Bad dreams.......happen to most of us at one time or another.....and for most of us, we wake up, realize it was just a dream and go back to sleep. For combat soldiers......bad dreams are a repeat of reality that seems to rob them forever of a peaceful sleep. Sometimes in relaxation, some of my military students fall asleep......and often the worst happens, the night terrors begin. I know what to do, and how to handle the situation, but if there are civilian students in the class they don't....and they get a little fearful.
It happened today.......I sat by the young man, said and did what I needed to do and allowed him to wake slowly. Night terror sleep is deep, and not restful, the student and I talked for a long time after he awoke. I reminded him that though his dreams were based on reality and life experience, he had to remind himself that the dreams were manifestations of his memories......if he could tell himself, the dreams were memories and no longer reality, hopefully the brain would begin to let go of the terrors.
I have bad dreams sometimes, actually had them last night......but I don't have PTSD, and I don't have night terrors......and even for me, a bad dream can sometimes seem like my reality. I know that for those who have experienced combat, these dreams can last a life time.
Some days, all I can do is offer a hug, tell them I love them and let them talk if they wish. These are the days that I feel small, and inadequate......these are the days that I wish those who made decisions to send young men and women to war.......had to send themselves and their children first. Maybe then, wars would not be entered into so lightly.....actually, I bet if those who live in ivory towers had to send themselves and their children first, wars would be few and far between and short lived.