I don't usually have nightmares as such--I may had weird or violent dreams, but I'm pretty indomitable in my sleep, so they don't bother me.
I was sort of reminded of that bit in Sandman about eternal wakings. There were layers going on there--I was asleep and dreaming that I was awake, I was asleep and dreaming that I was dreaming. In the dream within a dream, I was in an insane asylum, and I kept trying to sleep and waking up with inmates in my bed. (One of 'em was pretty frisky. I'll admit I kept tryin' to get back to that one--I mean, sure, he was crazy, but boy was hung! Uh...okay, that was TMI, wasn't it...?) Others weren't nearly so entertaining. There was a small child that I was trying to comfort who was probably dead, but because she'd died crazy, her ghost was also crazy, and apparently there was a no-heaven-by-reason-of-insanity clause in effect. And my mother kept showing up and telling me that no, she knew I wasn't crazy, she'd get me out in no time, but she was just so tired, she just needed to sleep for a few minutes.
From this I kept waking up--or thinking I was waking up--in my bedroom, except that there were things in it. Nasty things, not in the conventional sense of, y'know, fantasy demons dripping ichor and whatnot--I laugh at ichor! I smite demons before breakfast!--but Jacob's Ladder style visitations, things crab-walking around the bed on their hands, moving entirely too rapidly, making these horrible moaning giggles. "It's okay," I'd tell myself, "it's not real, it's a hold over from the dream, that's all--" but christ, they freaked me out. They moved wrong.* So then I'd try to get back to sleep (even though I was already asleep) and wind up right back in the asylum.
Occasionally I'd come to real reality for a minute--I knew it was really real because Ben was in it, and I'd curl up around him, because he was definitely real and asleep and if there were monsters in the bedroom, Ben would be on them like lightning--but then I'd sink back down to that kind of complicated recursive dream state.
I finally got out of the asylum, spent a stint on a horse ranch run by lunatics and pickpockets, got away, only to get lost in an airport (no question where THAT dream came from) nearly miss the plane, actually catch the plane, which was promptly shot down by the Taoist Army--the pilot said they were hunting for cooks, and I said they were gonna be real damn disappointed with me--and made an emergency water landing. That bit didn't much bother me--we got out into this bizarre houseboat--but then the water gods crashed a boat on the rocks beside us. The captain was crazy secretive, and I didn't trust him, but unfortunately by the time I figured out that he'd been possessed by the Apep Serpent** he'd managed to infect my mother and a brother who turned up out of nowhere.
The rest of the evening was another nightmare of trying to slap these binding wards with green stones on them onto the possessed to render them harmless while I searched for the cure. Unfortunately the binding didn't last terribly long, and they kept peeling them off, while telling me how hopeless my efforts were. I was reciting all kinds of crazy Egyptian spells--why I'd call on Hatepshut is beyond me, but any port in a storm--and in my brief moments between bindings, was out in the water summoning giant iguandaon-shark things, binding them, and making them bring me more green stones. "Sorry," said the Iguanadon, "the sea lions give them to me, but then I give them to the giant singers." "The what now?" "The whales."
I examined this situation from all angles and then said "Would beer help?"
"You bring me beer and I'll take you to the whales," said the Iguanadon, pleased.
I had my brewery set up and tended by palm rats, but then my mother pried loose of the bindings, and I was trying an experiment using the Golden Fleece, in medicated pad form, as a curse remover, when Ben came and stood on my head and woke me up.
You know, I think I'm ready to go off the Effexor as planned next month. The dreams are cool, but when they turn into nightmares, they're really horrifically vivid, and that's no fun at ALL.
*I can watch zombie movies, even--perhaps especially--BAD zombie movies, until the cows come home, it can rain gore from the skies and I will munch popcorn--heck, I came out of Sweeney Todd with a craving for shepherd's pie--but the modern run of "fast zombies" that don't move right freak me the hell out. I'll still watch 'em, but you better anticipate a phone call at 3 AM saying "AAAGH! I can't sleeeeep!" if you ask me to. Also, there's a reason I haven't gone back and bought the rest of the Silent Hill games, and not just because I can't take Pyramid Head seriously after that one My Little Pony mod...
**And kudos to my subconscious for obscure mythology, if nothing else...