Saturday, January 22, 2005

Vicodin Dreams

I've taken vicodin before, for shingles (which for three years I got annually, for some reason. It was always caught early so it never became horrible after the first time.) I knew that I couldn't sleep when I took vicodin. I get the nods, like a heroin junkie, dozing into a kind of half-asleep dream state, feeling warm and fuzzy and relaxed. What I had forgotten was that if I keep taking vicodin, I get vivid dreams.

The good news is that the arm pain is passing. It seems that once I kind of break through the pain, after that it doesn't come back nearly as bad, and yesterday, my happy painfree afternoon seems to have done it. But last night, after the vicodin wore off at three in the morning, I had incredible, constant nightmares that woke me up again and again. They were the kind of nightmares that aren't necessarily horrible to relate, but that woke me up in a cold sweat. I dreamed about a place where some people could do the things they do in the Matrix--float, flip, move strangely. I dreamed about Marines in a kind of video game scenario. And I dreamed about Superman and Lois Lane, from the old black and white television show of my youth starring George Reeves. I didn't even like the tv show, which struck me as hokey even as a kid, and I don't play video games. I just assumed it was the detritus of the sleeping brain.

But I realized this morning that they involved weird body invasions. The Marines were being controlled by a malevolent force, and I realized this when I saw that one of the Marines had a bullet lodged in his temple, frozen there with the flesh rippled around it like water in a pond when you throw a stone in. I knew he had tried to kill himself but the malevolent force had frozen the bullet in mid-penetration and now it was trying to get control of me. In my Superman dream, Clark and Lois were married, and everyone around them was being given a candy-like pill that make them part of a group mind. Clark and Lois were carefully evading the pills and trying not to arouse the suspicion of the hive people, moving constantly, looking for the source of the pills, until they were on a tiny spit of land at the edge of the ocean. Clark and Lois were on a balcony looking down at a plant like a waterlilly that was a source of the pills. In my dream, my view expanded, like a camera pulling back for a shot, and standing around the little building were thousands of hive people with black umbrellas, open, although there was no rain, patient and silent.

I am quite astonished at the obvious, clear metaphor of these dreams. The terror of bodily invasion. And really amazed at the strange poetry of the images my mind has coughed up. I'm glad to have recorded the images here, because otherwise I would forget them. Although if they show up in a short story, anyone who has read this blog will just have to pretend that they didn't.

All my life I have been strangely moved when people told me what they had dreamed. Sometimes, when someone will describe a dream to me, I'll have the sudden urge to cry. I think there is a kind of nakedness to our dreams. I don't think they are necessarily as meaningful as Freud did--when I think about the dreams I had last night I realize that I have discarded enormous amounts of material that didn't feel as meaningful as these images. But I think what we make of our dreams, when we impose narrative on them later, can be strangely revealing, the way the I Ching or Tarot cards can recast our world in strange and illuminating ways.

28 Comments:

Blogger Greg van Eekhout said...

Maureen wrote:
...thousands of hive people with black umbrellas, open, although there was no rain, patient and silent.Omigod, that is so cool.

January 22, 2005 7:45 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

I know! Why can't I thinkof stuff like that for my fiction?

January 22, 2005 9:24 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Awesome post, Maureen.

January 22, 2005 9:54 PM  
Blogger Greg van Eekhout said...

My dreams are always things like, "I have a spoon. This is my spoon. This is me holding a spoon." Just try to get a story out of that!

January 23, 2005 12:29 AM  
Blogger socalheather said...

Wow, Maureen...what a great story. Our minds are pretty amazing, huh?

January 23, 2005 1:27 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

When I was eight or so, I came down with a fever shortly after reading Flatland for the first time, and was treated to an Iliad-length dream, partly tactile and partly told in green wireframe diagrams, about the tragic, pointless, and unending war between the cubes and the small rectangular solids.

The cubes were about a quarter-inch on a side. I can still remember what they felt like between my fingers.

January 24, 2005 5:07 PM  
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May 30, 2006 2:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maureen - just happened on your blog, from doing a Google search on dreams. I am someone that dreams a lot, and works with their content quite a bit. I wonder if it has occured to you that the dreams you related might have to do with your mind thinking about the effects the Vicodin was having on your body - e.g. the fears of "outside forces" or “weird body invasions (like Vicodin) taking over, or the more obvious reference in the Superman dream to a pills. Might make a lot of sense, as your body was aware that there was a foreign substance in it, an "outside force" interfering with it… really interesting too about the fears about the pills making people a part of a “group mind” and then the group hive people at the end of the dream…almost seems to hint that perhaps Vicodin might have an effect that opens awareness to perhaps a group or collective unconscious? Or maybe this is an unconscious fear? Many people fear the concept of group mind or what some call telepathy – after all, if there is telepathy, what might I find out about others that I don’t want to know – or more worrisome – what might they be able to find out about me that I don’t want them to know??? But as a writer, I suspect you are probably very sensitive and aware of people’s moods and emotions around you, and are probably very intuitive when it comes to “reading” people… just some thoughts! The image all the people with the umbrellas was very striking – perhaps some reference to being prepared for a rainy day? Since your dream was back in 2005, would be interesting if there has been any connection with that dream image in your life since then in that regard...

November 22, 2006 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I googled "viocodin dreams" to see if what I had last night was normal. I had the same dreams you describe. I was flipping and kong fu fighting ala matrix! Amazing!

May 20, 2007 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Christian A. Ammon said...

On your Vicodin dreams yesterday through out the day I took 7 pills when I went to sleep I was dreaming and then suddenly what appeared to be my minds version of the Devil was throwing me around my bed area I was on the top bunk. I knew my little bro was on the bottom and in trying to call his name my voice did not work I remember trying to scream his name but wasn't able to. I looked up and the Devil was sitting there with a smirk on his face I was also paralyzed I could not move at all. I wake up look around was like wtf and went back to sleep. I went right back into the dream being tossed around unable to control anything move or speak, but this time I was able to hear the movie that was playing that my bro was watching. Again i tried to scream his name but only i could hear it tried to move and wasn't able to then I felt some uncover my mouth and then I asked my little bro to sit in the bed with me. It didn't happen again that night. This has happened to me @ least 8 times being pushed paralyzed and the devil and or his demons doing something to me I have only seen this in m dreams on vicodin.

July 12, 2007 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm on vicodin for back pain from cancer in my spine. I love it. But the dreams are bizarre--a lot of times I dream I am driving my real car down a real street and even though I pullmy eyelids OPEN I cannot see. A lot of times I dream I am driving blind. You'll love this--I also dreamt I was in the back seat of a car with a zombie P.J. O'Rourke in hillbilly clothes. That was indecipherable. I dream I am in hell a lot, and it's peopled with really scary demons, and sometimes I dream that I have been injected with the tracker the aliens always put inside the back of your skull. Ho hum. I like them. I always will myself awake and am sweating but it is always so interesting. Nice to know I'm notlosing it, but it's a side effect. SOme of the dreams are pretty cool though.I always thought the invasion ones were a metaphor for the caner and me, and maybe the chemo. Sharon.B.

February 28, 2008 1:39 PM  
Blogger elvisatemydonuts said...

I had a whole series of truly horrible vicodin induced dreams. In one very long night, a parade of relentlessly brutal, physically painful dreams came one after another.

Now I am no writer like you Maureen, (and clearly you are brilliant), so please excuse the layman's descriptions to follow, but I feel the need to get this off my chest, and this forum seems to be the perfect place.

In one of the dreams, I was being repeatedly stabbed in the legs by a group of super quick knee-high people with only one motivation; to try to kill me.

The fact that I could feel every sharp knife slicing into my skin and muscle with such intense detail was what was so horrifying.

The most disturbing dream I had that night was when I was forced to meet the devil face to face. Two nine-foot tall demons had me by each arm and physically forced me down into hell. It wasn't fire and brimstone, but cold and damp, with wet stone walls that glistened. The devil wasn't the cliche red with horns and a pitchfork -- he was slimy blue-green with a big veiny head on his seven-foot frame.
He had cold, beady emotionless shark eyes that were shiny black that stared almost through me. His mouth was relatively small when compared to his huge head, but certainly bigger than mine. But his razor sharp jagged teeth, three or four layers deep, protruding from his mouth were scary as hell.

The demon guards that drug me down there said in perfect unison, "Devote yourself to him, and surrender to him." To which I reflexively responded, "F@ck off!!"

With no emotion at all, the devil stood in front of me for a very long few seconds, and then, with no warning, and in one lightning-fast move, he just started chewing my face off.

It was so painful, that it would be impossible to describe, but every detail of the pain was overwhelming. I even heard the sounds of my eye popping and the crunching sounds from inside of my head. It was absolutely brutal.

I stopped taking vicodin the next day.

June 29, 2008 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking Vicodin and having weird dreams was what prompted me to do this search, when I happened upon your blog. I've had some nightmarish sexual dreams that were down right DISTURBING, and I woke up from both of them. I am having a hard time reconciling that they've sprung from my subconscious mind. One dream had to do with my Mother. And that is all I am saying about that. Arrrrrrrrrrgh! I did not want to go there. Not in a million years. Ever. E_V_E_R. Talk about waking up in a cold sweat. But I was forced to look at it. That's harsh, man. That's just not right. The other one was another sexual dream about a male neighbor that I sometimes work with in construction. He's a piece of work, has a heart of gold and knows his shit when it comes to building. Now, I admit that I've admired what good shape he is in, as I do with certain males, but I'm a tried and true incurable lover of woman and Virginias. (I'm heterosexual. At least I think I am. I can appreciate the male body but.....).In the dream the neighbor was pretty much forcing himself on me.Dude. This is not right. This is harsh, man. But I was forced to look at it. What's up with Vicodin? I'm now mentally disturbed.

July 31, 2008 1:07 AM  
Blogger Courtney said...

yup the vidocin dreams. I'm having them. they suck!

i was at a pool party with some friends and in a bikini and we were looking at each other like geez i thought we were going to the beach so we looked all cute but instead we were with other people for some reason should have been more covered up. We were ready to go home and i needed a ride. we walked outside on this brick path going down a hill and someone said they would bring me back up to my car that was about to get locked in the gate. I was afraid because they were locking the gate and i would get stuck inside. So instead of taking my car we took his car.it was a cool bike looking thing. but it was more like a bus. we actually rode in the back of the bus on the way to the party but this time i was riding in the way back (with the top down) and he was doing wheelie all the way. So when he was taking me back to my car (now we are in a school for some reason) i kept asking to be put in the back instead because i was about to hit stuff. I was yelling and screaming at him and i was terrified. I was hitting stuff and almost falling out. Hitting the door frames ceilings (apparently they were over sized door frames). I fell off and was trying to get out of the school when the gym teacher was walking towards me. the room kinda closed in. he was hovering over me and i would spot an open door or an open wall or something but they were all closing and shutting. and the gym teacher was about to rape me when i woke up hyperventilating.
Talk about freaky.

Yesterday it started with a dream where I thought my parents were yelling about the cat but i was really uncomfortable and sad about it. It felt so real to me i thought it was real when i woke up. then the next dream was about me in this jumping room from the future and a young friend of mine kept jumping on me and i was yelling at her to stop but she wouldn't listen (no boundaries that girl). So i got really mad at her then she was hurt and mad at me. She didn't understand i didn't like the jumping room. My stepfather said that i was being dumb and should just do what everyone was doing and enjoy it. then my uncle(which was a combo uncle of two of them in one) said "she just needs to rough up a bit" so he took out his lazor glasses and beamed me in the eyes. These glasses were from the future and they could change your personality. I didn't want him to but by the time I started to tell him no i fell to the ground and said "ay mama mia" my personality was changed to an Italian! I was so sad because I was just liking my own personality for once and he wanted to change the one thing I liked about myself. I was feeling like "i may be tough to deal with at times but I like who i am!"

oh my goodness. crazy crazy dreams. I'm just concerned the next dream i will be experiencing a rape or suicide because just dozing out a bit I start to hear the growls of that gym teacher. EEk.

September 03, 2008 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been taking vicodin, post op recovery, for 2 days now and tonight just started experiencing horrible nightmares and woke up paranoid. I love the pain relief, but don't care for the side effects at all. I'll be calling the doctor in the am for a different perscription.

February 08, 2009 4:58 AM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just woke up from a small vicodin induced nap... and i just had some crazy ass fucking dreams.... too bad i can only remember bits and pieces but damn i havent dreamed that vividly in a long time....weird ass shit too

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just had a car accident and was prescribed vicodin. I am no longer taking it. I cannot remember the first dream, only that i woke up screaming for my husband to get up. In the second dream I was a nurse caring for my father who was dying. when he finanly took that last breath. He was supposedly dead, but he became a very strong zombie and began to chase me with large rocks passing to te right and left of my head. I am in pain, but i refuse to put that nasty stuff near my mouth.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just awoke from a VERY similar dream to this after only taking a half a Vicodin. Aside from the being pushed & shoved, i was completely paralyzed and saw a dark figure near as well, the most disturbing thing about my dream is that, i had realized i was dreaming and tried waking myself up but couldn't had only'successfully' woken up to find myself still sleeping. i am terrified out of my mind and refused to take Vicodin again. i had my wisdom out last week which is why I'm using it, but i have to find a another pain med, because I'm an really disturbed by this dream. the only reason i woke up was because i had set an alarm. i can't imagine if i had been trapped in that nightmare any longer.

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