How Lucid Dreaming Helps Me Cope with Chronic Illness
Sometimes relief is found in unexpected places
A line of red appears where he’s pressing the knife too hard against her thin brown throat. I only met her yesterday. She’s six years old, speaks three languages and told me about the cities she has been to in Sri Lanka and Australia.
Nikki is terrified but so strong and determined not to let her tormentor see it. She is an athlete, a tennis player, a soccer enthusiast, and an award-winning swimmer. I’m wondering if I will ever get to see her in a match.
The man in black is screaming at me, and I’m blanking out.
I’m failing her. Focus. What does he want from me?
He’s telling me if I don’t cut off my finger, he will kill her.
I look at my hands. I take my right pointer finger and touch it to my left palm. It goes right through.
This is a dream.
And now I am lucid.
Lucid dreaming is a powerful tool that some researchers believe anyone can learn. It is defined as being aware that you are dreaming, while you are dreaming. For someone who has nightmares or hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations like I do, it can bring relief.
Scientists Want You to Lucid Dream
Experts think lucid dreaming could be therapeutic. How to achieve the dream state is complicated.
What are hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations?
Hypnogogic hallucinations are vivid visual, auditory, tactile, and even olfactory dream-like sensations that occur near the onset of sleep. They can be terrifying when the dreamer doesn’t realize that they are not real. Hypnopompic hallucinations have the same cause and occur when waking up from sleep.
Early one morning, I remember my mom coming into my bedroom and telling me I needed to hurry up and get ready. She was angry that I hadn’t gotten up on my own and wanted me to be prepared to leave in 10 minutes.