What to do to shake-off the “bad dream hang-over”
I had a bad dream last night. It was about a married man with children, sexually abusing his young son and his son’s friend. In my dream, I get the wife to allow me to examine the boys for evidence of assault and call the authorities. Which, in my dream, I did.
Why did I have this dream? I’m sure it’s because of all the writing I’ve been doing. But it’s been a very long time since I have had to deal with the next morning “hang-over” from a bad dream. It reminded me of the countless, THOUSANDS of bad dreams I have had. It used to be nightly…now…well I don’t remember the last one before last night. I used to dream in themes. In my dreams, my life was always in some sort of “life threatening” situation i.e. a herd of deadly tornados are heading my way, and I must save the children and get us all under a rickety farm house, and “MacGyver” a way to increase our odds of survival. For me, my mind is how I survived my traumatic life. At 5 feet tall and 100 pounds give or take 10 pounds over the last 40 years, I certainly wasn’t going to intimidate or “muscle” my way out of anything. I had to THINK. It left me with a phobia of anything or any perceivable situation that could limit my cognitive ability! My poor surgeons! Needless to say, I do not like to be sedated in any way, shape, or form, never mind knocked out cold. And God help you if you startle me while I’m sleeping. I once had a huge fight with a lover when he insisted that his camp be an “all doors open” environment. I said, “Not where I sleep, Buck-o!” He wanted extra beds put in where I was to sleep, and people could come and go… ya… NO!
Anyway, my dreams have always been very much “MacGyver-ish”. Or they will be the only other kind of dream I had for decades – reliving my own abuse…waking up IN a post-traumatic episode…sweating profusely, trembling, hyperventilating, eyes like a deer in headlights…half in the now and half in the then…then the collapse… the crying… then feeling of utter vulnerability and terror… It could take days to shake the feeling off.
(Ok, Catherine. Thanks for all that, but what’s the damn point?)
If you have horrific dreams or wake with a feeling of utter vulnerability and unspecified overall overwhelming feeling of impending doom…
a) You’re not alone.
b) I have some tools I have learned that could help. Oh, see NOW you’re interested…uh huh… ok. Here it is.
When I had had enough of suffering, I was pretty much open to trying anything… voodoo dolls, exorcism… wash my sheets in holy water (is it still holy if you bring a gallon jug to the church and steal it…um never mind) Some stuff made sense, and some didn’t. Here is some of what worked for me:
1. I like the whole Feng Shui data: Feng Shui http://fengshui.about.com/od/fengshuiforhome/qt/bed_placement.htm
2. Paint the room a soft pastel or flesh color to help create calm energy. Bright light energy colors for working and creative rooms…not bedrooms.
3. Keep a battery alarm clock next to the bedside table, eliminate as much alive electrical current as possible near your head.
4. Keep the temperature of your bedroom on the cooler vs. warmer side. See setting the stage for better sleep:http://www.wikihow.com/Sleep-Better#Setting_the_Stage_for_Sleep_sub
5. Routine is key. Regardless of the day-weekday or weekend, I keep to pretty much the same bedtime routine, so when life is stressful, my body may still do what I have programed it to do over time…sleep.
6. Bad dream hangover: Here is what works for me… no scientific data here…may even seem barbaric and voodoo-ish to you…but if something works for you…i.e. a magic rock under your pillow, then don’t listen to anyone who tells you that it can’t possibly work because they say so. I used to “smudge” my room with sage. Sage smudge data: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4784/3-Spiritual-Benefits-of-Sage.html If there is a lot of negativity happening, or if I had a fight with my mate, I smudge. As I have gotten older I started using sage less and more sweetgrass
7. I also use crystals, lepidolite, iolite & muscovite, Amethyst, rose quartz.
8. I put lavender oil on my pillow case and eye pillow – link
9. I use a silk pillow case
10. I love, love, love my Rose Petals’ Rosewater spray bottle: http://heritagestore.com/rosewater-w-atomizer-8oz-liquid.html I keep a bottle in the ref rig and spray my face when I’m hot and tired. I keep one on my desk and in my car. Rose oil carries the highest vibration of all the healing oils and is the most expensive! But whether real or imagined, (again, does it matter?) it calms me down and dissolves negativity.
11. Sometimes my “bad dream hangover” makes me feel like one of those spinning pin wheels on the fourth of July with sparks flying out in all directions. I just feel edgy and prickly. A guaranteed cure for that, for me, is something called “grounding”http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401221/Is-There-Anything-to-Earthing.html Really all it is, is putting your bare feet on the earth or sand or stream/lake/ocean for 10-20 minutes. (I.e. on your lunch break, take your lunch outside and stand on the ground…breathe!)
12. I am a Reiki Master. Yep…more “voodoo”! It’s hard to explain, but I’ve never not been able to help anyone I’ve put my hands on with Reiki. Kinda weird…and wicked cool. I totally believe anyone can give and receive Reiki anytime, anywhere. All you have to do is stop. Seriously, that’s the hardest part for most people. Bad dream hangovers and anxiety in general makes us want to RUN… towards what?! Something. Something we think will defuse our suffering; a drink, a drug, food, sex, something. But I have found, for me, the only escape is through the door, back into myself. Ya, corny… but true. So here it is:
c) Put your hand on your chest and one on your belly and sit there for as long as you can stand it…. then another minute longer than that. That extra minute will stretch out your tolerance for a longer “sit” another time.
d) Now…while you are there, most likely you are going to experience what has been called “monkey mind”, an irritating barrage of chatter from your inner narrator. It’s a huge pain in the butt to deal with until you get used to it. The best way I’ve learned is to pretend I’m floating over myself, watching/listening and simply noticing all the crazy crap this inner narrator is spewing.
e) Try not to take it personal. Just mentally say, “Thanks for sharing, and let it go up in a helium balloon (shape and color of your choice). These days I prefer white unicorns. But, that’s me.
f) Then imagine there is a beam of light like something from star trek beaming down to the top of your head, and then imagine your toes browning into life sucking cool looking roots sinking deep into soft black rich dirt deep in the earth… you are one with heaven and earth. Everything in you is being filled with light and love. Fear and panic are like shadows fading in the light; all happening without effort, with Grace and Ease.
g) The last thing is adjust your sails. Look. Life happens. Bad dreams happen. Anxiety happens. Take good care of you. You are the expert on you. Pretend you are someone you really love (i.e. favorite grandchild or BFF). How would you advise for him/her? Be around friends? Cancel fencing class and go to the park instead? You know what to do. Do it.
I believe in you! I hope this helps.