One of the things I like most contributing to this blog, is the feedback I get from people who read my essays. It sure does make me want to keep doing this.
Let me share the story of a dear soul named Donna and I think you’ll see why I like getting those emails. Donna isn’t a brain injury survivor, but she read my piece about lucid dreaming and how she was able to dream her way back to health after a debilitating disease.
Donna was a mom and a manager at a mortgage loan servicing agency in Ft. Worth, Texas. In May of 2003, she woke up with an uncomfortable sensation like pins and needles in her legs that wouldn’t go away. The sensation kept getting worse, but none of the doctors she saw could understand or explain what was happening. Meanwhile the discomfort did go away on its own, but was gradually replaced by weakness and numbness.
She eventually was paralyzed from the rib cage down, and spent three weeks hospitalized. Doctors still didn’t know what was going on, and after three weeks she went into rehab and learned how to gain back some mobility using a wheelchair.
But Donna eventually learned what was causing all her problems.
Donna had multiple sclerosis, although it wasn’t finally diagnosed for a few years.
While she was in rehab, Donna wrote, “I had lost my dignity, my body autonomy, and had to rely on the rehab facility staff to take care of my most basic needs.”
She described feelings of fear, frustration, and feeling like she was losing her mind.
It was during that time Donna had a dream. “In my dream I was running. Back in my twenties, I was a runner. I would get up early to run before work, and then run again in the evening. I was probably somewhat obsessed with running,” she wrote.
The dream happened again and again. Here, Donna describes the dream.
“I felt the pavement under my shoes, heard my footsteps and my breathing, saw the leaves on the trees, and heard the birds chirping. It was so vivid! It was an amazing experience for someone who historically has sucked at remembering dreams. My dream seemed as real as my actual runs had been all those years ago!”
It appears Donna is a natural lucid dreamer.
“It wasn’t every night, but it repeated itself enough that I used to look forward to going to sleep in case it came again.”
The dream continued after her release from rehab. Donna feels maybe it was her brain’s way of asserting itself to help her body heal itself.
She went from using a wheelchair, to a walker, and then to crutches. And she writes that she had to retrain her brain and legs to work together again. After a time, she could walk and run again, although she writes that she isn’t as graceful as she was in her younger years. She can get into kind of a groove, one she described as a “comfortable short jog.”
Donna’s final words to me were emphatic: “Life is good!”
So, there is a testimonial to what lucid dreaming combined with willpower and a positive attitude can do to improve your life.
I haven’t done any lucid dreaming yet of my own. I keep forgetting to remember to tell myself to remember my dreams.
But with all my heart, I really hope lucid dreaming can work for you and to see how good your own life can be. It might take some effort to learn to get into that dreaming mode, but please keep trying–it will happen for you.
And I hope you’ll write to me and tell me about it.
Isaac Peterson grew up on an Air Force base near Cheyenne, Wyoming. After graduating from the University of Wyoming, he embarked on a career as an award-winning investigative journalist and as a semi-professional musician in the Twin Cities, the place he called home on and off for 35 years. He also doesn’t mind it at all if someone offers to pick up his restaurant tab. Peterson also welcomes reader comments. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.