While I have had symptoms of chronic illness for over 25 years (wow, that makes me feel old!) I only started having recurring nightmares in more recent years.
First there were the dreams where I felt the impending diarrhea and couldn’t find a bathroom, then when I finally found a bathroom the toilets were either set way too high on the wall (like, 4 feet off the ground!) or there were no doors on the stalls. I was trying to hold it in and feeling more and more desperate, but I couldn’t find a usable toilet that I felt comfortable with. I always woke up feeling stressed out and anxious.
Then there were the dreams where I’d be having a lovely time with family or friends. We would be passing food around the table and without thinking I would take a bite of bread or a cracker and after swallowing I would realize that I just ate gluten! Again, I would wake up stressed out and anxious. And wondering if I had really eaten gluten.
The dreams didn’t happen nightly or even weekly, but they kept returning. And no wonder. I was fastidious about avoiding gluten, but somehow I occasionally was glutened. And there was always the fear that I would slip up and eat it by mistake. There were multiple times I needed a toilet desperately and had trouble finding one. These were real life problems.
And the thing is, they still are. I haven’t been glutened in a while, but it’s happened this year, and I’m more nervous than ever about avoiding gluten. As for the diarrhea, I’d love to say that’s a thing of the past, but it’s not. It’s less frequent, and I’m incredibly grateful for that, but it still happens.
So imagine my surprise when I realized the other day that I haven’t had either of those dreams in months! I was free!
Will I ever have those stress dreams again? I have no idea. Even if I don’t, maybe there will be others. Again, I have no idea. All I know is that I’m not having them NOW!
I would love to say it’s because I’m less stressed out, but I’m not. In fact, lately I have been feeling more overwhelmed than I have in a long time. But at least I can get some rest in my dreams. I guess that’s a start.
I’m glad to hear you’re not having those stress dreams anymore–they sound dreadful. Having dreams about realistic fears like that are the worst because you don’t wake up relieved but only reminded of how bad things can be. It’s definitely a good sign that they’re less frequent!
Thanks Iris! And yes, it’s horrible to wake up to something that feels so real and realistic. It’s good to know that others understand!