techniques. When I moved on to a different setting, I extracted myself from doing cognitive behavioral work, because I believed it was being used inappropriately.

And I love the thought of your Michelangelo pointing dream . . . wow. Really, wow.

Yes, rotary dialing!! ALWAYS! A dream that will soon be anachronistic...and soon, there will be no one left who'd even have it. Well, not SOON, I guess.. I mean, there probably used to be people who dreamed that they were trying and trying to crank up their car, but it wound;t start..

And teeth, yes, indeed. That my teeth are falling out. ALL THE TIME. Surprise surprise. Now I just tell myself it's not real.

How about getting your hair cut--and then you realize it was a big mistake?

Packing for a trip is in itself a nightmare. I'm so jealous of the people in old movies who just tell the maid "pack for 10 days in . . ." wherever glamorous spot . . .
I had a dream once that I was teaching and my favorite substitute came in asking, "Why are you still here? You're supposed to be on a trip." (plane leaving in 30 minutes) "Go home and pack!" (we were suffering through road closings)
"But I can't get home from here." I packed three days early for that trip, just to stop the nightmares.

Oh no! The teeth dream! I'd forgotten!

Okay, NancyP's warning dream is weirding me out. But what a book it would make!

OK when I've had a teeth falling out dream, it turns out someone I know is pregnant. In fact, I knew my sister was pregnant before she did because I had "the dream".

Lora! Teeth falling out = pregnancy? And yet . . . I once asked my young son what he thought the tooth fairy did with all those baby teeth she redeemed. "I think she puts them in the mommy's tummy so the baby will have teeth when it's born."

I had the teeth falling out dreams all the time until I started wearing a night guard to stop clenching my teeth. I think it was just the pressure that triggered the dream. Same with dreams when I desperately have to pee, and do so in the dream, but never feel relieved. When I wake up, I always have to go really bad. (I learned to wake myself up from those dreams, because one time as a little kid, I dreamed I actually felt relief... because I had peed the bed.)

I do still have the can't find locker/classroom/books dreams.

I used to have a recurring nightmare that the house down the block was on fire. As the fire crept closer and closer to my house, I was frantically trying to get everything out of the house to "save" it. When the fire reached our next door neighbor's house, the firemen finally gained control and put it out. I was then left to put everything back. I would wake from this dream exhausted.

I also have teeth dreams - mostly that my teeth explode in my mouth. In reading the posts here I realize that I haven't had this dream since I got my nightguard either.

The worst anxiety dreams I have feel real. I know I am in my bed, I know I am sleeping but aware. I can feel the sheets and the mattress. I've been wakened by the feeling of a body getting into bed next to me and placing his hand over my mouth. I can feel his hand and I can feel the mattress shift and I know that I must completely wake up without letting him know I am awake - my life depends on this. I struggle and struggle, without moving, and when I finally do wake up I am gasping for breath. I think it is the physical sensations in the dream that make it so terrifying.

A psych doc would probably have a field day with these dreams but I think I am just a person with a very active imagination and a substantial amount of anxiety. The next time one of these dreams comes around I am going to try telling myself to snap out of it, so thanks for the tip.

Can't wait for the new book!!!

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