October 4, 2020

Happy Birthday, Nightmare

Today is my birthday.

The hundreds of Facebook posts wishing me a happy day will not let me forget.

The only true lifelong friend, my nightmare, doesn’t do anything special for me on this day.

It’s like any other.

Since childhood, my faithful friend, nightmare, has been the only one who doesn’t leave.

The only one who can deal with my needy, emotionally unbalanced personality created by childhood trauma long ago is… nightmare.

Nightmare holds that initial trauma and all the trauma since.

It hides it from my consciousness so it can come to me in my sleep night after night for decades to remind me I was never meant to be born.

I’ve tried everything I can think of to bury or kill nightmare, but it is indestructible.

I’ve used alcohol, drugs, food, self-harm, and nothing ever worked.



I finally dug myself a ditch and climbed down into it, only my dog and my nightmare—no meaningful human connections.

Indeed, no friends. No loved ones.

It was bearable down there for quite some time.

Decades went by. I think.

Yes. Two decades.

Nightmare kept me company with its familiar stories.

Then, something lowered a rope into the ditch.

Nightmare said it wouldn’t matter one way or the other in the end.

I pulled, clawed, and dragged myself out of the darkness.

In the awake time, hope cautiously crept into view.

I tried not to be optimistic.

I know optimism only leads to disappointment and pain.

I underestimated the strength of my desire to connect.

I had thought being alone was natural.

It’s not.

But, nightmare is right. I am not supposed to be around people.

I had to be reminded of my place in the universe by hook or crook.

Nightmare says if I simply stay in my ditch, I will be happiest. Well, what constitutes happiness down there.

I am not supposed to want or expect love of any sort.

Nightmare warned me it wouldn’t matter in the end.

Nightmare is the only one I can ever trust. It’s been with me since the beginning.

It will be with me until the end.

I will not climb out of the ditch ever again.

Nightmare was right.

Nightmare is always right.



Picture 1: “Nightmare Head” by Smabs Sputzer. CC by 2.0.

Picture 2: “I had a nightmare in a glade (two)” by Jared Lynem. CC by 2.0.

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