Last night’s anxiety dream.

relativity

I don’t have that many anxiety dreams anymore, but when I do have them they are doozies and tend to be extremely vivid.

The one I had last night bordered on being a nightmare.    It was nighttime (for some reason, in these dreams it’s always late at night) and I was in a vast subway system (like New York City’s) and had no idea where I was.   I was trying to make it home, and kept taking the wrong sets of stairs and getting lost on the wrong platforms.  I’d go and ask people where the platform I should be on was to get home, but no one seemed to be able to answer me.    I was becoming frustrated and upset, and was on the verge of crying.

Then the strangers I asked for directions began to make fun of me — somehow knowing I was originally from the New York area, and unable to believe I couldn’t find my way around a big subway system.   I continued to climb stairs and look for my train on different platforms (there seemed to be thousands) and then I realized with horror that I couldn’t even remember where I lived!   That’s when I woke up and it took me a few minutes to shake off the dream — and I spent a minute or two trying to remember where I lived before it came back to me.

*****

Later today, I’m going to an ACA rally in downtown.   I’ll report back later, with photos.

 

Advertisements

A very unpleasant dream.

dontleaveme

I need to write this down where I’ll remember this later.

I just woke up from a dream. I must remember this one so I can tell my therapist. Right now I’m still rising up from the fog of sleep and my memory of the dream is still fresh but will fade away soon so I can’t delay in writing it.

I am waiting to see my therapist. But my therapist isn’t my therapist. He is my old therapist (the one I had when I was 22, the one who I fell madly in love with and had to leave because my emotions were too painful). But he is still my current therapist. (I know, but it made sense in the dream.)

Someone is talking to me and I’m crying. It’s not a bad cry or a painful cry. I think I’m crying in empathy. I don’t know what I’ve been told or what emotion I’m feeling, but my head is thrown back and tears are streaming from the sides of my eyes and down into my hair. My lashes stick together. I’m wearing non waterproof mascara; I’m vaguely aware the black tear tracks will be visible to my therapist even after they’ve dried. I leave them there, almost proudly, intending for him to see. We’ve been working on getting me to cry in session. I need for him to see the evidence of my tears.

His office is in some kind of art complex. Outside, patrons are walking around looking at and purchasing art. My handsome therapist comes out, as he always does in real life, to ask me kindly to give him another five minutes. But this time, his face worries me. He looks worried or concerned. He tells me there is something he needs to tell me. I feel the blood drain from my face and my heart curls up into a tight ball as if to protect itself from whatever’s coming.

“It might disturb you, but don’t worry,” he says. And then he walks away.

Of course I worry. In fact, I panic. I go back out into the art complex and walk around, pretending to look at the art. There seems to be a party going on. People are dressing in costumes. I think about what my therapist has to tell me. Is he sick? Going to dump me? Leaving town? Is he going to die? Dread and my old friend, Fear of Abandonment, holds me fast. I can’t escape. My breathing quickens and becomes shallow. My tears have dried and I can’t make anymore even as I will them to come.

Soon I see my therapist laughing with a woman, a beautiful woman. I wonder if that’s his wife.
My therapist turns, approaches me. I freeze in place, almost drop the raku vase I’m holding.
I start to cry when our eyes meet.
But pride takes over.
“You’re an asshole,” I say, rubbing my eyes with my fists like a spoiled child. I no longer want him to see me cry. I don’t want him to have the satisfaction.

He looks angry.
“I’m not going to see you when you talk to me that way,” he says. I look at him dumbly, stunned into silence.
“But what about–?”
“I’ll see you next time,” he says, and turns on his heel and walks away.

He might as well have just stabbed me in the stomach. I feel as if I could collapse onto the floor. I want to disappear. The shame and anger is overwhelming. And I have to wait to find out whatever horrible news he has to tell me. I think he’s trying to torture me.

I’m still in the art complex and people are walking around as if the world didn’t just end. All the therapists in the office are milling around too, drinking out of cocktail glasses with ridiculous little plastic umbrellas and other doodads sticking out of them. Someone has set up a cash bar at the far end. My therapist is over there, laughing with the other therapists. I feel like I don’t exist.

One of the therapists gets up on a podium and says we are having an animal costume contest. We will be dancing to “Old McDonald Had a Farm” in our animal suits. I don’t want to be there, but I feel obligated to participate. A huge box is pulled out from somewhere and everyone rushes over and starts pulling out costumes. All I can find is a chicken head and a silly cowprint suit. Somehow it seems familiar to me, as if someone in my past had worn this same costume before. I put it on and feel like I can be invisible in it. I just want to die.

I woke up and was overcome with relief when I realized it was only a dream and knew I had to post it right away. I haven’t worked out what it all means yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m skirting around the edges of the yawning black hole at my center, where my abandonment and early attachment issues live. I’m about to dive in there, I guess. It’s interesting that even though I trust my therapist more than anyone I’ve ever known, and he has given me NO reason to think he would ever abandon me, this fear I have of him abandoning me seems to be a recurring theme in our sessions. Obviously my transference toward him has been successful and I’m replaying some kind of abandonment/rejection trauma I experienced when I was a child.

The truth.

truth

I had a very Orwellian dream last night but unfortunately I didn’t stay awake and blog about it right away, so I can’t remember too many details. What I do remember:

I was living in some bleak and terrible place with a lot of people who were hiding the truth about something bad. I was the only one telling the truth. They called me a liar and crazy. I started to believe their lies. I started to question what was truth and what was fiction. I couldn’t understand them. I felt like I was losing my mind.

I tried to escape. I was on an airplane and somehow wound up with a rifle in my baggage. I don’t know how it got there. When questioned by authorities coming off the plane, I just told them I bought it and didn’t know it was against the law because it would sound even more unbelievable to tell them the truth and say I didn’t know how it got there. They took me in for questioning and I knew I was going to prison for a long time.

The first part of the dream is obvious. The gaslighting liars represent my MNs, who had everyone (even me at times) believing the truth was a lie and lies were the truth. After my escape, I’m not sure what happened or why. I think my MNs set me up to screw me even after I left them.

The House: a nightmare

shadowpeople

It’s 4:42 AM. I just woke up from a David Lynch-like nightmare and am writing it out here before it dissolves the way dreams always do. At the moment I’m still in the surreal mindspace that sometimes lingers after a vivid dream so it’s a good time to write about it. I haven’t thought out what it means, because it’s so involved and convoluted but I definitely think it has something to do with my recovery from the effects of my psychopaths.

I haven’t had a dream like this in a very long time. I know I won’t be able to get back to sleep, and have decided to call in sick today. I don’t feel very well anyway.

It started at work. My partner and I were sent to clean a house late in the afternoon, at about 2 PM. We had trouble finding it because it was in a very remote area with no street signs. We finally found the house at the top of a mountain, at the end of a long circuitous highway with many hairpin turns that went through mainly forest.

We were an hour or more late. The house turned out to be a much bigger job than we had been led to believe–involving things like cleaning an oven with 3-inch crusted on grease and cleaning the entire garage. Usually our work doesn’t involve such things and it’s possible to clean a good sized house in about 2 hours (with a partner). Alone, obviously it takes longer.

But I wasn’t alone. At least the lady I was with is someone I get along with.

The house was very large, really a mansion. It contained at least 8-10 people, possibly more. It turned out (at first) they were the present day version of a family I knew well back during childhood. In fact I had been good friends with their son, a boy about my age, who was bullied like I was and I am sure also suffered from Aspergers. I haven’t seen him in 40 years.

Things kept happening that kept us from being able to leave. The owners kept finding something else for us to clean. It was getting dark out and we weren’t even halfway done. Every time we’d clean something–stove, toilet, microwave, whatever–one of the family members or friends (they seemed to have a lot of visitors coming in and out too) would come and use it, so it would have to be cleaned again. It became apparent we would probably have to spend the night there and finish the job in the morning.

Somehow (I don’t understand how) I had packed two clear plastic zippered bags–one with clothing (all my favorite outfits–enough clothing for a week instead of a day), the other with a bunch of randomly thrown together boxes of unopened cosmetics and perfumes. That made no sense at all–were they supposed to be gifts?

We went to “bed” late. The cleaning wasn’t finished. There was no bed to sleep in so I was forced to try to sleep in a metal folding chair. I tried to get as comfortable as possible. This is where the dream starts to get fuzzy, really confusing, and weird.

metalfoldingchair

There were people walking around everywhere. It seemed like some kind of party. Lights were turned up high and music was blasting. There was a girl I didn’t know but who was supposedly my childhood friend’s sister (he never had a sister) who kept coming over and screaming nonsense syllables into my ears whenever I’d start drifting off. There was also a very large cat, about 3 times the size of a normal cat. He looked like a wildcat of some type. I tried to stroke him and he hissed at me in a way I never saw a cat hiss. I backed away. Someone told me if I fed him he’d be friendly. I went and found my plastic zipper case and got out a candy bar because that’s the only food I had (no one there offered us dinner). I fed the cat the candy bar. He ate it, stretched himself out, scratched a couch, and walked away.

I kept trying to sleep in that damned black folding chair. I couldn’t get comfortable no matter how much I shifted around. I was cold. The basement I was in was lit yellowish fluorescent, nasty and unrestful. Nothing cast a shadow it was so bright. There were a seemingly endless number of small, warren-like rooms and many narrow hallways. The girl and now a young guy with greasy hair and pimples who had the face of a meth-head kept giggling together and waking me up on purpose. Obviously psychopaths. I didn’t know where my partner was, and I didn’t even remember to look for her. I didn’t even remember why I was there.

I don’t think I slept at all. There was another man in the house who was an old co-worker of mine, who kept demanding I give him back his stereo. I didn’t know what he was talking about. Finally the sky outside began to get light and it was time to leave. I still didn’t know where my partner was, but I started off to gather my things to leave.

I couldn’t find either of my bags. I went from one warren-like room to another, not knowing how many there were or knowing how to get back to where I had been. Some of the rooms had strangers in them. I looked in every room, on every shelf, but they were nowhere to be found and none of the shady people I ran into had seen them. I felt I was being lied to. I felt strongly that someone (probably the evil girl and her meth-head boyfriend) had hidden them somewhere.

nightmarehouse

Frustrated and nearly crying, I found the two psychopaths in another room, one I hadn’t seen yet. There were so many! I asked them about my bags. The one contained all my favorite clothing. They acted all innocent and surprised and said they would help me look. I went outside and looked on the wraparound porch. The car taking my partner and I back to the office was ready to leave, and so was my partner, who was waiting outside. She had all her bags.

I told her I couldn’t find my bags so my partner came back in to help me look. The man who had accused me of stealing his stereo told me I’d better return it. I remembered something: the stereo (a small plastic one) was in the bag that didn’t have the clothing. (I know that doesn’t make any sense because originally it contained boxes of cosmetics, but this is a dream after all) I looked around frantically for both that and my clothing bag.

I went back outside. I went over to the car (now a sort of mini-bus or van) and saw its hatch was up. I looked inside the van which was lined with shelves that went about eight feet high (how to explain that, I have no idea). The shelves were full, but there, on the very top shelf, I found the blue plastic stereo, which had been haphazardly placed there, so that any motion of the vehicle would probably cause it to fall and break (and by the way, this was the same stereo I actually owned back in the 1980s). I told the man in the van to get me the stereo because I had to return it to someone and he did. I asked him about the bag of clothing. I scanned all the shelves. It wasn’t there either.

I went back into the house carrying the entire stereo. I found the man who I had “stolen” it from and returned it. He took it and walked away, saying nothing. I took another hike through the warren of rooms, scanning every possible nook and cranny for my clothing bag. It wasn’t there and still no one knew what I was talking about.

I went upstairs and looked in those rooms too. They were filthy again, the floors caked with mud and garbage strewn everywhere. All the rooms smelled like shit. There was no way they were getting cleaned, especially since the car outside was still waiting to take us back. There was no clothing bag there either. Everyone was very rude and acted like I was crazy. As I walked around looking, I could see them giving each other knowing glances out of the corners of my eyes. I wanted out of there so bad but I couldn’t leave until I found my clothes. Someone told me I was obsessing about the bag and someone else told me I had never had a bag of clothing with me. I was told I was imagining that I ever brought one (and actually, I don’t remember ever packing one because I didn’t realize I had a bag until I was already in that house). I felt the hostility of their glares. They didn’t want me there and I didn’t want to be there. These people and this house were evil. .
shadowpeople2

I had looked in every room of that house and asked every person and never found the bag. Perhaps there had never been one? I decided to give up and call it a loss. I had to leave. My partner was still waiting. It was growing late; I looked at my watch and saw it was 2 PM I had now been at that house almost 24 hours.

But I had one more thing to do. In the foyer by the front door there was a metal man, a sort of robot-like thing that wore a dinner jacket and tie but had a speaker you could talk into. He was the “host” of the house I was told. His eyes were blank because he was a robot but filled me with ice cold terror. They were black and opaque, the dead eyes of a psychopath. Behind them, they glowed dull red. I hated him more than I have ever hated anything, and I decided to tell him so. Somehow I just knew this inanimate piece of evil machinery was behind it all and responsible for everything that had gone wrong.

I screamed into the squawk box on his forehead: “I hate this place and I hate this house. You were the worst host I have ever met. You never offered me dinner, you kept giving us more work when we thought we were done, you kept messing up everything we cleaned, you didn’t offer me a bed or even a couch to sleep in but just a fucking metal folding chair, and then you had your minions downstairs keep waking me up when I started to fall asleep. I know they stole my bag and did something with it. I know I had it, and I know this house is full of liars. So I only have one more thing to add: Go fuck yourselves.”

I turned around and headed toward the door and the car was gone. I had no way to get out of there because it was way out in the country on top of a mountain. I could hear laughter behind me. Terrified, I woke up and decided to write this down. I wanted to write it before I completely shook off the surreal feeling it left me with.

trapped2

I haven’t analyzed what this dream means yet but obviously it’s about my life. It was interesting. I know this dream was significant and a part of my recovery. This whole journey is definitely taking me to some very dark places, but it’s okay because I know God is with me. I couldn’t done this when I didn’t believe.

Losing Ethan

gate

Someone once said to me it’s stupid to worry about something bad happening, because if it does happen, you’ve lived through it twice, and if it doesn’t happen, you wasted your time and caused yourself needless suffering. On a cognitive level, this makes perfect sense, but when it comes to mothers and their children, rationality flies out the window. At least it does for me.

Some people think I’m an overprotective mother, even though my children are both grown. And it’s true: I worry excessively about something horrible happening to one of them. I still hate the fact my 23 year old son lives more than 600 miles away in another state, and drives every day. If I don’t see he’s been on Twitter in more than a certain number of hours (he practically lives on Twitter), I start to panic. Sometimes these feelings of dread get so bad I almost wish I never had kids so I didn’t have to experience that kind of intense anxiety. I know it’s neurotic as hell to fret so much about my kids’ safety and there comes a certain point when a parent has to let their children go off and be adults, but still I can’t help worrying.

They say losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to a person. I don’t doubt this. I love both my children with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns and if something happened to one of them…well, I think I would probably lose my mind and most likely kill myself. How could I go on living? I just can’t see how someone could carry on after losing their child. Obviously they do though, and I marvel whenever I see a bereaved parent somehow accepting their tragedy and moving on with their lives. I’m amazed when they can talk about it without dissolving into sobs. But I don’t think I would be able to ever accept it and move on. If I didn’t kill myself I think I would cry for the rest of my life, become catatonic with unbearable grief, and the dudes in white coats would have to carry me off in a straitjacket.

Sometimes I have these dreams of something happening to one of my children. They are awful. I just woke up from one, and after breathing a sigh of relief it was just a dream after all, I decided to blog about it, before it faded away into unconsciousness the way dreams tend to do.

I had to pick up a few groceries from the store. My son Ethan, about eight in the dream, came along with me. Sitting in the front seat next to me, he chattered in his little high pitched voice about school and other things 8 year olds like to chatter about. Strangely, it was also the present time, and I was the same age I am now, with the same vantagepoint on my life I actually have now, but that sort of thing happens in dreams.

We were driving down a country road, and must have taken a wrong turn, because soon I realized the road was a dead end. At the end of the road we saw a high wooden fence, and it was closed. Past the fence was a single police car, with its blue lights flashing. But I saw no police officer or anyone else. It was parked in the middle of a thicket of weeds and wildflowers, and when I looked closer I saw that no one was in the car.

police

Ethan, being a curious 8 year old boy, wanted to see what was going on. Before I could stop him, he had taken off his seatbelt and was out of the car, running like lightning toward the gate. I called to him but he didn’t hear me. I got out of the car and began to chase him, but he had already worked the latch and was running into the dark woods beyond the meadow. The police car was no longer there. It hadn’t driven off, it simply had disappeared!

I called and called Ethan but he didn’t return. I ran through the open gate and almost tripped on rocks and a few times before I reached the woods. Running into the darkness of the forest, I kept calling him, but all I could hear was my own voice echoing back to me, as if the forest was taunting me. I waited. And waited. It seemed like an eternity but was probably just a few hours. Ethan never returned.

Weeping from panic, I walked back to my car and drove home. It was getting dark out. I’d completely forgotten the groceries, but I didn’t care. Who needed groceries when Ethan was gone?

There were people I didn’t know living in my house, but in the dream I knew them. The man who was my dream-husband listened to my story. Although I had no “proof” Ethan was dead, somehow I just knew. Still, I needed someone else to reassure me he was okay (or confirm my fears). Not knowing is worse than knowing. So hesitantly, I asked my dream-husband, “Do you think he is dead?”
He nodded.
“What do you think happened to him?”
“I think the cop did something with him,” was the reply.
I felt like I had died inside. It was horrible and so surreal I wondered if I was dreaming, and that was when I woke up.

I’m wondering if other parents have these kind of dreams or if they worry as much about their adult children as I do. I’ve Googled this problem and haven’t found much about it, so sometimes I think it’s just my PTSD and tendency to be overly anxious and fretful. I walk through life expecting disaster every moment. I probably need therapy.