Dreamer: Shelly, 33, American
Three years ago I was in a diving accident, and I actually lost most of my hearing in my left ear after being hit by a wave. For about six months afterwards, I had recurring dreams of tsunami - obviously rooting from actual experience. But last night, three years later, it happened again. In my dream this time, I was forewarned by something not to go near the ocean. I was house-sitting for my uncle, and after he came home, my cousin and I decided to take a drive. She was driving; it was her car. We were talking as we drove down a rather steep hill, through a lush, green field, and finally to a beach. I barely had time to remember the forewarning when a distant wave began growing larger and larger. We were in awe at first, then frozen with horror as a wall of water became the only thing we could see in front of us. As the wave broke and tore towards us with furious force, I noticed the car windows were open and felt panic. Then I woke up.
Mr. Hagen's Reply: Post-traumatic Nightmares
Your dream seems like ones that are common to motor vehicle accident victims; however in your case it was caused by diving accident which is rarer. These types of dreams are nightmares, more precisely, post-traumatic nightmares.
Do you have any flashbacks of the accident during the day? I believe that you may be in need of some counseling for what is termed post-traumatic stress. The way that this problem is dealt with is primarily through what is known as a "Critical Incident Stress Defusing Session". The best way to start would be to consult your family physician and discuss your symptoms, such as nightmares or night-terrors.
Here is an interesting website that discusses Post-traumatic nightmares and the counseling process.
Some literature that might be of interest includes:
- D. Barrett, "Trauma and Dreams"
- E. Hartmann, "The nightmare: the psychology and biology of terrifying dreams"
- J.T. Mitchell & G.S. Everly, "Critical incident stress debriefing: An operations manual for the prevention of trauma among emergency service and disaster workers"
- B.A. van der Kolk, A.C. McFarlane & L. Weisaeth, "Traumatic stress: The effects of overwhelming experience on mind, body, and society"
Hope these thoughts are of help and provide some insight,