Nightmare – I’m Being Chased and Killed! Will I Die?

“To die, to sleep-To sleep, perchance to dream-ay-there’s the rub, For in this sleep of death what dreams may come…”

~William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Many of us are plagued by nightmares to the point of fearing sleep. We will do anything to avoid falling asleep because it may lead to dreams that shift into a nightmare, or worse…killer recurrent nightmares.

One of our worst nightmares is being killed or dying in our sleep.

Death in a dream can be a positive message. It usually means the end of one thing is the beginning of a new life of some sort. Usually, when something is killed or dies in a dream it is about making room for something new and very necessary for the dreamer’s future. It could be an opportunity to embrace a new life.

The end of one thing is the beginning of another.

Dreams are food for thought while sleep is medicine for the body. Avoiding either is unhealthy. However, embracing both and searching for the little nugget of gold hidden in a nightmare may be a blessing in disguise.

It is easy to forget a dream, but hard to forget a nightmare.

If dreams are a way your inner voice gives you guidance, how best to get your attention than through an unforgettable nightmare? The strong emotions associated with it will make it easier to bring pertinent information back to your waking world, so you can work out a solution to the presented challenge.

As a dream expert, one of the most frequent dream questions emailed to me pertains to nightmares. One recent question was, “What do my nightmares about being chased and killed mean? Am I going to die?”

“Someday we will all die, but I doubt that will happen in your dreams tonight.”

Here are three things you can do or remember when you awaken from a miserable nightmare to find your golden nugget.

  • Look for the play on words in the actions in your nightmare. Dreams or Nightmares of being chased are often an opportunity to “catch-up” with memories, events or situations which have been in your subconscious for years.
  • Look for numbers in the dream that may help you associate the nightmare with an event in your life. If the number 21 is seen numerous times ask yourself what happened when you were 21 years of age or (2+1=3) three years of age, or perhaps both. Are you facing or about to face the same challenges from both ages? Is history about to repeat itself?
  • Anything that shows up three times in the nightmare is something you should focus on because, it is often considered shamanic in nature and therefore of particular interest concerning health, healing, and life.

A shamanic dream is considered a healing dream steeped in the ancient tradition of Shamanism which focuses on our connection to nature and all of creation. It may focus on what needs to be healed and what is trying to heal you through your nightmares.

Nightmares can be a gift in disguise. A nightmare may be an opportunity for you to stop running from a haunting memory and turn to face and conquer it.

Look at the play on words within the dream.

Is someone speaking to you in the dream? Try to remember parts, phrases, or specific words. Are they being repeated? Who are the people in your dream? Did you recognize them during the dream even if you forgot them when you awoke? What do they look like? What color are they wearing? Is it day or night? Having a Dream Journal close to your bed can be helpful because it allows you to write down or record anything you can remember of your nightmare as soon as you awaken. The longer you wait to enter your dream in your dream journal the more elusive it will become. Important images or words may disappear like fog when the early morning light begins to burn through it.

Some enlightening shamanic nightmares take place in a dark dream.

Here are some clues that you are having a healing dream. Grey and black are the colors of many therapeutic dreams. In your dream, you may be running through a dark corridor, or alley, or street during the night. You may only see people in gray clothes. Your dream lacks light or bright colors. This is often the setting for Shamanic ad Prophetic Dreams.

Dreams are full of symbolism and a play on words. Perhaps a dream in which you feel you are being chased is you chasing an aspect of yourself which is allusive, or it may be your attempt to kill a harmful memory to save yourself.

Are you sure you are running from something in the dream or are you “chasing after yourself?”

Perhaps you are running to something rather than away from something.

What if you think something is chasing after you when it may be trying to keep up with you. If you feel you are being chased in a nightmare consider these questions:

  • Are you working on a project that may be getting ahead of you?
  • Are you afraid you may not be able to “keep up” with what is expected of you at work or in a relationship?
  • Have you always felt that you were running to catch up with your personal life because it is moving too fast and may be slipping away?
  • Do you feel so fearful in life you are afraid-of-your-own-shadow?”

Here is one last question for you to consider. In your dream could you possibly be angry about something that you have suppressed for years because you wanted to “forgive and forget?” Sometimes until we truly work through a difficult situation our inner self-feels cheated and threatened. We can begin to solve this situation by asking, “What could I have done differently? What did I learn? What are the warning signs if this were to happen again?” and “Is this my baggage or their baggage?” Answering these simple questions can help you discover if your anger is acting out in your dreams.

Your nightmare may be saying, “We” did not take a closer look at the troubling situation in our waking world, so let’s take a look at it again now in the dream-world where there are endless possibilities for solutions that do not have legal, political, or social consequences and try out some different role-playing answers.”

Your nightmare may be therapy in which a solution is chasing you.

If you have had a chasing nightmare, let me know how you worked out the solution to your dream because only the dreamer can really solve it. Your nightmare may be trying to catch up to you to save you. Embrace your nightmare and turn fear into fuel with the act of self-love.


Kat O'Keefe-Kanavos
Kat O'Keefe-Kanavos
Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos is the award-winning author of Surviving Cancerland, and co-author of Dreams That Can Save Your Life. She’s a three-time cancer survivor, and co-publisher/editor of WEBE Books Publishing. Her dreams diagnosed her illness as seen on Dr. Oz, Doctors, NBC News, American Express Open, in Newspapers and magazines. She’s a Contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, TV/Radio Host/Producer- Dreaming Healing on DV7Radio/TV Network, Wicked Housewives On Cape Cod™, Kat Kanavos Show, Internationally Syndicated Columnist in BIZCATALYST 360°, Dream Columnist in Positive Tribe Magazine, and Desert Health Magazine, Keynote Speaker, Performance Coach who taught Special Ed & Psychology @USF, and Lecturer who promotes patient advocacy and Spiritual guidance. She is co-author to the inspiring books; Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change and Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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  1. This was very interesting, Kathleen. I don’t think I have ever had a nightmare. When I was about 9 – 15 years old I had a recurring dream. I fell in real life at age 9 and broke my two front teeth. Recurring dream I had often after that was that I fell and broke my teeth but all of my teeth would went flying up into the sky and formed words like a skywriter. I used to think that meant I was supposed to be a writer. I haven’t had the dream since I was probably a teenager. I don’t think I was supposed to be a writer either. I can’t even remember the last time I had any dream at all. I probably dream just don’t remember them. Your article is intriguing though about interpreting dreams.