The worst kind of bad dream…

We’ve all had bad dreams.  The kind where some horrific thing happens to “your” family… but they aren’t really your family, it’s your dream family…  and you are kind of there as both a character and silent observer.  So you feel the pain, but are also able to be detached.  It’s scary, but it’s not real.  A normal bad dream.


Several weeks ago I had a bad dream.  And not your average, run of the mill, bad dream.  We’re talking the kind of bad dream that keeps you from sleeping for an entire week, and leaves you quaking in bed unable to move because of fear.  Where you wake up and it takes time to realize that it all was a dream, and that your family is fine, you are fine, and they’re all sleeping soundly right next to you.

It was such an odd experience, because it really was unlike any dream I’d ever had before – ever.  I didn’t know it was a dream.  I wasn’t an observer.  I was me.  We lived in our house.  My dream family was MY family.  So when the terror began?  There was no separating myself from what was happening.  I felt it all as if it were real.  And the fact that the dream even followed a real time line, it didn’t jump around, I didn’t change from one person to another…  It really was an odd thing to experience.  Dreams are usually odd, let’s face it, they’re downright weird…  so for this one to play out as if it were really happening was weird within weird.

The dream started with my seeing something in the field near our house.  Even in the dream I wasn’t clear on what I saw.  Just something unusual.  And like in reality, I blogged about it that night.

The following day, government agents showed up at my door, asking about what I’d seen.  They then asked me to come with them to discuss it.  Damon was home with the girl, so I agreed.

It became very unreal as things unfolded…  I was never truly clear on what was happening, but the mounting panic was clear.  Something was going on.  Something terrifying.

We were rushed out in vehicles, a procession led by police, clearing the way.  The sky had become incredibly dark in just a few hours, when it still should have been bright daylight.  I tried to get on my cell to contact Damon and Lily – to tell them to stay inside, in the basement.  Reception was bad, and I could barely hear them.  I knew they were scared.  I tried to tell them what little I knew.  Tried to offer them some comfort.  I wanted to tell them I’d be there soon – even though I had no idea where I (and others) were being taken or what was really going on.  And the phone cut out.

I tried to reach them again, but got dead air.  I couldn’t text.  Couldn’t get internet.  There was no way to get a message to them…  Then there was just a deafening bang, and darkness.

I woke up in a total panic.  Sleep paralysis.  I could barely breathe and I couldn’t move.  I hadn’t felt terror upon waking like that since I was a kid (I used to suffer from night terrors).  But I could hear them breathing in the darkness.  And slowly I got to the point where I could open my eyes and look around.  Saw the light on the alarm clock, the standby light on the tv and the hard drive…   The anxiety didn’t fade, but the panic did.  Slowly.

I didn’t sleep the rest of the night.  I just laid in bed next to Lily and Damon, listening to them sleep.  And I had a difficult time sleeping the rest of the week as well.  Just fitful bursts of sleep – dreamless, but not restful.  Thankfully it wasn’t a repeating dream, but it was so vivid that even now, weeks later, I can recall it with clarity.

I’d never had a dream like that.  Ever.  And I’d always been a very active dreamer (it wasn’t until having Lily-Ann that my brain finally slowed it’s night life).  It really was a crazy ride.  The idea that it was the end, whatever it was…  it was the end…  and I wasn’t there for them, I wasn’t there with them.  It was just so beyond terrifying.



About Tobi-Dawne

Tobi-Dawne Smith is many things to many people... photographer, canine behaviour expert, equal rights activist, green politician, lactivist, intactivist, writer, crafter, dog handler, third wave feminist, etc. But most important in her life is her role as mother to an amazing five year old. Learn more about TD at follow her blog at get to know her daughter at or check out her work at

Posted on May 30, 2012, in Family, Just a Note, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Nightmares stays with us for so long … at time, thank God – haven’t had any for a long time, but they pop up when we are worried about something or something has effected us during the day. Especially when you wake up and don’t know if it’s a dream or not.

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