I slept badly last night. Or, rather, I slept, but it was disturbed and not at all restful. This was because I spent the whole night having the same nightmare over and over, and eventually I woke myself up early because I couldn’t face going through it again. The dreams were so upsetting that when I woke up, and realised for sure that what I’d been dreaming about hadn’t happened, I almost wept with relief.
I often wonder what the point of nightmares is; why do our brains feel the need to pump our dreams full of terror? In this case, I think perhaps my brain was reinforcing my love for a particular person by making me dream about what life would be like without them. At least, that’s how I’m going to try to rationalise it! Perhaps it was a way of dealing with the grief and horror of losing someone close, without actually having to go through it for real. Still, though. Whatever the reason, I really hope my brain leaves me in peace tonight and lets me sleep undisturbed.
I wonder, too, if my troubled sleep last night had anything to do with the news bulletin I watched yesterday evening. I saw footage of people dying, elections being interfered with, people being savagely attacked as they tried to exercise their franchise in an attempt to bring some sort of peace to their country, children living in camps for Internally Displaced Persons, countries where whole generations of people have lived and died in war… is it any wonder I’d take all that to my sleeping world, and that it would disturb my rest as it disturbed my waking life? Add to that the trial of a man in Japan accused of murdering a young Irish woman who grew up not far from where I grew up, the gangland and sectarian crime still rife in parts of my country, and the parlous state of the economy, and you have the perfect nightmare brew.
In Ireland, the police force is called ‘An Garda Síochana’, which means ‘The Guardians of the Peace’ in English. By and large Ireland is peaceful – certainly, I’m lucky to live in a place where the worst I have to contend with is noisy neighbours. But there are parts of Ireland, as there are parts of every country, where the Gardaí have a harder job. Peace was hard-won in this country, and I’d hate to see a return to the ‘bad old days’; desperation still drives a lot of people, though, and the causes that divided and hurt so many people in the past are still alive and well, albeit quieter. Sometimes, when I think about how thin the layer of civilisation is, and how it relies very much on everyone co-operating, I tend to get a bit light-headed.
The old saying – that ‘we’re always only three (or four, or nine) meals away from anarchy’ – has often played on my mind. When that’s coupled with my innate suspicion of getting too reliant on technology, and my natural tendency towards anxiety, I fear I’m only one step removed from the tinfoil hat brigade.
But I remind myself how well the world does work, despite everything, and how there are always more people who want to work together and strive for the same goal than there are people who want to tear it all down and dance amid the ruins. I’d like to see a society where every person is valued and cared for, and where compassion is the ruling force – ‘where love is Lord of all’, as the old song goes. But keeping my own home, my own mind as a haven of peace is probably as close as I’ll get to that.
As a weird little finishing note, I’ve just texted the person about whom I had all the disturbing dreams last night. Their reply read something like: ‘That’s so weird. I spent all last night having crazy dreams about you! Get out of my head!’
Is it time for this? After me: Doodeedoodoo, doodeedoodoo….