Bosma, Harry (1997 October).Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and bad dreams. Electric Dreams 4(10), <> (Oct 28, 1997).

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and bad dreams

Harry Bosma

August 1994 a doctor diagnosed me with mono. Apart from sometimes literally paralyzing fatigue during the few hours I didn't sleep, I suffered from neurological problems like short-term memory loss, not being able to read, not able to speak very well or understand what other's were saying, and so on. As most doctors - at least in the Netherlands - believe that mono can't take longer than a year maximum, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) seemed to be the next-best name for the disease. Unfortunately most Dutch hospitals have the policy of not doing CFS diagnoses.

During most of the disease disturbing dreams seemed to confirm that something was wrong. Compared to my dreams before the disease I've suddenly gotten very many dreams with aggression aimed at the dreamer as well as well as relatively contained violence to large scale civil wars.

The first wave of violent dreams had the most impressive dreams in which I was personally attacked. That could be with the use of all kinds of weapons: canons, guns, knifes, swords and so on. The worst were the backstabbing dreams. The first two backstabbing dreams somewhere in 1995 did hurt a lot. Let nobody tell me that you can't feel pain in dreams!

There isn't much to tell about these early dreams. Back then my dreams seemed rather short, like very small videoclips appearing and immediately disappearing in the dark. I got stabbed, it hurt and that was it. The last backstabbing dream I've had is a relatively mild dream as it seems to offer some explanation as well.

Murder attempt

(february 18 1997)

I'm poor, look poor. I live in a big but old worn-out building. There is no furniture, perhaps a bed in one of the rooms. A friend of mine leaves and should get a taxi. We go outside. I draw my wallet and I'm greatly surprised by the huge amount of money I have and also that I'm showing this openly. I give my friend a few 10 bills.

To someone (my friend in the taxi?) I call out we will get this mess beyond us someday.

Inside again, another friend wants to exchange his belt with mine. I think it's a bad trade, I like mine better, his has a big ugly buckle. But I don't care that much and if he likes it... He also wants the trousers to go with it. "The green one?", I ask. Yes, of course. It makes sense, I feel the belt and green trousers are one piece too.

I tell him I'm going to shower. I walk to the opposite side of the building, over a kind of wall or ridge, something rather unusual to have in a building. Just when I want to enter the bathroom, my friend stabs a knife in my back. He wants to murder me. I shout for help as loud as I can. I'm even afraid that my sleeping body is shouting too (although this isn't a lucid dream). I now realize that the other murders were done by him too. I always had some suspicion, but never really believed the rumors. While waiting for help I look disembodied at people in the environment of the building. They've heard me, help it on its way.

[end dream]

Almost since the beginning of the disease I've had dreams were the dream people were fighting each other. The scale of the fights seem to have gotten smaller over the years and somehow it's like I've been able to interfere in this myself. In a dream of september 17 1996 one of my dreamfriends almost begs me to enter a room because they're on the verge of a fight again. I do so reluctantly because I'm tired of it, I can't stand it anymore. But I enter the room and everybody stays calm.

One of the worst dreams was one where even the peacekeepers started killing.

Police killings

(september 19 1996)


In the street beyond me somebody gets executed by the police. They even brag about it among eachother. Having witnessed this I don't feel safe. I run into a small alley but notice being followed by a woman connected to the police. I climb over a fence. The woman is on the other side and turns into cloth resembling a huge bat. The cloth climbs the fence sideways towards me. When I climb down on the other side (the side of the cloth), I see myself at the back. She / the cloth has overtaken me and covers or better buries me completely.

[end dream]

For the last 6 months the frequency of this kind of bad dreams has been reduced much. Which I find promising of course. Recent dreams seem to focus on keeping a balance between activity and rest. If you have no choice but to sleep 15 hours a day and stay at bed the other 9 hours, it's perfectly clear what you can do. I've improved a lot although I still haven't anything that comes close to a social life, let alone that I can hold a job. Compared from where I'm coming from I know feel not really ill nor really cured. To finish, here's one of my latest nightmares that reflects the disease in its violence and my uncertainty in my delayed action.

Boy drowns girl

(August 8 1997)

I'm in the kitchen. To my surprise the water is as almost as high as the window. (When did that happen?!) Children now swim very near to our house. Right beyond the kitchen window swim a boy and a girl. The girl wears glasses. The boys snatches her glasses and breaks them, throws the pieces away. She apparently didn't see what he did because she looks for her glasses floating around. The boy then pushes her under water. I can't believe my eyes. Is he now trying to kill her as well? No, this is no joke, he doesn't plan to let her go.

I open the window to lift the boy out of the water. I think I lack the strength to do so. Besides, ain't I too late already?

(The house I'm currently living in is at a canal to a nearby small lake. If the water is high it floats the lower terrace)

[end dream]

About Healing Dreams

For more about dreams, nightmares and CFS I invite you visit the Healing Dreams site. Healing Dreams was launched for exchanging information on the combination of sleep, dreaming and chronic diseases. Especially CFS patients are painfully aware of the various interactions between sleep and health and they often report nightmares and vivid dreams as well. Most visitors of Healing Dreams however turn out to be healthy people just interested in dreaming. For those there are book suggestions, software reviews and many annotated links.

For those who visited recently there will be little new to see. I'm planning to do a large work-over soon, involving amongst other the results of the informal survey, some articles on healing techniques, more book reviews and the new and greatly enhanced version of the dreamkeeping software program Alchera.

The Dreaming Room of Healing Dreams:

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