Dreams lead the way to recovery

During my divorce I dreamt of my ex all the time. He would scold me, love me, laugh with me, and vacation with me as my subconsious sorted out my emotions and reflected my current situation. Often my dreams allowed me to flee my sadness, but at other times I would wake up sweaty and exhausted from working through my anger and past mistakes.

During the worst period of my divorce I sought refuge in sleep and often slept 8 - 10 hours straight. I dream in colors, and these dreams were vivid and memorable. Their images were often bleak and stark. As I slept, my "work" was at its most intense and I could feel my brain working.

According to Dare to Dream-What Your Dreams Really Mean, the intensity of your dreams reflect your emotional health.

"In a new study of 30 recently divorced adults, Cartwright tracked their dreams over a five-month period, measuring their feelings toward their ex-spouses. She discovered that those who were angriest at the spouse while dreaming had the best chance of successfully coping with divorce. "If their dreams were bland," Cartwright says, "they hadn't started to work through their emotions and deal with the divorce." For therapists, this finding will help determine whether divorced men or women need counseling or have already dreamed their troubles away."

During this period, my dreams exploded with bold colors and symbols. Sometimes I would wake up convinced that my experiences had been real.

With time, my dreams about Bob and our situation lessened. Recently I went on a trip abroad near a region in the far east that Bob and I had visited regularly. Just two nights ago he appeared in my dreams for the first time in over a year, married to his current wife, and totally disinterested in me. I awoke feeling slightly on edge, as if we'd had an argument.

As I shrugged off the dream, which was full of imagery of my rejuvenation, I realized that I'd moved on. I've made new memories and am experiencing a life that is rich and fulfilling without him. Where once he took center stage, he plays a vague and distant part in my dreams. In fact, I used to sleep badly, but these days I sleep well, dreaming healing dreams and waking up refreshed and eager to start a new day.

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