I dream vividly. Full on color, plenty of emotion and plenty of "hangover" of leftover emotion. Some nights I awaken to find every article of bed clothing on the floor. Some nights even the mattress is off center. While reading The Hunger Games, I had a vivid dream about being hunted by the hounds and when I woke up I had scratched my arms and they were bleeding, just as they had been in the dream. Occasionally, I wake up completely paralyzed. I lay there thinking "wow that was a horrible, horrific, God-awful dream" and I try to reach for the phone to call that certain someone who calms me down or to get up and check on the safety of my boys and I am literally rendered unable to move.
I very rarely dream like that when I nap but this morning's dream was a doozy. It was a no-brainer as far as dream interpretation goes. But it left me upset, unable to move and downright weepy. But it's okay because the thing about dreams is that they're fleeting. Rarely do people have recurrent nightmares or dreams that continue to live on for a prolonged period of time. I, myself, have a recurrent nightmare involving some of the trauma towards the end of my marriage, but it only "recurs" a few times a month and I've learned what to do to make it "let go".
I think the worst thing about dreaming, particularly nightmares, is that in those moments you are completely alone. Someone may be laying right next to you in bed, ready to wrap his strong arms around you the second you awake, but while you're living that subconscious reality, you are utterly alone. I spent the last 14 years or so sleeping beside a man who was really great about handling the nightmare thing. In the last 6 months I've had to learn to do my own thing when the nightmares come. I reach for the phone (I've even gotten into the habit of having it next to me in bed), I check on my boys, I lay there trying to remember every vivid detail and I write down the highlights, whatever I can recall, so I can deal with it properly. It's lonely sometimes, sure, but I'm learning a lot about what I can handle and what I can process and about the strength that can come from being alone. Oh I'm not truly alone. There's that special someone. There's my boys and my parents and eleventy million friends. But when I awaken from the worst of the worst, I'm always alone to deal with it. And that's okay. I'm grateful for the strength it's shown me I have.