Nightmares.  We all have them, some of them made up of stray thoughts in our head before falling asleep, and some of them are made up of memories rearing their ugly heads.

I don’t get them often, but when I do, I swear they’re trying to go for a kill shot.

I woke up from a much needed nap yesterday completely breathless and confused.  I had a nightmare of my past for the first time in years.  Let me start off by saying, I have a very complicated past.  I won’t go into detail, and I’ve said that before in a previous post.  It’s not that I can’t, I just don’t see the point of it.  What’s done is done, the tiny details of my story don’t need to be told because the reality is, they do not matter.  But, for the sake of this post, I will say that for a time in my life, I surrounded myself with some pretty terrible people.  And by that, I mean they were the type of people your parents fear you getting mixed up with.  The life ruining type of people.  And as I type that, I realize that it makes me sound like I’m pointing all the blame on them, I’m not.  In fact, it’s mostly my fault for not going with my better judgement and not noticing the red flags when I should have.  I let the evil in, and that was my decision, and mine alone.  It doesn’t make what these people did any better, but as an honest person, I can’t force all the blame on them; it was me too.

There’s a history with these people and it was one that haunted me for years.  That past, those memories, they haunted me for longer than they should have.  It wasn’t until a few months after I stopped my medications and ceased all medical treatment that I was able to put it all to rest.  That was almost three years ago.

So, when I woke up yesterday, my mind still filtering through the images of my nightmare, I sat there astonished that this dream even came to mind.  It had been years since I had those kinds of dreams.  Honestly, it took me back for a few minutes.  I looked at my husband and told him about it, and it shocked him as well.  Neither one of us could remember the last one I had, just that it had been nice not having them.  It made me realize just how far I have come in the last few years.

Had this happened in 2011, I would have spent an entire week trying to recover from the mental mind fuck.  And at the time, it didn’t seem sad, it just made sense, but now, it struck me as depressing.  I spent so much time in my life stuck in this world of hurt, reveling in the pain of situations that I couldn’t change.  They happened, they were in the past, there was no way for me to turn back time and stop myself from making these decisions, from letting these people in my life.  I know this now, but years before, that thought wouldn’t have even crossed my mind.  I woke up from this dream taken back, but instead of letting it control my mind and infiltrate my every thought, I said to myself “Well that fuckin sucked.” and moved on.  Do you know how powerful that made me feel?  I was able to take complete control over my thoughts, my emotions, when I was never able to do that before.

I don’t know why it surprised me, I’ve been in a much better place since then, but I guess since I laid all of my past to rest, I haven’t really had to face much of it.  Sure, the random memory would cross my mind but I would feel this disconnect to it.  I wouldn’t feel sad.  I wouldn’t feel nostalgic or guilty.  I would just remember them as if it was an episode of a TV show I watched once and that was it.  Dreaming about it with such detail, well you would think that would cause some sort of relapse in my now sane mind.  But it didn’t.  And I don’t even know how to describe it because I’m pretty sure nothing can compare to the amount of power, the amount of accomplishment, the amount of pride I felt over that.  These things, these people wrecked my entire world for years, and yet here I am handling it as if it were nothing.  And I guess now, it is nothing.

When I stopped giving my past the power, the control over my life, I started feeling happy and living the life I knew,deep down, I deserved.  

I never thought I would be at this place in my life where I wasn’t bogged down by medicines, where I wasn’t consumed by therapy and being forced to relive every depressing detail of my truthfully depressing life.  I never thought I would be living a sane persons life where I could have a nightmare about someone, about something that plagued me, and just go about my day, normal as can be.

I’m astounded.

I don’t know why I thought to write about it really, because without the details it might not seem like such a big deal to most, but it is to me.  I felt the need to celebrate what killing myself mentally has done for me.  And I say that, killing myself mentally, because that’s what I did.  I completely shattered any former thought I had.  Any type of habit I embodied as far as mental thought process goes, I deleted it.  Any depressing thought, any panic ridden memory was obliterated.  I erased the way I had been tough to work things out in my head and I started new.  I started fresh.  I killed myself mentally, but god damn was it worth it.  It’s been years, years, and I’m able to handle life.  I…just can’t even believe it sometimes.

There was a quote I used to love, back in the day when I was in the thick of all of this shit.  It went something like this (my memory is rusty so it’s not word for word)

“I want you to know, that no matter how many times you push me down, I’ll be getting back up with a smile on my face, knowing I am strong, knowing I am your only weakness.”

I used to think I embodied that.  I used to think I understood it, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I truly understood it.  I used to apply it to somebody, but now I apply it to my mental illness.  No matter how many times it wants to push me down, to crush me under it’s weight, I’m going to get back up and I’m going to do it with a smile on my face because I know that as long as I’m strong, as long as I’m willing to fight, willing to stay positive, that my illness is literally nothing.  That PTSD, the Bipolar, the Panic disorder, it’s all nothing unless I decide to make it something.  And now that I’ve seen the other side, the side where the grass is greener, where the possibilities for my life are endless, I’m never going to decide to bring it back, to make it something again.  Random anxiety will always be apart of my life, it’s normal.  Driving a car, that makes me have a little bit of anxiety, I’m a control freak, it’s a given.  Anxiety while having the fullest plate imaginable, totally understandable.  But, I can handle that.  And I won’t let it go into anything more than that.

A nightmare.  It was designed to throw you, to set you back, to scare you.  But all it did for me was open my eyes to how far I have come and how far I will continue to go.