Category Archives: nightmare

Self-Imposed Deadlines and Creative Night Terrors

I am an excitable person. This is not exactly a shocking admission like “I am the Dread Pirate Roberts” or something, but still. Honestly, I’m so excitable and I get so wound up about even the silliest things, it’s sometimes hard to tell a manic period from “that stop light is wearing a traffic cone hat!”

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I was alone when I took this, giggling and saying, “He’s a wearing a hat!” For some reason, no one would meet my eyes.

For the record, if I can sit back and calmly discuss what I’m thinking about, if I can relax and form a thought, I’m just excited, probably not in a manic place. It also helps if I’m not saying things like “This will be the best thing ever and I will make so much money and no one has ever thought of this before and oh my god I need to buy more crepe paper!” all in one breath.

I’m also a bit obsessive. When I find something I’m passionate about, that I feel good about, or is simply fun, it might overtake everything else for a while.

Enter Nightmares and Laughter.

Everything I’m doing right now involves the word “blog.”

“I need to finish an article for the blog.”
“I need to engage my readers on my blog Facebook page.”
“I need to moderate the thread on my blog Facebook page and delete trolls.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, except for the trolls, I am loving this. I get to do a few of my favorite things that do not involve raindrops on roses; I get to write, talk to people, be an advocate or comfort, make people laugh. The only thing that could make this better is if I wrote an article entirely about Hello Kitty.

I’m totally going to write an article entirely about Hello Kitty.

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It’s done. I just wrote it.

My life pretty much revolves around this blog right now.

But there’s more I want to do that I am ignoring.

• I have two books waiting to be written, one has a working title of “Nightmares and Laughter,” because the content is related to the mission of this page. So, not really a skip through the posies to write. The other is an anthology of scary stories, and since I have never written fiction before, that one will take a while too. But if I don’t start it, I will never finish it. That’s just science.

• I have an idea for a business that could be fulfilling but will take a while to set up and whatnot, and probably won’t pay much. Ain’t that always the way.

• And finally, I want to work on some art related to this blog that I think I could sell without disrespecting my vision.

I’d like to make a living doing this manner of thing if I can. But that won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen if I don’t freakin’ do it.

I’m going to tell you a secret. I wrote an article that I was going to publish yesterday. I wrote it during our heat wave last week, and it was meant to be about how I didn’t feel well, I planned to write it while I was down and talk about that, and how sometimes it’s just hard, but we get through it. And I did write that article. I got it formatted in WordPress, I had all the pictures and the banner set up.

Do you know I actually had nightmares Wednesday night that I had already published it?  I knew it wasn’t good. I reread it and saw that what I wrote was three different articles, including the bones of this one. So I split it up and I’ll finish all of them.

My point though is that I’ve gotten so hopped up on getting articles out that I almost published one I actually had bad dreams about. I never want to publish something below my own standards, I respect all of you too much to do that. Plus I just don’t want my name attached to bad writing.

So I’m neglecting the other projects I want to do.

I love this blog, and I feel good about the mission of it and the hope that I can make a difference in some way. But I’m literally losing sleep to meet an arbitrary deadline.
Another thing that brought me down is that the article was such a Frankenstein’s monster, I immediately thought, “That’s it. My productive spell is over.” My last writing dry spell lasted 25 years, and the idea of having it back only to lose it again was too much.

Then I woke this morning, saw a video about goats that overran a neighborhood, nearly blacked out from laughing, and then immediately found a focus.

This is how I’m going to die.

So my panic has passed for the moment. But while I have some clarity, this is what I’m going to do.

I’m going to take a day “off” from the blog once a week. I’ve even scheduled it because that’s the kind of nerd I am.

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I will try to publish on the Monday and Thursday schedule I set, but if I miss a day that’s fine. I have no editor screaming at me to get pictures of Spiderman.

I would rather be delayed a week than put up something substandard.

This is good. This helps me with my tendency toward “I’m perfect or the world is over.” Babies flyin’ out the door with bathwater, just a big noisy mess.

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I still have that hat!

I love this blog, it means more to me than just words on a page, and I am honored to have each of you come along on this ride.

I promise that I won’t waste your time.

 

The Monsters in Our Minds

I have heard there is a scholarly debate around whether “subconscious” is a legitimate or even helpful term.

I thought I’d peek at this from the viewpoint of an enthusiastic layperson, as pretty much a thought exercise. This sort of thing is fascinating to me, how the mind works, how my mind works, how to better understand and make friends with it. I’m curious what all of you think as well.

What started this was a terrible series of waking dreams and hallucinations I had for a few months last year. I was writing it up to be a three-part article but realized it was outside the scope of what I’m trying to do here, so I’m going to make it a short story instead.  I feel that by writing it out, I take power away from it.  Plus it’s just objectively scary, and I think it could make a good story.

Anyway, these visions stemmed from my own mind, from my own fears and loathing, a creature made real from my subconscious.  It was from that dark, repressed place in the back of our minds where things we haven’t dealt with lurk and wait to leap.

It is part of me, yes, but not consciously, something behind that. Something I can’t control until it’s addressed.

“The unconscious contains all sorts of significant and disturbing material which we need to keep out of awareness because they are too threatening to acknowledge fully.”

https://www.simplypsychology.org/unconscious-mind.html

So I found that the term “subconscious” was being reframed in some circles. That the idea of a separate part of our minds that could hide dark or even dangerous thoughts was essentially the equivalent of “the devil made me do it” and needed to be removed as a concept.  I don’t generally defend Freud, but I bristled at this right away.

 

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“You question me?  I am beside myself!”

 

Many years ago there was a fairly heated debate in one of the bipolar groups I was in, regarding how we refer to ourselves – “I have bipolar disorder” vs. “I am bipolar.”

Although I wrote this off as nit-picky, I do think they each made interesting points.

The pros and cons came down to this; “I have bipolar disorder” indicated that it was not who we are. We are standing next to it, maybe even holding its hand, but it is only part of who we are and does not define us.  But those opposed to it felt it was being held at arms distance, that it showed a degree of shame, as in, that’s not really me, it’s this thing I won’t hold.  This is dangerous, it was said, because it allows for “the devil made me do it.”

“I am bipolar” says I own this, it is part of me and I’m not ashamed.  It is not arm’s length from me, it is part of my being. But those opposed to it felt it was making it too front and center, that it was made to be a defining trait that could become a crutch.

Honestly, I have no dog in that semantic race.  I see the points on all sides, but I think it is a waste of our time.  It seems like an excuse to not deal with bigger issues like, how do I get this creature out before it engulfs me, for example.

But I think that conscience vs. subconscious is valid to look at.  It got me thinking about where our dark thoughts live, and how we disavow them.

This thing I saw even in the daytime, was a clear manifestation of my inner doubts and loathing, feelings of worthlessness and burden. I created it and gave it flesh.  I figured it was those feelings and fears lurking in the box in the back of my rational mind that had been ignored for too long and burst out and had to be destroyed by, in my case, a ritual that involved my husband, incense, a symbol of success (my book) and screaming “Fuck you!  I’m not worthless!” until my throat hurt.  But everyone is different.

The debate around the subconscious, or the Id, as I understand it, involves the arms-length argument.  If I keep my demons a separate part of my mind, I have no control over what happened, in any real way.  In any way that I could stop.

The devil made me do it.

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My subconscious, generally speaking.

I never felt that creature wasn’t part of me, I know perfectly well what it was.  But I also don’t feel good about owning it.  It was so horrible and so present that I was afraid I had lost my mind for good.  I was afraid that it was the beginning of watching myself slip slowly into absolute insanity from which there was no coming back.  I was starting to think that this “thing” would literally kill me.

 

It could not physically do so, but could I die basically of fright?  And if I did, would it essentially be deniable suicide?

But if I embrace it, if I stop referring to my demons as my subconscious, if I remove that word and concept, would that be healthier?  Or would it hurt me more, would it make it too present in which case it could stroll back in faster?  And can that even be done, the way the brain is wired?  We can’t keep all of our thoughts in the fore of our minds, it’s simply not possible, I don’t think.

I don’t have answers to any of these questions, as I said, this is really just a thought exercise.

So many thoughts are bubbling up, so many feelings are being addressed, but so few answers. I will, of course, run all this by my therapist, and I might write another article once we talk about it.  But in the meantime, I want to see what you think about it.  I’ve seen that some of my followers on this blog have initials after their names, I’m always excited to hear professional insight.

Whatever the subconscious is called, however it’s conceptualized, I hope that I have calmed it down for the foreseeable future.  The thing that crawled up my bed, the thing I saw in the daytime, the thing that hated me with fire and wanted me dead, scared the hell out of me.  I would very much appreciate never seeing it again.