Dealing with PTSD, I endure night terrors
(where you wake up terrified but can’t remember why) and nightmares (where you wake up cold and sweating but this time you can re-live it, what a step up) on a religious basis. This means nightly. This means coping hasn’t been an option for me- it’s been a necessity.
I have this funny little book that I found in a Barnes & Noble, called ‘GET HIGH NOW’. Don’t worry Mom, it’s *without drugs. With it conveniently pocket(book)-sized and loving the name, I bought it on a whim one day, not knowing the little guy would revolutionize my life.
Camping out the following holiday (I was my young landlords’ first ever tenant and they had no idea what to do when my old gas range began leaking. I wasn’t about to stick around and die while they figured it out, so I hightailed it outta there and camped out on someone’s lawn last-minute that holiday. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.) I happened upon some pages in there on lucid dreaming. That sounded mighty interesting and anyways I had no better way to spend my sleepless night than to try it out.
Try it out I did and have since found it key in helping cope when the nightmares hit. Lucid dreaming is where you consciously walk into the subconscious dream-world. It’s incredibly empowering toward recognizing an ability to control and direct your own dreams and move around inside subconscious realms. I can now go in and change the narrative. I can go in and create a different ending. I can mobilize and fight back and become my very own hero. I am no longer at the mercy of what may come; I’m a warrior that can put on her pajama-armor and go to battle in defense of calmer nights.
So can you!
A How-To Guide:
The #1 thing to know is that the first and last thing on your mind should always be your intention to lucid dream. Intention will bring you there.
The method I used worked with dream recall. As you lay awaiting sleep, recall a dream you’ve had. Remember what it looked like, felt like, smelled like. What environment were you in? Who was with you? What were you doing? See yourself in the dream and have a look around. Take a little walk and interact with your surroundings. Remember that you are the star of this show. Remember that this is a dream and that you’re in it.
*I used a method of recalling a dream I’d already had, but using any imagined fantastical imagery you’d like works just as well. Use the same technique and simply be there, walk into the space in your mind, feel what it feels like, and remember your intention to lucid dream. It may take a few tries to enter and stay in your lucid dream state, but no more than a week of sticking with it should do the trick.
Note: I recommend trying this with a nap to start with instead of your regular bedtime sleep, as the lighter cycle may provide an easier platform for staying conscious and aware.