The nature of dreams is that their origins are, mostly, mysterious. Where do they come from? They start from reality, of course, but the true beginnings are rarely clear.
This year it’s a little bit different, though, mostly thanks to Donald J. Trump, who has a not-implausible shot at being the next leader of the free world. This idea has caused some alarm and panic, specifically, sometimes, in dreams.
So Atlas Obscura asked it’s readers for true tales of their panic dreams. Dozens of readers came through, with everything from the disturbing to the downright absurd. One person said they “woke up screaming,” while another refused to describe the dream, only saying they saw both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Some of the dreams were centered around the color orange. “Donald Trump walked down a short staircase and into my room,” one respondent said. “He was so evil inside that he turned the air and light orange.”
Another said, “Men on motorcycles were dragging people behind them if they posted negative things about Donald Trump. They were called ‘The Oranges.’”
Others were weirdly optimistic:
I dreamt that I was trying to go vote on election day but I couldn’t get out of work. Panicking about not getting to vote in time. Woke up feeling relief that even if I wasn’t able to vote, the election was over. I considered turning on the TV to see if they had called our state or the electoral college. As logic returned to me, I realized that we still had more than a week to go. Sinking feeling returned to my stomach. Though, lesson learned, you can be sure I’ll be out the for bright and early to my polling place before work! Dems and diehards vote early in the day, and I happen to be both.
Others had panic dreams that got pretty dark, especially about sexual assault.
“I dreamed that Donald Trump was pinning me down on my bed, sneering at me and not letting me up no matter how much I struggled,” one person wrote.
Another said: “Being chased by a mob of people trying to take my uterus out. Politicians and scary white men trying to run my body.”
Yes, I was riding on a train when Trump sat down next to me and proceeded to chat me up. Gen wouldn’t shut up or leave me alone, he just kept shoving identical business card after identical business card into my uninterested hands. I probably had it because of all the women that are opening up about assault by him.
And a fourth:
I was having Donald Trump over to my apartment for dinner. At first, I was taken aback that he seemed nicer and distinctly more down to earth than he appears in the news. However, he kept getting progressively more annoying as the night went on. He followed me into the bathroom, kept blaring one of those cheesy New Years Eve blow-out noisemakers directly in my ear, and then, finally, right before I woke up, he stuck both of his hands into my pockets.
And a fifth:
I woke up shouting: “I WILL REPORT YOU.” Scared my husband half to death. I was mad as hell and ready to get some justice … The next morning I was still angry as hell, full of righteous rage. Remembered and cursed the men who’ve harassed me in real life. To hell with them! Makes me mad again to think of it.
Not all of the dreams were so dark, though. Some were about animals.
When I get stressed, I have a reoccurring dream that I was supposed to feed a friend’s pet while they are gone and I have forgotten for days. The last one, I sat bolt upright in bed and thought “I forgot to feed the cat!” Got out of bed and stumbled toward the door “And the goats!” in the doorway “And the flamingos! Waaaaaait…who do I know who has flamingos?!”. And then I went back to bed.
And the stress of animal rescue:
I kept finding hurt animals I had to take care of, but my house wasn’t big enough and I didn’t have enough time and they also started eating each other. I tried to keep them all in my basement because I didn’t want them to hurt my cat and 2 dogs, and I kept forgetting to feed them, and it was pretty stressful. Guessing it relates to my generalized anxiety and trying to juggle obligations.
And then there were those that were downright dystopian or disturbing. Here’s a selection:
I dreamed that I was working for a large…corporation? government agency? Not sure. One day they offered me an opportunity: I could press a button, and it would launch a missile from a drone being flown by somebody else. The missile would take out their target, a single person. This was a person they assured me was deserving. I would be paid $500,000 to push this button, and there would be no record of my involvement.
I was actually trying to go to bed early and I was really relaxed but then my mind just started whirring and pretty soon I was falling into sleep but all of the things that I hadn’t written down or hadn’t accomplished during the day just surged into chaos! Then Donald Trump was there just yelling and looking disgusting. He was in my face and sweating all over and stomping and I just woke up with the sensation that I was falling. I just snapped awake with force. I had the full on heavy chest, hard breathing, and like a headache coming on.
My wife passed out at the wheel of the car, I was in the passenger’s seat trying to figure out how to simultaneously steer and get her foot off the gas pedal, but her leg was rigid and the pedal was on the floorboard. We were approaching 120 mph.
Others, like most dreams, were in the realm of the nonsensical.
I was sick about 3 weeks ago, and my fever dreams were completely inundated with Donald Trump and Mike Pence. They weren’t doing anything in particular; they were just always there. It was agonizing, because I knew every time I managed to get back to sleep they’d be there waiting. … They stopped when I started to recover from my illness. I probably dreamt exclusively about Trump and Pence for three days straight.
Dreamt I was sent to apocalyptic magdalene laundry.
I was hiking the Appalachian Trail when a large tree with the face of Donald Trump chased me off a cliff.
There were zombies.
It was like Jurassic Park, dinosaurs were trying to find my friends and I in a theater to kill us.
Maybe, in another week, we’ll forget all this ever happened.