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IT'S a social faux pas that can bring dinner table conversation to a disappointing halt. Anyone other than Martin Luther King just can't seem to carry off talking about their dreams without those who are listening not wanting to catch a few zzzzs themselves, so I apologise in advance.

Most people have a recurring dream that haunts them on a regular basis. Mine starts with being told that I've got to sit my GCSEs again, despite having not revised.

I suppose the dream suggests that I like to be well prepared in my waking life. But as I have to sleep through the same anxiety-inducing dream around four times a week, I think I've got the message already.

How many more times am I going to have to panic about reading Tess of the d'Ubervilles in less than 24 hours? The other night my usual exam failure fear was replaced by one of those awful attacker nightmares. You do your best to scream for help, but it comes out as a pathetic squeak.

Absolutely terrified, I can remember thrashing about in a bid to try and wake myself up to escape the masked, knife-wielding nutter as well as doing my level best to call out my husband's name to no avail. Or so I thought ...

The following morning I felt dreadful after my fitful night's sleep. I turned over to my husband Chris and told him about my horrible nightmare.

"Oh yeah," he said groggily. "I thought I heard you trying to say something. You sounded terrified."

What? What! He'd actually had heard me trying to escape my attacker and didn't care enough to save me from my terrifying ordeal? "I can't believe you didn't try and wake me up. I was petrified," I stropped, anger quickly mounting.

Now fully awake, Chris propped up his pillow, sat upright and turned to look at me as if I'd finally lost it.

"So let me get this straight," he said, incredulous and for once not willing to accept liability for any wrongdoing.

"What you are actually saying is that you, Mieka Smiles, are angry at me, your husband, for not saving you from an imaginary attacker? "What you are actually saying is that I can now - as well as being moaned at for something that I actually have a modicum of control over - can now also be held accountable for what takes place in your unconscious mind?" "Erm," I responded suddenly not so sure of myself. I suppose he did have a point ... this time.


NIGHT TERROR Mieka was pursued by an axeman as her husband slept.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 18, 2009
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