Everyone has a nightmare once in a while, that terrifying moment when you wake in fear, palms sweating, heart racing, wondering where you are. Some scientists believe bad dreams are a natural coping strategy for life’s stresses and strains and might even help us deal with our problems.
But what’s worse than waking up from a bad dream? Surely, not waking up at all? Or is it being alive, but not being able to tell anyone? I can guess what you’re about to say: you don’t want to think about death or anything close. Neither do I, but there is an intriguing state in between that few people have properly explored. Most of us know it as a coma, a persistent unconsciousness, but it’s far from death. According to some it’s a tantalising glimpse of the afterlife, if you’re lucky enough to wake up and remember it, that is. Scary as long-lasting unconsciousness may seem to us, there is something fascinating and mysterious about the way some people have simply opened their eyes and woken up again after months or even years of inhabiting a place we know nothing about. Some survivors report feeling, thinking and knowing exactly what’s going on during their time of quiet, but realising that deep down, even if they tried to, they’d be unable to make contact with the real world.
I’d like you to try a thought experiment with me – one I’ve tried a few times on my own. Just so you know, it’s not dangerous, but it might raise a few challenges, a few surprises. Imagine, just for a moment, that you fall into a state of long-lasting semi-consciousness – that you can hear everything going on around you, but simply can’t interact with your loved ones. Imagine you hear a friend’s voice, but you can’t respond. Imagine you hear your own baby cry, but you can’t console her. Now imagine your family begin to make decisions about your future without your permission – and their version of the future isn’t what you want at all.
This is Where You Join Me is a story that will take you into a world you don’t recognise at first, but it’s a world that’s hidden deep inside us all. Whether we open the door and look inside, however, is another matter entirely. If you choose to, maybe you’ll find out why you don’t have to fear your nightmares anymore.