UNITED STATES—If there was anything I learned studying psychology, especially the power of dreams it’s the fact that a vast majority of our dreams are a direct result of triggers that transpire during the day. Things we’ve seen, we’ve watched or encountered even for a mere 20 seconds can lead to a bad dream or what I would prefer to call a nightmare.

I’m a firm believer that dreams are about good things, nightmares are all about the bad things. I hate sleeping because I have these odd premonitions if that makes any sense. Things happen, and I have these triggers in real life that what I dreamt about just transpired in real life and to a ‘T.’ Trust me I know it sounds weird, some people might even call it déjà vu, but it’s not quite that for me.

The reason I’m bringing this all up as I recently had a bad nightmare this week, one that rattled me out of my sleep. That is something that rarely happens. I’ve had one nightmare I recalled vividly as long as I lived that I have never discussed and I probably never will discuss because the visceral details of this dream haunted me and it was so palpable it was haunting. Maybe I’ll deal with that when the time comes, but I’m not ready to discuss it.

However, my most recent transpired a few days ago. About 11 years ago I was robbed at gunpoint. I remember the day as if it happened yesterday. It was Labor Day 2010 and all I could remember was seeing my life flash in front of my eyes and the thought of all these things I wanted to accomplish never coming to fruition was just a tough pill to swallow. I managed to survive unharmed physically, but the emotional trauma has haunted me ever since. I’m always checking anyone who is behind me and I’m extra cautious about carrying my wallet. That fear of someone targeting me because of my wallet, which I always keep in my front pocket, has always concerned me.

With this latest nightmare I felt I was the target of several people, it was in the middle of the night, and I could remember leaving my belongings locked in my car as I tried to outwit the goons. I ran to my house and I couldn’t get in because I didn’t have my keys so I was begging for whoever was at home that time to open the door. They eventually did, as the goons hovered around as the police were called. I was nervous about my wallet and keys for some odd reason and I decided to venture back to my car which was a short distance to try to retrieve them. All I could remember was being startled by being accustomed by someone before waking up.

I don’t know why this nightmare stuck with me, because I hadn’t dreamt or had any bouts of anxiety about that robbery in years. It was after I spoke to a therapist shortly after the incident she noted I had a lot of anxiety, a mast majority as a direct result of caring about everyone in my family and putting everyone’s needs before mines. Not sure precisely why that seemed to put me at ease, it did. However, 10 years later, why now? Why are triggers taking place now? I haven’t watched any movies as of late about robberies, I haven’t heard of anyone being robbed, I can’t recall watching anything on the news about any robberies? What was the trigger? Was there something in the back of my mind that I pushed away that finally came to the forefront?

I don’t know and that is the frustrating element because I want answers that I unfortunately cannot obtain answers to at the moment. Maybe it was the fact that I never got justice after filing the police report all those years ago. I was never updated by the police that the suspect sin my robbers were caught and jailed for their actions. Heck, if I’m being honest I never expected that result anyway, but I’m rattled after all this time I’ve had such a vivid nightmare about a trauma that haunted me then, that I made peace with and realized I was no victim, I was a survivor.

Are my dreams trying to tell me something that I have no clue about? I don’t know and I guess over the next few weeks I’m going to attempt to grapple with that truth and try to have some sort of finality with it. In life bad things happen, and it’s not how you react to those things that matter, it’s how you endure and push through against all odds when they seem impossible at times. It’s just a dream that is what I have to remind myself.