January 6, 2009 10:10 am

Resetting Yourself

How do you “reset” yourself after you’ve had a particularly horrible dream?

I’m not talking about a nightmare, though I suppose this could qualify. I’m talking about the sort of dream that’s painfully normal – no werewolves, chase scenes, or the supernatural – but very intense and upsetting. A dream so normal, in fact, that you’re convinced it was real several minutes after you’ve woken up.

The subject of my dream last night is mostly irrelevant; it had to do with hurt, embarrassment and betrayal, but I woke up from it with this horrible, rattled, gross feeling that I couldn’t really shake. I know it isn’t real, but I can’t say that helped a lot. The cast of characters included a ton of people I know in real life, including Daniel, his co-workers, some of our Portland friends and some friends from high school; the setting was just someone’s house, having a normal house party; I woke up feeling ashamed and very sad.

This has happened to me once before (the subject matter was way more graphic that time though) and it left me feeling very rattled and vulnerable all day. Do these kinds of dreams happen to any of you? How do you walk yourself through them?

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  • Regine says:

    This kind of dreams happen to more often than I’d like. It’s a horrible feeling that stays with me through the whole day. Usually doing normal things like going school or to work make me forget it, so I’d say time it’s the best cure.

    These dreams seem so real sometimes that it’s really painful.
    I really hope your dream was nothing but a dream. Have sweet dreams tonight (no pun intended).

  • adastra says:

    I’ve had dreams both normal and surreal which left me feeling horrible for the rest of the day. Usually I just do my best to forget about them by distracting myself, e.g. watching something exciting on TV, reading something exciting on the internet or just working on something fully concentrated.

    One of the rather scary dreams I sometimes have, is dreaming about lying in my bed and hearing someone (parents or something) calling for to get up, but I’m physically unable to do so because I’m in some sort of half-awake half-asleep state. I’m completely paralyzed lying in my bed and I can’t move or even speak, and though I want to wake up, I can’t. Pretty creepy. Psychoanalysts would love it ;)

  • Audrey says:

    I usually talk with the person involved (ie I had a dream where my Grandmother passed away right in front of me) and spend some time with someone I can trust. Being around that person (my boyfriend or a close friend) helps me relax usually.

  • Cristina says:

    Oh geez hon, I’m so sorry. I have a feeling I could guess what your dream was about, but mine usually involve watching a loved one get shot or me. It’s hard for me to shake it because I tend to think about that dream throughout the day.

    I find the best thing for me is to just tell someone about it. That way you have someone else to tell you, “Whoa! Thank God it was just a dream!”

  • Meggan says:

    @Regine – I can’t imagine having those sorts of dreams a lot. Would drive me mad. I think you’re right about the time; I do feel a lot better this afternoon than I did this morning.

    @adastra – I’ve heard of that! It’s called sleep paralysis! It’s something about how your body is only half-awake, so your brain is awake enough for you to realize what’s going on but not awake enough for you to move your muscles. Weird! I don’t think it’s happened to me yet.

    @Audrey – agreed. I would have talked to Daniel about it but he had left for work already. :( Made it a bit worse. I talked to a friend about it and it helped.

    @Cristina – I’ve had a gunshot dream before, except it was just me being shot. Dreams are weird. I have a dream diary somewhere but I always forget that I have it when I really need it. Some of the stuff I’ve dreamt is really bizarre.

  • Kaylee says:

    I’ve never had dreams that were horrible AND felt real at the same time, but it sounds really hard to deal with. I hope you don’t experience one of those dreams again!

  • Meggan says:

    Thanks, Kaylee – I’m feeling a LOT better now. Just needed to step back for a while. :) The realistic dreams are bad, mostly just because of how awful you feel when you wake up – the dream itself doesn’t feel that bad at the time. It’s weird.