UNITED STATES—We all have nightmares, and for many of us that nightmare is the result of something that transpired the day before. Yes, a lot of people may not know this, but the simple thought about something just for a mere second cause you to dream about it. I do believe to a degree that positive thoughts can cause you to dream about good things, but sometimes the mind is a funny thing and picks and chooses what you dream about based on what transpired that day, that week, that month or that year.

I want to share a tale with you about two nightmares I’ve had in my life. The reason this is of such importance to me is the fact that I recall both of these nightmares with such vivid imagery and detail. With most nightmares you tend to forget it as the day progresses, but with these nightmares I couldn’t shake. The first that I will share is one that happens a few years back because it was the one nightmare that had me breaking a sweat, waking up in a fever and nearly in tears. Why? It felt so visceral and real; it unnerved me and I wasn’t certain why it transpired to begin with.

Something tragic happened in my nightmare, where for some reason I had got into a major argument with my wife and the relationship was not in a good place. I just remember a ton of screaming and just anger. I’m fuzzy with the detail on what happened next, but I just remember being in the car with my son and out of nowhere someone crashed into my vehicle. I’m unconscious, I don’t know what transpired, but I start to wake up and my face is a bloody mess, the car is a wreck. I’m in an instant panic as I’m worried about my son, the car is flipped over, I’m looking in the back seat, and I see his bloody face and body. I immediately get out of my seatbelt and crawl to my son to retrieve him from the car.

I’m screaming for help as I hold his lifeless body. I am screaming to the top of my lungs for help and I’m in a panic in tears, my gut tells me my son is dead and there is no one around to help. I was shaken and it hurt me to the core. I wake up jittery; there is one problem with all this madness. I’m not married and I don’t have any kids. I didn’t understand the nightmare and what it was saying to me. It shook me and that is a nightmare I have never forgotten since it transpired.

My second nightmare was something that transpired this past week, this was another visceral one. Some of the details are quite murky, but I do recall the important details. Why? I recall I was visiting a family member and out of nowhere, before entering their home I was accustomed by 2-3 individuals trying to rob me. I gave them everything I got, but it was not enough, they shot me several times. I was shot once in the leg, once in the upper chest and once in the lower side by my stomach. The culprits disappear, as my family member comes out in a panic and attempts to bring aid to me. I’m screaming, yelling for help, and it seems nothing is transpiring.

Before you know it, in the back of my mind I can sense that my life is slowing dissipating. I’m dying, I can feel it and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I’m yelling like never before, and I don’t think it was just the pain of the gunshots; it was that notion that I felt death was nearing me. It scared me and I didn’t like it one single bit. Again, I’m having a nightmare about death and loss of life that is so vivid that it rattles me to the core.

So the question that comes to me as someone who majored in psychology as an undergraduate is WHY? I wish I could deliver an answer for that, but I can’t. The only thing that pops into my mind is the recent news that I have watched where it has been story after story after story about people being robbed, fatally shot or killed. It was never-ending and not a good feeling one single bit. Is it the notion that I recently attended two funerals for close family members in the past year, in less than two months apart? There are a ton of things running through the mind, and that is the thing about nightmares or dreams: we don’t know the actual catalyst that causes us to dream about what we dream about.

All I can say is that we all have bad nightmares, but it’s different when you have one that rattles you to the core that you cannot forget about. That is indeed scary and it leaves you wondering far longer than you ever imagined.

Written By Kelsey Thomas