I woke up the other night in a panic. Every now and again I have a bad dream. It is always the same context, just differing situations. It consists of me attending an event, it can be a birthday party, a concert, a dinner, it really doesn’t matter where I’m at, it’s what happens when I am there that wakes me in a panic. I walk into a room and look around to find my husband, Jon (who passed away in 2012). I look everywhere but am unable to find him. This makes no sense because we were supposed to meet there. So I get on my phone and start calling him. I call and I call and it never goes through. The room starts to spin and the noise closes in on me and I begin to panic not knowing what happened to him. I then wake myself up screaming out for him in a panic because I can’t find him.
I know intellectually this is just my brain dealing with the loss I’ve endured. But my brain doesn’t reason so well when I’m half asleep. It is very traumatic and always causes me a set back. But what do I do with these dreams? Do you ever experience dreams due to your loss? Sometimes changes in our life cause our sub conscious to react in some scary ways. It may seem on the outside you are doing okay but then when you least expect it, your sub conscious sneaks up on you to remind you that you are still healing. Here are some tips on how I have had to deal with these dreams.
First I have to wake up and catch my breath. Sometimes it takes having to actually get out of bed, turn on the light and walk around my home to instill some reality to my brain. Once I feel myself waking up I start to focus on my breathing. Breathe in and out, slowly. This helps the heart to slow down and the panic feeling to subside.
Then I need to pray that God will calm my heart and take away the fears that are rolling around in my head. Sometime this is easy, sometimes I actually have to go to a book called, The God of all Comfort, from Dee Brestin and read a chapter or two. There are many books out there on peace and comfort that I’m sure would work. I do this until I can fall back to sleep.
The next day I tend to have to take it more easy and give myself permission to slow down. Most times I remember the dreams so I start to process them through. Like I said earlier I think I understand what my brain is processing but in order for them to stop I got to figure out why. My first question is who is putting these thoughts in my brain. Is it God? Is it Jon? Or is it Satan? To discover this I need to look at the results of the dreams. Do I feel more peaceful? Love? Comfort? The answer to that is definitely NO. I feel scared, panicked, alone. So I compare those feelings with the truths I do know. Is God a God of fear? No, it says in
Is God a God of panic? No, it says in
Would Jon want me to feel this way? No, he loved me and would never want me to feel this way.
So that leaves me with Satan. Do I believe Satan can enter my sub conscious world and try to make me scared and panicked? Absolutely! Do I want him too? Absolutely not! So now what do I do?
After realizing this I have come to a point where when I have these dreams and wake up and tell Satan he is not welcome in my mind, awake or asleep. And I push away all his fears and loneliness with truths that I know about God and what Jon would want me to know about him and his love for me. Once I started doing this I have noticed the dreams have lessoned and become less intense. But there is something else I have done that has helped.
I have written out the dreams in detail on paper and instead of the ending being a panic I have changed the ending. I have followed the dream through to reality and brought the truth into it, leaving me with a feeling of more calm and comfort. The truth is most of the panic is because I feel out of control. So I put the control into the ending by rewriting it. So now whenever I have these dreams I pull out my journal and reread the dream with the new ending and I find myself able to fall back asleep a lot easier.
If you are experiencing dreams like I have, I hope these suggestions help. Dreams are tough and can have a way of causing us to feel stuck in the grieving of our losses. My hope is that as I continue to walk through my journey of loss that I can help you walk through yours as well.