I've had nightmares in the past that I couldn't wake up from to the point where I was killing myself in horribly violent ways just to wake up, but it would only rewind right back to the beginning...
And I've also I read here that you're eventually suppose to confront your sub-conscious and figure out why it's giving you a nightmare so you can resolve the problem, but in my dreams as a younger kid, I had horribly disturbing faces in my dream that were so scary I would never be able to look them in the eyes and confront them, so I would end up only making myself more scared than before. And it's also natural for me to have a terrifying panic in a dream that I've never felt in waking life, no matter how scary the image or face really is. I don't know if it's really something I want to experiment with...
Bad news: You may have to think about some very disturbing stuff in order to.
As always, the following comes from someone just now learning the science behind dreaming, though I've been a vivid/lucid dreamer my whole life (overactively so, at times).
So, humbly, this is what worked for me, including preface.
From a young age I was followed by a shadow group. No other way to explain. A group/entity of people always out to get me....in mass. I had some horrifying experinces that usually resulted in death if I was lucky. Torture if I was not. I didn't know who to tell, becuase even at a young age I had worked out the fact that not everyone dreamed as intensely as I did. But I had one power that actually held significant weight....my own imagination. For many weeks (maybe months) I would imagine some of my horrific dream scenes. Just as I would imagine the details (and uncovering the shadow memories along the way), I would start to recall the emotion involved at the time of the dream (this is a key factor). Then, again in waking reality, I would go through the scene in my head, over and over, yet change the ending. Yeah, I can't stress this enough....i had to think about some scary stuff, on purpose, until I was fully engaged in minds-eye perspective. It never worked out if I simply imagined a scary image then stomped it out....I had to get into it, I had to explore the emotions as much as possible.
Then, just like the beauty of dream checks, I began to question my surroundings more in my dreams when i was scared or saw these shadow people coming for me.
One night, being chased through an open warehouse, I rounded a corner, right into one of them. He was holding a syringe (they always try to drug me first). I started laughing, because I remembered one of the silly ways I had taken one of these guys out in WR/imagination.....wait! I'm dreaming!!!
"Why are you chasing me?!" The response was not expected. The shadow man laughed and said "now it's your turn!" Then he and his buddies started running away. I think the lesson was more an observation of how a human can take an unknown and immediately convert it to fear. I think the shadow people were representative of fear in general. Didn't have to be specific...just fear.
now I just naturally go lucid whenever I encounter a scary dream object, and in that way, don't technically have nightmares anymore.
I know there can be some very haunting dream visuals out there....but if you can work with them in reality, you can build automatic counter measures when in dreams. It just takes time, patience and imagination.
I hope that helps.
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