The anxiety dreams play out like an absurdist suspense film

Yesterday, I was thinking about the dream I’d had a few nights ago of being shot in the head.

I was in Mallorca involved in some sort of espionage. I was shot by a man in civilian clothing while a man wearing an army uniform watched on. They were on opposite sides. I was slumped against a wall watching an exchange between them. After the men had left in separate vehicles, I managed to get to my feet, seemingly undead and entered a bar where I received help. I was taken in a taxi to the place I was staying, a disused farmhouse and I collected together my belongings.

At some point, I was transported to London. I found myself disoriented in an underground shopping arcade. People looked at me strangely and I had persistent pain on the side of my head where I had been shot. I wore a tailored grey suit and a black raincoat but I felt out of time from the people around me. Disoriented, I felt I needed to get to Euston station. I searched for landmarks I recognised but the landscape shifted continuously. At one point I was near the Barbican but couldn’t get close to it because I was frightened of the towers.

I managed to find my way to high ground. To the south, London stretched out below me and to the north, I could see Sheffield in the distance. I sat down on a bench feeling defeated. I don’t remember anything after that.

I don’t think there is anything to understand from this. The only reason it received more thought than any other dream is the fact I was shot in the head and this the only time I can remember this happening.

My escitalopramic dreams are often coherent, very vivid and absurd. Sometimes even the anxiety dreams play out like an absurdist suspense film. The nightmares can be rough, though.

5.51 am. A soft rain is falling sending icy air in through the window. The light is grey. The occasional car passes. I want to be asleep. The brown cat is restless.

I should give in and get up. I’ve been lying here awake for over an hour now.

I should have got up! I fell asleep and dreamed I was cannibalised! First time for that too!

Rainy day. Rainy night. Hardly seems like August. Although, for a change, the dreary weather hasn’t left me depressed more indifferent. Is that an improvement?

Blue morning. 5.53 am. I can’t hear the rain, just your breathing. The light is bluey through the curtains. I can hear the rain now on the window. Another rainy day ahead.

Should I get up? Make a cup of tea and some toast. Or should I try and fall asleep?

6.06 am. Simon’s sitting at his desk with a cup of coffee. It’s another night he hasn’t slept. Outside his fourth floor flat, the landscape is brightening, it is raining and the light is grey. He swallows the rest of coffee. The world is waking up and strangely he feels less alone. He looks out at the rain, the distant hills and cars heading towards town. He goes to the bathroom and brushes his teeth. He gets into bed. He knows he’ll wake up at midday feeling awful but there is something about this time just before falling asleep when everything feels like it’ll be all right.


I am sitting on the edge of the bed in the inky dark

As human beings, we need pillows to support our necks. In the evening the sun shines. In the day the sky is grey.

I am the person at the window. I am the one watching. I only watch. I cannot keep them from trouble. I only watch.

The warmth rises. It fills the space. It blocks your nose. It blocks your ears. It disorientates your senses. Where am I? Where is this? What are those flashing lights?

Trouble is, we forget. Who is bad. You see. We forget.

So I have been asleep for a few hours since I started writing to you. It is now almost midnight. I don’t know what I have written before this. (What I write as I am falling asleep is usually nonsense!) I only know what I am writing now.

The room is dark. Except for the light from my phone and the display on the tower fan which says 22°C. The world is still. Right now. I think the window is closed. You are in the bathroom.

I dreamt of the same house twice. First, last night then again tonight. But I can’t remember my dream from tonight, except I was back in that house.

A car drives past breaking the silence.

Now, it is just the ringing in my ears again. The constant high-pitched ringing. Ringing is wrong. It sounds like a continuous flow of sound. Whistling. Yes, whistling is better.

Midnight. 12.00 am. Zero hour.

It is now tomorrow. It is now today.

The sound in my ears is making me feel nauseous.

I am sitting on the edge of the bed in the inky dark. My sinuses are blocked. My face is lit by my phone I can see it out of the corner of my eye reflected in the mirror.

I am sitting in the living room now. You have headphones over your ears and you are playing a game. The hum in the living room competes with the whistling in my ears.

It’s now after two. You are brushing your teeth and I am lying on top of the candlewick bedspread with the red cat. The light is on. It is very late. No sounds outside just the constant whistling in my ears.

2.30 am. Upstairs with a glass of Laphroaig. I have to go to the doctor’s surgery first thing tomorrow to pick up the letter from my GP. I am going to be very tired.

In bed. 4.10 am. Not tired. Headache. Escitalopram yawns. It is very quiet and still. Very pleasant. Just your breathing and the whistling. There is cool air coming in through the window. I can feel it on the back of my neck. I keep clenching my jaw, another escitalopram side-effect. Why am I suddenly getting side-effects after a year?

The brown cat is somewhere in the room I can hear her bell. A car passes heading towards town. The world will be waking up soon but I don’t want to think that. Because I want to sleep.

I am clenching my jaw again. It is making my headache worse. I hope it’s sunny in the morning when I walk over to the doctors. Nice dry heat and the sun on my face.

I ought to try and fall asleep. Maybe I’ll read for a while. My moon is upstairs, charging. I put the potatoes away in the fridge if you are looking for them.

Cath can’t sleep. She is sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of milky tea. Outside the window, she can hear the papers being delivered to the local shop. She swallows the last of her tea. The papers have been the delivered and the van has driven away. The world is still again. She goes to the bathroom, urinates, washes her hands and swallows an Ambien with a handful of water from the tap. She goes back to the kitchen eats a biscuit from the tin. Turns out the lights and goes to bed.

There is a strange stillness to the movement

Sleeplessness is here again. It is very still tonight. Very little sound from outside the window. There is a slight chill to the air. If I listen hard I can hear the wind. I think. The window is closed. I think.

It has been a grey day. Another grey and rainy July day. Later today the sun will be back. I don’t mind grey days but right now they’re depressing me. Shutting your curtains to the grey dreary rain seems like a autumn and winter pursuit.

I suddenly feel very tired.

I have been using a blue light filter on my phone and computer for about a week. Since I’ve put them on I haven’t really used either device at night so I can’t say if they’re working to reduce my sleeplessness.

Lorraine is lying in her underwear on top of the covers of a bed in a Premier Inn near the Dutch Quarter in Colchester. It’s 4 pm and she’s thinking through the last twenty-four hours. It’s 27ºC. And she can’t get the fucking air-conditioner to work properly. She would call reception but she doesn’t want to get dressed instead she props herself up on elbow and takes the bottle of Southern Comfort from the side of the bed and swallows a mouthful. She is half-drunk. She wipes her mouth and puts the bottle back.

A car passes. Now there is no sound again apart from your breathing. And what sounds like rushing blood in my left ear which is pressed against the pillow. Tomorrow I must collect my letter from the doctor.

I’m sure I can feel a breeze. Maybe it’s a ghost blowing its icy breath on the back of my neck. The temperature has dropped by two degrees. It is now 17ºC. A gust of wind outside and cool air caresses the side of my face. The window is open, I hadn’t realised, the world is so quiet tonight.

It’s raining so softly that you can hardly hear it. But can feel it. And you can smell it.

The brown cat is asleep by my feet.

Since I woke up after dinner my mood has been flat. I don’t feel low or empty or bored. Just flat. We watched Twin Peaks and there were parts I should have enjoyed but I didn’t feel anything. I know this feeling doesn’t last.

A car passes. Driving quickly towards the moors. Now silence. The sound is flat: no noise from the car as disappears into the distance. Not that could see it, except in my mind.

The soft rain is back. Breaking the stillness. And wind picks up again. You stir next to me and the temperature drops another degree.

Another car is approaching. It turns off the main road and it’s gone. Lost in the stillness.

I look at the curtains and there is no movement but I can feel the air move around me. It smells icy and floral. There is a strange stillness to the movement that my brain is too tired to understand or explain.

Alexander stirs next to Wiktoria. He is dreaming of playing tennis but everytime the ball is hit towards him he can’t move his arm. He sees the ball in slow motion but he can’t do anything about it. Wiktoria isn’t dreaming. She is in a dreamless zopiclone sleep.

A lot of other cars have driven past since

So, I’m here in bed again and you’re up despite being tired watching telly at a disturbing volume.

Come to bed. Close your eyes. Think of blue. If you’re struggling think of a delphinium. If you’re ready, you’ll sleep. If you’re not, get up, do something else.

It’s cooler tonight. A car passes by. Our hero is driving home to his wife, Louise who is waiting up with a copy of the Observer supplement and a cup of tea. She’ll offer to make him a sandwich, what would he like? We’ve got last night’s prawns with some mayo, or some sliced silverside beef, or just some cheese. If you want I can do cheese on toast. he says, no, I already ate, I’ll just have a beer, it’s all right I’ll get it, long day, hon? But Louise knows less than a hour ago he was sleeping with Jane, her sister. But what can she say? She doesn’t want to lose him or the new build house in a good catchment area. Maybe on Monday she’ll let Martin fuck her in the toilet of the Fox and Pheasant after work.

A lot of other cars have driven past since. I hope they’re heading home to lives more mundane that Louise’s.

Those distant specks of light sitting in a vacuum

The night is hot again after the brief coolness of this morning. There are thunderstorms on the way as the heat from the earth meets cool air blowing in from the Atlantic. It’s strange, when you’re awake thunderstorms are very exciting but when they wake you in the dead of night they’re terrifying unearthly things. The most unnerving ones I’ve experienced have been on holiday, abroad, on the Iberian Peninsula, with cracks of thunder so loud they seem as though they have been sent from hell, like Thor is out by the swimming pool cracking skulls with his hammer.

But right now the room is just hot and the air is still.

It’s just after midnight, this midsummer’s night.

Today has been the longest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere. What have I accomplished, well I finished writing up my notes on enols and enolates. Began to memorise the aldol reaction, the Claisen condensation, the mixed Claisen. The Michael reaction and noble prize winning Wittig reaction. The last one is peculiar and the most interesting but I like the name – Claisen.

I’m starting to get a headache. My jaw is tense. I might get up and take some pain relief medication. The air feels hot and heavy all around me. It is becoming prickly on my skin. Somewhere in the darkness a cat is cleaning itself, red or brown, I’m unsure right now.

OK, I’m back, I have been to kitchen and taken an ibuprofen. I hope it works. My eyes are hot.

There is a distant drone of a low flying small aircraft. It has just taken off from Manchester and is flying to Köln.

I’m going to read, I think, a short story. I want to start a new book but I’m too tired and too hot and too lethargic to choose one.

Sleep tight starlight moon bright. Let stardust, the dust that gave us everything, life, the earth, space, fill your eyes with sleep. We came from stars, stars made the simplest elements, hydrogen and helium, and the rest were born from them. It is astounding that we are literally stardust. Who needs magic, God, and all that other bullshit when we are made from stars – those distant specks of light sitting in a vacuum.


Good word.

I prefer it to the German: sterne.

The French is nice to say: étoiles

Sêr in Welsh, not as good as stars. Though, sêren, meaning star, is nice to say with a Welsh accent.
My headache seems to be easing and there is a slight, very slight, cool breeze in the room. The very hot room.

It is quiet outside the window

Maybe you should come to bed. I would enjoy your company. Just don’t touch me: it’s too hot! I’ve heard that if you synchronise sleep with the person next to you then you can enter each others dream, imagine that! But you have fall asleep at the same exact fraction of a second, which, of course, is what makes it so difficult. But we should try it, imagine the adventures we could have.

It is very hot again. The room is very warm. I long for cooling breeze to circulate round the room, chilling me to comfortable sleep. My hayfever is playing up, I have taken medication, but my eyes itch and sinuses are blocked which adds to discomfort of trying to sleep. Still it could actually be far far worse. I’m very lucky to be able to whinge and moan about these issues.

I need to close the bedroom door, the noise of television is very loud. Somebody is typing on a computer. If I close my eyes I can see the letters they type:

That’s all I could make out.

The brown cat is here with me. It is quiet outside the window except for an occasional car.

I feel uninspired tonight. I wonder how D. H. Lawrence coped when he felt uninspired writing a letter. He probably, looked out at his unspoiled Italian view and wrote what he saw.

The stillness outside is broken briefly by a loud man. He voice travels across the night air and in through the window and it’s gone, almost like it wasn’t there, like I imagined it.

Suddenly I can’t keep my eyes open. Come sleep, I welcome you.

They require a lot of space fo

The curtains are being slowly illuminated

I am Sleepless again. I’m unsure why, I haven’t been to sleep today, I feel tired, well lethargic. It is hot. The room is hot. My sinuses are blocked and I have a headache. I can taste garlic, is that a bad?

Like I say, the room is hot and window is open. Outside the birds are singing for the dawn which is cracking on the other side of the flat bringing a sun which will cook us again tomorrow. I don’t mind the heat when I’ve got nowhere to go, though I prefer it not be too humid. But I rather it crept up like the water that eventually boils the frog in the saucepan. What I’m saying is that it would be nice to acclimatise over time, you know. Sometimes the heat makes me feel foggy in the head.

It’s late again. Poppy the Border Collie has just been walked by the young lady and her lover, I watched them from my mind. The curtains are being slowly illuminated and the pattern looks like clouds in a pop art landscape.

These streams of consciousness have worked twice and I’m hoping they’ll work a third time. So, come sleep, take me, I implore you.

It’s not working, I feel very awake and very restless. I want to read but I am finding Crash too graphic for my state of mind, too much vomit, excrement and semen! I guess I could light up my moon and read a short story. Yes, I think I’ll do that. Hopefully that’ll dance me to the edge of dreams.

Anyway, I must be going. My battery is starting to run low and I will have switch to auxiliary power if I’m not careful. I hope when I do fall over the edge my dreams are kind to me. The last two nights have brought unpleasant ones. All day they have haunted me. I couldn’t walk in my dream last night. (I also tried to buy a chocolate bar but I couldn’t count out my change out to pay.)

Anyway, I remember a quote by a man that went something like there is nothing more boring the having to listen to someone telling you about their dreams. And it’s true. I think. Your dreams are amazing but they don’t usually translate well into stories especially when you attempt to tell them in a linear fashion. Though, they can of course provide inspiration for a good story.

7% and my eyes are growing heavy (I hope).

You are sleeping, snoring softly. The brown cat is sleeping next to you but with an ear cocked to the birds. These posts, I’ve just realised, are good practise for sending texts emails and like via the phone. I’m certainly get faster!

Anyway, I shall return my phone to its cradle. Find my moon. The room is filled with ashy grey dawn light but it’s not bright enough to read by. So it’ll have to be by my moon.