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So again, I find myself working on a new writing exercise with a topic given to me by one of my friends on FB. I am finding it is forcing me to be creative and think about what it is I want to say…and apparently my next writing exercise is to revolve around cauliflower, but I digress.

Dreams: the window to your inner soul where all your darkest fears reside. Honestly, I can do without dreams. I am not a fan of them, as they end up showing all the things each night I fear the most. I would have dreams where I would break out in a cold sweat, panting for breath. I hate it. My dreams caused me to become an insomniac at the age of 13. The worst part was, they were induced by an every day over the counter sleep aide: melatonin.

I had already been having some issues sleeping soundly due to the fact I had just started public school again after 6 years of homeschooling. That was stress inducing in and of itself. So a friend of mine who was in her later 20’s asked my mom if it was ok for me to take some melatonin as it was over the counter and non habit forming. Having gained consent, I began taking it. Lo and behold, I was able to sleep. And about three days later, the dreams started.

Wildly disturbing dreams. Dreams where my step dad at the time (Papa) was screaming at me and threatening to disown me if I told his secrets. Dreams of my family being shot in the abdomen and bleeding out while I held them, the EMTs being unable to do anything to help or just stood there watching with pity in their eyes. Dreams where I was all alone in dark blankness. Dreams where I was stuck in mud and unable to run away from people who wanted to hurt me. Worst part is, I ALWAYS dream in color. Apparently, most people dream in black and white, but I can’t recall a single dream where this applies to me.

But as I have grown older and come to terms with some of my insecurities, I have realized a theme. Pain, abandonment and loneliness. I have gone over and over these dreams, especially when I wake up in a blind panic and gasping for air with tears streaming down my face. Why, when I have a mother and siblings who love me so dearly, am I afraid so much of being so alone? I still don’t fully understand it, and doubt I ever will.

There has only been one thing I have ever discovered that took the night terrors away completely to where I wouldn’t recall a single dream. Marijuana.  When I discovered this, it was as if I could hear the angels singing in the sky the first morning after. And then, all I could do was fantasize about sleeping. Sleeping without dreams, or at least no memories of them if I did.

I became hooked, and then I started grossly abusing marijuana. I didn’t care because I was trapped in such a loop of self denial and self hatred, my only respite came from being able to sleep at length without waking in a cold sweat. I eventually ended up quitting smoking, and it sucks. The night terrors have come back, and the repercussions effect my daily living. When I don’t sleep, depression sets in, my job performance sucks. My personality hits a low fairly regularly, and I am powerless to stop it. While the night terrors are not quite as bad as they were as a late teen, they can still get pretty bad. Mostly, I end up waking up before I start crying and am able to calm down.

As soon as Kansas legalizes it though, I will be one of the first people at the doctor’s office to sign up for a hemp card. I know my family frowns upon it, but it helps me function if I smoke right before going to sleep. I can actually wake up refreshed and not worry because I got a good night’s sleep.

In the meantime though? I just have to keep praying the Lord will keep me safe and help me deal with my issues in the waking hours so I don’t have to experience nightly trauma when I am utterly defenseless.