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Losing the Life Within Me

Losing the Life Within Me

Dreams have always fascinated me. Nightmares, on the other hand, have routinely imprisoned me. They terrorize all sanity, causing restless sleep & frantic mind riddles. I described it in a stanza of poetry: “I am obsessing over a fantasy—to avoid this damned reality. I can’t break free; I can’t break free—with these nightmares still enslaving me” (age 16).

Nightmares began with high school at age fourteen & continued through college, age nineteen. I wake up exhausted, despite the number of hours I lay in bed, eyes closed in a desperate attempt to escape the darkness that is my reality.

One time, at age 16, I woke up a total wreck: “I woke up with my pillows tossed everywhere & my cover was twisted backwards. This isn’t the first time it’s happened, either. It happens a lot, actually… I’m a disturbed child. There’s a large bruise on my left knee, & my left eye hurts like crazy as if it were bruised too. I have no idea what happens in the night. It’s scary but cool, ha. I don’t remember any nightmares… but I’m sure I had some; I have some every night. I am just a disturbed little girl.”

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The unbearable, delusional nightmares continued, increasing over the months of tenth grade & becoming more scarring. I still felt exhausted waking up, & the eerie gloom of the nightmares haunted my spirit for the day, lingering in the shadows of my thoughts.

“Nightmares consume my slumbering soul… my unconscious mind is stricken with images of hell & all its horrors. Though I end the night with eleven hours of sleep, I awaken more exhausted than I’d felt before my full night of sleep; I feel like I haven’t slept in several days.”

The intensity of my delusions were increased by the instability brought by lack of proper sleep: “One of the nightmares is me stabbing myself in the heart. Quickly, I awaken, sweating & panicking, my breath raging rapidly & my chest fiercely aching. It feels like I actually stabbed myself during the night. I just wait, expecting to drop dead at any moment. But I don’t. I feel his knife though, my chest still hurting, aching with pains haunted by the fear of evil. It is real; he is real. It’s the first thing real thing I am sure of” (age 15).

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Life was a blur beyond the parallel universe my mind dwelled in. Unable to escape my mind, particularly during the dead of night when exhaustion often overcame me, nightmares continued, as did the haunting presence of evil.

The physical evidence of the nightmares also continued: “Lately, I awaken frequently during the night, body cold, ears hurting. But the pain & coldness are not my reasons for awakening: it is the nightmares that forbid sleep. They are HORRIBLE. This morning I awake, jolting upright. My heart beats rapidly. I feel alone in this battle where no one can hear my screams or see my tears or relate to my sorrows, & this is exactly where he wants me” (age 15).

I often blamed myself for my insanity, convinced that the struggles of adolescence somehow evolved into a demon’s voice haunting my mind, & nightmares plaguing sleep & sanity. I felt I’d dived into a destructive vat I couldn’t escape. Despite the terror, the darkness intrigued me, causing more guilt to develop, for I felt I pursued the darkness & therefore brought it upon myself.

“Sleepiness invades yet my eyes fear shutting. Mind seems a frightful place when consciousness dissipates like a breath within the breeze. I crave mystery to the extent of madness. I slip the weight of the world onto my shoulders, attempting to do some good by handling everything I was never intended to even touch… Have I gone too far?, stepped into insanity?” (age 16).

Have I been drowning in a world too dark to recover from?


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