I have very lucid dreams, which I gather is rare and occasionally envied. I guess people take substances sometimes to get them.

It’s not all sunshine, roses, and spiritual enlightenment, folks. Often, it has been nightmares. I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from the dreams, which can be wonderful tales, but the nightmares…

The thing about lucid dreams is that you know they aren’t real. This does not make them less terrifying as nightmares, as you still cannot escape. This is worse, I think, than a normal nightmare, because it’s a thing you know comes upon you without the experience of the concept of escape or control. Lucid dreaming is not this way in my experience. I will try to explain.

When my lucid dreams are not nightmares, I do have some control, though it feels often like exploring, being drawn forward to find something new. If you hike or e plies as a hobby, perhaps this will make sense. I could withdraw or change course but I am interested in the path unfolding before me. In nightmares, control is seized from me and I know it.

They are not…slasher movies, gorefests. And yet there is something of that in them. It’s like subliminal messaging. There is a deeper terror in them and all those horror movie staples are only the heralds of it.

Sometimes despair comes on me at night, fear and gnawing worry. It feels like a cousin to those dreams and keeps me awake in as torturous a way as the nightmares hold me in sleep. It feels like it’s mine because they are about concerns I really have- money, the people I love, the future, the past- but it also feels foreign somehow, partly because it just hits me from out of the night even during rather delightfully good periods.

I am Catholic and sincerely so. We are told of the Enemy that “he prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

I do not turn to supernatural explanations for every little thing; my shortcomings are mine, my failures are mine. If I don’t own them, I have no right to my successes, either. I’ve had black thoughts and despair that are definitely mine and ordinary nightmares as well. But these dark moments and those dreams that turn my gift into a trap are either some deep-rooted and buried psychological thing or an attack.

I did not believe that for a long time, for what it’s worth. It seemed silly and even proud. But given no other obvious explanation and being tormented by it, I concluded what I did.

Me, little me who will change no great thing, I am being hunted. It’s one of the great and terrifying truths of human existence: you are being hunted. Even if you don’t believe in God and the unseen world, you must see that ever-victorious entropy dogs your steps.

To give in is worse than death; those nightmares and those dark thoughts promise worse than death, I assure you. You must fight.

As for what sends the hunter away…well, with the nightmares, I wake up. I knew it wasn’t real and having a body makes its blessings known and I wake up. For the despair, I make it go away. In the name of Christ, I demand it leave. I beg also to Him to send it away- that’s fear, that one, running to Aslan in fear. There are worse things to do.

And it goes, to only stop by on occasion and be sent running the same way. It may push the attack again; I am being hunted. Take that all as you will.

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