Women, life, happiness
  • “Why do I keep having nightmares?”

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    March 15th, 2011Keryl PesceLife in general

    "I have a couple recurring nightmares and also some random ones. Often they wake me up, my heart's pounding, and I am left feeling freaked out. It's affecting my sleep and lately, I put off going to bed because I don't want to have another nightmare. Is this normal? What does it mean? What can I do to get them to stop?"

    First things first. Regarding you being normal.I think I'd be a little more concerned if you never had a nightmare. Take inventory. Ask your friends or people you work with if they have nightmares. We all do. So put that question out of your head. You are normal. That doesn't mean there isn't something you can do about it. Some or all of what I am about to share will definitely help you.

    Here are three things you can do:

    1 - Have you ever heard the expression (maybe even from me) "What we resist, persists."? It's true. The more you worry about having nightmares, the more you will experience them. So rather than resisting them, let's try something a little different tonight.

    What if your nightmares are a gold mine in disguise? What if you have a special and powerful imagination which will allow you to write short stories, the next great mystery novel or even movie? Right now, without any effort, you are coming up with some crazy shit that writers spend hours trying to create. They'd love to be you. So tonight, go to bed looking forward to what your imagination will come up with and be ready to write it down as soon as you wake up.

    You just might have the first peaceful, uninterrupted night of sleep you've had in a long time by making this one change. I'd love to know what happens.

    2 – I've also heard the theory that nightmares are actually our subconscious releasing negativity. So each time you have a nightmare, you're one step closer to releasing worry or baggage of past experiences. Knowing this, you can wake up feeling lighter and more relief rather than burdened.

    3 – Following up on #2. In addition to changing how you view your nightmares, there is another step you can take to rid yourself of possible baggage buried in your subconscious. A friend of mine who is a former hypnotherapist shared this one with me, and it cured me of a recurring nightmare as soon as I did it.

    A little background first. Five and a half years ago, my grandmother died at the age of 95. She and I were very close and in her later years, I had taken on a care-giving role with her. I felt a strong sense of obligation to look out for her and protect her when she could no longer protect herself. She spent a week or so in a nursing home shortly before she died after she had fallen and broken her hip. Leaving her in the hands of someone else sickened me. I wanted to be by her side every second to make sure she was content and cared for.

    When it was clear what was inevitably about to happen, we brought her to my home to help her pass on as peacefully and comfortably as possible. Which we (meaning my entire family) did. As much as I loved her and as big a part of my life as she was, I was quite at peace with her passing. She lived a long and pretty healthy life. We had a great relationship. I did right by her while she was here. There isn't too much more you can ask for.

    But then the recurring nightmares.

    For about three years after she died, I kept having a nightmare that she was in need, in danger, frightened, or needed my help in some way. In one, I remember carrying her like a child. Each time I woke up from the nightmare, I was physically crying. I had to wipe tears from my face. I felt pain and sadness – heavy. So even though on a conscious level I knew I did right by her, there was a part of me that still must have worried that she was okay.

    I mentioned this to my friend, the hypnotherapist. He said in all his years of practice, every single person he worked with had a corridor of doors in their mind. And behind those doors were the answers we seek. He suggested I go into mine. So I did.

    Here's how he told me to do it. Find a quiet place where I can lay down comfortably without interruptions. Relax and focus on breathing and clearing my mind. Then in my imagination, pull up the image of a long corridor with no end in site and closed doors on either side. Imagine myself walking down the corridor until I feel drawn to one of the doors. When I do, open the door and see what is behind it.

    Before I tell you my experience, get something clear. I am not a therapist or hypnotherapist. I'm a Happy Bitch who is sharing something with you that worked for me. Also, if you do this, have no fear of what is behind the door. Anything you discover is there to help you. It may upset you at first, but it will ultimately release you. Therapists will tell you that it is unresolved issues that cause us most harm. So sometimes the answer it to reveal it, face it and get the heck past it.

    Back to my corridor. As I walked down, I saw a door that had a bright light shining through from underneath. My door was on the right. I opened it and stepped in. I was suddenly outside, the sun shining brightly and warm, green grass everywhere. There was my grandmother sitting in a lawn chair in her classic pose with her elbow on the arm of the chair and her chin lightly resting on the back of her hand. This may sound weird (well, all of it might, but if it will help you, I'm sharing), but I had an overwhelming sense of love and that she was okay, happy and safe. She didn't speak to me, but the communication via feeling was absolutely there.

    What happened next? I cried. And I cried and cried. Sobbed would probably be more accurate. But as emotional as it was, it was a massive relief – instantly. I now knew she was okay, which was something I was unknowingly still worried about.

    If you asked me about her passing, I would tell you I was at peace. All the logical things were there for me on a conscious level. Like many of us though, there are things we bury on a subconscious level that still affect us. Mine was my sense of responsibility to make sure she was alright. I hadn't let go of that when I let go of her. Until I went into my corridor.

    Doing this may seem a little scary. Go when you're ready. Go with an open mind. Take whatever comes knowing it is good for you.

    I have not had the nightmare since I did this. Good luck and please let me know how you make out.

    p.s. – From now on, put yourself to sleep as you imagine what you want, not what you don't want. Rather than run from your nightmares, create your dreams.

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