I can’t say that I ever remember having an actual nightmare about my rape. Terrible thoughts at night while in bed, definitely. Nightmares involving my rapist, certainly. But not the rape itself. For this I am extremely grateful. I know several fellow survivors for whom this is a chronic symptom. I suppose I am lucky.
This year, I even managed to escape the “first day of school” nightmares. Ask any teacher, and you will find that this is a yearly occurrence. Panicked dreams where you open the classroom to find 65 unruly students, no lesson plans, and the superintendent just happens to stop by for a surprise observation. All leading to your immediate firing. I made it through the whole first week sleeping soundly, undisturbed by my dreams.
So it was very unsettling to wake in a sweat this morning, with all my triggery feelings out in full force. My nightmare didn’t involve my actual rapist, but rather an unknown faceless man. In the dream I was at a store buying nail polish, which I never wear. Blue nail polish no less–definitely not my style. The man was yelling at me, and he kept getting closer and closer, invading my personal space, pushing me backward. This is my worst trigger…one that has lingered long after others have vanished. That feeling that I am trapped and can’t get away.
In the dream, I went into full melt-down mode, curling up in a ball on the floor sobbing. The man had vanished by the time someone came to help and I could not explain to them why I was crying. There was no one else there but me.
I wish I knew what brought this on. I wish there had been some scary real life event that would make sense of the dream. But life is pretty smooth right now. PTSD is a crazy unpredictable thing. It is like my mind is trying to create conflict where there is none.
Ah well. I will try again tonight. I hope all of you have peaceful, dreamless sleeps. I hope I do to.