With our emphasis on nightmares this month of November, I have been considering whether or not to write a blog about my own most incessantly recurring dream. On the chance that it may scare up some dreams for you, I present the following:
My nightmare begins rather innocuously as I am climbing up a flight of stairs. Nothing scary about that. I am able to climb two or three stories and continue on to whatever appointed task takes me up. This is where the dream turns dark for me. For some reason, I must quickly descend the stairway. Sometimes I hear a fire bell and everyone starts running down. Other times, something is chasing me and I am so frightened, I turn to run down. At other times I simply have to go to the bathroom which, of course, is on the first floor.
Several years ago, I had an experience in which I actually thought I had dropped into my most frightening dream. A friend enlisted me to help decorate for her wedding. My job was to wrap the banister of the stairway she and her new husband would descend into the reception hall. I started at the bottom and began wrapping ribbons up the chrome banister, while another friend attached flowers to the bolster at the bottom. In a hurry to get the job done, I proceeded up and up and was almost to the top of the stairs when someone called out to me. Turning quickly to answer, I could see no stairs. I became dizzy as I teetered at the top and rather than fall, I forced myself to sit on the step where I stood. Noticing that I had turned pale and sat down hard, friends ran to my assistance. I sucked in several breaths of air and as my fear subsided, I realized I was staring through a glass side panel below the banister.
This was frightening to me because in my dream, I turn the corner and find that the bottom portion of the stairway has disappeared. It’s fallen, or its burned or some mean person has removed it! I’m often not sure why–it’s just gone! I can no longer descend the staircase but I need to flee whatever horror is causing my decent.
Perhaps this is where I should tell you that in my waking life I have an unreasonable fear of being high up off the ground. No walking across any glass balcony dangling over the Grand Canyon for me! And you will not read about me skydiving on my 90th birthday. When faced with this fear, I tend to lose the ability to breathe. On one occasion, my nails drew blood from the arm of a companion who had taken me to ride on the Space Needle. In my fear, I was unable to let go of his arm as we rose above the city.
The remainder of my dream is spent being terribly frightened and trying to figure out how to get down in spite of the fact that no staircase exists. I cannot see any way to climb down and I cannot force myself to jump to the bottom. My heart is, as one would say, in my throat. I’m so frightened I cry, scream, and beg for help but no one comes to my aid. Thankfully, the dream ends and I am in my bed. Safe, warm, and secure but with a racing heartbeat and rapid breathing.
I have always had vivid color dreams. I have even been in a dream where I decided I don’t have to stay and be devoured by whatever is chasing me. I tell myself, I can simply wake up and escape from the horror. I have never, however, been able to just exit this absent stairway scenario and must wait until the dream ends of its own will.
I think all dreams have a purpose, but I wonder what the purpose of this dream would be? People who seem to know more about dreams than I have told me this dream means I am feeling in over my head or that I feel I’m involved in something beyond my abilities. Having spent a great deal of my career in a high-stress occupation where many people and events were dependent on my capabilities and presence, I tend to believe this explanation.
What is your recurring nightmare? Share it with us in the comments!