Note – This post discusses nightmares as part of my mental health story from 2018 to 2020 and may trigger unwanted thoughts or emotions in those that have suffered traumas. This post is part of a story told chronologically.
When the book arrived, I avoided reading it for some time. I was afraid. Reading a book about unwanted, intrusive thoughts scared me. Wouldn’t reading about having scary thoughts cause more scary thoughts? More nightmares? I started with a less frightening book my therapist recommended: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming OCD.
I read about the blip in my brain that sorts and delivers messages errantly to the important pile rather than to the junk pile. Some people are born with this, the author wrote. Most importantly, I studied the strategy and tricks to defeat the monsters inside my head.
I was ready to fight—or at least I thought I was.
That night, after reading a few chapters from the adult OCD book, I had another nightmare. I was in my house, again in the woods, and two men broke through the door, coming for me with a sharp object. The men were tall and long, with large, distorted heads and bumps on their bodies. Armed with my defense tactics, I told the monsters to leave. But I said it too weakly, and they rushed towards me. I woke up in a sweat.
Though the nightmare seemed like a loss, I didn’t consider it a setback. I told Courtney the story, then said I’d be more prepared if the monsters returned the next night. Before lying down to fall asleep, I told the monsters to f*** off.
They didn’t come. Part of me was disappointed, yet relieved I didn’t wake up in fright again.
On and off for months, I had been sleeping on the couch during the middle of the night. When I woke up in my bed after three hours of sleep, I usually took a comforter and quietly walked downstairs so I didn’t wake my roommate. Day two after the nightmare was like most nights. I woke up, walked downstairs, then went to the couch.
Not long after I fell asleep, the monsters lumbered to the door. This time, however, I didn’t let them break into the house. I said no with more authority. They tried to ram the front door with sharp tools. It didn’t work so they moved to the windows where I saw their faces more clearly. They had yellowish-red eyes.
I didn’t fight back. Rather, I remember letting go. After some time of standing there inside my house near the windows, I left. The monsters also left.
Wow! I defeated them! The techniques worked. I called Courtney later that day and told her how excited I was at defeating the monsters. That night I had a pleasant dream where I walked through fire but exited unscathed. My mind was a sticky mess, but I had tricks in my bag. I stood a little taller that day.
Over the following weeks in June 2019, I had one more harrowing experience as I sought to defeat the enemy once and for all. I’ll share those experiences next week.