Tuesday morning, I woke up in the middle of a flashback thinking it was a nightmare with the paralysis and all. But, it felt different. I could feel the pain from blows against my body and hear distinctive voices. The smell of concrete and subway station was real; the blood and sweat trickling in my mouth tasted real too. Only my vision was blocked. And even though my physical body was paralyzed in real life, my dream selves used the dream’s physical body to fight back. And the dream selves won the fight; the dream body defended itself against the attackers with words too; and the attackers withdrew.
When I woke up, my body was trembling. There was a tightness in my chest and ache in my head. Sitting up made me dizzy. But I felt clear-headed and ready to take on the day. What to do next? Would more meditation lead me back into dissociation and flashbacks? Or would the outcome be different this time? So many questions, so few reliable answers.
I decided to try some more meditation. That helped until I got to work. And the stressful atmosphere wound me up again.
But then I found this article on the CompassionWorks website. And while I may not agree with everything, the author does a good job of explaining the differences between dissociation and meditation.
I realized that meditation and dissociation come from the same place inside me even though they are brought on by different triggers.
Dissociation is triggered by fear and negative stress to separate the mind and body.
Meditation is triggered by intentional focus and separation between the mind and body for the purpose of relaxation or contemplation.
And I can move from one to the other depending on where my focus goes and how much emotional control I have over the information flowing through my mind and how many alters are participating in the exercise.
It is not perfect, but at least I am not afraid of meditation anymore.
And lately, meditation is all that works to help me as I fall asleep and wake up. Meditation bridges the time when I begin to relax and fall into sleep. And it bridges the transition from dreaming to waking where flashbacks and fear can prevent me from recognizing when I am.
This allows me to sleep at night and wake up in the mornings relatively calm. Then I can go to work and move through challenges with better equilibrium.