Anxiety & Murder

I’m a vivid dreamer. Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell my dreams apart from reality as a result. One of the manifestations of my anxiety disorder is that I dream about people I care about being murdered. I have at least a dozen “murder” dreams a week. And sometimes, I’m the murderer. Contrary to popular opinion this is more common than people realize. When I tearfully confessed to my therapist twenty years ago that sometimes I murdered people I loved in my dreams, he assured me this is not uncommon nor did it mean what I thought it meant.

As a not so well adjusted nineteen year old, I was sure it was the hallmark of psychopathology. Apparently, it’s just one of the many ways anxiety can manifest. What’s the point of this? First to let all those like me who dream about their loved ones being murdered (sometimes by them) that it’s probably anxiety. Second, when I say a book I’m writing is bothering me, it doesn’t mean I am dreaming about the book.

If the book I’m writing is disturbing my sleep, it doesn’t mean I’m dreaming of the book or the killer in the book or the victims. It means I’m having weirder and more frequent “murder” dreams. Most of my murder dreams are very straight forward; a loved one gets killed in front of me or by me or I find their bodies. The rewrite of Innocent Dreams is getting to me and I am having “weird” murder dreams. I was awakened at 4:40 Monday morning by a dream and even though I went back to sleep almost immediately, I remembered it when I got out of bed the next morning (which is rare for me).

My dream that day was a text message from a Facebook friend I’ve never met in real life. I got a text from them and it was just a picture of her head in a fridge. But it wasn’t taken from the front, it was taken from behind, as if the killer was somehow standing at the back of the fridge (behind the shelves) and taking pictures from that point of view.

I have lots of dreams like this when a book starts to bother me. My best friend thinks I need to work less (my husband probably does as well). I admit, I do work a great deal way more than 40 hours a week. But I’m not sure if this is something I can scale back on… I feel guilty when I’m not writing during what I consider “normal” working hours.

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