Nightmares and Dreams

Rebecca - St. Joseph, Missouri
Entered on April 11, 2008

Nightmares and Dreams

This I believe…I must learn to live with yesterday’s nightmare in order to embrace tomorrow’s dream.

I can feel the frigid air in my bones as I lay here paralyzed with fear; what has just happened? It is dark and freezing cold, I am all alone. I try to scream for help, but silence surrounds me. Frantically, I try over and over again to crawl out of the snow-covered street, clawing with my hands, and kicking with my feet. The harder I try, the more I notice I am not moving at all. My arms lay limp, my legs twisted. I try to look around for some kind of help, but again, I am unable to move. I scream, but only silence fills the crisp air. I remember thinking, my white clothes blend in with the snow-covered street. What if I am run over again? How long have I been here? An eternity. My body limp and exhausted, as if I have ran a marathon, still I have not moved an inch. Finally, I see flashes of red lights; faint images of people moving in slow motion, chaos surrounds me. Still, silence fills the air.

Suddenly…I wake up!

Still trapped in my nightmare, I am paralyzed with fear. My heart pounds, my face burns, my body trembles; yet, I am unaware of my surroundings. After a few moments, tears begin to roll down my cheeks. The familiarity of my room comes into focus. I shiver with fear as the icy grip of my nightmare slowly melts away. I am home, safe and warm in my own bed.

Ten years have passed since I was struck by a pickup while crossing the street. Still, the nightmares are as vivid as that cold December night of my 33rd birthday. The doctors call this Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD); I call it hell!

For the last decade, I have been a very lost soul. My life has been a vicious cycle. First, I am angry at the world…at God…at myself…at everyone. I can feel the hate boiling inside me, like a pressure cooker waiting to explode. Then, for no reason, I cry, sadness devours me. For weeks, I lay in my dark room alone. When I am among the few people who dare my crazy presence, it is one big party after another: drinking, drugs, no commitments. No one cares, no one gets hurt. If I am numb, I will not hurt.

Early one Sunday morning I walked to my bedroom and looked in the mirror. I did not see a glimpse of the girl I was 10 years ago. Instead, I saw a woman whose face showed no emotion, only emptiness burned through her eyes. I realized I had a choice to make. I could go on wasting away until I was so lost there would be no hope in ever finding me, or I could start living again. I decided to start living again.

I knew the road to recovery was going to be a long and winding one. I remember thinking…where do I start? I decided right then and there that the first concern had to be my health. After all, what good would I be to anyone if I was dead? Immediately, I contacted my doctor and got my recovery underway.

In November 2007, I was hospitalized, the doctors decided to remove my left kidney, which was damaged in the accident. The ICU waiting room was full of people who care about me, people I had run off, and people I had not seen for years. I knew life would be good again. That night, for the first time in ages, I prayed.

“God please forgive me. If I could just make it through this surgery, nothing will stop me from becoming a better person, a better friend, a better mother… a better grandmother. I am here God, inside my heart, trapped by my nightmares waiting to be free. Free to love…free to laugh…free to live once again. Amen.”

Four weeks later, on my 43rd birthday, exactly ten years since the accident, I began my enrollment process at MWSC.

I still have my nightmares and other health issues to face. They are a reminder to me of how bad things once were, and how my life changed forever in just one split second. Nevertheless, for now, I am learning to live with my nightmares in order to embrace my dream for a happier tomorrow.