There are two kinds of people

So I have this recurring nightmare where I’m running away from some unseen dread but I’m always moving in slow motion because my feet are stuck in quicksand, but I recently discovered that in my dream I can grab onto bushes or trees beside me and pull myself forward so that I can run away slightly less slowly and I was telling Victor about this and he looked at me like I was insane because basically I was just proud of finding a way to prolong my nightmare and he was like, “Why don’t you just fight the monster?” and I looked at him like he was insane because 1. there is no monster…there is some unseen terribleness that I’ve never actually looked at because I’m too busy running away from it, and 2. WHAT THE FUCK, VICTOR.

And it was then that I realized that there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who run from monsters in their dreams and those who fight them (WHICH I NEVER EVEN REALIZED WAS AN OPTION) and I think this probably says something about each of us and I’d like to say that this inspired me to turn around and face the nameless dread but I keep having the dream and it never occurs to me to do anything other than postpone the inevitable. Meanwhile, Victor is having dreams where he has claws and a fucking theme song (no joke, y’all) and is killing the final boss every night.

So when my mom was here I asked her if she was a person who fought the monsters or ran from the monsters and turns out she’s had the exact same recurring nightmare as me (and also never looks at the unseen monster) but whereas I’m in a quick-sandy street she’s in a house and there’s a weird smell. And then I was like, “I have questions” because I suddenly realized that I’ve never smelled anything in my dreams and Victor was like, “Huh. I guess I haven’t either?” so I guess there are three kinds of people.

PS. I asked Hailey and they were like, “I’m actually blind in all my dreams. I just sense things and hear them” and now I’ve decided that all bets are off and dreams are just fucking weird.

PPS. Unrelated, but Broken (in the best possible way) just made it to the finals in the Goodreads Choice Awards for best humor book of the year and I know I’m not winning it because there are too many heavy hitters so I’m just going to celebrate being a finalist now. Whoop! Thank you for voting, y’all.

116 thoughts on “There are two kinds of people

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I totally get that running away thing. Only once in my life in my dream have I told my family that I am tired of running and I am going to take a stand, that was when I broke ties with the toxic side of the family.

  2. I also have dreams where I’m running and grab onto handfuls of tall grasses to help pull myself forward faster. Gotta say, I feel better to be your kind of person. <3

  3. Yep, dreams are fucking weird. I have been having realistic adventure dreams, traveling to all these fabulous places as a tourist, but they are all just off. Like last night I visited England for a day before going to Belgium, and we went to the Tower of London to see the dinosaurs. Not fossils, but actual living dinosaurs. *shrugs* I miss travel?

  4. I run. I still remember the time I stopped and looked back. A car pulled up with a family of monsters, and they all smiled at me — in a menacing way. Then I woke up. That dream happened maybe 50 years ago, and I still remember the way they looked. Don’t look back!

  5. I have the slow-motion running dreams. I don’t have quicksand, but I keep tripping and can’t keep my feet under me, so I’m crawling a lot. I have tried sometimes to shape my dreams so I fight the bad things, but then something worse happens.

  6. Broken should win. I have nursed several family members through Alzheimers (grandma, Mom, Dad, aunt, husband) and the opening part where you describe thinking about people when/if you get it in the future makes me sob happy tears and send it to everyone I know.

  7. I’m like Hailey; never can see in my dreams. Typically I know I’m supposed to be somewhere, but I can’t find the place because I’m blind. But sometimes weirdly I’m in the outfield of a baseball game and terrified that I will be hit by a ball because I cannot see it and I wake up with my head tilted back at a weird angle, as if I’m pointing my nose at the sky so that I can smell the ball coming I guess. Dreams are weird.

  8. 1. You need to find Falcore to help you fly away from the Nothing.
    2. On more than one occasion my husband has woken me up because I was snarling and growling. What he didn’t know was that I was snarling and growling because I was squaring off against Pennywise.

  9. I have the running but not really moving/came get anywhere dreams. I don’t know if I’m running from a monster or just a bad person (I don’t look back either). I don’t know if I’ve ever smelt anything in a dream … Will have to try to pay attention.

  10. Sometimes I’m a runner, but often I’m constructing booby traps ahead as I go to catch whatever is behind me, and collecting people as I run until we are a mighty force to turn and fight.

    No theme song though.

  11. My husband, who is a very detailed visualizer in real life, says he doesn’t have any visual images in his dreams at all, he just dreams in “concepts”, like the idea of having a problem at work, but no pictures. I, on the other hand, am terrible at visualization but have vivid dreams which can be complex, have multiple camera angles, theme music, and on at least one occasion, credits at the end. And I don’t even like movies. ( I tell him that I don’t really need to watch movies, because I see them at night, anyway.) I also dream in color and occasionally have had smell, touch or taste in my dreams.

    When I was a kid the other kids used to say that “you couldn’t die in your dreams, you always wake up right before you die, because otherwise you would die in real life.” But I’ve had dreams where I experienced the first half of the dream as a first-person observer and actor, but then died and the second half I was a disembodied ghost only able to observe from above but not interact. I have also been multiple kinds of people in my dreams (a child, an old man, etc.) and once I was a cat and my whole dream was from a viewpoint of about six inches off the ground.

  12. Hailey is blind in their dreams!? I have SO many questions!

    Ever since I was very little I’ve had vivid dreams about natural disasters. In elementary school they were mostly tsunamis and volcanos, now they’re mostly tornados. There was a month a few years back where every night I had a zombie dream but each dream was different – fast, slow, smart, dumb zombies. I definitely looked back (and got eaten a lot).

  13. I do both, run and fight back. “Run” isn’t exactly the right word, though, it’s just slo-mo to nowhere. And fighting back? Well, I can feel myself pulling my fist back and hitting as hard as I can, but it’s like Jello meets Silly Putty when I connect.

  14. Yep, I always run. But now that I’ve started edibles for pain, I have the same dream every night. I’m just lounging around at some resort. You ARE a heavy hitter, Jenny!!

  15. My dreams aren’t nearly as terrible as the waking nightmare of living in the real world these days….

  16. Now I often fight the monster and win. I didn’t used to. I used to run and get stuck in the quicksand, so I decided fuck that shit and now I don’t get stuck. It’s helped me tremendously; I rarely have nightmares anymore unless I watch something scary before bed.

  17. I keep living fictional moments with ex boyfriends where they always make me feel like shit and tell me I wasn’t good enough. No matter what happens, all I can do is stand there frozen and let it happen and then I wake up exhausted and emotionally drained and I spend all day still feeling like the dread is following me.

  18. Was running away from monsters my whole life. Then I met and married an amazing man who has worked on lucid dreaming and he EATS the things that threaten him or others in his dreams. I have learned enough to just recognize a dream and tell it to piss off. Because I know he has my back!
    So yeah, add some more types!

  19. I just remembered that sometimes it’s not quicksand but I’m really in slow motion. I started carrying a crossbow in some of my dreams which is way cool and probably fueled by watching Darryl with his crossbow in The Walking Dead. Sometimes I bunt zombies and sometimes I fight demons with red eyes, but I win. My dog is often with me too. It’s kinda cool and weirdly exhilarating.

  20. I don’t have quicksand or anything slowing me down, but I can’t run. Waking me knows that my physical muscles are paralyzed so I won’t hurt myself in my sleep, but dream me can never figure out why any fast movement is impossible. When I’m relaxed, I can fly. Nothing stops my movement. When I’m really angry or scared, I can’t run or hit or anything. My hypothesis is that’s when the adrenaline is trying to make my real body run or fight, so that’s when I notice I can’t.

  21. I have the recurring “bathroom labyrinth hell dream”, where I really need to pee, but I can’t find a bathroom, or I find it but there’s endless sinks and no toilets, or the toilets are all out of order, or they’re all strange and unusable, or sitting out in public. Of course, I know what this dream means, it means my brain is trying to tell me to wake up and go use the real toilet.

  22. I’m a slow-mo runner, painfully slow…that carnivorous, street-sweeper almost got me a few times. There’s a fourth type of dreamer. It’s a traveler like Ladyfinger. We dream in color, vast amounts of tiny details, we spend more time traveling to real and imaginary places that we get deep sleep, and there’s usually a soundtrack. I don’t remember smells, but I’ve had some great food! My rheumatologist put me on a drug for that, it hasn’t stopped the dreams (thank goodness), but it popped me out of a depressive episode that I didn’t know I was in and I’m really mellow again (I thought it was age-related “get off my lawn” syndrome.

    Ask Hailey if they think in pictures. My husband has aphantasia, he’s mind blind and can’t see anything when he thinks or speaks….doesn’t dream, or at least remember them either….totally fascinating and he didn’t realize that when someone says rose, most of us see a rose in our heads.

  23. I always have that dream where I need to pee and spend hours looking to find a bathroom that is open… or has TP or is remotely clean, or heck is even a suitable tree in the woods, but it’s always elusive. I wake up and go “Thank God the bed is dry” and my husband looks at me and goes “Why wouldn’t it be?” and I say something like “Well you sweat a lot when you sleep,” or if I’m feeling charitable mumble something about hot flashes as I climb out of bed & tell him to sleep a few more minutes and I’ll start the coffee for a change, even though secretly I’m just racing to get into the bathroom ahead of him.

  24. Bad dreams are so weird. I can’t move my legs or my whole body sometimes in my dreams. Nothing physically is bogging me down, it just feels like my legs don’t want to move. I am often dragging myself places, and knowing that it isn’t normal. My dreams are like movies that I see but can’t participate in. I often wonder if that’s because of my Aphantasia, and my blind mind’s eye.

  25. When I have a nightmare, I dream in storyline. I see and hear stuff (sometimes I hear songs). I run & some times I hide from the monsters.

    Have any of you had a nightmare where you were just the watcher but later got chased?

    – E

  26. Broken got my vote and I think you might be surprised at the end of the contest.

    Sometimes I can take control of my dreams and one time I yelled at someone who was dead but was still alive somehow in my dream and I told him “You’re dead! I don’t have to deal with you any more!” But obviously I did have to deal with him because my stupid brain wouldn’t let it go. I hate my brain.

  27. My mom is deaf and I once asked her if she could hear in her dreams and she told me she didn’t know. I had so many questions and she was very little help, lol!

    Once in our early dating years, my husband said I sat straight up in bed, looked at him and said “The end of the world.” He was confused and replied “Huh?” And I repeated it, “The end of the world.” Then I laughed and went back to sleep.

    Also, very recently I told my husband I had a dream in which I was petting his head like a dog. He said “Yeah, I kept having to move over last night because you wouldn’t stop petting me!” Was I petting him because I was dreaming about it or was I dreaming about it because I was petting him?? I guess we’ll never know…

  28. Yes, your bushes and tree are very, very positive!
    I recently had taken up a recurring nightmare scenario in which I can see the bad person(s), know what to do, but cannot scream/yell/talk/act. To such a degree that my husband has twice come from the other end of the house to wake me because I was making weird screaming-with-my-mouth-shut noises. So I did the most logical thing and retired from my job! (I do know what a rare luxury option this is.) No more biting my tongue daily as what was a nice gig gets more and more toxic. And no more paralyzed screaming at night.

    For your tally:
    • Color, music, known compass directions (!), textures of objects – yes.
    • Sometimes I see the villain, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it’s just evil circumstances with no one to look in the face.
    • Smells? I don’t think so. Your mom definitely gets the prize for that one.

  29. I’m always trying to find the best hiding place in my dreams with an unseen terror. And then there are the dreams where I realize I’m dreaming but I can’t wake up. And then I think I’ve woken up only to realize when some next horrific thing happens that I’m still asleep.

    Hard to imagine why I ever sleep at all.

  30. I’m wondering if stopping to fight is more likely if someone has played videogames before? I’ve had recurring dreams of weirdos creeping up on my childhood house (which had no locks on its windows) and I’m upstairs digging through Dad’s gun cabinet but no ammo matches any guns. Cue the dream cutting off juuuust as I hear a window opening downstairs. Never got a chance to fight (but never played many fight-styled video games, either).

    I have had smells before. As a kid I had a dream of climbing up a whole pile of building blocks (the toys) to an archway and once I arrived, I smelled fried chicken. It wasn’t something we commonly had at home.

    The worst was a dream of an extremely realistic active shooter scenario in an old office (years before this became a more common news item), and it was absolutely terrifying. I could barely look my coworkers in the face the next day; I was just remembering which ones were horribly injured in my terrible dream, and never told them about it.

  31. I have definitely done both! I often had dreams where I was trying to contain/fight zombie hordes or slay literal 7-ft demons with a sword when I first started my antidepressants. When I struggle with less pleasant mental illness days I’ll usually have similarly themed dreams.

    Dreams are definitely one of the reasons why I love sleep! I dream in color, pop in and out of characters, have all manner of wild angles, feel things, taste things, travel to far-flung locales, get visits from deceased dogs, and even flew once (so fun!). I’m not sure if there’s ever been a soundtrack before, but now I’ll definitely be on the watch for it! I can sometimes even read in my sleep, which you’re technically not supposed to be able to do, but there ya go, lol.

  32. I take quetiapine for bipolar disorder and let me tell you, my dreams are WILD. I rarely get in fights and don’t recall any monsters, but I did once win a car fueled by tacos for flying an elevator into space then landing in Minneapolis while Prince cheered for me. I also stabbed Zombie Keanu Reeves with my car keys, and stabbed Jack Nicholson on a plane before realizing that he was the person who invented Miss Piggy. That is a lot of stabbing, I know. I probably have about fifty weird dreams saved in my phone notes.

  33. Honestly, I do both. I run away for a while, and then I get fed up with the running, turn around and fight with a stick or some chalk dust (?) or a bunch of rocks. Or sometimes I hover out of reach, just levitating. Dreams are weird stuff.

  34. Cheeeeeers for Broken being a finalist!!! Very well deserved.

    Dreams are really strange. My mom and I talk about that a lot, because we’ve both realized we *never* have dreams that take place in our current residence (wherever that may be at the time), only places we used to live before. I’ve lived in this state since 2002 but I can probably count on one hand the number of dreams I’ve had that have taken place in this state, most of them take place in the state I was born in.

    I also have similar ‘moving slowly in quick-sand-like stuff’ nightmares, and they always follow the exact same pattern: In the dream I ‘wake up’ and need to get to my mom’s room for some reason (either she needs me or I need her) and I try to walk but it’s kind of like both my legs are completely asleep and just won’t respond and I feel like I’m making progress really slowly but I’ve actually barely moved at all.

  35. I have a weird solution that I hit on as a kid. I stop, tell the monster that since this is MY mf’ing’ dream, then he’s the one who better run, and I start chasing the monster.

  36. Slo-mo dream runner here, too. Sometimes I have to physically move my legs with my hands in order to get to where I need to go. Sometimes there’s some unknown menace behind me, sometimes I’m trying to save one of my kids/friends/random person, sometimes I’m just trying to get somewhere urgently.

  37. I run in slow motion in my dreams and when I try to scream it’s like my throat closes or something and I can’t scream above a whisper. I screamed as loud as I could one night in my dream and woke my husband. Apparently I screamed for real too. Scared the crap out of us both.

  38. Mostly I am running away, or trying to get others away from whatever is coming. Actually, I am trying to fly away. I know in my dreams I can fly and I keep jumping and flapping and sometimes it works and I soar away, other times I can only get a few feet off the ground, both times trying to carry my kids with me. There have been a few times when I’ve turned and fought the monsters, all fierce and powerful, and won. Usually not, though…and a lot of time I’m just looking for a bathroom.

  39. I’ve always been a runner though sometimes I run faster than others and every once in a while I fly. A few years back I was having dreams where I would spin uncontrollably. I’d try to grab things I was passing to stop the spinning but nothing helped; only slowed down the spin sometimes. Oh, and if I’m not wearing contacts, my dreams tend to be blurrier than when I wear my contacts to bed. Dreams really are weird…

  40. Used to only run, then learned to turn and fight, but drives my wife nuts cause I start speaking in tongues and she wakes me and I get mad cause I was fighting the monster and didn’t want to let it get away.

  41. I didn’t know you could fight successfully in a dream. I either run away slowly or try to fight and I can’t hit

  42. For me there were always multiple monsters and they were streaming out of the front door of my house. Kind of like The Muppets, but far less cuddly and far more torture-y and kill-y. Also, for me it was wet cement and I knew they would kill me if I didn’t get away.

    But later in life I had a dream that Freddy Kruger arrived at my old primary school in his little red mini, and got out to come and terrorise me. I strode over to him and screamed “What the f*** are you doing here?? No one said you could come into my dream! Now f*** off!!!!”. He looked sad, turned around in his car and effed off.

    Definitely a member of ‘Dreams are totally weird” camp here!

  43. Here’s my thing: sometimes I am seeing through my own eyes, and sometimes I am watching myself (a spectator) my dreams. I do know I hate those damn sweaty sheets…

  44. I don’t dream of getting chased. I dream of not getting to the end of things. The thing varies all the time, but the trying to reach the end and not being able to is always the same. It may be moving masks off a peg to get to the end, it may be trying to find sheets in one cupboard after another, it may be trying to scrape all the food out of a never-empty pot onto a plate or series of plates for a meal, it may be wandering through an empty house with room leading to another room leading to a farther connected room and there’s always one more door to go through.

    #24’s Toilet Hell dream makes sense to me, except the only repeating dream I have is occasionally the house with endless rooms. It’s not scary, just a bit eerie since it tends to be an old farmhouse style house sitting out in the countryside all alone with nothing around it except dry grass. No trees, if you know Great Plains prairie this will make sense, if you don’t, it’s probably hard to picture. There are no people in it and not any furniture to speak of either, though it has wall paper and light switches and such.

  45. I can see in my dreams, but I can’t read in my dreams. This is one of the diagnostics I use to tell whether I’m dreaming or not– can I see clearly and read words?

  46. My stress dreams used to feature Nazis in heavy boots chasing me. In grad school, the Nazis turned into one of my (least loved) professors. Made it really hard to deal with him/her IRL. Money worries = imploding teeth – my dentist told me imploding teeth were a common dream! Since I didn’t have them before I learned to scuba dive, I figured those dreams were caused by that. Of course it was the same time I started paying my own bills, so…

  47. My Covid dreams have been like watching a technicolor movie of my life. Only the people are in the wrong places and wrong times and with the wrong groups.

  48. I run and I also sometimes fight back in my dreams. I dream in vivid color, and I can smell and hear and feel in my dreams. I also get stuck in every spiraling lost maze like streets scapes I can’t get out of.
    But the absolute worst is I have sleep paralysis where I’m half awake and half asleep and aware of my surroundings in real life but dreaming at the same time and I can’t physically move until I fully awaken. It’s the most panicky and stressful thing to be awake but unable to fully wake up and to not be able to move your body until you are fully awake.
    I read about people who the medical professionals say are in comas, and they think are brain dead, but then they miraculously come out of the coma and tell everyone that they could hear and see everything and understood everything, but they just couldn’t move or communicate. It must feel the same way. Totally helpless and trapped.

  49. I have incompetent dreams–at work, don’t know where anything is, forgot my stethoscope, can’t remember which patient is mine or don’t learn that patient x was mine until the end or the shift.

  50. YAY You and Final Girl Support Group are who I’m cheering for wins this year. You both got my vote.
    As for dreams I’m a fighter but only because in dreams my running skills suck and I’m always caught.

  51. Wow–I’ve had those dreams and I’ve run, but there are obstacles of different kinds. I haven’t had one in a while tho so I can’t say what happened in the end.
    When my son was little he kept having a dream where he was in a car and it was rolling backwards and he couldn’t stop it.
    One day he got up and he was so excited because he had the dream, but this time he PUT ON THE BRAKES. Yessss.
    He never had the dream again.
    I wish I had that power but maybe we lose it in adulthood.

  52. I went to the store today. I have your book on audible. Thank you for making me lol and letting people know not to come near me, apparently that is frowned upon!!!!! Also repeating out loud what made me laugh is even more frowned upon. Shaving the cats vagina!!!!!

  53. I run. But then I get stuck in a room where there is a way out, and I used to know the trick but I’ve forgotten it. SO I spend my restful night dreaming about problem solving which is what I do at work. There was one blessed dream where I was lucid enough to try to fly and I succeeded! So I’m a running, problem solving and flying rarely person. A 4th kind.

  54. Yay Jenny! You so deserve it, because you are the funniest. There’s actually another kind of person (me) who thinks our dreams reflect our lives, and really enjoys interpreting them as such. So. I think your dream means that you feel that you have more people/resources to support you as you run from the scary monster in your life. Metaphor: not just for writing.

  55. I run, too. You obviously don’t turn & fight something that’s bigger, & is coming to EAT you!
    People can’t read in dreams, because that part of the brain is sleeping, but I keep trying. & There’s usually a soundtrack

  56. I used to fall in dreams, then I learned to fly. They are much more fun now. I have flown round Notre Dame Cathedral and hovered across Antarctica.

  57. Last night, I had a dream that I was discussing nutrition and food issues with the Hadid sisters (Bella and Gigi – the models), which is weird for any number of reasons. But it was a nice discussion – opposing views with no arguments. No monsters.

  58. I have 2 weird recurring dreams… One in which I’m running from something but discover that I can kick off the ground and fly, only I tend to wake up before I get too far or too high.

    The other involves fleeing a natural disaster like a tornado and always being the one in the group leading others to safety in a random abandoned twisty-turny tunnely giant house in the middle of a forest. Despite the anxiety of fleeing danger, I love that dream because the house is different every time, but always huge and full of secret passages and rooms, and there’s something different behind every door.

  59. This conversation reminds me of when I learned that some people have an inner dialogue (like me), and some people don’t. That blows my mind every time I think of that. They don’t see pictures in their heads. My head is like my own personal movie. When I read, everyone has their own voice/looks/style. 🤯🤯🤯

    Also – my dreams are like yours. I am running from something horrible, and of course it’s like I’m running through molasses. I’ve never faced whatever it is that I’m running from, and it never occurred me to try to. I’m a big scaredy cat!

    I don’t even know what to think of Hailey’s dreams 😂 I haven’t determined if that’s better, or worse, to not see things!

  60. I’ve heard people say you can’t read in your dreams or see colors, but I can do both

  61. I have Kafka-esque dreams every night. Sometimes I’m running; sometimes I’m fighting back. Dreams are bizarre!

  62. Dreams are the absolute best. I legit look forward to sleeping because I have some of the oddest most detailed bizarre dreams. My favorites include evil dictators and magic portals to the past in order to escape the dictator and come up with a plan to over throw them and one where the entire dream plays out and then it rewinds itself (the dream actually played backwards as it rewound) and the dream played again from a different person’s perspective and it had a twist ending. The best.

  63. My scariest nightmares involve a brightly lit indoor space and an INVISIBLE murderer on the loose.

  64. re: fighting the monster
    tonight I’m dealing with an old trauma monster and I want to know if it’s okay to spray paint “RAPIST” on someone’s front lawn. I’m feeling like fighting monsters tonight. But vodka might be leading me in the wrong direction.

  65. There are people who are ready to die, and there are people who want to live as long as they can.
    I prefer to fight the monsters that I can see, than face the unknown dread which stalks us all.
    So, yeah, I want to live as long as I can.
    Also, how damned many video games does Victor play, anyway?

  66. One way I can tell I’ve taken a bit too much of my SSRI is my dreams become incredibly long and detailed and vividly memorable upon waking. Does anyone else ever find their sleep paralysis lessens during a dream and they kick out at dreamland attackers and end up flinging the cat and the sheets and blankets off the bed onto the floor?

  67. I am totally fascinated by dreams. I have cycles of really vivid dreaming, and usually I’m either driving on roller-coasteresque highways, wandering through childhood homes that have all these extra maze-like rooms, or (recently) with my mom at various stages of her Parkinson’s. I also have the fraud and Toilet Hell dreams, although less often than when I was younger.

    Does anyone else have the dream about trying to stuff contacts the size of frisbees in your eyes? My mom and I both had that one.

  68. My dreams are all over the place. At one point, I started wondering what senses I actually experienced during dreams. I definitely SEE things, and they are definitely in color. (so. many. details) I sometimes hear sounds, sometimes experience physical touch, and am excited when I actually smell or taste in a dream. Sometimes I can fight, sometimes I try to fight & fail, and sometimes I run. Sometimes a dream is in third person, sometimes first. I’ve been male & female, but I think I’m always someone my own age. The weirdest one was the time I was a manatee.

  69. I can’t imagine facing the monster. I think inside the dream, the assumption is it can’t be fought; there won’t even be a fight; it’ll destroy you instantly. It’s like Medusa — see it and die. I’ve had the exact same dream about motion, but I wasn’t running from a danger, merely trying to go somewhere, but my legs would only work in slow motion, or it was sand slipping under my feet (not quicksand; soft sand with no traction) — and, just like you, if I could grab something I could pull myself forward. It’s usually an upslope, and even leaning forward and going on all fours works. I wonder if this is some kind of universal fear, encapsulated in the saying, “feet, don’t fail me now” (which I suspect was originally racist and from a minstrel show because it was “feets” don’t fail me now, but Google has nothing on the origin, only the many songs that have used that as the title, none of which I ever heard of). As a child, I had a nightmare where there was an unseen danger that I knew was there, but if I was still and didn’t move, it wouldn’t notice me. I knew sooner or later I’d have to move — and I knew that even if I waited indefinitely, eventually it’d come for me regardless — but I wanted to put that moment off as long as possible, so I kept hid. And woke up before I was discovered.

  70. I freeze, just like in real life. I’m trapped as the monster approaches me. I used to have monochrome dreams of fields going by, but since I became medicated for brain reasons I no longer have those, but full color dreams. Usually without monsters.

  71. I have very vivid dreams, but I haven’t had nightmares since I was a child (except rarely, or if you count dreams of being back with a horrible ex-boyfriend that make you feel flooded with relief when you wake up and realize it wasn’t real.) My dreams are very bizarre and can be very surreal. In fact, this morning I had a dream while napping, and in it, there was a white dolphin “tail-walking” (like they do in dolphin shows)— inside a gymnastics gym (the one I took gymnastics at as a kid). It was doing this on the tumbling floor (which, was blue, so kind of looked like water.) It came to the edge where I was standing and fell on its belly. I saw it was actually covered in white fur, and had a duck bill like a platypus. I said to it, “Do you need to go in the water?” It replied, “Water…happy…” and the rest of the dream involved me trying to find a water tank to put it in. I think that’s the first time an animal has spoken to me in a dream. I won’t forget this one, that’s for sure!

  72. In my dreams, I’m in high school, even though I’m 51, and I’m trying to get to a class and the campus just keeps bigger and more confusing, I can’t remember which class I’m going to unless I stay with the rest of the class when we move rooms. In other dreams I live with my parents in a house and keep finding more rooms. I’m weird, clearly

  73. Yeah, I turned around once in my recurring trying-to-escape-a-maze-like-setting nightmare, and there was just this huge black maelstrom and there might as well have been a sign saying “here be dragons” and I was just like FUCK NOPE, so I settled for just being forever late for something while stuck at airports/supermarkets/schools/messy basements

  74. My reoccurring is I’m trapped in a 1980s style mall that’s filled with my friends and we’re hiding from monsters until we go full Red Dawn to try to get out.

    (I would watch this show. ~ Jenny)

  75. My dreams have gotten really fun since I’ve been on effexor, and I hope I can stay on it forever, because sleeping is so entertaining now. I don’t have nightmares at all, though there are some scary people or things in my dreams, I just don’t feel afraid of them. I do have this recurring thing where I am trying to get somewhere fast, but my legs won’t work right. It’s not quicksand, it’s more like some kind of disability. Sometimes I remember that I can fly, and I solve my leg problem by doing that.
    Occasionally, I try to yell in my dreams, and my partner says I make this eerie ghost sound out loud.
    Sometimes I dream entire stories. I typically dream in color and can see, hear, feel and smell. During the last presidency I had a lot of apocalyptic dreams.
    I don’t have a theme song. I am very jealous of the fact that Victor does. . .but maybe he’s just messing with you.

  76. My recurring dreams have me losing important things to me, usually represented by BOXES of books, and large, pretty rocks. When I realized it meant I had to let go of important things (DeadHusband) in order to move on, the dreams stopped.
    Until recently.
    And this time, I told the person trying to take the things ‘No’. And I was really proud of myself. I told them no and went off to swim on the ocean. (I hardly ever get to swim…)
    I can read in dreams, feel things, smell things, but I can never eat in dreams.

    Oh, and all my recurring plots always pick up where I left off.

  77. I’m a runner and I find I go faster running backwards. So I guess I’m simultaneously facing the monster and running at the same time?

  78. I’m a runner, but generally, I discover I can fly and get the hell out of there faster than running. I don’t fight the Nothing, I just get away from it. And I do smell things in my dreams.

  79. Something is always menacing me in my dreams. The other night I dreamed that I turned around and my husband was right behind me, looking kinda like a zombie. I woke up in a fright, of course. And I don’t dare tell him. If he thought it’d be funny to sneak up on me, I’d literally drop dead of a heart attack!

  80. I try to fight, but when I throw punches, its like I’m a muppet throwing a punch. I’m using all my strength, but there’s no force behind them. Freud would probably have a lot to say about that.

  81. I’d say I’m more a 50/50 kinda gal. I do a lot of fighting in my dreams but a big percentage of the time those f’ing things (often people-bad guys) just won’t die.

  82. So interesting. My recurring dream is about cliffs’ edges. I, or someone I love, is standing too close to the edge and I’m freaking out, screaming with no sound, to move away. Many dreams about rushing water but I don’t feel afraid; I’m just observing. Most dreams take place in the house I grew up in and, when I dream about my 39-year-old son, he’s a little boy. That last one probably means something but I don’t want to know what it means! Anyway, dreams are usually very fun.

  83. Can Hailey visualize when they’re not dreaming? Our daughter always told us she couldn’t and we didn’t believe her. Turns out she has something called aphantasia—a blind mind’s eye. People also can be hyperfantasic, or able to visualize in such detail that it’s distracting. Anyway, our daughter is also blind when she dreams, although other aphantasics aren’t. Interesting how different we can be and not realize it.

  84. in my dreams i’m always running and hiding from bad guys. and sometimes sneaking and spying while hiding so i can know where they’re going next and not go there. cuz the bad guys ARE real and they ARE out to get me. i dont dream of monsters, i dream of people, though i suppose the bad people in my dreams are technically monsters. and i cant run fast enough or fight back fast enough or yell or scream loud. everything is slow and and the bad guy can see my moves coming and easily avoid any slow-motion attempts i make to fight them. i also cant draw a breath to yell for help so it only ever comes out a quiet whisper instead, and no one hears. nearly all of my dreams are like this. the running and fleeing, the hiding, the bad guy i cant get away from or fight. either that or i dream i’m back in high school and dont know my locker combo or my class schedule.

    i’ve heard there are people who dont dream visually, but my dreams are all like watching a movie.

  85. I used to have the running away from something bad but can hardly move dreams. Then one day in real life my brother dropped me off a long walk away from where I needed to pick something up. The wind was blowing so hard I had to lean into it and every step was such a struggle. I even thought, this is just like my dreams, only windier. After that I never had those dreams again. I do still dream that something is looking for me but it has more of an intrigue feel and can I outsmart them or out maneuver them.

  86. Thank you for this. I always get a pleasure out of your blog posts and today has been a little tough. Dreamwise – “She’s a runner, she’s a trackstar” is my recurring nightmare theme. Or getting caught and waking up as something gross is happening to dream me. Or I dream I am hanging out with people I used to know. I think I could go on, but I am going to stop. Thank again for the chuckles today and the books. Definitely the books as well. Congrats, Finalist!!

  87. Yup I have the same dream. I’m a runner. And my feet are stuck. And I can use things to pull myself forward.

  88. My grandma used to have what she called “smell dreams” and she said they were so awful. She finally met a hypnotist at a party and he was able to hypnotize her to no longer have the smell dreams.

  89. After I read that years ago, I turned to fight the monster. He was a goblin with rotting razor teeth. I watched as he sliced me open across my stomach. I remain a runner…

  90. Isn’t funny the new things you discover?? I can’t smell either but when I’m being chased I try to find a car to drive. If I’m really good I just start flying. My reoccurring nightmare is either no one listening to me or my ‘dream’ guy dying a horrible death….. I wake up depressed and mad lol

  91. I’ve been a runner most often. Sometimes I see the offenders. Those cases often involve invasion of my town or location by hostiles (even aliens) with weapons and deadly intent. I myself don’t get to have one, generally, in those dreams. Sucks. Occasionally I have a dream where, against my own dream sensibilities, I actually seek out the evil one who’s laired up with his minions, but I never find him, just his haunts and they’re scary enough. Dark courtyard in massive medieval castle on shore of windless lake. Dreams are just weird is a good assessment. BTW. Congratulations on your nomination.

  92. I have always run in dreams, though I don’t know what it is I am running in it does slow me down A LOT!
    I used to have a recurring dream that to get to my Nan’s (she only lived in the next village) I had to hand-walk over a high wire across a lake infested with crocodiles. I was only, like, four or five, where the hell did I get that from?
    I had an odd dream last night. I was lying in my bed trying to sleep and could see the wall and the curtains…………then I ACTUALLY woke up and realised I’d been asleep and had dreamt I was lying there trying to sleep! WTF kind of dream is that. So when I get up in the morning and say I had a bad night, who the F**** knows if I did or not?? Head. Messed.

  93. I have both kinds of dreams. The Victor-style I call “action/adventure” dreams because they’re like an action/adventure movie where I’m the hero. I like those. The other ones, I’m not a runner, but I need to scream/yell/call for help and have no voice. I try and try and try to scream, because that one noise would save me (I don’t know from what) but can only barely make a whisper. Like the terror has locked up my vocal cords.

    When I was young I would have a recurring dream of just darkness and the sound of hissing (like air being let out of a tire). By FAR, that was the most fear-inducing dream.

  94. When you are being chased in a dream you turn to the chaser and ask them what they want. You will not be attacked but you will get some insight about yourself. I have done it and it works. Whatever is chasing you is trying to tell you something. If you were being chased and you weren’t frightened then you would ignore it. Your sub consciousness knows what it is trying to do. Stop refusing the help by running away.

  95. Mine is in a creepy old empty house at dusk and I am running through the rooms endlessly while being pursued by something that moves slowly and keeps saying softly, “After…after…”

  96. When I left my abusive boyfriend I spent 9 months running in quicksand and fog and waking up in cold sweats and then 6 months where I K—d him every night and was worried about the body and then it was just back to normal nightmares.

    When I was ~6-9, I had this recurring dream about floating down a dark underground river past a dark dead tree and the past year I saw the exact river and tree about underground things in mexico. So that was fun and not at all terrifying and freaky.

  97. Recurring childhood nightmare where I’m on the wraparound porch of the house, looking into the yard. There’s a flowerpot made from an old washing machine tub – that was real, my father made it for my mom & it had geraniums in the summer. In the dream, although the flowers are there, and VERY red, my night-bare feet are ice cold and as I look at the planter, around it I see hundreds of small, writhing snakes. They’re always blue, The Who,e thing has a blue tinge except those flowers.

    Fuckin dreams, man…

  98. Firstly, Congratulations on reaching the Goodreads Finals! I was just reading an old post of yours where you tell the story – you’d revered Writer’s Digest when starting out and your post was, you were just featured in the magazine.
    Second, it doesn’t sound as if you’ve read “When Things Fall Apart…” and if you can imagine leaving a failed marriage to start a Buddhist abbey at the stormy cliffs-edge of Nova Scotia, whilst changing your name to Pema Chodron – well, you may not need to read her book. But it’s a true story and also quite good. Pema supports Victor in saying, you should turn to face the monster chasing you in dreams. As for what happened to the monster in her story, you will have to read for yourself.
    Third, I saw a helpful trick in a movie: if you can’t figure out if you’re dreaming or not, try flipping a nearby light switch.

  99. Have you ever looked at your own reflection in a mirror in a dream? Freakin’ trippy as all heck. A few times my reflection face was some kind of Picasso artwork, and I grab it and try to sort it back like some fleshy Rubix cube, and scream-cry as I only make it worse. Other dreams my reflection is melting, and my reflection self tries in horror to catch all the pieces as they slide down my face, and push it back in place, but can’t keep up with how quick it runs down. Then there’s the dream where my reflection has no eyes, and skin where my eyes are suppose to be. Dreams are pretty wild.

  100. I’m jealously flipping off all of you Samuel L. Jackson swaggering bad ass monster assassins… Can I take classes?

    I also applaud those who can run, even sloth like attempts at running in dreams. I do neither. I freeze in complete terror until I half wake up and then I’m a captive of my cortisol pumped crazy train brain.

    My recurring nightmare I’ve had for most of my life is always the same…in my dream I’m sleeping in bed and am woken by some evil ass demon or terrifyingly malicious ghost threateningly standing over me at my bedside. It’s ready to kill me, possess me, or both. The feelings of powerlessness and terror are unbearable and the dreams always feel totally real.

    When I lived at home and had these dreams I would shoot straight out of bed and actually run down the hall to my mom’s room to escape the perceived threat and sleep there the rest of the night.

    As a married lady I don’t run, but I cry hysterically while I panic in my sleep, and to the torture of my poor real life husband (not in my dream) I scream at the top of my lungs like ET, and probably scare the shit out my neighbors.

    While STILL in half dreaming mode I also still think I’m going to die any minute and I flail around at my husband like a spastically sweaty Kermit.

    In my half dream state I also can’t understand why my husband doesn’t see the terrifying thing ready to eat my soul. Then I drift back to sleep back to sleep still worried that the evil dream thing will come back.

    I’m obviously short a few brain screws, but shockingly not divorced yet!

  101. Oh and I forgot the trippiest dream I had. I was in bed and there was a huge arsed spider above me on the ceiling. I woke up and it was still there (I was actually still dreaming though) so in my sleep I screamed and scurried over to the corner of the room – this is no mean feat (feet, lol) as I don’t sleep with my prosthetic leg on. Then I am awake (like, actually awake now) and trying to explain to my horrified Hubby wtf just went on, pointing to a spider that, now, wasn’t there.

  102. I bounce like an astronaut on the moon. And I was super proud when I figured out to do that. Never knew you could fight…

  103. My nightmares don’t have monsters they have people and / or animals in danger and I’m trying to save them. For example, in one recurring dream a dog keeps running into the highway and I have to keep saving it from being hit by a semi. In another I’m trying to save a neighbor from an ax murderer, though I guess that’s a mundane monster. At any rate, I’m never the one in danger. I’m just struggling inadequately and way over my head and it’s up to me to keep people or animals from being killed. I’m a legal aid attorney who fights homelessness and before that I ran a free family law clinic, and before that I was a public defender and child advocate, so I guess my nightmares make perfect sense given that context.

  104. I both run and fight. As far as I can remember, if I run, there’s usually a red convertible available for me to drive away in.

    Also, I kinda get the smell thing. I don’t actually smell the thing but it’s like someone described the smell and I know what they’re talking about. So, if I see a campfire, I don’t smell it in my dream but I am aware of what a campfire smells like.

  105. In my dreams it’s more like an adventure story, whether or not I fight or run depends on the situation.

    I asked my ma this question and she said that she usually just freezes in fear while the monsters talk crap to her.

  106. Catching up on old posts but have to comment on this one…

    When I was a kid we had a book that was called How to Get Rid of Nightmares or something like that… actually hang on… *googles* “How to Get Rid of Bad Dreams” by Nancy Hazbry and Roy Condy. It’s a kid’s book with silly bad dream scenarios and how to turn them around, like “If you’re being chased by an ugly troll… just hold up a mirror to show him his reflection and he’ll run the other way!”

    I realize now that this book was my intro to the concept of lucid dreaming. It doesn’t always work 100%, but usually when things start getting scary I am able to at least *realize* it’s a dream, and often can shift the tone or even direct my own conclusion. Often my bad dreams boil down some sort of “stuck”ness, something never-ending or just out of reach, or fear of something that’s coming but not actually there.. so really just being able to manifest *any* kind of ending or resolution is usually all I need!

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